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Pontiac Sunfire Starting and Stalling Problems



  • buskebuske Posts: 5
    I have this problem on 3 different brands of GM front drive cars now. Each had the same problem of dying and not restarting or just not starting. On the bellhousing bolt there are wires attached. cut the wires and reattach them to the bolt with new ends. 3 cars and 3 wins. Also cured start but not run condition. No codes were presnt when this happened. The wires appear good but truly are not. Try it. Cheap fix if it works!
    Let me know!
  • buskebuske Posts: 5
    I just posted an answer that might help
  • Well ty i will pass that info on to hubby....The car just spend a week and a half at a dealership and since they couldnt get the car to NOT start to run diagnostics they finally just had me come pick it up, so im sure tomorrow it wont start again :(
  • I have the same problem and have narrowed it down to low spark on one bank of the plugs, but I haven't been able to figure out why I have low spark?? Just wondering if you had this problem too.

  • I have a '96 Pontiac Sunfire 2.2 and it is having severe stalling problems. It stops running while downshifting, while going 50 mph, and while idling. We've changed the fuel filter, oil, oil filter, spark plugs and wires, we've checked the TPS...and no result. Does any one have any suggestions?? Thank you.
  • ok heres what weve changed so far...Fuel filter, fuel pump, battery and ignition control module. That didnt work so we took it to the dealership but before that my husband unplugged and replugged in the wiring that goes to the fuel pump or whatever i think its called the wiring harness. the dealership had the car nearly 2 weeks and could NOT get the problem of not starting to happen. Weve had the car back almost 2 weeks not and have not had any problems with it so maybe a loose connection? Try that if your having the same problem and see if it works for you also ! Good luck :)
  • I really need some help if anyone could help I would really appreciate it. This is the 4th time I had my car in and have paid close to $1000 and it is still not fixed! Here is what is happening:

    I brought it in because it was shaking and felt like it was pulling until I get to 2 rpm then it feels like it kicks in and goes. If I go to a stop light it sometimes shakes really bad and if I do not put it in park or neutral it will die on me. After I take it into the shop and reset the check engine light it will work for a little while like a quarter of a tank but then it happens again and I have to bring it in.

    I have replaced the ignition coil twice. Had new spark plugs and spark wires put in. I got a new O2 sensor. PLEASE HELP!
  • I had almost the same problem when the gas was at 1/4 of a tank it would skip and jump and finally just go dead the problem was the fuel pump $514.00 installed.The check engine light came on twice and once it said o2 sensor the other time said fuel to lean.But the problem only happened when the fuel was at 1/4 of a tank the reason being the fuel cools the fuel pump so when its low it over heated due to other problem with the pump.But i've had it on for 3 weeks now and no problems(knock on wood).
  • It sometimes happens when I am at a 1/2 of a tank... do you think it still might be that? I was also wondering if I keep replacing my igniotion coils, what might be ruining them??

