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Oldsmobile Alero Starting-Stalling Problems



  • netski56netski56 Posts: 7
    We ended up taking out the after market security system and also the mechanic noticed the battery cables were a little loose and he tightened them. Knock on wood it has not stalled out since. Not sure which problem it was but those are the two things he did and like I said it seems ok now. Thanks to everyone who responded and the mechanic did say after market security systems can cause alot of problems.
  • rsellarsrsellars Posts: 2
    I have a 3.1 litre 2004 alero. It has been driving just fine until lunch time today, when I tried to leave work. The motor is turning over, it just doesn't start. I got it to run for a brief few seconds, and it was running very rough, and the idle was surging up and down, until it ultimately died, and won't start back up. It acts like it is out of gas, but there is a quarter of a tank, and I am not on an incline of any kind. I checked all plug wires, and have within the last six months replaced all plugs and wires. Any ideas or advise would be greatly appreciated.

    Randall Sellars
  • appellofappellof Posts: 54

    I have had the same experience. After looking at my log book, I found that the fuel pressure regulator failed. When you mentioned engine running rough and surging it brought back memories. Of course Mine failed, as did yours, at work. The way I determined my regulator had failed was, I pulled the vacuum hose off the top of it. Then I turned the key "ON". DO NOT TRY TO START IT. Just turn the key on and watch for any fuel comming out of the top of the regulator where the vacuum hose was. If there is a stream of fuel shooting out, then the regulator has failed and too much fuel is getting to the spark plugs and therefore causing the engine to run rough and surge and quit.

    Just my .02 cents worth.

  • rsellarsrsellars Posts: 2
    I wanted to thank you for your input on my car starting issues. You hit the nail on the head, and the fuel pressure regulator was the problem, and after replacing it, my car runs great. You really did save my butt, because I am on a very tight budget, and I didn't have the money to have it towed, or to go to a shop. I found the part at autozone for about fifty bucks with a one year warranty, and once I had replaced the part and started the car, it ran funny until the air was purged out of the lines, and now it runs like a champ. It was exactly as you said, I took the vacuum line off of the top of the regulator, and gas shot out, and after the replacement, it actually runs better than it did, I had noticed some loss of power, and now that is all in the past. Bless you, and thanks a million!!!

    Greatly Appreciated!!
    Randall Sellars
  • appellofappellof Posts: 54

    I am glad you got your car fixed. I can relate to being on a tight budget.
    I bought my 2000 Alero in August 2009 it had 101,000 miles on it when I bought it. I have had my rounds with it though. I have the Haynes repair manual for it. But my log book is thicker than the Haynes manual. I keep a log book because my memory isn't as good as it was years ago.

    I am glad I was able to help.

  • clbzippoclbzippo Posts: 1
    :sick: i heard if disconnected the battery and you pull the radio out and look in the left corner you will see wires that do not go to the radio open the wire wrap and see if you find a yellow wire /black wire/ and red wire cut the yellow wire . take the black wire and cut the plastic wire covering off of it but don't cut the wires and then take the yellow wire and tie it into the black wire b4 you put everything back together connect your batter and wait 10 min's and then try to start the car the Ignition disable should be disconnected :)
  • jille57jille57 Posts: 3
    I have a 2001 Alero which has been running great. The only issue I have with it, is that over the past year, periodically it will not start. After thinking the problem had been resolved, out of the blue, it did not start again today. It is believed that the security code needs to be reset when this happens as the car thinks it is being stolen. Has anybody else experienced this problem?? If so, how did the problem get resolved, once and for all? Any suggestions would be gratefully accepted!! Thanks so much!
  • jille57jille57 Posts: 3
    I discovered the answer to my own problem!!! The answer is located on page 2-20 of the 2001Owner's Manual!! It is a LIFESAVER!! This problem is related to the PASSLOCK theft-deterrent system, and I quote:

    'During normal operation, the SECURITY light will go off in approximately five seconds after the ignition key is turned to ON and the engine is started.

    If the SECURITY light flashes with the key to ON, wait 10 minutes until the light goes off. Then turn the ignition to OFF before attempting to start the engine'.

    It is that easy! I know this is a very common problem! I tried this first thing this morning and it started immediately!! Hallelujah!! :-)

    I hope this helps... .

    All the best!
  • clbzippo and Jille57,
    The answer is a simple modification which you can do at home. You can follow the instructions at:
    Either method will work. The second solution is for people who cannot solder.

    Dick Berger
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    I suggest you follow one of Dick's tutorials he put links to in his post if your able. Just resetting it won't make the problem go away. Usually it just gets more frequent as time goes on and becomes a nuisance.
  • jille57jille57 Posts: 3
    Thanks very much to you Dick Berger and burdawg for your help! I am getting this taken care of right away! Greatly appreciated!

  • OK I'm back again- When we bought the 2001 alero the horn would go off an keep blowing-we took it to a mechanic that said the aftermarket relay switch was the problem and took one off of a junk alero and it worked fine for the last few months than all of a sudden I get a call from a neighbor after a weekend away that said the horn was blaring and wouldn't go off. Well I guess it finally did by blowing the fuse. Of course now the horn doesn't work w/o the fuse but we don't want to put it back for it to happen again.

    Does anyone out there have an idea of what else would cause this? Thanks
  • The most likely problem is a short in your horn button, but even if the horn button itself isn't the problem, there is probably something in the steering wheel or steering column that is causing your horn to go off unexpectedly. Your Alero should be similar to my '02 Grand Am. You'll find a wiring diagram of the horn circuit at:
    It's a pretty simple circuit. You should be able to find where the horn wiring is shorted to ground.
    The only other possibility is a problem in the Body Control Module. Try cutting the black wire that goes into Connector C1, pin A4 of the Body Control Module (behind the kick panel on the passenger side of the car, just underneath the glove box. two fasteners hold the kick panel in place) If that doesn't solve your problem, you can always splice the wire back together.

