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Old 06-02-2010, 05:10 PM   #1
chadicenhour
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What is "ignition mode"?

Alright, so I've been tinkering with this 99 GAGT for a long time on and off since I first bought it. This thing doesn't have all the power it suppose to. I've tried everything. Today I put the scanner on it and went to a test that was igntion mode. It said that if it said yes beside it while running that it was in ignition mode. According to the scanner, igntion mode is on when there is a fault in the igntion system. When that happens, it uses the ICM to control ignition timing instead of the ECM. It also said that the ICM will maintain base timing at 10 degrees BTDC and affect driveability noticeably. Does that sound like something that would make the car sluggish?? I don't know much about ignition timing. Also, what kind of ignition fault could I have? The ICM is new and not that it matters, all the coils, plugs and wires are also new. BTW, I have no fault codes so diagnosing this igntion fault is gonna be tricky. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:30 PM   #2
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Wait, it doesn't have all the power it's "supposed" to?

What gearing is in that car? If I'm not mistaken there were two different final drive ratios available in the 3400 GAs.

That and maybe its normal.... What're you comparing it to? And why are you throwing parts on it?
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Old 06-02-2010, 07:56 PM   #3
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The other drive ratio was in 3400 powered SE's. If he has a GT he has 3.29 gearing.


The ignition fault mode happens basically when the PCM notices a problem with the signal from one of the sensors that it uses to control ignition timing, and can't determine the correct timing to run, so it basically runs a default amount of timing all the time just in order to keep the engine running. 10 degrees is the default, and sometimes you will normally see 20 degrees or more, so yes being in fault mode will severely limit your power.

You have to make sure you are actually in ignition fault mode first though. Usually it happens because of a problem with one of the crank sensors. Either way if it goes into fault mode you should have an SES light on. If there isn't a light on, you are not in fault mode.


Just curious, how many miles are on the car? Have you replaced the air filter and fuel filter? Is the catalytic converter original? How about the O2 sensor? MAF sensor ever been cleaned?
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:19 PM   #4
chadicenhour
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The other drive ratio was in 3400 powered SE's. If he has a GT he has 3.29 gearing.


The ignition fault mode happens basically when the PCM notices a problem with the signal from one of the sensors that it uses to control ignition timing, and can't determine the correct timing to run, so it basically runs a default amount of timing all the time just in order to keep the engine running. 10 degrees is the default, and sometimes you will normally see 20 degrees or more, so yes being in fault mode will severely limit your power.

You have to make sure you are actually in ignition fault mode first though. Usually it happens because of a problem with one of the crank sensors. Either way if it goes into fault mode you should have an SES light on. If there isn't a light on, you are not in fault mode.


Just curious, how many miles are on the car? Have you replaced the air filter and fuel filter? Is the catalytic converter original? How about the O2 sensor? MAF sensor ever been cleaned?
First off, Thanks so much for the help! I promise its in igntion mode, I can actually view this while watching live data. When I shut the car off it says no, when its running it says yes. Also, there is no stored codes or pending codes whatsoever. I'm unsure of the miles on the engine since its been replaced by a jackass of a previous owner. When I bought the car it had a blown headgasket. In less than 3000 miles I replaced the headgaskets, plugs, wires, all new coils, new ICM, air filter, fuel filter, fuel pump, cat converter, new upstream 02, and replaced the MAF with a low mileage unit after I cleaned it well. I'm sure theres more parts I left out. The engine is super quiet and doesn't miss, it just lacks alot of power. My aunt has a 2000 GAGT and it has great power. Also, I have a friend that has a 2001 GAGT that has great power as well. I know how these cars are suppose to run, I've driven plenty of them. As far as gearing, I know thats not the issue. Thanks in advance for more help.
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:25 PM   #5
chadicenhour
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Wait, it doesn't have all the power it's "supposed" to?

What gearing is in that car? If I'm not mistaken there were two different final drive ratios available in the 3400 GAs.

That and maybe its normal.... What're you comparing it to? And why are you throwing parts on it?
I'm comparing this to other GAGTs that I've driven. Also, the reason why I was "throwing" parts at it was because I replaced the headgaskets and it made sense to tune it up while it was apart. As far as the coils and ignition module goes, I was chasing a number 3 cylinder misfire that ended up being a brand new bad sparkplug that caused me to go all out and replace the coils and ICM that way I knew they weren't a problem.
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Old 06-02-2010, 09:06 PM   #6
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Quick correction, the PCM uses the 24x signal up to 1600rpm, not 3000.

Not sure what scanner you are using... I've never heard of a scanner that will tell you if you are in bypass mode or not, or that will test it. I did some digging in my manual and supposedly the ONLY way it will go in bypass mode is if the PCM detects a fault, and it WILL set a DTC code, and will turn on the SES light on the second time it detects any problem.

Basically, you have the 7x signal and the 24x signal. The PCM uses the 7x signal when you first start the engine for a priming fuel shot, and the ICM runs the igntion control. The ICM monitors and compares the pulses of the 7x, 24x, and cam position signal. Once it determines they are properly sync'd, usually after two crank revolutions, it switches from bypass mode to PCM control of the ignition using the 24x and 7x signals, and using the cam pulse for injector control for sequential fuel injection. The 24x and 7x signals are converted by the ICM into a 3x reference pulse for the PCM. The PCM uses several other signals in addition to that to determine timing, but it will only switch back to bypass mode if there is a problem with the ICM signal, and it will set either DTC P1351, P1352, P1361, or P1362.
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Old 06-02-2010, 09:26 PM   #7
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Quick correction, the PCM uses the 24x signal up to 1600rpm, not 3000.

Not sure what scanner you are using... I've never heard of a scanner that will tell you if you are in bypass mode or not, or that will test it. I did some digging in my manual and supposedly the ONLY way it will go in bypass mode is if the PCM detects a fault, and it WILL set a DTC code, and will turn on the SES light on the second time it detects any problem.

Basically, you have the 7x signal and the 24x signal. The PCM uses the 7x signal when you first start the engine for a priming fuel shot, and the ICM runs the igntion control. The ICM monitors and compares the pulses of the 7x, 24x, and cam position signal. Once it determines they are properly sync'd, usually after two crank revolutions, it switches from bypass mode to PCM control of the ignition using the 24x and 7x signals, and using the cam pulse for injector control for sequential fuel injection. The 24x and 7x signals are converted by the ICM into a 3x reference pulse for the PCM. The PCM uses several other signals in addition to that to determine timing, but it will only switch back to bypass mode if there is a problem with the ICM signal, and it will set either DTC P1351, P1352, P1361, or P1362.
I'm using a Snap-On Solus as a scanner. Also there is no DTC, but I swear it said it was in bypass mode. Thanks so much. I don't know why nobody believes me that its in bypass mode with no DTC. I'm going to my local dealer tomorrow to find a new harness to the crank sensor and I'm going to get a new sensor. I don't know what else to do.
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Old 06-02-2010, 09:45 PM   #8
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well like I said, I read it in my factory manual. It won't go into bypass mode unless there is a problem with the ICM signal and it will set one of those codes. Can't argue with the factory manual. Either the scanner you're using isn't correct, or the problem is something else.
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Old 06-02-2010, 09:53 PM   #9
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well like I said, I read it in my factory manual. It won't go into bypass mode unless there is a problem with the ICM signal and it will set one of those codes. Can't argue with the factory manual. Either the scanner you're using isn't correct, or the problem is something else.
Well, I'm not gonna argue with the factory manual, but this car is sluggish for a reason. Everything else checks out fine. Maybe I have a PCM problem related to the ignition problem. I don't want to rule anything out.
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