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Pontiac Sunfire Starting and Stalling Problems



  • Well, apparently disconnecting the battery cable for a few minutes did it! Also, driving for a little bit helped. I've driven it for two days now and it starts right up every time.
  • i bought this car brand new in may of 2003. I have had nothing but problems with this car!!!!!!!! I have had a lot of electrical issues. My wiring harnest was cut in half after i had it for about 8 months. Took it in to get it fixed. Took a week to get it back. Now that I have had more problems and looked under the hood thoroughly myself, the wiring harnest has been taped back together!!!!! Now at 60,000 miles, timing chain stretched which broke the "plastic" guide. Had to replace the guide and the timing chain. IT gets better!! Since the car jumped time. I had to replace ALL 8 intake valves. Everyone of them was bent. Now the car isn't getting any spark!! Now I have to replace the ignition control module. Mind you that GM states that you don't need to change the spark plugs for 100,000 miles....BULLCRAP!!!!! I took mine out and there was nothing left of them!!!! I am very frusterated with this car. i have had nothing but problems. When I went to have the valves replaces, they told me that the HEAD bolts were one time use only and would have to replaced. i believe the whole car is a one time use!!!!!!! Good luck to all of you sunfire owners out there. I would not recommend this vehicle ever. As soon as I get this one running, I am buying a foreign car!!!!!
  • Oh and to add a few more. I also get the clunking and popping noise in the front end. It also has died several times while turning corners, which really sucks when you go through an intersection!! I have been pulled over for headlights, brake lights, etc.... due to all of the electrical problems. I could honestly keep going on forever!!! Can you tell that this car has really got me upset. Oh and the book value on these cars is horrible. You may as well just throw them away. I still owe 5,000 on mine and it isn't even worth 2500 as a trade in.....?????? K. I am done complaining for now. HEY IF ANYONE HAS ANY SUGGESTIONS TO WHY MY CAR ISN'T GETTING ANY SPARK BEFORE I PAY ANOTH 125.00 FOR AN IGNITION CONTROL MODULE , PLEASE TELL ME. GOD KNOW YOU CAN'T TEST ANY OF THE EXPENSIVE PARTS!!
  • gooduckgooduck Posts: 3
    hi, my name is mike and i have the same car, and the exact same problem. We tried changing out the throttle position sensor and a couple of other things, but like you, I am still lost for an answer. Have you found any solutions yet? If so, I am desperate for them and would appreciate any advice you may lend me.
  • I replaced the Throttle position sensor, no help, then the idle control selenoid, thought it helped. Had started it without giving it gas pedal and it took a while to start, and when it did, it sputtered alot, till after a few seconds I heard a clank sound up front. The it idled great. Still hard starting as far as I know, but daughter won't let me touch it for fear of being stranded for 10 minutes! I'd like to look into the clank thing.
  • I found an amazing local mechanic that fixed my problem very quickly. According to him I was having a missfire on cylinder 3 due to a faulty ignition pack. After swapping that out the problem was much better but still a bit of a rough idle. A little more investigating and he ended up also replacing the crank position sensor and fuel injection sensor. My car now runs smoother than it's ever ran for me, I'm very happy with it and should get another 70,000km out of it hopefully. Total price on the repair was $500 which I think is reasonable for the work he did. My advice is to find a good mechanic as he really didn't seem to have much trouble with this repair where other lesser mechanics were left scratching their heads.
  • gooduckgooduck Posts: 3
    No one seems to know what a fuel injection sensor is, or no part store at least. If you would, could you tell me the actual name or different name of the fuel injection sensor that your mechanic replaced?
  • I have somewhat of the same problem with a 99 sunfire Gt put mine stalls imedialety if i turn the ac on or rehook the brake booster vaccum line anyone got any ideas i have tried everything from sensors to electrical nothing is working.
  • I have a 2002 Sunfire with 32,000 miles on it, and for the past 3 years it has worked great. This summer all of a sudden it stalled out when I was driving down the road and I barely missed causing a really bad accident. I took the car to carmax where it is still insured and they replaced the fuel pump. A week later, it wouldn't start, and carmax explained they had installed a faulty fuel pump and needed to replace it again. It ended up that they replaced it 3 times. A few days later it stalled out again and would not start. Basically this went on for a month and I had to get a rental car. Then once it would not start again, I had to get it towed from my house and again carmax said they could get it to start. Finally, it would not start for one of the mechanics and they then said it had nothing to do with the fuel pump, instead it had something to do with the magnetism of the starter (I know nothing about cars). So I finally thought they fixed it, on the way home the air conditioner went out (typical). Went 2 weeks thinking the problems had all been solved and then of course it would not start again, and they said it was due to a malfunctioning battery. In the process of trying to move to another state, my check engine light came on again today and I was supposed to move tommorow. I'm not sure if this is kharma but this car really is so unreliable and makes me feel unsafe.
  • talked to a mechanic today about my car he said that it could be the iac value pigtail broken wires within wiring hareness so to everyone that is having a problem check that the part can be order through dealer only my car has sensor problems hope this might help someone with their car problems.
  • Someone pls help me out. Ok here is what happened. I was driving my little Pontiac Sunfire GT through a parking lot, when i hit a huge frickin speed bump, and the bottom of the car totally smashed into the speed bump. Didn't sound good. But I didnt think much of it. Then when i got to my next destination and began to leave, I started the car and it sounded like a diesel engine. Also, when i tried to hit the gas, it didnt do anything. It was just rolling. It wont let me accelerate. My friend works on cars, and he couldn't figure out what it was right away. Does anyone have any ideas on what might have happened?? Because it was perfectly fine before I hit that speedbump.
  • 1996 Sunfire GT, I've replaced the TPS and the ICV. It passed emissions, but to start it you need to use the gas pedal, a cloud of smoke, and it runs rough till you hear a clank sound from under the hood, I think closer to the rear of the engine, but I can't find it. It does not stall with the AC on. I did replaced all the plugs, and the cover the plug plug into, but not the coil. No ODBII codes. Any ideas?
  • I have a 98 Pontiac Sunfire as well, and I also have the same problem. I have a temporary solution, but I'd like a long-term, one time fix to the problem.

