1998 Oldsmobile 88 - all power shuts off while driving

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58limited
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1998 Oldsmobile 88 - all power shuts off while driving

Unread post by 58limited » Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:24 pm

Three times in the past two days the car has shut down while driving: everything - motor, electronics. It comes right back on and if I'm driving over 20-25MPH the motor kicks back in. The time I was going slow I had to stop and throw it in park to restart (didn't try neutral). Anyone have any ideas? Could it be the ignition switch?

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carriedi
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Re: 1998 Oldsmobile 88 - all power shuts off while driving

Unread post by carriedi » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:55 am

ignition switch would be one of the first checks. fuse panel, ground connections, battery terminals, but being intermittent it may be hard to find when everything is working normally.
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58limited
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Re: 1998 Oldsmobile 88 - all power shuts off while driving

Unread post by 58limited » Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:38 am

Thanks for the reply. I had thought of the battery as well but thought that cars are supposed to keep running when the battery is disconnected, at least older cars do. I don't know as much about newer cars with all of the electronics.

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carriedi
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Re: 1998 Oldsmobile 88 - all power shuts off while driving

Unread post by carriedi » Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:55 pm

the car may keep running if you disconnect the power (+) cable but that could blow up your charging system and burn out computer circuits because you alternator will not see the battery charge and raise the charging voltage beyond what many circuits are made to handle. But if you lose your ground circuits don't have a complete circuit. they will look for somewhere else to ground or just shut off
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58limited
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Re: 1998 Oldsmobile 88 - all power shuts off while driving

Unread post by 58limited » Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:29 pm

Thanks again. You may have hit the nail on the head about the battery terminals:

The threads on the positive battery terminal are almost stripped. I was able to tighten it enough to remove play in the cables but it loosened once due to vibrations. I retightened it again after that and checked it when the car first stalled on Thursday and it seemed tight. Today the car stalled several times in the last hour as I was running errands. One time power did not return so I popped the hood to check the battery cable. When I touched it it was so hot I burned myself. It was also a little loose but the car started up.

I went straight to the parts store - 1/4 mile away - after burning my finger. They tested the battery with a hand-held tester on the car. The test showed the battery to be good with the car turned off. We turned the car on and tested the alternator which read fine, but then it said the battery was bad. We removed the battery and tested it on their machine inside the store and it tested good. I bought a new battery anyway due to the stripped threads and I also replaced both of the terminal bolts. I finished my errands with no problems. I checked the battery terminals when I got home and they were cool to the touch. Maybe this will fix the problem, I'll see how it runs for the next few days before trying to deal with the ignition switch.

Another question: Earlier, I had stopped into the auto parts store to buy a belt and discussed this problem with one of the guys there. He mentioned one problem he had seen that was very rare: sometimes a battery will start to reverse its polarity. When it does that it will shut down the car. I thought you had to charge a fully discharged battery backwards to do this. Can a battery that is going bad reverse polarity while hooked up and charging normally?

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58limited
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Re: 1998 Oldsmobile 88 - all power shuts off while driving

Unread post by 58limited » Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:30 am

It has been a week since the battery replacement and the car is running fine.

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