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Pontiac Sunfire Starting and Stalling Problems



  • mark49mark49 Posts: 5
    start from fuel tank make sure no object is blocking the fuel pickup.then i would make sure fuel pump holds correct pressure
  • debnbdebnb Posts: 5
    similar to my sons car was turning over could hear the fuel pump but would not start. Our problem turned out to be a corroded wire going to the computer that is located under the right front inner fender. There was an orange wire running to the computer when he disconnected it - it turned out to be corroded he cut the bad piece off put it back together and car turned over first try.
  • thanks! we will be trying that this afternoon, i'll let you know.
  • still not working!

    everything is holding pressure, voltage is correct, have tried resetting the anti theft. turns over, and will not fire. changed the oil sending unit, as well. any other ideas??????? i am LOST.
  • I just changed my fuel tank module and I am going on 3 days of no failure. I pray that continues to work. Have you done that yet?
  • scoop444scoop444 Posts: 2
    I had the exact same problem myself about 2 months ago. I had to replace the fuel pump and everything is OK.
  • I relaced my fuel pump module last week and all has been fine. I also has problems with my headlights adn was able to fix that on my own too. You have to un-wrap the entire from wiring harness, find the breaks and re-tape it. :)
  • kingavykingavy Posts: 2
    I have a 1995 Pontiac Sunfire Gt 2.3L....this car has been a huge problem ever since I bought it except now it got a lot worse. All of the sudden the other day my check engine light comes on with codes for a MAP sensor, O2 sensor, and fuel burning too lean. Right after the light came on, the car started running really rough. The O2 sensor code had already come up before but I had it replaced so it's only a month old. I just replaced the MAP sensor the other day. The car accelerates a little better but still way too sluggish. I'm not sure if it's misfiring but the engine seems to surge and vibrate rough when idling at a stop light. I also had a friend replace the spark plugs and while we were doing it we noticed one of the boots was taped to the cover, one of them was stuck inside the cover, and the other 2 were suctioned to the spark plugs. I'm guessing the guy who owned it last just rigged it so he didn't have to spend a small amount of money on boots or plug wires. Now I get about 5 miles to the gallon and sometimes the engine "surges" so rough that it feels like it wants to take off while i'm sitting at a stop light. A sudden powerful thrust. If anyone can help me i'd appreciate it greatly. Oh yeah, I can also smell gas burning strong.....i don't know if that means its rich or something.
  • dwp325dwp325 Posts: 1
    I am having the same problem and I was wondering on you grand prix did you get any movement from your tempature gauge inside the car? I think this is my problem with my car but I want to make sure cause my gauge doesnt budge or is it more than one problem?
  • mkehayiasmkehayias Posts: 5
    I bought it used three weeks ago. Plugs, wires, oil, filters, serpentine belt, tensioner, and all brake parts at the wheels changed.

    Two days ago the check engine light came on. Yesterday, traveling at 65 mph, the car just quit running. I disconnected the battery leads and shorted them together, the car fired up, travelled 40 feet and died again. No other symptoms, just died. Now the car won't fire up.

    Car has plenty of oil. No overheating. The only other thing wrong is two front tires that are out of balance, they cause the car to vibrate badly above 45 mph.

    Is there a procedure to read OBD codes without a reader? Is there a specific procedure to reset the ECM/ECU? Where is the ECM/ECU located? Anyone had this same problem? Thanks.
  • slackermanslackerman Posts: 43
    I have a 1996 Sunfire with a 2.4L and manual transmission. The same thing happened to me about 10 years ago. A weak battery was all the garage could find. The next day the car started and I bought a new battery. Never had the problem again and I still have the car.
  • mkehayiasmkehayias Posts: 5
    New battery did not help. Plenty of fuel at the plugs (they are wet), no spark...
  • mkehayiasmkehayias Posts: 5
    Finally got my hands on a code reader, here are the three that were stored in order:

    P0141 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction
    P0300 Multiple random misfire
    P0141 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction

    I cleared the codes, cycled the ignition key, no new codes, cranked the engine, no new codes.

    The O2 Sensor is shiney new.

    I also noticed that the Theft Protection light never goes out, is it supposed to and when?