    I did the exact same thing as you did...went to the mechanic and had new plugs, wires, fuel filter...all of that, and the problem was still there. Basically all of these problems started happening when ethanol became mandatory to be mixed in with your gas. The ethanol gums up your fuel injection system.

    To get rid of the problem, fill up your gas tank and add 2 bottles of fuel-injection cleaner/gumout. The problem will go away. Gas treatment won't do it. The burned ethanol gums up the fuel system. As long as you keep adding the injection cleaner to your fuel system, your car will run fine. But if you quit adding it (like I have at time), the problem will again surface.

    What I'd like to know is what exactly is sooo sensitive to the ethanol, and can this be replaced so additives aren't constantly needed to keep the Sunfire running smoothly
  • About a month ago, our 2003 Pontiac Sunfire (63000 miles) wouldn't start. My dad towed it into his shop (large machinery mechanic) said he could not hear the fuel pump. My brother took off the gas tank and dipped the pump into a bucket of gas & it began pumping. My daughter had trouble with it a couple weeks ago starting but a friend got in & started it right up. We used it Sunday with no problems. Went out to start it this evening & now it won't start again. Not sure if it's the fuel pump or related to the computer ???? Also wondering if it could have anything to do with some kind of security system. Radio/cd player is now locked up. Any suggestions???????????? Please help - dad is very sick & can't work on it & I am trying to put 2 kids through college = no $$$$$$$$$$$.....
  • this is probably a stupid question but have you tried changing the spark plugs?
  • I have a 2001 pontiac sunfire was doing gas treatments each time i filled up weekly, then forgot to do it last two times and now my car stalled out on me and won't start can't seem to figure out if this is the problem or not but it happened before and we did a complete tuneup and oil change and began the weekly treatments and the car worked fine is the ethanol causing my problem no one seems to know
    any one please help i am now without a vehicle and having it towed tonight to my house from where it stranded me but dont want to spend $241 on a new fuel pump. We did not change the fuel filter though so doing that tonight.....PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!
  • mykulcmykulc Posts: 1
    I just had the Fuel Pump replaced in our '03 ,and it would NOT start before. SO if your car is sporadically starting I would say it's a "spark" problem. Keep it simple 1st. Check the battery connections, tighten them. Look at the cables make sure they're good. Your radio/security is hinting at a battery power gap. If this doesn't do it..The the next time it won't start get someone to hit the starter w/ a rubber mallet, while you crank it. ( you could have a flat spot in the starter which would show up here) You can lie down in front and it' under the motor, in the middle, right up front. Looks like a tin can w/ thick wires coming from the top. A 10mm wrench will tighten the brackets that hold it on too. If that's not it I'd move to the ICM (Ignition Control Module) about $100 if you need one. It's right on top of the motor, and says 2.2L Ecotec on it ( it's actually the little silver piece the size of a cell phone with the harness attached. It's easy to take off and on. Just loosen the 4 bolts, unclip the wires, and bend the bracket holding the lines 'up' to get it out. Some Napa stores have testers for FREE that can tell u if it's bad. (So, NO, contrary to popular mechanic belief, u don't have to pay $90 and have the whole car hooked up) This would be a good start and not really cost you anything to check except some time and dirty hands.
  • i recently bought a 96 sunfire and i done know much about it yet but the check engine light recently came on, it could be the sensor thats in the manifold, i had to heat up a bolt to try and get it out and i may have fried the sensor too. my question is would that sensor cause the car to idle rough at low rpms? it seems like its running way too rich now, theres a bit of black smoke that comes out and a little bit of black flecks. i know its not oil though. when i rev it high it smooths out but even when cruising on the highway at lower rpms it will run a bit rough, but downshifting and gunning it clears it right up. anyways might that be the problem or something else? any help would be great
  • Hi, I have a 2001 sunfire and had almost the same exact experience. My car was doing that same stuff. Do you have an alarm system by any chance? When alarms are installed, they splice into the ignition wire with this cheap splice clip that over time will seperate the wire and prevent it from doing its job. It sounds to me like, its your ignition wires. They're thin and apt to short I guess.

    Fixing my car last winter was a nightmare. I did every thing everyone said I should but it was just the ignition wire that wasn't making contact any more.

    My car has been running great for the last 6 months but I just ran out of gas and now it won't fuking start again. It was the ignition wire last time, I wonder wtf it'll be now. Argh!

    Anyways look into the ignition wire thing, its the answer.
    I just mistakenly posted this on the wrong question, so sorry, but I wanted to address this guy so here.
  • My 1998 sunfire convertible INTERMITTENTLY won't start. It doesn't crank at all, all electric stuff works fine, lights, windows everything, appears to have lots of power, just the engine wont even try to turn over.. so far I've replaced the fuel pump ($650) and had the ignition recall performed for free by my local dealer.. the fuel pump CAN be heard humming when the key is turned, but won't start, I've pounded on the gas tank with a hammer and got it to start after about 30 tries.. not sure if it's related to the pounding or just coincidence... PLEASE HELP
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