View Full Version : Optispark trouble code 36

11-25-09, 04:34 AM
I have a 1994 Cadillac fleetwood Brougham LT1 Triple black with 138,000 miles

About 10,000 miles ago (6 months) I replaced the Optispark with an Accel optispark that I got from Jegs. Turns out the misfiring was just a melted plug wire but I replaced the wires(stock) , plugs(stock) , coil(Accel) , EGR valve , and the optispark just to make sure I was all set and would have no worries given the rep of the optispark.

About 2 weeks ago (10,000 miles later) I was driving and when I gave it more gas to speed up the car sputtered and almost stalled until i let off the gas a little. I then gave it gas again and it sputtered , the engine light came on and as soon as the engine light came on and stayed on it ran not perfect but ok and no more sputtering.

I checked the code when I got home and it was a code 36 (distributor)
I also checked the wire harness and computer to rule that out. (had 5 volts like I should)

Out of desperation I sprayed non-flammable contact cleaner down the vent hoses to the distributor , blew it out with air , and the problem went away for 2 weeks and now its back.

The car runs good when cold , then 10 min later it sputters , almost stalls , then runs not perfect but better as soon as the engine light comes on and stays on (code 36 and won't reset until the car sits for a while).

Also , I do have a minor oil leak coming from behind the distributor. I should have replaced the seal while i was in there but it looked ok.

My questions are...

How could a name brand like accel fail after only 10,000 miles?

I sealed the cap and body with Permatex gasket sealant before I installed the distributor , could oil still have gotten in?

What would the problem be that spraying the contact cleaner down the vent hoses fixed for 2 weeks , but won't fix now?

And the most puzzling thing..Why does it run good until it heats up , then runs like crap , then ok again after i stomp on the gas and the engine light comes on when the code 36 is triggered?

I'm thinking about purchasing the Dynaspark unit but want to make sure that this won't happen again especially when the Dynaspark is more than double the price of the Accel unit.

Will changing the oil seal prevent this problem again and is the Dynaspark unit worth the price?

Any answers or advice would be appreciated.


11-25-09, 09:59 AM
sounds like that seal is letting oil into the cap
I would replace the seal and clean out the cap good and see what
that does for ya,
i have 190k on the fact optispark unit
with only a cap change 70k ago
also make sure the two "o" rings are on the shaft

11-25-09, 07:58 PM
Before I installed the distributor I sealed the cap and body with gasket sealant to prevent oil or moisture from getting in. Also there was two new "o" rings on it. So how does the oil get in? Shouldn't the oil just leak out between the optispark and the engine without getting inside?

Also , has anyone used the Dynaspark brand replacement? Is it worth the $600 price? I think when I go through the trouble of taking everything apart again , I rather replace the opti again to make sure rather than just cleaning it and taking my chances.

I don't know if its the oil leak or if Accel is poor quality?
Maybe its a combination of both.

Has anyone used the Accel optispark and had problems with it?
Anyone had an opti go after only 10,000 of use?

02-29-16, 04:22 PM
I have 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood also, and I have the identical problem word for word as you described it. I changed the Optispark, from O'Reilly, at least 4 times on it when the car used to shutdown completely. With the latest Optispark, same brand as the others, the only trouble code I get now is 00-36, like you do. I have done everything possible to get rid of this code, and it was not successful. In fact I had plans to replace the current optispark with Accel. But after reading your experience with Accel, i have changed my plans. But I am curious if you ever completely resolved the issue of Code 00-36 on your car. The latest thing i have done to only cope with code 36 is to install a quick disconnect on my car battery negative terminal, so I can stop to disconnect the battery quickly (without tools) and reconnect it in 2 minutes. This process clears the codes on the computer and the car runs perfectly until the next time code 36 shows up, either in an hour or so or a day or so. When I get code 36, it happens when the engine warms up and at any speed. The trouble engine light comes on the dash, the code 36 shows up, the car yanks back like its been pulled back by a crane, and begins to sputter and loses power to some extent but does not shut down. If I can manage to pull over on a shoulder or in a parking lot, I disconnect the battery by the quick disconnect and in 2 minutes I am back on the road. With this problem with the car, not one in the family would drive this car, so I have to suffer with this problem until I get some resolution. Please help if you can. gentintexas at gmail dot commmm