C4 Numerous Problems :(

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated :)
I haven't drove my car in two years. 1988 Convertable Auto.
I cold stored it over one winter and when I went to take it out there was
tranny fluid everywhere! I had it towed to a shop and they charged me $900. to replace a 'transmission seal kit'. The guy assured me I wouldn't have to worry about losing a drop of fluid again. 1 month later I noticed the car slipping. Again, fluid leaking only not so noticeable. Towed to same garage. He said he had one side fixed for $240 and the other side would take another $240. I reminded him that he said I wouldn't have to worry about fluid again and he said that these were different seals? Anyways I never gave him permission to do any work so I paid the $240 and told him to button it up. It's sat on my parking pad ever since.
Anyone know how many seals in a transmission? Was I being taken for a ride? I now have to take it to a real transmission shop and get a price on doing the whole job over again. They quoted me $600. with a lifetime guarentee. I just started it up this evening and I can't wait to enjoy it this year!
Problem 1: My dash pulsates? I think it might be the altinator of the battery? The battey loses charge over several days of not driving but charges and drives fine.
Problem 2: Sometimes hard to start. I read on this forum some time ago that it might be a couple of sensors in the intake plenum? The symptoms were the same as the guy in the post. I thought at first it was the injectors leaking or the fuel rail. Sometimes you have to crank and crank and you smell fuel. Holding the pedal to the floor helps like clearing a flood. You can also take 'screens' off that are in front of these sensors? If you wait for the car to get cold again it flashes right up? Any ideas on this would be appreciated.
Problem 3: Noisy catalytic converter. I grounded teh car on time on a dip in the road (*bad*) Since then I hear a rattle. i had it checked and the guy said something wa sloose inside the cat and the only way to fix it was to replace it. It rattles on startup and is embaressing. Especially combined with problem #2 :( I have Dyna Max Performance exhaust and teh muffler gusy say they can replece the CAT with a straight piece of stainless pipe. My question is: If I remove the CAT is the car still driveable? Someone told me it would run like crap and I would have to get a the chip replaced so it can run without it? Does this make sence?
Problem 4: Oil leak. Rear main seal is leaking. I assume this will be a straight forward job for the tranny ship since the have the transmission dropped anyway?
Other than that the car is a cream puff with only 45K on it. These problems only came up the last couple months of driving..
Any suggestions on any of the above would be greatly appreciated!! * Save The Wave*
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#0: The common oil leaks on an automatic are the pan gasket and the rear seal. The "one side, then the other side" diagnosis is suspect. I'd recommend a new mechanic.
#1: Sounds like the alternator. A battery problem wouldn't cause a regular pulsation in voltage. Check the system voltage with a volt meter to rule out a connection problem in the dashboard. Also, get a Battery Tender.
#3: Your muffler guy could get into a lot of trouble for replacing the catalytic converter with a straight pipe. It might run okay, but why bother? A performance aftermarket cat is around $100. I had a Grand Cherokee where the element came loose in the catalytic converter and rattled like that. 100k miles didn't hurt anything, but it was embarassing. Worse case, the element breaks up and plugs the muffler.
#4: With the transmission removed changing the rear main seal is easy. Six bolts to remove the flex plate and the one-piece seal in that year engine slips right out. No need to remove the oil pan (although it probably leaks too).
-rev
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Thanx Reverend,
I think you misunderstood a little. The oil leak is a minor issue but I gave this shop money twice to fix transmission leaks. Does the left side/right thing make sence regarding the transmission seals? It used to go completely dry during storage but since my last visit when he fixed only one side it only goes down a couple of liters (about 1/2 gallon)
The guy at the parts place told me there is 8 or 9 gallons of transmission fluid in the system at one time and that he lists over 15 seals for the tranny?
The reason I'm curious is that I think the last time the mechanic didn't pull the tranny and had something to do with the side axles?? He doesn't work there anymore and the workorder is vague. I'm thinking if I paid for seals that the tranny had to be pulled for perhaps I just need a seal on the other side?? Then again, I do have to get the oil leaks tended to...
I'm just so fed up with spending money trying to stop fluid from leaking out that I'm going to take it to a shop and say here, I want nothing leaking out.. send me a bill :( *be gentle* :)

