View Full Version : '04, check Engine Lights, massive loss of power out of the blue with no warning

05-09-13, 10:38 PM
Sorry if this has been discussed to death, but i couldn't find this exact issue through searching.

So, driving home ont he highway at about 55, and power just disappears, speed drops to about 35-40. no matter how hard I put my foot on the gas the tach tops out at about 3K. Stereo flashes "Service Engine Soon" and goes off after about 3 seconds, but the engine light stays on. i get off the highway and sut off the car for a bit, then turn it on again, and it seems fine. It happens 2 more ttimes ont eh way home, once stopping dead crossing over another lane with an 18 wheeker bearing down on me. i honestly don't know if i can get it to a dealer or mechanic.

It's an '04, V6, 79,666 miles on it (maybe it was the 666? :) ) Oil life says 45%, trasmission says 89%, it isn't making any odd noises and seemed trouble free until this happened. When I checked the owners manual it said something baout the gas cap being loose or not closed properly, or possibly bad gas. I have my doubts. anyone else seen this issue?

Thanks in advance!


05-10-13, 01:32 AM
Does the engine have any oil in it, not the monitor but pull the dipstick and see if it has oil.

05-10-13, 08:28 AM
That was it, no oil. I never saw it leave so much as a drop behind, but this is great news, thanks!

One more thing - is the hood supposed to stay up by itself when opened, or is there an arm that holds it up that I missed? It is heavy, and doesn't stay up by itself on my car.

thanks again,


05-10-13, 09:40 AM
I just had the same thing happen to me. It turned out that the coil packs on the driver side of the engine (N*V8) had just let go. When it happened the car lost most of the power and the idle was so rough I though the bottom of the motor let go. Glad it was just the coil packs. Anyway the dealer replaced the cat pipe under warranty due to the codes it through! Thank god I didn't have to pay for that!! The total cost of the coil pack replacement and plug change was $800. Ouch but it runs great and now is getting 1-2 MPG better.

05-10-13, 10:15 AM
jim, there are 2 gas struts that hold the hood open. Are yours missing?

05-10-13, 10:23 AM
The key is V6, must keep an eye on the oil level.

05-10-13, 11:38 AM
The two struts (like thin shock absorbers) are there, they just don't seem to do anything. The hood is heavy and would crack my skull open if I let go of it! lol I guess I may need to see if I can find some replacements at a junk yard or something.

And thanks again everyone for the oil level tip on the V6, I will watch it like a hawk going forward and likely check the oil level every time I fill up the car. Hopefully it will go the three miles to Pep Boys so I can grab some Mobil 1 this afternoon without much bother. I really love this car, if it had an AUX port for my mp3 player it would be perfect :)

05-10-13, 12:25 PM
While there (Pep), check out replacement struts and have your codes read and erased. Write down what the codes were.

05-10-13, 01:23 PM
Will do, thanks

05-10-13, 05:14 PM
jim, there are 2 gas struts that hold the hood open. Are yours missing?

Interesting.... my 07 only has one lift support. Wonder if one support will replace two?

05-10-13, 06:03 PM
No expense was spared on our older cars. :highfive:

05-10-13, 11:02 PM
Interesting.... my 07 only has one lift support. Wonder if one support will replace two?

Yeah my 06 had one but i bought the studs to add the second strut and this hood is extremely light lol

05-10-13, 11:50 PM
Wouldn't the engine be toast after losing power and stalling due to lack of oil? Possibly it turns off before damage occurs otherwise you have bigger bills than a few quarts of oil in your future.

05-11-13, 12:54 AM
This is the first thread that I have seen so far where no oil in your engine is considered a great thing. :) :hitstick: Jim, when was the last time you actually checked the oil? and if no oil shows on the dipstick how much oil is actually left in the crankcase? Mr Electric .. you would think it would damage the engine especially if it was being affected so much by it that it had lost enormous power.. What I also find troubling was that it had lost power and was running like crap you parked it and restarted and ran it without checking a few basics under the hood. One of the first things i would have done after pulling over was check the oil, the coolant :bang2:..Are a good percentage of Cadillac owners unfamiliar with basic engine maintenance and checking? Since, they probably usually have the butler or chauffeur do it? :)

05-11-13, 01:27 PM
It was low on oil, not completely empty. I put in two quarts which likely was too much.

Anyway...Pep Boys said the code was a faulty throttle position sensor, and told me it needed to go to the dealership. They told me they wouldn't change the oil at this point due to that, and didn't charge me anything for any of stuff they did or time they spent, which to me was pretty cool of them.

I got the car this February, 'oil life' was in the 90% range, and this is the first issue of any kind I've had with the car in the almost 3 months I've had it. To be honest, I have never had a car before that blew through oil on a regular basis, so didn't know that checking the level frequently was a must with this car. The '95 Camry wagon this replaced (that had 275K on it) always had nearly every drop of its oil when it got changed, so the whole "gotta keep checking the oil on it" schtick is new to me.

Bottom line here, it was not the oil, or any other fluid, it was and is a mechanical failure.

05-11-13, 01:51 PM
Jim, what was the throttle position sensor code number. there are several and you may not need to go to a dealer if you want to DIY.

05-11-13, 05:14 PM
Brought it to the dealer, $800 dollars to fix. I didn't get the exact code from Pep Boys, just what they said it meant.

