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Oldsmobile Alero Starting-Stalling Problems

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  • this car has a 2.2 engine. is not getting fuel. no p-codes. no security light. tried the turn key on, wait 10 minutes deal...did not work. I can hear fuel pump momentarily when key is on. I got under car, and hit gas tank several times with rubber mallet, and car starts, after about 3-4 seconds, car starts running rough, then after another 3-4 seconds, car dies, and will not restart unless i tap on the tank again.
  • Sound like you need to replace the fuel pump. I had the same problem. Every time I got the car towed it would start. Finally I had the mechanic come to my house when it didn't start. It was the fuel pump. Now works fine. Classic fuel pump issue.
    Cost is about $750.
  • Sound like you need to replace the fuel pump. I had the same problem. Every time I got the car towed it would start. Finally I had the mechanic come to my house when it didn't start. It was the fuel pump. Now works fine. Classic fuel pump issue.
    Cost is about $750.
  • that was my first thought...however, i just found out this car was getting hot the past few days. not actually getting in the red on the gauge, but climbing well beyond the 1/2 way mark (usually never exceeds 1/2 way). My concern is that what if theres some sort of safety issue that will basically "turn off" the fuel pump so the car doesn't actually terminally over heat? I realize we have an issue with the fuel pump not pumping, is there anything else we should test or examine to confirmthat the fuel pumpisn't "turnedoff" and maybe somehow needs to be reset? if this is even an issue, wouldit automatically reset once the heating issue is resolved?
  • It sounds to me you also might have a thermostat problem, radiator problem(could be clogged), fan problem or a coolant problem. It could be as simple as your coolant is too diluted. I would talk with a GM mechanic on that one. That could be a real simple fix. I would doubt that the heat issue is affecting the fuel pump; especially since you had the fuel issue before the engine was running a bit warmer than normal.

    My suggestion is that when you can't start the car next time you call the mechanic to come to your house to test the fuel pump. It's a very easy pressure test. Takes just a few minutes and it would be worth the extra expense. Beats being towed.
  • Whitey69 was right on the money with the SECURITY FLASHING LIGHT on. I just went to play football (Colorado National Guard against local firefighters) and when I went to the parking lot to start my car it acted like I was out of gas. I had it tow home 20 miles. I am responding for two reasons, first Whitey69 just saved me a ton of money and secondly to let everyone know that Whitey69's reference was located on page 2-20 in the 2001 Alero owners manual under "Passlock"

    WHITEY69 ROCKS!!!!
  • I have a 2000 Alero / 2.4. My wife started the car the other morning and drove 4 or so miles from work and the engine just shut down. No flashing lights. No check engine light. She tried to restart it. It acted like it was running on 1 or two cyls and then would die in a matter of seconds. When I got there it had been setting for about 30 minutes and I tried to start it twice. Same problem. The 3 rd time it started as if nothing had ever happened. Traveled another 2 or 3 miles and the same thing happened. This time I could never get it to start. Called a wrecker and had it towed to my house. Set it off of the wrecker and it started right up. I let it sit running at operating temperture for an hour and it never stopped. I took the ign mod off and had it checked. It checked out OK. Don't think it is the coil pack because it has been running perfest up to this point. Thinking maybe the problem is in the fuel reg, filter or fuel pump. Any thoughts or ideas on what to do would be greatly appreciated. This is my wifes car. She work nights at the hospital and she is now scared to drive it.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    The first thing I would suspect is the fuel pump with these symptoms.
  • burdawg.
    Thanks for the response. I agree with you. A friend told me to spray a little starting fluid in the intake when it acted up again. If it starts and runs on the starting fluid then it is almost a sure thing that the pump is bad. I have also read that beating on the bottom of the tank is another way to tell if the pump is bad. That is assuming it starts and run after the beating. So when it stops again the beatings will begin. If that does not work then I will try a little of the starting fluid.
  • brassy76brassy76 Posts: 1
    I was wondering if there was a way to disable this feature/pain or identify the real problem and solution. It is frustrating when I am unable to get into my car and not be able to go somewhere quickly. This happened to me at least three times this week alone. Please help!
  • nbeltnbelt Posts: 13
    I have a 2000 Alero with a 3.4 V6 but i only get about 12 mpg!?! The security light comes on almost every day. Ive changed the plugs, wires, and fuel filter with OE replacement parts and tried some recommended fuel injector cleaner and still it gets crap gas mileage. Ive also had the mechanic scan it but got nothing. The dealer says without the engine light they probably wont find anything. Im ready to smash it. PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!!
  • uabusiuabusi Posts: 1
    My car:
    2000 Oldsmobile Alero V6 cyl 3.4L Two Wheel Drive Automatic 140K miles

    Today when I drove on the free way at about 75mph, engine rpm was about 2200rpm. the engine suddenly shut off, at first the engine rpm shaken between 1000-1500 rpm for 1-2 seconds, then shut down to zero.