    I don't feel like the codes are helping. Any ideas are appreciated.
  • slackermanslackerman Posts: 43
    Sorry the new battery didn't do the trick. Try My mechanic is a member and my car is still running.
  • mkehayiasmkehayias Posts: 5
    No worries, was going to replace it anyway...
  • andrewocaandrewoca Posts: 1
    I had the same problem for a long time, replaced many things being told it was probably this or that, but in the end, they found it was just a vacuum leak that would only show up in certain conditions because of the way the hose was cracked. Long story short, they fixed the hose for free due to fixing all the other unnecessary crap. Hope it helps.
  • after all the minor problems of the car were fixed we could only get it to stall in drive. it never would stall in reverse. unplugging the tcc solenoid didn't solve the problem. we changed the tcc solenoid and the car runs great. no more stalling,no more shuddering, no more shaking :)
  • 19amy8219amy82 Posts: 7
    It took almost three months and almost $1,000 to figure it out, but thank God my husband and Dad did the work for me, if I had to take this to a professional shop there's no telling what it would have cost us...

    The problem: The car started fine, and would run, but around 2100 - 2500 rpm's it would start to miss- I would say it was like the car was trying to clear its throat. It wouldn't throw a check engine light for over a month, but it finally did- just a generic misfire code. No duh!

    What we tried: New fuel filter, new spark plugs (gapped correctly), New Boots for the plugs- the 2.4 does not have wires, new coil packs, new tower/coil housing- up to this point nothing helped! Alright, what else can we do? Several new sensors (I honestly can't remember them all!) New Ignition Control Module. At this point I was so fed up with throwing money away I decided no more, I would just park the thing and drive my husbands truck. So that's what I did for two weeks, on a whim I decided to drive to my Mom's house, a mile away, to my surprise there was no miss, no throat clearing, it ran perfect! Could my prayers have been answered?!? Well, for a week they were, the car just ran perfectly! Slowly but surely though, it started messing up again, and it progressively got worse... Well, after talking it over with mechanic buddies and motor-head family members we decided that it sounded like I had a fuel pump problem, we needed to bite the bullet and put a new pump on it. ... ... ... After a couple nasty hours my husband came home, grease up to his elbows, tossed the keys on the table and said he was dumbfounded, had no clue what was wrong with the car. The fuel pump didn't fix a thing! Ahhh son of a gun! So much money spent, problem still not solved. I had one more mobile mechanic friend take a look at it, he did a compression check and everything was perfect, but this just wasn't making any sense. He did find that one of my spark plugs on cylinder 4 was white- could I have had a bad spark plug from when we had replaced it? We had got the AC Delco plugs, the real deal that everyone told us that we just had to get, but stranger things have happened. He replaced the plug and it ran great... for a couple hours... the funny thing was we figured out that it did run really great for those two hours, and again it had sit there for three days. So could there be something to it just sitting there and resetting something for it to run better like it did...

    It all started to come together, could the ECM - the engine control module aka "the computer" be bad in this car? I've always heard computers are super expensive, and I didn't even want to think about how much that was going to cost. Well, we took a chance and went to the pull-a-part, found a computer off of a 2000 Chevy Cavalier, a 2.2L and honestly we didn't know if the 2.2 would work with a 2.4, but for $30 I took a chance.

    The deal on the ECM - GM used the computers on several models, 2.2 and 2.4 Sunfires, Cavaliers, and more, so the numbers matched and it would work, but the deal is it has to be reflashed for the specific car, using your vin#. Trying to find someone to flash it was the hard part, but luckily we found that O' Reilly autoparts would do it for $75. It took them all of ten minutes to do it.

    At first when we installed it the car wouldn't even start, so we thought we had a bad computer, that maybe it wouldn't work with my car after all, but luckily we found that you have to reset the anti-theft passcode by doing a long series of key turns to program the new password for the new computer. We did the song and dance and TAH FREAKIN DAH the car has worked perfectly since. It's running better now than it has in years!