05-12-13, 10:32 AM
TPS sensor errors seem to be 'common' somewhat. Did you try jiggling or pulling the throttle body wiring out of it and plugging it back in? just to see?

05-13-13, 12:24 PM
No, I am not mechanically inclined to the point where I would recognize the throttle body to begin with, and the issue wasn't 100% confirmed before I brought it to the dealer - they definitel;y weren't going to let me off cheap. To be honest, though I've only owned the car for 3 months and 2 thousand miles I am leaning very heavily at this point to fixing it and trading it on something Japanese. As TimRSRX rightly noted, my butler and chauffeur might have to be let go if thousand dollar fixes and checking oil at every stop light are to be the norm with this car.

But I do appreciate the help that was provided, but I likely should have gotten somethign known to be bulletproof if that was what I really needed. Very disappointed at this point with the car.

05-14-13, 09:18 PM
If you need reliability Honda or Toyota is the way to go. Don't get a Mazda or Isuzu or some other second string brand. Toyota and Honda are the only brands that are super reliable , the economy car Honda and toyotas at least. Once you go for a 6 cylinder loaded luxury Japanese car you will spend big on maintenance just changing fluids. Acura and Lexus parts and fluids are very expensive.

05-14-13, 09:39 PM
If you need reliability Honda or Toyota is the way to go. Don't get a Mazda or Isuzu or some other second string brand. Toyota and Honda are the only brands that are super reliable , the economy car Honda and toyotas at least. Once you go for a 6 cylinder loaded luxury Japanese car you will spend big on maintenance just changing fluids. Acura and Lexus parts and fluids are very expensive.

Awesome choices its hard the kill those cars and maintenance is next to nothing. For half the price of a base srx get a fully loaded accord with plenty of great options to boat

05-14-13, 09:58 PM
Must resist urge to argue.

At least compare apples to apples, an accord is not an SUV, so MDX vs SRX or accord vs Malibu I guess?

I understand what your saying but IMO the myth about Japanese cars is just that a myth, the value just is not there in the real world. People have the same shock with the German stuff, it fails, my MIL's 09 X3 had both read coil springs fail, very well documented issue with the 3 series but that did not stop them from charging $1000 to change them, had in stock as well, why would a dealer have rear springs in stock lol

Search for accord oil usage issues, before you go buy one make sure it is not an oil user, here is a good line to end with, "all the accords use oil" lol

05-14-13, 10:07 PM
I think the 4cylinder Japanese economy cars are where the reliability can be found. Specifically Honda and Toyota. To compare apples to apples I have done plenty of $2000 services on Acura MDX and would not say it is not much different from a Cadillac. The MDX weighs almost 7000 pounds, gets crappy gas mileage and needs Acura fluids that cost an arm and a leg. The original poster just got in over his head buying a used luxury car. The same service sticker shock could have happened with almost any brand of luxury vehicle. I think the German luxury cars cost the most of all luxury brands. I group European cars together for the most part. A German car is not more reliable than a British or French car in my book.

05-15-13, 10:42 AM
Please tell me more about these Acura fluids, are they extracted from Gelflings?

05-15-13, 12:23 PM
I agree about Honda's. We had a 2004 Honda CR-V before purchasing our SRX.. put almost 100k on it before trading it in and never had any problem with it whatsoever. Had it for almost six years and we only lost a couple thousand on depreciation on the trade. Try doing that with a Cadillac. It had the 4 cyl as noted above, but never really felt like a 4 cyl. We would have bought a new CR-V if they hadn't ruined the design by making the back side windows curve downward so drastically. Really liked our CR-V. Extemely Dislike the new design. I think any vehicle you get should be checked on regularly, not at every stop light like Jim sarcastically and inaccurately referenced me saying. We haven't had any major problems with our SRX yet. Any work we have done on it was basically because the previous owner neglected doing things like changing bulbs. I think if you don't know how to / and neglect to check your oil on a regular basis with any car you have; you shouldn't own a car and just take taxis where ever you need to go.

05-17-13, 04:49 PM
there is an excellent post on here of how to clean your throttle control body and reset your codes.
First time I needed a code erased, my Dealer charged me $120. Second time I needed a code erased, I searched this forum,
and found a post of how to erase codes. I went to local wally world and bought a cheap OBD2 reader, followed instructions and saved myself hundreds of Dollars. My engine has just failed, in shop now being replaced (2004 3.6 AWD) I've only owned car for a 5 months, first breakdown was 3K (30 days after purchase) 3 weeks later, Throttle body/ random CELs but I fixed it myself. I also was not told this engine burns oil, or that I was supposed to have Mobil 1 Synthetic ONLYl
I haven't put 8000KM (I'm a Canuck lol), it's been nothing but problems, I've spent more on repairs than I have purchasing the vehicle.
(***Lawsuit Pending - NOT a Cadillac dealer - to clarify, It was purchased from a used car dealer*** Luckily in Nova Scotia Canada, Buyers (who buy from dealers, NOT PRIVATE SALES) have rights and implied warranty - under NS consumer protection act). IF you still have throttle position issues, I highly suggest you try cleaning the throttle body as described in other posts, took less than an hour to do it myself.

05-18-13, 11:05 AM
I wonder if dislodging all the gunk in your throttle body contributed to your engine blowing up.

05-19-13, 10:11 AM
Wouldn't a TPS issue, set a specific TPS Code?