    P.S. Thanks so much for the response I really appreciate it... I was kinda getting to the point of no where else to turn to find the answer until I saw this!
  • buskebuske Posts: 5
    spark low on just one side is a coil pac being weak. Buy a used one or switch them around to check.
  • buskebuske Posts: 5
    I just repleced the injector "o" rings and put a fuel pressure regulator on. My car now idles at 800 and runs a whole lot better. I did this because of a gas smell inside the car. Gas smell gone too!
  • i have a 96 sunfire annnd idk if youve found the problem or not yet buuut mine was idling real rough and it got worse to the point where the car would shut off and it was caused by the egr valve it went out idk if thats of any help to yah but hope yah figure it out
  • welll ive been having issues with my car starting when its cold and i have a diganostic scan done and they said my plug wires were bad soo im guessin that could be the problem...on a 96 sunfire he said it would be really hard to get them replaced bc the coils behind the motor............any info or input on this?
  • ok, i havent tried everything, but i need help. my brothers car ran great until just recently. the car cranks but it seems like its not getting spark. so i changed the spark plugs, still nothing. took the battery in, had it tested, tested good. had a buddy of mine tell me to take the fuel line off the intake manifold and check to see if fuel came out when the key was turned to accesories. it does. so its not the fuel pump. this happened after he got the oil changed, but it ran fine for a couple of days... and then nothing. im lost because after multiple attempts to start the car it will start and run fine, but as soon as you shut it off.... nothing happens. its not the fuel injectors either they were just replaced about 4 months ago and it ran perfectly fine after that. please any help would be appreciated. it is a 2.2l automatic sunfire
  • I'm going through this right now. I'll bet you've got a '99 with about 94000 miles. My guess is the starter or starter solenoid wants some attention. A buddy of mine suggested removing the starter assembly from the engine. Once you've got it on your bench, remove the solenoid from the starter (it's the small can if you didn't know). He says the large terminal on the solenoid can be removed. The other end of this terminal, inside the solenoid is square and, over time, can be eaten away by the electrical charge a little more each time you start the car. Rotate the terminal 180 degrees and reinstall it into the solenoid. Reinstall the solenoid, then the starter and, according to my buddy, you'll be starting like a champ for another 100000 miles. I will be doing this when I leave work. Good luck to you, let me know if it works.
  • I have a 2002 Sunfire and for a while my tacometer was going crazy while at idle or going slow, which resulted in a stalling problem. I got this problem fixed, then within a month my car began to stall again while going slow in traffic and coming to a stop. Now, along with going slow it is stalling going into turns ( left or right), I have only seen my oil and engiene light coming on when this occurs and my power steering goes as well. My cars starts right back up when this occurs. It is random and happens for days in a row or doesn't occur for days then happens. I have taken my car to the dealer and of course it doens't occur for them so no codes show on their computer. I have had my fuel filter changed and the injection line cleaned out, my battery is less then 1 1/2 years. Any suggestions????
  • opa paya, do you have an automatic or standard transmission?
  • It is an automatic
  • i still need help ppl
  • I have not forgotten you. I am stumped by this problem. I've got a couple of possibilities, but I'm going to chat with a couple of my buds about it to see what they think. What displacement do you have 2.2L or 2.4L?
  • Have you checked your spark plugs? Disconnect your battery then remove the plugs, noting the appearance of the electrodes. My guess is you'll see at least one, probably 2 pretty nasty ones (black or broken or both!). Let me know what you find and we'll go from there.
  • It is a 2.2L ..

    Tell me about being stumped ! The mechanics at the dealership said " It's a mystery to us " and I have taken it there twice about this stalling issue. I know it's so hard to diagnosis since the stalling is so random. Like I said it happens when I am going slow or going into turns, it has only happened going less than 15 -20 mph. It has only happened once per day when it does occur. On one occassion it happened twice within less than a minute a part. I get no indication that it is going to happen. I just feel my wheel get tight, then I look down and see the engiene and oil light on, put it into neutral, and turn the ignition again. It always starts right back up luckily.
    I am keeping a log of when it occurs and what was going on at the time it happened. I am now keeping an eye to see if there is a relation to how much gas I have in my tank ( like if it's only occuring when it is below 1/2 tank Vs. a full tank) I have tried a to switch to 93 octance Vs. 87 and I see no difference, so I went back to the cheaper gas, since it is costly.

    If you need any more information ,, please ask. Thanks for taking the time to think about my prblem, it's greatly appreciated !
  • Ok. I mentioned this to one of my coworkers. The first thing he said was to run a bottle of Castle brand fuel injector cleaner through a full tank of gas. I know you said you had the fuel injector rail cleaned, but I would still try this. Even if the line is cleared, the injectors themselves can be clogged, or there could be another clog or deposit ahed of the injectors. I would also not trust that a shop who gives up on a problem like this. Let me know!
  • OK thanks so much for the advice,, I will try it out this weekend and let you know how it goes in a week or so. Thanks again !!
  • This is clearly a hydraulic issue. Whenever braking or turning, your car is using some of the engine's power to apply hydraulic pressure to either the brakes or steering, respectively. This is how power steering and brakes works - the engine provides the energy to turn or stop the car instead of you. The engine is dying because the energy needed for these movements has become more than it has available at idle. It is just like popping the clutch on a standard - too much pressure on the engine makes it quit. This could be something very simple, such as a hydraulic line being clogged, or it could mean that your engine has lost some compression and can't put out the power that it used to. Start on the cheap end and see if that works first - try replacing the hydraulic lines first, or the hydraulic system components. If the engine is losing compression, its time to get a new car.
  • I could really use some help. My poor Sunfire is doing some really weird things lately.

    About a month ago, I was trying to find a parking spot when my car dropped below 500rpm, then stalled, with only the oil and battery lights coming on. I was able to start the car up again with no problems. The weather had recently become cold, so I put some gas line anti-freeze in my tank, and for a while, the problem went away.

    About a week after that, while I was driving, my car would not drop below 2000rpm. Even as I applied the brake, the car would not drop below 2000rpm, when it finally did, it then dropped below 500rpm, stalled out, and the oil and battery light came on. I started the car up again, and it ran fine, no problems. I used an OBDII reader to see what, if any, codes came up, but there was no problem codes.

