4.1 no start
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HT4100 4.1, 4.5, 4.9 Discussion, 4.1 no start in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; I hope this will help some of you out now or in the future. My dad's 85 eldo won't start. ...
  1. #1
    dadscaddysucks is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    4.1 no start

    I hope this will help some of you out now or in the future. My dad's 85 eldo won't start. It has about 85k original miles. I am pretty good with mid 80's GM technology. After extensive troubleshooting, I have verified that:

    1] The timing chain is not broken. I removed the rocker covers and everything moves fine. Oil was pumping into the rocker area

    2] Compression is within limits on both R/L hand sides

    3] After I repaired the Oil sender unit, the fuel pump fuses held. The 3 wires had melted together, causing the fuel pump fuse top blow. I checked continuity on the wires after the repair and it is fine.

    4] The DFI fuses are OK, is the fuel pump relay

    5] The crank fuse is OK

    6] The new fuel pump builds up pressure at the TBI unit. It cycles until pressure builds up.

    7] The only codes in the ECM are for the TPS. It was an old stored code, so I checked the TPS unit with my digital meter, it tested OK

    8] The is spark at all 8 cylinders.

    9] The rotor in the distributor rotates

    10] It cranks, but I get a lot of popping out of the TBI. I put starter fluid in the TBI- still no dice

    11] There is no coolant in the oil, and no oil in the coolant.

    I had it towed to a shop this morning. I'll let all of you know what the problem is.

    Any bets????

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  3. #2
    BeelzeBob's Avatar
    BeelzeBob is offline I'm a Cadillac Fanatic!
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    Re: 4.1 no start

    Quote Originally Posted by dadscaddysucks
    I hope this will help some of you out now or in the future. My dad's 85 eldo won't start. It has about 85k original miles. I am pretty good with mid 80's GM technology. After extensive troubleshooting, I have verified that:

    1] The timing chain is not broken. I removed the rocker covers and everything moves fine. Oil was pumping into the rocker area

    2] Compression is within limits on both R/L hand sides

    3] After I repaired the Oil sender unit, the fuel pump fuses held. The 3 wires had melted together, causing the fuel pump fuse top blow. I checked continuity on the wires after the repair and it is fine.

    4] The DFI fuses are OK, is the fuel pump relay

    5] The crank fuse is OK

    6] The new fuel pump builds up pressure at the TBI unit. It cycles until pressure builds up.

    7] The only codes in the ECM are for the TPS. It was an old stored code, so I checked the TPS unit with my digital meter, it tested OK

    8] The is spark at all 8 cylinders.

    9] The rotor in the distributor rotates

    10] It cranks, but I get a lot of popping out of the TBI. I put starter fluid in the TBI- still no dice

    11] There is no coolant in the oil, and no oil in the coolant.

    I had it towed to a shop this morning. I'll let all of you know what the problem is.

    Any bets????
    That engine still had the aluminum timing gear on the cam with the nylon teeth. Those are good for 10 years/100K whichever comes first. I'll bet the timing gear teeth have fallen off and the cam timing is off. Easy to find usually by putting a timing light on the #1 spark plug and watching the timing at the timing tab while cranking. If the timing gear has failed and the chain has jumped teeth the ignition timing will be off even though the cam/distributor is still turning.

  4. #3
    dadscaddysucks is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 4.1 no start

    So if I hand crank the engine to TDC, lift the cap I should see that the rotor is under #1 wire. Then I should crank the engine 1 rotation and see if they still align?


    If no, can I expect the usual collateral damage of bent pushrods,dinged pistons, etc.. inside the motor?

    Tx

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    dadscaddysucks is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 4.1 no start

    Here it is.......


    Whoever tuned it last [It was not me!], mis aligned the rotor in the cap at some time in the installation process, bending it down. With a GM rotor, tht had to be hard, they only go one 1 way. Maybe it was installed with a hammer [?]. That would explain while I was still getting spark, but it was not strong enough for ignition. Once a new cap and rotor were put in, the beast fired. I think I'll advise dad to buy a buick...........

    Until next time.........

  6. #5
    BeelzeBob's Avatar
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    Re: 4.1 no start

    Quote Originally Posted by dadscaddysucks
    Here it is.......


    Whoever tuned it last [It was not me!], mis aligned the rotor in the cap at some time in the installation process, bending it down. With a GM rotor, tht had to be hard, they only go one 1 way. Maybe it was installed with a hammer [?]. That would explain while I was still getting spark, but it was not strong enough for ignition. Once a new cap and rotor were put in, the beast fired. I think I'll advise dad to buy a buick...........

    Until next time.........
    So....some hack tunes the car and causes a no-start for the first time in 20 years since the car was made....and as a result "dadscaddysucks" and urge him to buy a buick....hmmmm.....explain the excellent logic here, please....LOL.