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1. It's probably the battery. The lights probably pulsate with the engine RPM because the electrical system is running only on the alternator (the battery is not providing any storage). You can tell if the alternator is defective by starting the engine and then disconnecting the battery cable. If it dies when you pull off the cable then it the alternator. Don't re-connect the cable with the engine running as you can damage the computer or alternator.
2. This could be anything from a vacuum leak to sensor trouble.
3. Replace the converter. Don't go with a straight pipe, it could irreparably harm your emission system & cause carbon build-up in the intake/exhaust system.
4. Replace the rear main, front seal, and pan gasket when the trans is off the car. If you plan on keeping the car, it would also be a good time to replace the oil pump with a high volume pump if you live in a warm climate. If you live in a cold climate, be careful not to run heavy oil in the winter as you risk having all the oil in the top of the engine when you start the car on a cold day. If you got the trans off the car for front & real seals (or rebuild), you could also step-up to a B & M performance torque converter.
wrote:

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Thanks everyone for the replies.
I changed out my battery. (Tried to get an AGM or GEL battery but the Orbital & Optima ones won't fit without mods).
I ended up getting a regular one. Just before I swapped the battery the battery icon became illuminated on the dash. I'm taking the altenator off tonight and having it bench rested on the way home from work tomorrow. Is there a particular brand or output I should be looking for when getting a replacement? Partsource priced out at $150 cdn for a rebuilt Champion (105 amp) or NAPA has a unknown brand rebuilt for $140. cdn for 105 amp. Should I get one woth more output?
Newbie2: I'm a semi-noob and I didn't kow there was susch a thing as a torque converter upgrade. I take it this would be an easy thing for the tranny shop to do if the transmission is out anyway? These look a little pricey.. I see several 2400 for around $100 usd. re-man 'borg' brand is one on there. I will look into it further.. thanx!
So nobody has heard of these sensors in the intake plenum that can cause intermittent hard starting?
Thanx again :)

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88C4RagTop wrote:

Unless you are running extreme audio plus 100w headlamps plus high wattage driving lights, the stock alternator will do the job. Biggest C4 alternator problem is frequent failure of the internal regulator due to idling around town between 20 and 40 mph in the summer with the A/C on. Last alternator I bought was an Autolite rebuild of an OE (AC-Delco) unit. Looks stock. Has outlasted all prior alternators. It was about $ 85US. This brand had a 'lifetime' warranty--it really means, 'two alternators for the price of one.'

You might check and see if your '88 has a pair of relays -- MAF burn-off and MAF power (these were an in-service addition to early Bosch Fuel Injection) On the '89 they are located on the firewall just aft of the brake cylinder. Early relays were square, newer replacements are round. The 'burn-off' relay's job is to superheat the MAF sensor wire during shut down to clean it of 'uglies' that make it through or past the air cleaner. If it isn't working well, the MAF sensor will accumulate residue and send bad signals to the ECM. This can contribute to some lag. The Idle Air Control (IAC) and Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) also affect low-rpm stability.

-- PJ '89 Hookercar '02 e-blu coupe
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Thanx PJ. You guys really know your stuff. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge. The MAF relays are exactly what I had heard about. I remember the guy was having the exact same issue as me. He had addressed the other possibilities and was still stumped. Someone in the group suggested changing these out. I don't know how it turned out but i'll give it a try.
I don't have any heavy extra equipment on the car so the stock altenator one will do just fine.
I'll go with replacing the CAT instead of bypassing it and look into a torque converter. As well as the MAF sensors, all thanks to you good folks' advise.
How big a job is the oil pressure sensor? Mine shows a constant 550 which I assume means the sensor needs to be checked/replaced?
88C4RagTop

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When I had the same sound in my '86 cat converter and was unsure whether or not to change it, my vette mechanic gutted the insides and left the converter on. It's just like having a straight pipe (almost) with no problems since. Passed inspection also in NY.

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When you let it sit the seals dry out...reseal the tranny should have been about $300...YES YES the Vette runs great without the cat..you can buy a test pipe stainless for about $40 on ebay..not legal for street use so when you put it on only drive off road..( whatever that is )......or look up google for exhaust test pipe or some thing like that . I sold one last year on ebay for $35.00...direct cat replacement. Makes those aftermarket mufflers sound really mean. I live in Florida we have no car inspections here of any kind whatsoever.Redneck heaven..!!
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Self-described "xpert" Peter Daly<grayfox24ATearthlinkDOTnet> wrote:

That explains why you live there Peter! You recently said you were leaving this newsgroup (hopefully never to return) so why are you here? I guess we must now add "liar" to your dossier of primarily negative attributes.
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