    Now, one might question, how does a computer just go bad? Well, I don't have a 100% answer for this, but some info that might just be a coincidence, but who knows... Before this all happened, we installed an after market radio, and for those of you who don't know this, the GM models that are 2000 and newer have somewhat of a brain inside the factory radio- it controls that anti-theft system, your door ajar chime and more. The typical wiring harness for "normal" pre-2000 aftermarket GM is only about $10 at your local wal-mart, but for this 2000-post harness, that also has a box attached to it that is supposed to take care of what the factory radio controls, it's almost $100! Best Buy wouldn't even sell it to me for fear of me suing them if something "went wrong." That might have should have been a red flag right there, but I wanted that aftermarket radio. We got the harness on our own, installed the radio, and it worked fine for a good while, but it started messing up, making a clicking noise when I would switch it from any other setting (tuner, auxilary, etc.) to CD. I even remember shutting the door and the door ajar chime still chiming away for a few minutes there after... For installing the new ECM you have to reference to that red light on the factory radio for resetting that anti-theft pass code. I mean I'm telling y'all this, I think that after market radio - mainly that wiring harness, is the culprit. Maybe I'm nuts, but I never had any trouble out of that car until after it was installed. I will say this, I have the old factory radio in there now, and there she will be, the CD player doesn't work but oh well. I'm not taking a chance, even though I sure do miss that HD radio feature, and MP3 CD's are the best for roadtrips! Who am I kidding a car that runs is the best for roadtrips!!!

    If anyone has any questions please feel free to ask- I know how frustrating this can be, and if I can help one person that would just be wonderful! Good luck to everyone!!!
  • I have a question for you i am hoping that with the computer replacement you did to your sunfire that maybe that is my problem as well the 2 questions i have is once you had the computer reflashed what or how did you find out about the pass code for key turns and also where is the location of the ECU I have a 98 Sunfire and right now it runs hot cooling fan won't come on unless coaxed and also all dash light keep coming on intermittently. I can get the computer for $72 with reflash to my vin # but need to know where to find on car and also to determine the key turning code for theft system email me directly please with ECU in subject line peachstateboi at hotmail dot com thanks in advance
  • 19amy8219amy82 Posts: 7
    Hey I sent you an email to the address. I hope it helps!
  • blufire04blufire04 Posts: 1
    does anyone know if a aftermarket air ride kit for a 95-99 Chevy Cavalier will bolt directly on to a 03-05 Pontiac Sunfire">
  • tvanriktvanrik Posts: 1
    :shades: "but luckily we found that you have to reset the anti-theft passcode by doing a long series of key turns to program the new password for the new computer"

    We've been having the exact same problem with my daughter's car. Replacing item after item. Thanks so much for sharing your solution, we are going to try it next.
    Can you tell me where to get those key turn codes? I have had no luck trying to find them myself. You can email me at thanks!
  • roofdr911roofdr911 Posts: 2
    the TCC solenoid has been a problem on GM vehicles for years. i had a 94 cavalier with the same problem. you should be able to unhook the wire and see if that fixes it. if it does, that was the problem.
  • roofdr911roofdr911 Posts: 2
    that still sounds like the TCC solenoid. mine would stay in gear and jerk violently when i slowed down and when i tried to start it. once i unhooked the wire to the valve, i never had another problem.
  • try looking at the fuel filter then clean your injectors.It could be some other things but check them first
  • tdmsrtdmsr Posts: 1
    my brother has a pontiac with a starting problem after shutting it off. has to leave the ign. key on for 10-15 min. to reset the comp. anti-theft comp. per his mech. is there a way to disarm this system or how can we fix it the battery runs down because the lights stay on while the ign. switch is in the on position, he has to use a wheel chair and walker to get around I realy need your help. Thanks Terry
  • Have a '98 Sunfire Convertible with about 140,000 miles. This car has run great for the last 100,000 miles, with the only problems being door electric window actuator and switches, and similar problems.

    For the last year or so, the car has occasionally hesitated to accelerated, or tried to die at idle, especially after being started warm. Used to be able to cure this, it seemed, by putting in neutral and revving up the engine a bit.

    Lately, this has suddenly become a daily occurrence, and it now occasionally shows the check engine light. Every thing else seem normal. Took it to a shop and it showed only a "rich" code.

    Okay, experts. Anyone got any ideas?
  • i started my sunfire with the alt plug unpluged, shut the car off tried to start it and all it does is turn over. it has spark and gets gas, im wondering if i set off the anti theft system. is there a way to reset the computer or anti theft system?
  • hi
    id check the egr vavle i think. Mabye its stuck open giving u the rich code.
  • Took it to a new shop in town, with high recommendations. The young mechanic had won a national troubleshooting competition. He had the car back out in the parking lot in less than 10 minutes, having replaced a cracked vacuum hose.

    Turns out his dad had won the Plymouth national troubleshooting competition in 1974 also. Guess trouble shooting runs in the family. :)
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