Stumble & die

Mr. Michael

Active Member
Gents, I have a failure story that I wanted to post just incase it could help the next guy. So here it goes...

I have an '87 GN that I only drive once in a great while. Pretty stock with a modern TT chip, AFPR, downpipe, no cat, dual mufflers, cold Tstat). I happened to drive the car to an event that was two hours away (the car was a hit by the way with all who came into contact with it). It drove up great, no issue no problems. Even got a thumbs up from a police officer. Let a few people sit in it, and let one drive it around the block (his life-long dream). Once the weekend was over I headed home and even had a rider who asked if I could take them that way (they lived close to my home). I took them along without hesitation.

Anyhow two hours back home, no complaints. No issue. I dropped off the rider and headed over to my storage facility to stick the GN away again. But jussssst before I stuck it away I wanted to do one last burnout (in the parking lot of my storage garage) so I put it up against the brake and started to let her eat. As the tires started to spin the engine shut off. Dead quit. No signs of anything, no noises, just quit.

It restarted fine so I backed 'er into the spot and shut it off. I restarted it just to see if any thing was up, but all was normal. I paged through the scanmaster and saw nothing of note. No faults, no problem. I tucked it away and did not see it again for 3 to 4 months.

Fast forward two weeks ago. I get over there & take it for a drive. I wanted to see if the shut off issue was still there. It started up fine and drove like normal. I started to head home with it (5 minutes away) and she goes into a sputter and stall. I can keep it running but there is no power past 20 MPH. I limp it off street & look at the scan master. I have a MAF code, and a intake temp code. So i unplug the MAF and try again. There is an improvement so I drive it back to storage. It bucks & leaps but won't smoothen out. Scan master looks normal but the temp is 190 (I have 160 thermo). I can drive it down to 175 temp & the MAF code and Intake temp sensor code pop right back onto the scanmaster. Its eating gas though. Going down fast.

I get it back, tuck it away & head home to come here & read the forums. Lots of information, some misinformation. I buck up & decide to order a Kirban tested & set MAF to bolt that on. It comes fast (thank you) and I install without delay. It helps a ton, but then after 5 minutes of driving she lays down and bucks & sputters again. The MAF & temp sensor codes were cleared again & did not come back though, so I knew I did something right. But still, no joy. And still eating gas.

So more reading here. I read a lot about coli pack issues. I take a look @ mine & see it is an old timer. I get a new Borg warner part and temporarily install it. The car fires up, drives well for bout 4 minutes then poof, the coil pack overheats & expires. I pull it back apart & look it over. Looks to be a defective unit as everything is in order near it. No malfunction codes still - so I go trade the smoked pack for another. It pops in place like the 1st one and the car runs as designed. In fact it flat out flys. I drive it for 10 minutes and figure it has never run better. It bangs off shifts & spins the tires at will. I do that for awhile then I go to the same spot in the parking lot of my storage building & load the car against the brake (like originally) / and what-do-you-know. It stalls. Wont restart. I have to push it back into the storage spot. I go back to home & more reading here...

Fuses. Yup, the 10amp fuse for the ignition control unit is blown. I check that out and additionally had read about soft blue goo on the control unit. I recall the goo but did not remember how soft it was. For the fuses sake I order up a new Borg Warner Ignition control unit & then go replace the fuse. Car starts up fine. Thats enough. I shut it off & await the ignition control unit. It comes in fast so I head over today & bolt it all again. I check the blue goo on the original unit once I took it off & find that it is pretty soft, maybe like silly putty (you may be too young to know what that is). You could drag your thumb nail through the goo & it deflects & stays in place. So I install the new unit (hard plastic like black material on this one) and hope for the best.

It starts right up. I drive it for 5 minutes, all good. 10 minutes, all good. 20 minutes, all good. Check the scanmaster, no codes, no issue, all numbers in spec. still running about 185 coolant oddly. I boost it, I powerbrake it, I idle it, I lay 100 yards of rubber. All good at 30 minutes. I turn on the A/C (its 80 here) and drive it around. No prob. Boost it some more and head back to storage. All numbers look normal. Car does nothing odd but that 180 coolant temp. Seems sorta fixed. Shut it off & then close the door.

So... MAF, Coil pack (1&2), Ignition Control fuse, Ignition Control unit.

I followed what the car was telling me - and may have replaced a few things not completely needed. However maybe my process and parts list will help the next guy.
yup... Sometimes that is just the way the ball bounces. Fortunately the car benefited from the renewal of those known failure parts.
When you replaced your coil pack the first time you only did half the job. A bad module can take out a perfectly good coil pack. Unless you have a way of testing the coil pack and module individually, its good practice to replace both for the reasons you experienced.
When you replaced your coil pack the first time you only did half the job. A bad module can take out a perfectly good coil pack. Unless you have a way of testing the coil pack and module individually, its good practice to replace both for the reasons you experienced.

I agree. I read that after the fact (replace both).

Again, maybe my experiences will help the next guy. Fortunatily most all of these parts were reasonably priced.