Oldsmobile 88 Died While Driving

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    Ashley Simms
    Ashley Simms

    Driving home from work yesterday, my car just died suddenly! I was able to coast into a parking lot. It would start, then spit and sputter, then die again. Thought I smelled something burning, but never saw any smoke. Seemed like it wasn’t getting gas, so brother changed inline fuel filter (had it in the trunk). Noticed that windows, seats, and locks wouldn’t work – but phone was still charging while plugged into cig lighter. Listened for fuel pump to kick on when turning the key to the “on” position, but didn’t hear it. Had car towed to nearby auto shop.

    On the way home, I began searching Google for possible issues and located several (like, more than 10… probably more than 20) articles on various sites/forums regarding the same issue. Seems that the ground wires, located under the carpet in the front driver’s floor, are known to corrode/lose contact… resulting in loss of power to the above-mentioned components. Well, I was aware of this issue prior to yesterday, but in the chaos and panic, it didn’t cross my mind until Google results jarred my memory. Once before, while sitting in the driveway, the car wouldn’t start and my fiance located these wires and attempted to tape them more securely with electrical tape (note: floorboard does get a little damp at times). Issue didn’t occur again until yesterday.

    Contacted the mechanic this morning, explained what happened, and asked him to PLEASE check those wires for any damage/issues first because my windows/seats/etc weren’t working either. One of his employees called me a couple hours later and stated that it needs a fuel pump… cost = $705! 😳 I had a heart attack and then asked if they checked the wires I had mentioned. The guy (supposedly, he was the one diagnosing the problem) hesitated, then kind of stammered, “Umm… Let me see if… Umm… Yes ma’am, we did.” He said they could get the pump by this afternoon and try to have it ready tomorrow. I explained that I do not have that kind of money just sitting in my bank account so would try to figure it out and call him back.

    I live an hour from my job. I was recently promoted to Store Manager at Dollar Tree and have only received one paycheck so far that amounts to anything, so I am struggling financially a bit and cannot afford to waste that kind of money. I have no idea who this mechanic is, as I am just beginning to meet people in the area, but was referred by the tow company. Since I work in retail, my job includes working weekends, and today is the 1st of the month, so my store is slammed with customers. I need to be at work ASAP.

    I need some advice about this and how to proceed because I am not mechanically inclined and hesitant to fork over that much money if it isn’t necessary. If the fuel pump ends up not being the problem and it is, in fact, the wires… (because why aren’t the windows/etc working if the wires are “fine”?) I just don’t want to go down that road. Any help is appreciated greatly!

    Background: Purchased car on Memorial Day 2022. Previous owner says they changed the alternator, fuel pump, and serpentine belt – and car was serviced regularly (only one owned). I have replaced ignition coils, spark plugs, wires, air filter, fuel filter, oil filter, and changed the oil. Has 160k miles.

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