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Oldsmobile Alero Starting-Stalling Problems

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  • I have a 2003 Olds Alero 2.2 ecotech. I have had trouble with the security system and have had to reset it by turning the key on for 10min. I always works for me. Last week my car would not start, it turned over and wanted to fire, but just wouldn't go. I had the battery checked and replaced, still the same thing, then I changed the spark plugs thinking it was flooded, still no change! I read some comments here and checked the fuel regulator, it was good, there was fuel pressure in the rails. I finally took the fuel relay out and started the car to run fuel out, then reconnected the relay and the car fired right up! Thank you to everyone who posts on here, it gave me ideas of what to weed out to find the issue.

  • This is tbs10 not sure why but i couldn't sign in under that name- anyway I have an update with my alero stalling problem- it seems to be fixed! After changing the fuel regulator it still stalled, changed the battery, it still stalled, also changed the IAC valve. Finally Daniel said to change the ignition switch and that was it! Runs fine now and test drove for over an hour and no stalls, it was stalling between 20-25 minutes of drive time. Thank you so much for your input and I am so relieved to have this issue taken care of (knock on wood). In the last 6 months i have dumped parts in this car, and while I get great deals on parts (25-40% off) i was getting annoyed that the problem wasn't fixed. Things this car got the last 6 months:

    battery
    fuel filter
    spark plugs
    crankshaft position sensor
    tires
    fuel pump
    idle air control valve
    fuel regulator
    air filter
    brakes/rotors/calipers
    front wheel hubs
    shocks/struts
    starter
    tie rod ends
    ignition module
    ignition switch

    With all this I am hoping it will last another 100,000 miles with all the new parts.

    Thanks again!

  • tim618/tbs10 I got over 300,00 miles on my 2003 2.2L without half the stuff you replaced.
    Still, I'm very lucky to get this far.

  • wvpipvwwvpipvw Posts: 1

    I am having some difficulties with my 04 Alero. I think is is the security system but doesn't sound exactly like anyone else's problems.

    It is 2004 3.4 V6. The car starts fine cold and will drive for approximately 15-20 min and then while driving it shuts down. It will not restart for 30-50 min. No codes are thrown and the security light doesn't come on.

    Any help is much appreciated thanks!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 51,784

    That doesn't sound like a security issue actually. Not every component in a car throws a code, especially fuel system components. What you'll have to do to solve this is have you or a technician jump right on the car while it is misbehaving, to determine the cause of the no-start when it occurs. This might include a spark tester, fuel pressure gauge, NOID light (for injector pulse) and VOM meter.

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  • jamessc56jamessc56 Posts: 2

    My Oldsmobile alero will stop working while I am driving it. This has happened to me twice now, even though it has at least half a tank of gas in it. Eventually, it will start back up, but I really don't want this to happen when I am on the way to work one day. When it stops, it usually takes 20+ minutes before it will start again. After this happens, the car will work fine for a couple of weeks, then it happens again. Also, some of the dashboard lights are always on, but the dealership told me that they couldn't turn them off but not to worry about it. Anyone else have a similar problem, and find a way to fix it?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 51,784
    edited January 24

    Sounds like you need to go to a mechanic who knows what he's doing---scan the car for trouble codes or, better yet, take the car and see if he can make it happen so that he can better diagnose it.

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  • ok first off I'd like to thank anyone who could answer my question in advance and hope that someone still looks at this post. My car is a 2004 Oldsmobile alero 2.2 ecotech. I've come in to a problem similar to everyone ones here but I wanted to share my experience.. So my car was driving just fine up until about 2 weeks ago. I would be driving down the interstate and it would just die all of a sudden. it would start up just fine and I would make it back home. So this goes on for a while but I noticed just in the day time but there would be no code present to give me any idea what the problem could be. So I changed the fuel pump thinking the heat was causing it to fail once I started it it ran fine but all of a sudden it shut off again this time much sooner and the service engine soon light came on. So I slowly make my way to the nearest autozone to use their scan tool and it came up with the code p0171. It said

    " fuel trim bank one condition explanation.
    the power train control module uses the oxygen sensor to calculate the air/fuel ratio of the engine. The computer has recognized a rich or lean condition on one engine bank only. 
    Probable cause
    1 if bank one and two codes set together suspect fuel pressure or maf (mass air flow) sensor.
    2 oxygen sensor defective.
    3 ignition misfire repair
    4 fuel injector problems"

    i changed the oxygen sensors and nothing changed. I also changed the spark plugs and wires in case it was those causing the misfire. My car isn't equipt with a maf sensor so that rules out. And according to the forum in the past postings if you take the vacuum off the fuel pressure regulator and fuel comes out its shot and that's not the case. So if anyone can use this info o help me figure this out I would appreciate it. If need more info i will post what ever needed. 
  • bksmit40bksmit40 Posts: 1
    I have an 03 and am having similar problems. As far as I can tell right now it's not getting fuel and its not a security problem. The change oil light was the only thing that came on before it stranded me on the highway. But I will be looking into further. Hope to read more comments from someone that has gone thru this.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 51,784
    The 02 sensor replacement is a common misdiagnosis for the P171 code. P171 isn't an 02 sensor because your PCM already validated the 02 values before setting the P171 code. What it's seeing is a fuel mixture too lean, and it cannot compensate enough to correct the air/fuel mixture.

    The best way to approach this is to look at Long Term Fuel Trim data with the proper scanner, in at least 3 scenarios---idle speed, 3000 RPM unloaded and 3000 rpm with a load. Then look at the freeze frame data to see which one of these fuel trim levels failed and under what conditions.