    It happened last Dec. when I drove on the free way, exactly the same way. but after I tried to start several time, about 20 minutes later, it can run and and I drove it well while nothing wrong with it until today.

    Today, I tried to start again, it seemed that the ignition worked and engine run to 200-500 rpm, shaken and dropped to zero again. I tried several time. the engine still won't work. I asked AAA to tow it to a local shop, at the first shop( it is a junkyard), one person tried to start( about 1.5 hour later), won't work, he asked me to tow to their another shop. 20 minutes later, we reach another shop. this time the car can start!!(about 2 hours away from the time the engine shut down), amazing!. After diagnosed the car, the mechanics can't tell me the exact problem and his suggestion was to change a crankshaft position sensor.(He though maybe the sensor was over heated and shut down the engine. but after it cooled down, it will not affect the engine). Since I am in a hurry, I declined and paid him the diagnose fee. And drove all the way down home ( another 150 miles), Now it runs like nothing happen.

    Btw. the mechanics has read 4 codes from engine which were: 1106,1189,1404 and0420. I knew that 1404 and 0420 were always there, and even 0420 was there for more than one year ( the engine light was on for about 1 year), The men tell me that 1106 and 1189 had also nothing to do with the engine shut down.

    any idea? thanks
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    The first place I would look is the fuel pump based on your description of the problem.
  • kck3888kck3888 Posts: 5
    I previous owned a 86' Cutlass Ciera S Coupe :shades: till 01' then I bough this 03 Alero right b4 they went out of business. Used to love it, but now, I hate it so much~~~! :mad:
    Like everybody else, the car will not start when the temperature is hot, put in new spark plugs, new coil, new fuel filter, no goal.

    I notice that if I disconnect the battery cable, and put it back, I can start it right up.
    Not sure if it is the PCM computer, or the something else.

    I had an after market alarm system, when the car won't start, I could hear the horn chirped and doors unlocked. I thought it must be the alarm, I pulled the fuse to disable the alarm, but still getting the same problem.

    Do you guys think that it is the alarm, or it is something else?
  • joyce6joyce6 Posts: 7
    i have a 2003 alero and it started doing this , come to find out there is a recall on our car, it has something to do with the computer modular reprograming , am taking to dealership in the morning to have it done, wish me luck.
  • Wow! I would be very interested to learn how that works out for you. I too have a 2003 Alero that has had starting issues recently. I have been amazed in reading all these posts how common this problem is and I felt I needed to contribute my experiences as well. My problem appears to be the sort where it does not start in the afternoon after sitting in the sun. Not that hot in Illinois yet (Maybe 50 degrees) but the sun beating down on it seems to do it. It starts fine in the morning and evenings or when it's cloudy, cool and/or raining. Yesterday I walked out of work at 4:15pm and it took until 5:05pm to get the thing started. Same thing happened last week...same scenario/conditions. Somebody at work came over and suggested the "ACC & wait 15 minutes" trick which was the first I'd heard of that prior to reading all the accounts of it in these threads. My Security light never went out and it had been over 15 min. I tried to start it but no luck. I repeated the process, this time waiting about 20 min, and the light never went out but the car started. Runs fine once started although I was having stall issues in the winter after the car had been running awhile.

    With the stalling I suspected some kind of sensor issue where it was getting too warm and killed the engine to prevent overheating. It does seem to be related to the heater/blower some how though. Whenever it seemed like it was going to stall, I'd kill the heater and it would run fine. I tested it by pulling over and parking and let the car idle. It was just fine but withing seconds of turning the heater back on full the car stalled out.