    Have him get the car to a shop and have the cam timing gear replaced before it does what I suspected....it is overdue and needs a new gear.....least it shed the teeth, bend pushrods and valves and "suck" again.....

  7. #6
    JoeBleed is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 4.1 no start

    Quote Originally Posted by dadscaddysucks
    Here it is.......


    Maybe it was installed with a hammer [?].
    Very likly saddly to say. I have seen dealer tecks that do that. it "saves time" they say. :rolleyes2 I don't know if you let dealers do most of your work but this is something i have been trying to get across to a friend that bought a new (last year edition) firebird. dealers hire the same people that say a local shop might. the only real advantage is at the dealer they have the opertunity to get all the info they might need that the small shops either don't have or can't afford to get. he started learing this after they jacked his car up by the ground effects kit. and broke one side. not to mention he had the coolent changed once and they left the radiator cap off. :drinker this may not be the case in some areas but it is the case here. People around here don't seem to have any pride in their work. if you have this care already just keep it up and well taken care of and you will be fine. don't bother wiht a buick.

    oh and as for the bent push rods and such that usualy ocure with broken timing chain and such don't happen with the 4100. it is a clearenced moder. meaning that noting slams into each other when everything gets out of sync. i know this first hand. 3 days after i first got mine the chain broke. i have read some were also that it is a clearenced motor.

  8. #7
    dadscaddysucks is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 4.1 no start

    Thanks guys. Appreciate the comments. I agree with much of what you say. Techs' at the dealers are not any better than you or me. The only thing they have is more resources. My own car is a compicated machine too, a Turbo- Riv convertible from the same vintage mid 80's. It's harly maintneance free. These GM cars were good for the day, but unless you can fix them yourself, it can get expensive. The 4.1 litre aluminum motor is decent, but the cast iron blocks of the mid-80's were more reliable.


    Dad's cad lives again-for now. I can put the timing gears on. It will take 6 hours and I'll be a greasy mess. If I do it, it wil cost under $100. A bargain. The trouble is, like any car, how many people really have the mechanical savvy to do this job. If you take it somewhere it's a much taller number.

    I enjoyed your forum. It's great for information about Caddys I have often thought about losing the riv for an Allante. Still thinking about it, The aluminum motors, even the 4.5 scare the hell out of me. The Northstar? Yep, im my opinion a far better choice.

    Thanks again

    Dadscaddysucks

  9. #8
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    Re: 4.1 no start

    Once you learn the least amount about them the 4.1/4.5/4.9 engines and the Northstar are some of the easiest and simpliest engines to work on and repair that are out there. They are just different and require different tools, learning and approaches compared to iron boat anchors. Take the time to read the service manual on them and you will see......

    Most of the "complexity" that scares people is due to the increasing demands for emission control and such that came about in the later model years when these engines were produced...so they are inherently more "complicated" than 1960/70's engines...but not because they are aluminum or Cadillac or 4.x's or Northstars.....

    Just like anything else, once you are familiar with them, they are a piece of cake. I could put a Northstar engine together in my sleep and think it is much simpler to work on than other types of engines....but I am pretty familiar with it...that is all it takes.

  10. #9
    dadscaddysucks is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 4.1 no start

    Being an avid GM car owner for almost 30 years teaches a lot. I have had at least one car from each divsion over the years, including a 75 eldo conv. I Loved it. I think-my opinion- that GM has come along way with the electronics since their inception. They are pretty damn reliable now.

    My own driver included, the 80's electronics are not as good. Now couple that with 20 years of heat cycles, bumps, etc.. things happen. I have done a lot of work on this 4.1 since Dad got the car. I agree with your statement that it's ez to work on. I wish it had the CCC3 setup that the SFI cars had. No distributor is one less thing that can go wrong.

    I think-again my opinion- that the cast iron engines of the same generation [80's] will outlast the 1st generation aluminum engines of the 80's. I read a lot of posts on thhis website, many 4.1's that had early engine failure.

    Cast engines of the same vintage go well over 250k with proper maintenance. I did not see too many claims of over 200k with this 4.1 engine even with proper maintenance. It also seems to reflect in the price of used cars with this power plant. The 4.5 seems to be much better. I just can't see my 76 year old dad maintaining this car withoout me or a lot of $$$$ in my absence.

    Enjoy your Caddy, I'll probably get an allante when I tire of my Riv. The engine may fall out of the riv tomorrow for all I know, but she has close to 250k and still perfroms well with the original anchor motor. The MPG is the same as the caddy 4.1, and we can drag race for pinks anytime-just kidding!

    Thanks again for your insight- keep the faith

    Dadscaddysucks

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