    By the way, I think your car does have a MAF.

    You might also look for intake manifold leaks or other vacuum leaks, as well as a plugged EGR valve or a plugged fuel filter.

    If you can, buy or borrow a fuel pressure gauge to make sure fuel pressure is up to spec.

    ok first off I'd like to thank anyone who could answer my question in advance and hope that someone still looks at this post. My car is a 2004 Oldsmobile alero 2.2 ecotech. I've come in to a problem similar to everyone ones here but I wanted to share my experience.. So my car was driving just fine up until about 2 weeks ago. I would be driving down the interstate and it would just die all of a sudden. it would start up just fine and I would make it back home. So this goes on for a while but I noticed just in the day time but there would be no code present to give me any idea what the problem could be. So I changed the fuel pump thinking the heat was causing it to fail once I started it it ran fine but all of a sudden it shut off again this time much sooner and the service engine soon light came on. So I slowly make my way to the nearest autozone to use their scan tool and it came up with the code p0171. It said

    " fuel trim bank one condition explanation.
    the power train control module uses the oxygen sensor to calculate the air/fuel ratio of the engine. The computer has recognized a rich or lean condition on one engine bank only. 
    Probable cause
    1 if bank one and two codes set together suspect fuel pressure or maf (mass air flow) sensor.
    2 oxygen sensor defective.
    3 ignition misfire repair
    4 fuel injector problems"

    i changed the oxygen sensors and nothing changed. I also changed the spark plugs and wires in case it was those causing the misfire. My car isn't equipt with a maf sensor so that rules out. And according to the forum in the past postings if you take the vacuum off the fuel pressure regulator and fuel comes out its shot and that's not the case. So if anyone can use this info o help me figure this out I would appreciate it. If need more info i will post what ever needed. 

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 3,353


    The 02 sensor replacement is a common misdiagnosis for the P171 code. P171 isn't an 02 sensor because your PCM already validated the 02 values before setting the P171 code. What it's seeing is a fuel mixture too lean, and it cannot compensate enough to correct the air/fuel mixture.

    Correct, very good. Getting people to understand that a code does not tell you what part to replace, it tells you what test failed is the first step into understanding how to diagnose a problem with a vehicle.



    The best way to approach this is to look at Long Term Fuel Trim data with the proper scanner, in at least 3 scenarios---idle speed, 3000 RPM unloaded and 3000 rpm with a load. Then look at the freeze frame data to see which one of these fuel trim levels failed and under what conditions.

    Let's change that a little bit. To diagnose this he not only has to look at the long term fuel trim, he also has to add the short term trim trend to it under varying engine loads while monitoring fuel pressure. In an engine that is in control the short term trim should be moving +/- 5 counts. That means you can have moments that the short term trim can make the problem look a little less, or a little worse at times, but if you average the trend(s) and then add that number to the recorded long term trims then you get an indication of just how hard the computer is working to try and correct the air/fuel ratio.


    By the way, I think your car does have a MAF.

    Not this time, this is a speed density system so it uses a MAP. I looked it up before posting. There are so many variations out there it doesn't mater how much experience someone has, given enough chances you'll end up regretting trying to trust your memory all of the time.



    You might also look for intake manifold leaks or other vacuum leaks, as well as a plugged EGR valve or a plugged fuel filter.

    Now this "depends" on what was seen while recording and playing back the scan data during a failure event. If the problem occurs at low speeds but not heavier throttle its more common to expect a vacuum leak to be plausible on most engines. A MAP sensor however is measuring the manifold pressure and reacts to a vacuum leak by adding fuel just as if the throttle was opened a little more. A leak that disrupts just one cylinder is possible, but what happens then is that usually results in a misfire that is cylinder specific.

    EGR is out of the picture this time, it doesn't have one.

    A fuel filter issue will have a greater effect under higher engine loads when more fuel is required per second. Monitoring the fuel pressure is one way to see if this is occurring or not, a drop in fuel pressure under high demand points towards a fuel supply issue and a filter would be one of the potential suspects. To prove this without disassembly, measuring the fuel pump circuit current would reveal how hard the pump is working and also if the circuit has a connection issue or not which is still in play since testing that we are aware of hasn't ruled that out.



    If you can, buy or borrow a fuel pressure gauge to make sure fuel pressure is up to spec.

    Correct. That combined with scan data will allow for a decision point in the diagnostics. Potential causes not listed at this point include but are not limited to fuel quality/contamination/alcohol content, restricted injectors, sensor input issues, and PCM command circuit problems.

    So my car was driving just fine up until about 2 weeks ago. I would be driving down the interstate and it would just die all of a sudden. it would start up just fine and I would make it back home. So this goes on for a while but I noticed just in the day time but there would be no code present to give me any idea what the problem could be. So I changed the fuel pump thinking the heat was causing it to fail once I started it it ran fine but all of a sudden it shut off again this time much sooner and the service engine soon light came on. So I slowly make my way to the nearest autozone to use their scan tool and it came up with the code p0171.

    The problem right now is that without really testing completely before any repairs were done, it cannot be determined if you are still dealing with the original problem, a subsequent unrelated problem, or if in fact this is a problem that was added on top of the original one. You have an outline right now for the fuel control code and a proper routine requires that one concentrate on whatever problem is repeatable and confirmed. Anything that is intermittent beyond that must be attended to in the future only if necessary.


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 51,784
    Ah, it's the 3.4 that has the MAF then, as well as an EGR.

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Oldsmobile Alero Starting-Stalling Problems - Page 16 - Car Forums at Edmunds.com