26th Jan 2007, 19:01
I bought a used 1992 Grand Am from a friend who worked as a service manager in a large dealership. He said that he had driven the car for 6 months and had no problems. The car has a 2.3 Quad 4 engine and 112k miles and had been purchased new by a school teacher. I test drove the car and it seemed to be OK, just a little slower than I had hoped.
Shortly after taking possession, the Idler tension pulley busted. I got the car home and replaced it. Then it started puffing black smoke (mostly while idling) and running rough.
I connected to my scan tool and found no notable problems.
I replaced the spark plugs, the distributor cap and the coils and the car got worse. It only ran OK at wide open throttle, so I replaced the the oxygen sensor. This seemed to help a lot for a about a month. Then it slowly starting repeating it's old habits.
In addition the automatic door locks would lock you out of the car if you were not careful. They would randomly lock the doors, but, never unlock the doors. Then the Headlights started going off and on and the engine would just die at the worse times. A few weeks later the engine started missing abruptly and I checked all the previous mention items and all were OK. So I did a compression check and found the #1 cylinder had "0" compression. Now it looks like I have a dropped valve or a cracked head/bad head gasket. None the less, I believe it it is time to cut my losses and sale the thing for junk.
This is certainly my last experience with a Quad 4 engine. Hope this helps someone else make the same decision before they waste a pile of money.