    Two days ago, my city was hit by a cold snap that brought the temperature below -36 degrees Celsius, and my car did the same thing again. I put gas line anti-freeze in the tank again, and that seemed to help until today. On the way home from work, my car did the same thing, first it would not drop below 2000rpm, when it did, it would drop below 500rpm, stall, and the oil and battery light came on. This time I put some fuel injector cleaner in my tank.

    Now my car idles at 500rpm, and my instrument panel lights and heater seem to loose a small amount of power at 500rpm. Sometimes my car will jump up to 1000rpm by itself, then slowly go back to 500rpm, but now it doesn't stall.

    My car, up until that first problem, has never idled below 1000rpm. I have no idea what's going on, but I could really use some help.

  • Can go wrong with a car. Especially these cars.

    Sometimes a "short" or "grounded out" wire is not actually the problem, when it could seem like it's obviously it. a poorly grounded negative can be just as bad, if not worse causing harm to alternators, batteries, ignitions, computers, basically everything. Here's what you can do.

    If you have any experience with electrical, and a voltage meter, then this could be easy. If you don't, then I'll try to explain it to you so you can explain it to someone else so they can say "wow that's easy."

    Since you have a new alternator and a new battery, this should help you find out EXACTLY what's wrong with it and you can save a LOT of money with costly "let's see if this works" type repairs.

    First off, take the voltometer, (not a test light, those are pointless at this point) and test the voltage of the battery with the engine off, between the two terminals. If it's above 11, you're fine. Wait an hour, then check the voltage again, if it has gone down say... more than half a volt, you've got a short circuit. if it hasn't changed more than a few hundreths of a volt, then so far so good.

    Start the vehicle, and leave it running for the duration of these tests.

    2. Test the voltage between the two battery terminals. If it's more than 13.8, you're ok, 14 and up is preferred. lower than 12 indicates a dead alternator, dead/dying battery, or a big electrical problem if those have been replaced already. If this is the case, bring your car to a parts store, most of them like Advance Auto and such will test these for free. If the voltage difference is below 13.5 it means you could have a bad ground or charging wire somewhere so we move on to step 3.

    (Keep engine running)
    3. Now comes the fun part, test between the alternator's positive terminal, the one separate red wire coming off of the alternator housing, and the positive terminal on the battery. If there's a difference of more than .1 volts there's a problem with that wire. It's the one that charges the battery, and a common culprit.

    4. Test between the frame (any unpainted bolt on the frame will do for this) and the negative battery terminal. Once again, a .1 volt difference is bad. This means that the negative battery terminal is not properly grounded to the frame.
    After that, test between the negative battery terminal and the engine block to test that wire. Just make sure it's an unpainted surface when testing.
    Lastly for the ground wires, test between the alternator housing and negative battery terminal. You're basically looking for a sharp increase in the voltage difference to indicate that the electricity isn't flowing between any of the grounded parts, the negative terminal, frame, engine, and alternator housing.

    I replaced my battery, and my alternator, and the garages said "everything seems fine" but THIS was how I found out that I had a bad ground wire which gave me an increase in everything electrical after I fixed it, and solved the problems.

    If it's not the wires, and you're getting 14+ volts between battery terminals, with less than the indicated differences in voltage, then the problem is not with your charging system, the electricity isn't getting to the spark plugs correctly. Ignition Coils on these go fairly quickly, but if you haven't replaced the spark plugs and wires yet, I'd go with that first, then get the ignition coil looked at if the problem persists.

    Hope this helped, I had 2 dealerships and a garage tell me "generic electrical problems" and one gave me a huge estimate, but I fixed the problem myself with a 7 dollar cable from a parts store. Turns out that the negative battery terminal is attached to the engine at the bottom of the engine, which rusts, corrodes, and a bunch of other bad stuff that makes it fail, causing problems with spark plugs, ignition coils, fuel injectors, computers (rarely), alternators, starters and batteries. If you're not having the same problem I did, then at least you know what it's not without having to "replace first, figure out problem later."
  • it could be the coil opack i fixed that on my car she ran like new
  • Viperquick,,,,,
    So,,, I got a bottle of the fuel injector cleaner, put it into my almost empty tank, and filled up with gas on 1/26 . My car stalled 3 times with that tank of gas ( which I went through abnomally quickly, I figured that was because of adding the bottle of injector cleaner). Once I was almost empty a week later on 2/3 ,, I filled up again. NO STALLING with this tank of gas ... My last fill up was on 2/9 and it seems to be running very good. I haven't noticed anything so far and I am keeping my fingers crossed.
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