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Pontiac Sunfire Starting and Stalling Problems



  • this problem started after my car got into a front end collision, now that everything is back together the car will not start i have done some research and found out that this a common problem but i have not yet found the solution so i need some help i have done some self diagnostic and found that the injector's power stop after a short while when turning the engine over, that causes the engine to start for about 2 seconds and then stalls and also the radio is inop. the dash reads "ERROR" instead of the mileage i also noticed that the illumination for the dash does not work and the right headlight doesnt have power,,,, now it will run every once in a while after trying so many time, but all the other problems are still there . I have checked all the fuses and relays and spend many hours tracing the problem but no luck yet so if you have any suggestions or ideas they are well appreciated thanks....RUDY :sick:
  • ok the deal is a few weeks ago my car would crank sometimes and not sometimes. (over a yr ago it was the fuel pump) but this time it would turn over fine and all but crank. 3 garages later and still the same, no codes no noth'n. new fuel filter, relays, coil packs, etc... well start'n yesterday it just turns over but doesn't try to crank. i've read yalls problems and solutions and maybe it could be the ignition switch. whatcha think?

    :confuse: :sick:
    "texas gal in distress"
  • About a month ago, I ran out of gas on my way to work. Ever since then, when my tank is below 3/4-1/2 full, I have sporadic rough running and even stalling. It is usually the worst when I first start up. If the car actually stalls and quits, I have to let it sit for 3 to 5 minutes and then it will usually run fine for 10 to 20 minutes. If I keep the tank above 3/4 a tank full, I have no problems. The engine light has come on a couple of times and the error reads "running lean". I have tried some of the suggestions for similar problems posted. I cleaned the throttle plate, I have replaced the fuel filter and checked the tank for gunk or clogged screen. As far as I can tell, everything has looked fine. I haven't had the pump itself checked and am trying to hold off going into the shop. Any suggestions?
  • Sounds like the classic sign of fuel pump failure. More than likely your gas gauge is reading about 1/4 tank or less at the time the problem starts. I say this because the fuel cools the pump in the tank and when the pump is not functioning properly it will over heat more easily than at normal operation and cause it to stop working as a safety feature. This is not a simple fix it will require you to drop the fuel tank to replace the pump. The pump for a good one will run you any where from $300 to $375 and labor will be about $200. The "lean code" is because there isn't enuff fuel getting to each cylinder to read correctly. Had the same problem at about 105,000.
  • 2000 sunfire stalling when pressing gas and letting cluch go at 500rpm need to keep above 2000 to 3000 rpms also works normal when cold after it heats up starts stalling.
  • Update. it was the fuel pump and that made the wiring harness have a bad connection due to the high heat. anyway, $733.56 at the dealer since nobody could find the problem. i'm just glad she's go'n again. ;) :shades:
  • The check engine light came on and the odometer is flashing error. Car is running ok though. Any idea of what can be wrong?

    Steve B
  • My girlfriends car is the same year and has the same problem. We are also in Texas by the way.... anyway I am a decent mechanic and I could not figure it out so took it to one shop I trust. They could not figure it out..... took it to another shop.... they could not figure it out..... recently I took it to another shop that I have found in Plano that is quite good and trustworthy. They figured it out. The throttle body was leaking like a sieve. Apparently the previous shops just manually looked for loose hoses etc while trying to find a vacuum leak as opposed to putting their smoke machine on the thing like they should. Where the smoke comes out you have your leak. This is a pretty basic thing that the other shops should have been doing but clearly did not. So we are replacing with a used throttle body that I am ordering at this time. The new one is around $450. Sod that. The car itself is lucky if it is worth 3k so no point in spending too much money.

    Anyway, if you did not get your stalling issue fixed yet have them smoke the throttle body and you may find your problem.

