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E041 Haunting My 88 Reatta


Voltaic
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The vehicle is my beloved 1988 Buick Reatta that I obtained about 5 months ago. I've recently become haunted by an e41 cam sensor error. I inspected the cam through where the sensor sits, and indeed the magnet was toast, or at least what was left of the magnet housing. I followed the Pagette fix after looking around here and Reatta Owner Journal, and still came up with e41. Fearing I didn't seat it far enough or let the JB cure long enough, I inspected again, but it was fine. The top of the magnet housing wasn't marred and didn't even budge when I tried to gently wiggle it. So, I changed the sensor itself, still the same e41 after a couple days of driving around town. For curiousity's sake, I replaced the ICM with a new one just in case there was some weird tom foolery in the ecm, but it changed nothing for the error, but at least smoothed out a rough idle I'd had when I first got it.

 

I'm at a point where I'm thinking along the lines of a harness issue or maybe the timing chain has become loose, but wanted other people's opinions on what the issue could be before I delve further into buying things. I don't have a maintenance history from the previous owner, but it was garage kept and it shows. I've done a full tuneup on it, and I genuinely want to care for this 80's gem

Edited by Voltaic (see edit history)
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Does the code show as current or history? Did you clear the code after the repairs? I see ICM and ECM mentioned in the same sentence so I am guessing that may be a typo? The cam signal does go to the ICM and thence the ECM so it is possible to have a harness issue if the code is still current. I believe the harness loops under the front of the car below the radiator area and then back to the firewall and I did find a cut wire with an E041 code previously on an 89 which I think is similar. How many miles??

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2seater: E41 is current, I reset Everytime I made a change, and I did indeed change the ignition module. It was... less than okay, I was surprised it was still working with it falling apart after I got it off. I'll check the harness there to see if anything's wrong with it. My 88's sitting at 144k.

 

Dave: I'll check that portion of the harness too.

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You can check the chain for play by looking at the cam interrupter magnet and moving the crankshaft back and forth. The stock chain damper will allow some movement but I would doubt the timing set is a problem at that mileage. This is a photo of a new timing set and old style chain damper:

 

 

DSC01135.JPG

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Got a break at work to run over the harness and test the pigtail to the sensor. Everything seems peachy, the pigtail comes back 11.3 and the harness to the module and sensor are in fair shape, no melting or pinched wires to speak of. I'm going to run back to AutoZone when I get of work in the morning and see if I can swap the cam sensor to see if they just gave me a bad sensor. I'll test the movement when I get home as well, but I remember that the crank was fairly stiff moving it when I was lining the cam up for replacing the magnet.

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I sympathize with you on the E041 code.   Mine was just replaced last week by a professional mechanic.  

$500.00 labor.  I also had my timing set, dampner,  and crankshaft sensor replaced while they had it opened up.   

 

Then while there my 88 with 96k miles needed valve cover gaskets and just added a new Ignition coil and module.  Added another $400 labor with new oil and radiator flush\fill.  

 

Just saying if your planning to tear into the engine to replace the sensor, and I suggest that over the external replacement method, be prepared for several other issues on these now 30+ year old cars.  

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So, update now that I've gone through the motions of waiting for a part, replacing it, and not working, 41 is still staring at me defiantly. Crankshaft was pretty solid when I went to test the play on it, so that seems to be a relief. I'm going to look over everything one more time, this time much longer and thoroughly in the daylight tomorrow since it's past my bed time right now. I'm a bit frazzled by what should be by all means a relatively easy fix, I normally don't have nearly the same ammount of trouble with my 96 Park Avenue. If I can't identify what the issue is by the coming weekend, I'm going to send it off to a shop, or even a dealership if need be.

Edited by Voltaic (see edit history)
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  • 4 weeks later...

I would like to make an update on this now that life has sesttled and I was able to sit down and pull the timing cover myself. I was suprised at the simplicity of the job, if a bit time consuming because I did everything in the engine bay. E041 is finally exocised from my vehicle, and there is no discoloration of coolant or engine oil. I guess when I did Padgett's fix, I just didn't have it at the right depth to create the hal effect, but my dear Reatta(I'm starting to settle on Lilith for a name because of the black and maroon coloring) is back to normal now 

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