    Firestone had recommended having the computer reflashed but when I took it to the local dealer (a Chevy dealer) they didn't seem convinced that would do it...and of course not...they can make so much more money off me by telling me it's this, that and the other thing!! I'm really leaning towards a reflash of the computer unit now. VERY FRUSTRATING as I know you can all relate!!
  • joyce6joyce6 Posts: 7
    i had the recall done and so far working, havent had any trouble with starting in the heat though we live in nc and it get's hot.

    i think the pass lock system is in the manual if you have it, but remember the 10-15 minute rule if needed,
    also, take car to dealer, or better yet, look up car in oldsmobile.com and check your vin # and see if u have a recall, no cost to you, good luck,
  • Glad to hear your Alero is running again. I sincerely hope you've seen the last of this problem. As for myself, I'm still having issues. I left work yesterday at 4:30 being almost certain that my car would not start...which it didn't. I felt confident I could get it going though thanks to all the great tips from the other Alero owners that posted on this site (Thank you ALL!). I did the lock/unlock thing using the remote entry as I walked out to my car. I then turned the key to "ON", put the car in neutral, waited a few seconds and then tried to start it. NOPE!! I tried a couple other things but the battery died quite quickly...I'm assuming due to all the failed start attempts over the last couple weeks. While I was waiting for the tow truck I tried turning the key to "ON" (not "ACC") and left it. After several minutes the security light, which had been on solid (not flashing), went out. I suspected it would start with a jump start. When the AAA guy showed up it, sure enough, fired right up! So, just after 6pm, I was on my way home. At least traffic cooperated and I was home in about an hour. I went out to Wal-Mart and picked up a portable jump start battery for $70. It also has a DC outlet for a cell phone car charger (because my cell phone battery almost died on me too) as well as an air compressor. At least I'm set if (and when) this happens again.

    The interesting thing (okay, more "frustrating" than "interesting" maybe) is that I took it back to the dealer this morning to inquire about the recall. He brought up the recall list and I had actually had this done already back in May of 2004!! The car had 26,500 miles at that time (has 116,000+ miles now) and the Labor Operation is listed as "Y0002 - POWERTRAIN CONTROL MODULE - REPROGRAM". Looking back through my records I found that I first had the problem with the no-start issue about 2 yrs after that (in April 2006). At that time I had the Fuel Pump and fuel filter replaced. Total bill that time was over $900. Now here we are almost exactly another 2 years later and I'm having same issue. Hmmm... I asked the dealer to verify that the PCM has the most current version of software on it and, if so, told him to then park my car in the sun all day (supposed to hit 70 here today I think...wooo hooo) and around 4pm try to start it hoping they can re-create the no-start condition and then put a scanner on it to get a diagnostic code (or codes). Failing that (or depending what the diagnostic calls for) I believe my next step is straight back to Car Max to trade it in and get something new(er). I'm thinking Honda or Toyota. Possibly a Saturn because I'd like to stay with American-made and I've heard good things about them but I definitely purchased my last Oldsmobile. It's sad because, aside from this issue, it has been a very good car for me...and it was paid off last December...Ugh!!

    Jeff (Bolingbrook, IL).
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    "I tried a couple other things but the battery died quite quickly"
    Are you sure your battery is not weak? It shouldn't go down "quite quickly". A weak battery in todays cars with dozens of processors can manifest itself in many ways. Even if you had starting problems before it sounds like your commute is more than adequate to charge up a low battery that is otherwise in good condition, so barring a charging system problem then your battery shouldn't be weak.
  • I'm certainly not ruling out a possible bad battery and/or charging system and yes, my commute (which usually runs anywhere between 1 and 1.5 hrs each way) should be sufficient to charge the battery. Would that lend itself to the no-start issue though? It certainly sounded like a healthy battery Monday night when I was trying to get it started and it also started with no problem this morning when I drove it to the dealer. Back in January I was having trouble with the stalling issue. I was in bumper-to-bumper traffic doing the old switch between neutral and drive, braking with the left foot and gas with the right. It stalled on me a few times and on the third time there was not enough juice left to turn it over (not fun). When the officer showed up he was nice enough to push me out of traffic with his squad car while I waited for my wife to show up and jump start me. I was thinking at that time I would need a new battery but when my car was in being serviced I was told the battery and alternator checked out fine.

    To add to this whole scenario now, I just got a call back from the dealership. They were able to re-create the no-start scenario but it didn't log any codes when they hooked it up to the scanner. Then the battery died on them too while they were testing it out. They put a charger on it and it started right up. So maybe it is something with the electrical?? I'm about ready to punt at this point. There were a couple things he told me they could check for relatively easily, one being the ignition switch and the other I was some connector under the hood but I can't remember what he called it. If those checks reveal nothing I am unloading this car as soon as possible. This has just been insane!!
  • kck3888kck3888 Posts: 5
    My DAMN car is the same thing, won't start in the afternoon, but in the morning or evening.

    The PCM box is what I suspected went bad.
    It is under neat the passenger side glove box right next to the heater duct vent.