  • I bought a 1996 pontiac sunfire last year, the previous owner said he had replaced the motor mounts, water pump, and brakes. It ran great except for it getting hot when at idle for long periods of time, a few months later had to replace the radiator due to a major crack. Before that had to get a new rotor and all the brakes replaced. Now today when i started the car the battery light was on, went to the gas station filled the car up and got back on the road no problem other then the battery light and now brake light was on, took the highway home and the longer i drove the more the power in the car went, first the radio sputtered in and out then finally just quit, then the dash lights and head lights got dimmer til they were out but the car was still running, didn't stop at all til i pulled in my parking lot and the car died right as i put it in park. The dome light would still work just a little dimmer then usual so the battery cant be all the way dead. Anyone have any ideas? reading on here i think it's the alternator and am going to get it checked in the morning, any other ideas? any help will be greatly appreciated!!
  • Had similar problem with my 2001 pontiac grand prix. Dealership changed crank shaft sensor but it didn't solve problem. Check when vehicle stalls if vehicle blows black smoke out of exhaust pipes. Car stalls when trying to accelerate, especially at a red light. P0118 engine coolant temperature sensor high input. I changed the Engine coolant temperature sensor , located under the large hose that connects from the radiator to the engine on the right side. It's at a slight angle under the radiator hose connecting to the engine block. Very hard to get to. Problem solved. Cost $15 bucks at autozone. I have been having this problem for over a year. I hope this information helps.
  • I have a 96 pontiac sunfire, 2.2 L engine with 110,000 miles. It will start up perfectly fine from a cold state, but doesn't like to start when the engine is warm.

    When I try to start the engine while warm, it will turn over normally but it won't fire. When the car does eventually fire, the engine will catch, shudder and chug as if it is not getting enough gas. Then the car will jerk and stall out.

    If I press the gas pedal when the engine fires, I can push through the chugging, stuttering stage and the engine will stay running but the idle will be very rough.

    If I let the car sit for couple hours after it was warmed up, (so the engine is cool again) it will start up normally.

    I have had new plugs and wires installed.
    Fuel pump tested o.k.
    Fuel Filter replaced.
    Crank shaft sensor replaced.
    I had the entire fuel system and spark plugs thouroughly cleaned.

    I have invested over $1000 in the car and it still has this problem. Does anyone know what is going on? I would really appreciate any input as I am really not in a situation where I can afford to buy a new car.

    Thanks so much!

  • I have a 96 Sunfire 2.2L, same symptoms after my wife ran out of gas. I tried replacing the map sensor, fuel filter, 02 sensor, none of which worked. So I read online that the PCM chips are known to have water leaks that can toast it. I pulled it out, and it looked just fine. Rubber seal looked ok, no water damage. Even pulled out the chip itself from the PCM case and it seemed ok. Put it back together and it started running just fine. Took a little time for the PCM to readjust the settings, but has been purring like a kitten ever since. My guess is that some of the logic in the chip goes wonky when you run out of gas. By pulling it out and putting it back in I think it essentially did a system reboot. Not sure if disconnecting the battery is enough to clear the chip or not, but you might try that first. The one thing I will say is make sure you're properly grounded when touching the chip because it's static sensitive. But see if this fixes it, as it won't cost you anything but a little time if you do it yourself.
  • I have two problems that I need help with, one is do they make an AC bypass pulley for the 2.4 engine, my AC clutch is grinding, but I don't use my AC and think it would be easier to install a bypass than to replace the clutch.

    My second problem is intermittent, when I am driving a highway speeds, in any conditions, with or without cruise control, the engine rpms will drop to around 1500rpm. It is for less than a second, then it returns to normal. It happens about once a month, and fuel tank level does not affect it. Any ideas what would cause this? I have replaced the fuel filter, and plugs. :confuse:
  • Trouble warm starts are usually the fuel pressure regulator. Especially if the fuel pump has been ruled out. Usually I'll rule out the pressure regulator before looking at the pump.

    About $50 at any auto parts store. Located on the fuel rail right on top of the engine. Consult your Chilton's; easy fix.
  • " would be easier to install a bypass than to replace the clutch."

    Cheaper but probably not easier. Pulling an a/c compressor and it's related components is never easy. I guess that's a matter of opinion though. Also consider that other than a bypass pulley not being made for the 2.4L, it would only be about $40-50 cheaper than a clutch.

    "...the engine rpms will drop to around 1500rpm."

    Does the vehicle physically slow with the RPM drop or does the automatic trans upshift causing the drop? What RPM are you running before the drop? Is the trans sticking in third while occasionally wandering into overdrive?

