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Known as the ol' Eighty-eight, the Oldsmobile Delta 88 was one of the most popular models under the Oldsmobile marque. And if you own a Delta 88, you own a piece of history. However, having these types of vintage vehicles (take note: the last Oldsmobile Delta 88 left the assembly line 16 years ago) could also mean dealing with a lot of problems that get worse as time passes by.
One of the common problems aging Delta 88s share is the tendency of the engine to suddenly cut off. While it certainly is quite inconvenient, sudden engine failure can be dangerous if you are driving at considerable speeds in a busy highway.
The Oldsmobile Delta 88's engine relies on three things to produce power: pressurized fuel, air, and a spark to ignite the two. If the engine does not receive any of these three at regular amounts, it will start to lose power and eventually shut off.
Before you start panicking about serious engine trouble, you might want to check if there is enough fuel in the tank. There are a lot of cases of engine stalling because the engine is running on fumes. You may also want to check the tank for spoiled fuel. Gasoline tends to go bad if not used after prolonged periods of time, and it may clog the fuel filter and the engine itself.
The lack of fuel pressure may also be cause of the engine dying off. Inspect the fuel pump for proper operation and check the fuel lines, seals, and gaskets of the fuel system for any signs of leaks. If there is a leak or the fuel pump is starting to wear out, replace these parts.
Another common cause of Delta 88 engine failure is a busted fuse. Engine fuses are basically safety devices that protect the engine's sensitive electrical components, such as the ignition coil and distributor, from potentially damaging overcurrent by absorbing the current but damaging itself in the process. The location of the fuses in your Delta 88 depends on the year it was made, so make sure to refer to the car's service manual on the actual location of the fuse box. If the fuse has burnt, replace it with a new one and try restarting the engine.
In addition to damaged fuses, various electrical problems can also cause engine failure in the Oldsmobile Delta 88, particularly in the more recent models. In such instances, an OBD-II sensor can help you determine the cause of the problem. You can rent an OBD-II sensor from your local dealer or auto repair shop; however, it is strongly recommended to have diagnosed by a professional technician.
If you live in a particularly dusty area or your car hasn't been maintained properly in quite some time, a clogged air intake may also cause the Oldsmobile Delta 88 engine to cut off while driving. Dust, dirt, and other debris can build up on the air intake filter over time, reducing the amount of air that reaches the engine. And if there's not enough air coming in, the engine will struggle to "breathe" and sputter in the process.