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Oldsmobile Alero Starting-Stalling Problems



  • After I posted my last comment I had a thought, after my car was towed it worked and same for some others posting issues. When they tow the car they put the key on ACC. So I did that for about 20-30 minutes (does not turn on the lights so no worries about battery running down). I took out the key and put it back in and it worked!

    I would really like to know why this is happening in the first place. Especially after I had mine replaced once already.

    I agree, it has only happened to me in colder weather as well. Last week it was really cold single digits, but yesterday when it happened it was about 60 during the day and when the car would not start it was in the low 40's. The security light did flash last week though for one trip last week when it was really cold somewhere int he teens. Maybe, it has something to do with extreme cold / warm variations.
  • We have a 2001 Alero we bought used in 2003. We've noticed over the years that after a heavy rain, we get all kinds of "ghost" warning lights, Security, Trac Off, etc. Seems to disappear a few days later, after everything has dried out. In October 2006, we had a problem of turning the key and nothing would happen. Had it towed to a local GM dealership service dept., "Mr. Goodwrench" found Passlock problem and replaced ignition cylinder/Passlock sensor to the tune of $263.85. In October 2007, we had a problem of turning the key, engine would turn over but would sputter and not catch and start. Had it towed to independent automotive repair shop and left it overnight. Next morning, Alero cranked and started. Mechanic checked it out and couldn't find anything wrong. In late December 2007, same thing happened, only next day it still wouldn't start. Had towed to same local GM dealership service dept. again. "Mr. Goodwrench" diagnosed to Passlock problem and replaced ignition cylinder/Passlock sensor AGAIN, but said it also wasn't getting fuel to injectors. Diagnosed to "inop" fuel pump, replaced pump. Total bill this time (1/9/08): $875.82. We're wondering why "Mr. Goodwrench" can't seem to get a handle on these kinds of problems. Aren't they the "experts" for these automobiles?
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,521
    When you were experiencing these suspected Passlock no start problems, was the security light in the cluster coming on and flashing? Also, did you notice the security light ever coming on while driving? If not then I would suspect the weak fuel pump was the culprit all along. Passlock, even though not the most reliable security system, gets a lot of blame for things it doesn't have anything to do with.

    The problems after the wet conditions is usually caused by moisture getting into the connector for the PCM and the resultant corrosion. There's TSB's out for both the Alero and Grand Am for this but don't ask me the #'s now, it's been to long.
  • jprocjproc Posts: 133
    We have an 03 which we bought in feb 2006 and 3 times now it has had this problem.We've replaced ignition switches,some sort of cylinder,had the valves cleaned.Its very frustrating.Its been running now for about a month butI think these cars are fundamentally flawed.I'm using it to drive to work (10 miles each way). We will not drive this car farther than that.At least within 10 miles if it breaks down we can call a cab and get a ride home.
    Its got 32kmiles on it.When we have to drive a dependable car we drive our 2000 Sienna with 110k miles on it.
    GM wonders why it is losing the market to toyota?
  • Interesting, my 03 alero only has 32,000 miles and I drive 7 miles to work. Maybe these are subject to go bad if you do a lot of short trips and low miles? I have also seen that it happens in the winter months as well with other posts.
  • hi all,

    this just happened to me last night. i have an 02 alero w/ about 230,000km. i drive long distance everyday with no real problems. a couple weeks ago my car wouldn't start in the cold so i replaced the battery and it's been fine since. now last night i drove to the corner store no more than 2 min away and on the way home all of a sudden the car wouldn't accelerate and was kind of chugging along. finally it completely died in front of my house and would start up but then shut right off. just went out this morning and it wouldn't even turn over. trying the 15min on Acc and seeing if that works, otherwise it looks like i'll be at the mercy of the dealership.
  • jprocjproc Posts: 133
    My car was also dying as I was driving it.They think it is the ignition switch and so they replaced it.Been about a month now and the car hasn't broken down in 400 miles or so so I feel fortunate.
  • Towed 2001 Alero six times after I bought it in June. First three time it didn't start, as soon as it was off the tow truck it started. Finally decided change the ignition. Worked fine for 3 months. Now I have the same problem again. Although this time after I got it off the tow truck it didn't start until the next morning. Go figure. No one can give me an answer. Any suggestions.
  • I have a 2001 oldsmobile intrigue that needs the passenger side air bag panel removed because its broke/warped and wont pass safety inspection so i can replace it. How do i disable the air bag with out killing my self taking the air bag panel off???
  • 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: 1,521
    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!
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