    Just a guess without driving it; I'd say 3-4 shift servo. Sounds like it needs to go to a trans shop. I'm more familiar with the 4L60E in GM light trucks than these little guys, but if GM does anything consistently that overdrive servo has gone bad.
  • debnbdebnb Posts: 5
    I need some help.
    My son has a 2001 Pontiac Sunfire. The car worked great up until about a month ago. He started having problems where the car would start to lose power and stall when he was going slow or at a stop light. I am in Canada and we thought that maby his gas was freezing up so we put some methalhydrate in his gas tank. It helped for about a week then it started doing the same thing again.
    We decided to change that battery as the car got so when it did not start he would require a boost. That helped for about another week.
    Now even with the new battery and a boost we can not get his car running at all. The odd time with a boost my husband can get it started but it will not keep going then it just will not start again with a boost.
    He borrowed a error code reading machine from a friend but the car is not putting out any codes. He has tested the battery conections. Does anyone have a solution for our problem it is getting annoying. My husband is mechanicaly inclined but everything he checks appears fine. Does anyone have any suggestions please.
    Thanks Debbie
  • Don't let me get started with my sunfire. I have a 96 sunfire 2.2 engine I replaced the alternator 5 times since I bought it in 2001. Mine did the same thing every time (lights dimming, all lights coming on.) I asked my Mechanic why and he said these cars are known to go through alternators. Also These cars and the Cavaliers, BonnieVille, grand am, and the grand prix are all known to have problems with the blower motor resistors going out. I have a sunfire, brother has a cavalier, two friends with cavalier, and one friend with a grand prix. All of us had same problem. The heat started going out one setting at a time. Till finally #4 went out and the heat/ac would not come on. If it ever happens to you, you can repair it yourself. you need a 5/8 or 5/5 socket and a ratchet and ext. a swivel would be better. Drop the blower motor out and right behind it you will find the resistor, remove the two bolts and pop new one in. I'm sick of mine, in the last month I put new ball joint driver side, new brakes & rotors in front, new caliper passenger, new trans mount, cv boot, rear struts, now I need new motor mounts, omg what else.
  • debnbdebnb Posts: 5
    Thank You my husband figured out what the problem was cost was about a couple bucks and couple hours of his time. car now works great
  • darcindarcin Posts: 3
    I too live in Canada and yes it is cold.
    My car has been great since I've owned it up until the beginning of December.
    It revs high while I'm stopped and gives the car a jerk, then everytime I take my foot
    off the gas it stalls.Took it in 3 times to get it looked at and the mech. can't find anything wrong with it. PLEASE HELP
    I feel like I'm driving Christine
  • darcindarcin Posts: 3
    WHAT DID YOU DO??????
  • 19amy8219amy82 Posts: 7
    So, I guess I am a part of this club :( Anyway, my car has 160,000 miles on it, had been running just fine, but over the past few weeks it has started missing/stalling while I drive, I haven't had any trouble starting it and it's not completely shut-down on me... yet. No check engine lights coming on. The fuel filter has been replaced, the spark plugs have been replaced, and I've ran Sea Foam through the thing, all to no avail, I've got it in a shop and guess what? You guessed right, they're not coming up with anything yet. At first they thought it was the ignition tower, after fooling around with that it didn't make it any better. I'm getting ready to pull my hair out :cry: , and I hate that feeling you know, so I beg of you, do any of y'all have any suggestions? I truly appreciate it! :)
  • This may be a solution. I have a 1996 Sunfire, 2.4L, manual transmission. Although it never stalled it would buck and hesitate when trying to accelerate. Turns out the ignition coil went bad. The spark plug could be seen arcing with the cover off. The brand new replacement was bad, as was the brand new replacement after that. The one from the salvage yard is working fine and the only problem with acceleration is the manual transmission with 133,700 miles on it.
  • mark49mark49 Posts: 5
    When you had the spark plugs replaced, did you do them yourself? If you replaced them yourself, did you gap them? These cars use platinum spark plugs , which are usually about $6.25 each. They are supposed to be gapped already but don't rely on that. I bought a set that wasn't gapped. Get a gapper, usually about $1.00. take each spark plug out one at a time and REMOVE ONLY 1 WIRE AT A TIME. if they are gapped to big slighty tap the plug, hook side down on a hard , clean surface. Then run it through the gapper till it's where it needs to be. (repeat tapping if you have to)

    If i'm not mistaken the gap should be 0.85 but don't quote me on that. Check each plug Check under the hood for the gap settings for the spark plug. If you cannot find it call autozone, murray's , pep boys or your local mechanic and ask for the gap settings for 2000 pontiac sunfire 2.4 engine.