    What a great idea to put your computer box next to the heater (it could be AC during summer time) vent?~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Next time if your car won't start, try disconnect the negative cable for 10 seconds and put it back, for me it starts right up.

    Let me know, since GM won't help us, I guess we have to help each other who bough :lemon:
  • joyce6joyce6 Posts: 7
    we havent had any nore trouble with out 2003 alero after we had that recall done, wih us luck, have u checked the recakk on the aleros.
  • Hello viewers, I have a suggestion to all Oldsmobile Alero Owners. Please call Oldsmobile complaining about the issue. Tell them to create a ticket number for you before you tell them about the issue so there is a record of your complaints(keep up with these numbers). Next, tell them the problem. Be very aggressive about how you had to pay for the repairs and the problem still exist. Tell them this should be a recall which they disagree with, tell them you know it is not a bullentin issue since no owners are ever given a ticket number when they call, and stress to them that you know other oweners of the alero that has the same issue and is told the same thing when they call oldsmobile and does not receive a ticket number.
  • kck3888kck3888 Posts: 5
    I've got that OBDII recalled done on 2004.

    I just found an eBay Powerseller with 100% positive feedback that sells PCM for our Aleros on eBay for around $80-100 dollars.
    He will also use the same program GM used to reprogram/flush the PCM before he mails it to us.
    Ebay ID: spareecm

    I will look through my repair manual (yes, I bought that from Autozone) tonight and see if I can handle the PCM swap, if it is not that hard to do, I will buy from this eBay seller and put it in to see what happens.

    At the mean time, has anyone tries to discount the negative battery cable and connect it back to see if their cars can start backup?
  • kck3888kck3888 Posts: 5
    What is the phone# that we can call? :confuse:
  • This is a great suggestion. I am, however, somewhat skeptical as to the effectiveness of this approach being that Oldsmobile is no longer in business. I have managed to come up with a couple ways around this problem though but I need to decide which route to take. Do I go with a Honda Civic or a Mazda 3 ? Hmm...decisions, decisions. :confuse:
  • I would love to know how this works out for you! Please keep us posted because I am almost positive that my problem is also related to the PCM module. If you're able to do the swap yourself then I will probably attempt this approach also.

    My car is actually back at the Chevy Dealer this week. They are charging me for only 1 hour of labor no matter how long it takes them to diagnose the problem. This is day #2. A couple interesting side notes also:

    1) I had this problem last Sunday again when it was sunny and warm. Saturday was cloudy and cool and it started like a champ several time throughout the day. On Sunday, I was able to get the car started (on 2 different occasions) by first putting it in Neutral. That was one of the suggestions I got from this forum.

    2) I brought the car to work on Monday and Tuesday (being a little more confident now that I have a portable jump starter in the trunk). I also did not lock my doors either day and it started both days. I was secretly hoping the car would get stolen but it actually starting for me was a nice consolation I guess. Tuesday was a typical sunny warm day where I expected it not to start. However, it did stall out on me once on the way home. Luckily I was able to get it going right away...from neutral...and it didn't happen again.

    As for the battery cable, that was going to be my next thing to try if I couldn't get the car started because when I think back to a couple weeks ago when my car wouldn't start...I killed my battery in my attempts to start the car and then it started right up with a jump start. This was also the case at the dealership. I'm guessing that killing or disconnecting the battery actually resets something in one of those modules that is keeping the car from starting.

    Good luck with the PCM swap!!
  • snooflesnoofle Posts: 1
    I have had problems for over a year with starting my Alero & have had it towed numerous times, only to be told later that it started fine for the mechanic.

    I have finally solved the mystery & you will be amazed at how simple (and inexpensive!) the solution turns out to be.

    Simply detach your car key from all other keys. That's it! For some reason, having additional keys attached somehow interferes with ignition.

    This also explains why the damn car would always start for the mechanics--I only left them the single key! (I'd begun to think that the towing process somehow fixed the problem...)

    So, give it a try! I sincerely hope that this trick works for all you Alero owners out there--

    Michael
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    GM has had a TSB out for some time about too much weight on the ignition switch due to a lot of junk hanging on the keyring. It causes the switch contacts to wear abnormally.
  • kck3888kck3888 Posts: 5
    I will try that tonight.
    I am still hesitate to replace the PCM box, even though it is not that hard to replace, but I am not sure if it is the answer.

    Everyone has the same symptom, but different causes.

    GM is more looking like Ford now, Fix Or Repair Daily.
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