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Reatta won’t start


ToxicRyno
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Hello everyone, I am having issues with my 1988 Buick Reatta. It will not start, and there is no check engine light. I have replaced the alternator and starter, still won’t start. It will crank but not start. This happened after I followed a forum on replacing the magnet interpreter for the camshaft sensor, but I believe I did that right and that it’s just coincidence. After replacing it it had trouble starting but started. Then later on my way home it had problem starting, ran fine, then I got home and wouldn’t start at all. The center coil in the coil pack is the only one getting warm, is there a way to test the other two coils? And would it be possible that it’s the ignition control model? Sorry I’m advance if I’m bad at explaining, I love cars and working on them but don’t have much experience, so still learning! Thank you.

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Two ideas and both are cheap. Replace the coil pack ignition module with a Delco unit. Jim Finn or Marck at East Coast Reattas can help you out. Also try the crank sensor. 

 Alternator does nothing with starting you car, it runs the electrical system and keeps the battery charged. Starter if it grinds it's good.

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Dave is correct. Most likely the ignition module. I have had several crank sensor failures but the crank sensor generally works right or fails completely.

I suppose it could be intermittent but not likely. Swap parts one at a time starting with the ignition module. Use a little heat transfer paste between the module and the mounting plate.

Keep us updated :)

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The ignition module is why I have my car, saved from scrapyard.  Original module was failing in hot conditions, summertime in traffic and AC on.  Owner tried multiple parts and parked it for good.  First thing I did was swap out for delco system.  Had to get a different mounting bracket from local yard.  Stick to OEM parts, top of the engine is a rough environment.  Car was running perfectly after that until weather warmed up.  The original crank sensor had been swapped for non-primo chinesium and as soon as I drove it on a hot day it lost the x18 signal pickup, which kills the car hard. Had it towed back home (it had gone about a mile before heat failure) and swapped in an OEM sensor, working like a charm since.  And do use some thermal compound on the bracket-to-module mounting, it helps heat-sink the components which they appreciate by not leaving you stranded on the roadside.  I used some spare cpu sink compound I had but I think some car parts stores carry a product for that.  Copper based antiseize would probably work

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On 6/2/2021 at 4:05 PM, DAVES89 said:

Two ideas and both are cheap. Replace the coil pack ignition module with a Delco unit. Jim Finn or Marck at East Coast Reattas can help you out. Also try the crank sensor. 

 Alternator does nothing with starting you car, it runs the electrical system and keeps the battery charged. Starter if it grinds it's good.

I replaces the coil pack, still just the center one getting warm… I’ll have to wait till next paycheck to order the actual ignition control module. 

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On 6/3/2021 at 1:56 PM, DS_Porter 89 Burgandy said:

Dave is correct. Most likely the ignition module. I have had several crank sensor failures but the crank sensor generally works right or fails completely.

I suppose it could be intermittent but not likely. Swap parts one at a time starting with the ignition module. Use a little heat transfer paste between the module and the mounting plate.

Keep us updated :)

Replaced the ignition control module, started up on 2nd or third try

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5 hours ago, 1989randyboy said:

Any easy ways to test ignition module or the sensors would be appreciated.  Having the same problem. Trouble shooting would be helpful as I'm retired and don't have money for unnecessary parts. 

I think you can test the control module with a multimeter. Here’s a link on how. I just don’t know if it’s as easy as it says or specifically works for reatta how they describe it. I couldn’t find any where talking about how to test the coil packs though. 

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So much of the testing should be under load and heat that multimeter testing gives incomplete results. It is not useless, just not the full picture. Go to the Reatta Owners Journal site and look under diagnostics in the menu header and there is a link to the YouTube video of testing the module and coils

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