    If you replaced the wires, did you replace them one at a time, starting with the longest? Always start with longest to shortest and one at a time. Did you strip the hole the spark plug goes into. If you did, you will have to take it to a mechanic and have that hole rethreaded. I stripped mine and my car did the same thing hard to accelrate up hill I had to smash the pedal to the floor.

    I got curious and checked the plugs , come to find out, I stripped the hole. Sounds to me like it is missing because of either the wires or the plugs. If you replaced the wires yourself(no mechanic involved) you should double check them and make sure you have them from longest to shortest comming from the spark plug hole to the coil. If they are off even one wire, that can cause missfiring and hesistation. If the spark plugs aren't gapped right or even if one is off, it can cause your symptoms too.

    Is your airfilter hose attached tightly? Check to make sure that is clamped down to the airfilter housing next to the battery(on my 1996 sunfire it's next to battery). I hope some of this helps sorry so in-dept but I like to help if I can.
  • debnbdebnb Posts: 5
    Good Morning

    After my husband spent about 2 weeks chasing the problem it turned out to be a wire. Apparently because the computer is located up under the front right inner fender it is a common problem in this car where if you hit say a snow bank or whatever it damages the inner fender and can leave the computer exposed to the weather and in turn causes corusin to the wires
    So when he removed the inner fender to get to the computer he tested the wires and on our sons car it turned out that there was a orange wire running to the computer that was corroded he simply cut a piece of the wire put it back together and the car has worked great since.
    How his problem started was at first it would not idle - then it would stall - and was real slugglish. Most of the lights on the dash would come on - then eventually it would not go at all.
  • 19amy8219amy82 Posts: 7
    Thank you both so much for your help! I am going to the mechanic with this and I'll keep the board posted on what I find out. Luckily for me the mechanic is getting pissed off at the problem and won't stop until he figures out what is wrong with it! He's also very reasonable, so I hoping this won't cost too much!

    Thanks again y'all! :)
  • darcindarcin Posts: 3
    Before the car would stall did it rev high while stopped or in park?
    I can drive the car for a few blocks then when I'm stopped(usually) it will rev high.
    As I try to get my car back home everytime I slow down to turn a corner or coming to a light it will stall.And I have to have the car in netural or it will just keep stalling the minute I take my foot off the brake to put it into drive.
    My fuel pressure is fine.My throttle is not sticking.I had the map sensor changed.
    Mech. said he checked for leaks in the hoses. I dont know what else to do I cant drive the car anymore. :cry:
  • debnbdebnb Posts: 5
    Yes it would quit often rev high before it would stall. Get your mechanic to check the wires going to the computer sounds like the same problem my son had. Sounds like one could be corroded Its worth a shot that is all that was wrong with my sons car. His car has been running fine. Hopefully it is that easy for you
  • I have a 2000 Sunfire Gt, with about 200,000 km on it. It will stall while I am driving.. First two times it happened it started right away. Third time, wouldn't start ($50 tow bill) Fourth time ($50) Fifth time ($50) (should of got CAA by this point) I have spent almost $1000 in coil pack, the whole housing over the coils, new spark plugs, new alternator, new battery, new fuel pump, tune-up..etc.. Still cannot figure out whats wrong with it..The dome lamp keeps coming on (the one you have to push to turn on) just the one though, and it seems at time I get less power and its not very responsive when I accelerate or when it shifts gears it seems to be shifting at longer intervals..Help me, I hate this god damn car but I need to get to my job I also hate... :lemon:
  • I have a 2002 Sunfire. Out of the blue it will not start. It will turn over but not start. Sometimes I unhook the negative battery cable to re-set something and sometimes that works, sometimes it does'nt work right away. It will sit for a while then start. I don't know!!! I do not hear the fuel pump when I have this issue. Is it the ignition swith, a relay, a module???? Anyone have input on this one??
  • 2 weeks ago my husband replaced the fuel pump for the FOURTH time in this car. it ran fine, and now it won't start. he is at a loss as to what it can be. the car is turning over, just won't start, you can hear the fuel pump coming on. it is working. he is wondering if there is something electrical going on, or if it could be the oil sending unit. i really don't know that much about cars, so i may not be explaining this too well, but i am desperate to get this car running again, even if it is to just get something out of it on trade in. he has changed the fuel filter also. please, any thoughts? if you need more info on the problem, i'll have him post back to answer you. thanks so much :sick: .
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