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Pontiac Sunfire Starting and Stalling Problems

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  • Claire@EdmundsClaire@Edmunds Chicago areaPosts: 968
    edited October 2011
    amyb102, one of our members wrote a great post a couple of years ago about checking for electrical problems -- he wound up with a pretty cheap fix. Not sure if his solutions will work for you, but here's the post:

    Many Many Many Things

    ClaireS, Host
    Automotive News & Views | Coupes & Convertibles

    Claire

    HOST

  • My Sunfire used to die warming up(closed loop) or driving at normal temp(open loop). Many parts were changed. Even searched edmunds. The fix was found after a fuel pump that did not correct it. the mechanic tilted the steering wheel and it died. He got it started after several attempts and it died again. he took the cover of the bottom of the column and found the SOLUTION. The factory did a recall on the ignition I believe and rezipptied with a very tight tie in the wireharness going up the column. THIS PULLS THE WIRES TO TIGHT. hot and cold make them pull out of the ignition. it is like shutting of the key. the engine stops gages sometimes stop. the car dies at highway speed. He cut the zip tie that pulls the wires tight to the column and let them hang by connection. He also disconnected the ignition switch at the harness to push the connections from the wires back in with the batery disconnected so it would not short out when reconnected. One year latter no problems :) Cost to fix remove 3 little bolts, cut bulky wire zip tie. and push wires it switch.
  • Claire@EdmundsClaire@Edmunds Chicago areaPosts: 968
    Thanks for posting this, good2go2!

    ClaireS, Host
    Automotive News & Views | Coupes & Convertibles

    Claire

    HOST

  • ts123ts123 Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 Pontiac Sunfire that occasionally won't start. I turn the key and nothing happens. Doesn't turn over, no click, no sound at all. After numerous attempts, it eventually starts and then doesn't do it again for another month or so. I replaced the battery and thought the problem was solved. A few months afterwards, the problem started again. Any ideas?
  • I have a 2003 sunfire and I am nearing an answer. I replaced the ignition control module. This will run great for 6 months. There are several things that seem to wear it out. This past summer was a record for the number of days over 110 and I think this has helped wear it out. The MAF sensor needed to be cleaned too. The o2 heater sensor went bad. When I start the car in the morning it is ok. I can drive around all day and start fine. But, around 5:20pm when coming home from work the tempature is higher and there is more traffic and more idling etc. If I stop on the way home. The car sputters and and stalls at start up. I had this happen six months ago so badly that the ICM had to be replaced. I am getting ready to do it again. I also just changed the catalytic converter and o2 heater sensor yesterday. There still might be more issues but right now the ICM is what is the bad culprit. oh.. and last time I replaced it six months ago it died in two weeks due to our heat down here in Texas.
  • Clean the MAF Sensor with MAF Sensor cleaner and see if this helps!
  • MY 2000 SUNFIRE PONIC WON'T TURN ON AT ALL. THIS PROBLEM HAS HAPPEND BEFORE BUT IT USUALLY TURNS ON THE NEXT DAY. EVERYTIME IM LOW ON GAS OR ILL GET TO A GAS STATION RIGHT AFTER IT WOULDNT TURN ON THIS TIME I CANT GET IT TO TURN ON. IT SOUNDS LIKE ITS GOING TO TURN ON BUT IT JUST DIES. COULD MY GAS PUMP BE BAD ?
  • DID YOU EVER FIGURE OUT THE PROBLEM?
  • when it rains my car will sputter and die I have traced the electrical and fixed the problems i could find, there was some bad splices but the problem still is there and it doesn't do it all the time when its raining only sometimes
  • i have a 1999 sunfire just replaced the starter charged the battery and out one gallon of gas in (hopefully thats enough to start it )now the car starts and then stalls does anyone have a clue thanks
  • It's the battery I bought a new battery for my ponic at SAMs cluc n it was the solution. No more stalling.
  • jimd52jimd52 Posts: 3
    It sounds like the starter relay switch which is located on the drivers side rad support (if your car has one-some don't) It's about one inch square and two inches long with 4 leads. It costs about 37 bucks at the dealer- if they can find it. It's one of those GM after thoughts which isn't listed in the parts book. Use the part number instead. It has something to do with the anti theft curcuit as well, and is responsible for doing wierd things, like making the starter stick engaged, Just not turning over when you go to tart it, or the car suddenly cranking on it's own!
  • jimd52jimd52 Posts: 3
    Check to see if you have a starter relay switch bolted to the driver side rad support. it's a one in square relay with 4 lead terminal coming out the bottom. 10-1 that's your problem. It can cause a few wierd problems, the "dead starer", sticking starter, suddenly cranking on it's own, starting and stalling when you release the key- which is probaby the small black ground wire which runs from that relay to the starter housing. If that is broken or loose it will start but not run.
  • jimd52jimd52 Posts: 3
    Check if you have a small one inch square by 12 in long relay switch bolted to the drivers side rad support with a 4 lead terminal at the bottom. If you have this, it is most likely the problem. (Get a new one $37) If you don't have that relay, check your wires are tight on the starter selenoid which is right on top the starter. Check and clean battery posts.
  • This car has been sitting without being started for a few months. We tried a few weeks ago to start it, but it only cranked over. Appeared not to be firing. Today using starting fluid and spraying it in the throttle body it started, but then it dies. We tried this several times. It will start then die. I see both wires have been spliced on the top on the baffle that goes to the throttle body (on the top of the baffle). I'm not sure if that is a sensor or what. I will wire it back together. I'm wondering if we have a fuel pump issue here, or the key issue where you need to turn it on for 10-15 minutes and try to restart it. The battery is weak, but I have a good snap on jumper box attached to it trying to start it. Any ideas what will keep this car running?
  • lindseygjlindseygj Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Pontiac Sunfire. It has 130,000 Miles on it. When it starts it has been acting funny. It does not happen all of the time. Maybe 3-4 times a month. I will turn the key and it will sound like it's going to start and then it will back off and then it will start. This is the best way that I can explain it. I don't believe it is misfiring. Also, I have replaced the battery and the starter. I had the alternator and fuses checked as well. So far it has started every time but I really sounds like it isn't going to. I don't know if it is the wiring. I asked a bunch of mechanic friends if they had any idea but they don't seem to have a clue and everything they tell me sounds like bull. It was doing it before I changed my starter and then after I changed my starter it kept doing it but now it seems to be doing the same thing but sounds worse. It almost sounds like the battery starts everything but it dies before the engine can start but it keeps pushing and finally starts the car. I don't know what to do or any other way to describe it. Everything else is perfect about it. :cry: Please help me if you can. I just want to know what is wrong so that I can fix it.">
  • I suspected the fuel pump, and after replacing it, the car started right up. It was actually pretty easy to change out, too!
  • Could it possibly be your fuel pump going bad? These cars are common for fuel pumps failing. I just had to put one in a 2001 Sunfire. We could start it after spraying starting fluid in the throttle body, but it would die shortly after.
  • sounds like the fuel pressure regulator.its located on the fuel rail and is easy to fix.pull the vacum line off if gas comes out its bad.
  • I have a 01 Pontiac sunfire the engine tries to turn over but no spark. I have replace the plugs, wires, and coil pack/ignition control module. Any help would be appreciated.
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