    The problem is not likely in the Body Control Module, since it is not active when the ignition is off. (Not likely it would have gone off while you were away on vacation.)
  • jille58jille58 Posts: 1
    My 2001 Alero was worked on by my mechanic to disconnect the Passlock Security system and instead of fixing it, he now cannot get the radio to start, nor can they even start up the car. I was planning to take it on holidays on Monday, but obviously that will no longer be happening. Nobody knows what to do. Please if you have any solutions to this mess, I would really appreciate your input!!?? AAAGGGHHH!!

    Thanks in advance!!


    Jille 57 (58)
  • lovemygrandamlovemygrandam Posts: 330
    edited August 2011
    Sorry for your bad luck.
    The passlock system is the same for all Alero's from 1999-2004. Have your mechanic go the link "2003 Oldsmobile Alero Passlock Repair" on my website at and follow the instructions to the letter.

    If the radio is locked, it's because the mechanic removed it while the battery was connected. This only happens on rare occasions, but to get it working again, you will have to take your car to a Chevrolet Dealer, have them connect the Tech II scan tool to the vehicle, and unlock the radio. This should cost about $25. (more expensive at a Buick or Cadillac Dealer)

    If the radio was working before the mechanic removed it, you should get him to pony up the $25.00 to have it re-activated.

    Dick B
  • burdawg

    I'm experiencing a related problem with my 2004 Alero. It's still starting and it hasn't stalled yet, though sometimes I feel the engine's power cutting off for a fraction of a second. What is happening is loss of power to my automatic headlights, radio, ventilation and power windows. It started about a month or so ago showing up just in my radio and windows, now the wider failure is occurring more frequently. One thing that is interesting - this only happens in the morning when I start up the car, not yet in the afternoon commute. The only variation was when I drove it in the morning to the gas station. It was fine in the one mile trip but failed when I restarted. My headlights and dashboard lights go on when I switch on manual lights but my radio and instruments are still out. So far, if I drive for another mile or two, everything starts working again, except sometimes my power windows. Concurrent to this problem has been a tendency for the cruise control to kick itself off seconds after activating. Then I can't restart it until the next trip. I'm wondering if the electrical problems are related. My biggest worry is that my car may start stalling as some of the others on this forum. Hope you answer me soon, I have a Saturday appt at the local Chevy place. Thanks
  • Trace through the wiring diagram for your car (in the service manual) and see which circuits have an effect on the items you mentioned. Find the common component, and replace it. If you aren't good at tracing electrical circuits, find a mechanic who is. It shouldn't take long to determine the most likely culprit. A good first guess is that the connector between the wiring harness and your ignition switch is loose, corroded, or has some broken wires going to it. You're going to have to dig into your dash to check on that.
    Dick Berger
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    I have to second Dick's recommendation. These electrical intermittents can be very difficult to find. I usually gravitate to the ignition switch first, since it has mechanical contacts that do wear over time. Also, it's been reported that having to much weight on your keyring can cause premature wear of the ignition switch. I had a Ford Taurus once that did the very thing you describe, and when it occured simply pulling over, shutting it off and restarting it would take care of it. Changing out the ignition switch took care of it.
    Your comment that it's fine in the afternoon but a problem in the morning leads me to wonder if it's a mechanical connection problem due to temperature, i.e. a electrical contact that is expanding/contracting due to the ambient temperature (cooler in the morning, warmer as the day goes on). Just a possibility, we see that often in the aerospace world.
  • janeo22janeo22 Posts: 18
    I have created the habit of keeping my key in my middle council. I take the remote everywhere with me, but I only use the one key to start and drive the car. I had the mechanic who replace the ignition components the 2nd time (while still under warranty) give this advice, and the car has not had a repeat issue with this repetitive problem since 70,000 miles. I'm currently at 103,000. This car is still fun, it is just a big baby :>D
  • Concurrent to this problem has been a tendency for the cruise control to kick itself off seconds after activating. Then I can't restart it until the next trip. I'm wondering if the electrical problems are related.

    This could be related to a sticky Park Brake Cable or lever. If the Park Brake Switch (which activates the "Brake" light on the dash) gets even the slightest momentary contact, it will cause cruise control to shut off. The cruise control can also kick itself off if the level of brake fluid in the reservoir is too low, also causing the brake light to blink on intermittently from vibration. Make sure your brake fluid reservoir is full, and check to make sure your brake light goes out with still some free play left in your park-brake lever.
  • I had a similar problem with my 2003 alero. I found that the contacts in the ignition switch were dirty. I removed the switch, which you access it by removing your instrument cluster, then I was abble to disassemble it on the bench and cleaned the contacts. The replacement switch runs about $100 at most autoparts stores, But it was fairly simple to repair it. The problem has not come back after over a year of driving.
  • I have a 2003 Alero, the car runs fine, but shakes real bad when in gear,stopped at idle, especially after the car is warmed up or on a hot day. I have done a basic tune up with plugs, fuel filter and air filter. I have also replaced the tps. Any thought?
  • How many miles on your engine, and which engine is it? Stick or automatic? This would be helpful information.
    Also, when in neutral, what is the engine rpm? (If less than 800rpm, it could be a sticky Idle Air Control.)
    Are there any trouble codes stored in your PCM?

    Dick B
  • Please read blog # 350 by altalberta. After struggling for 18 months going through all thie issues described in all of these blogs. the answer to them all was replace the ignition switch. It has leaf switches at the back of the ignition barrel that burn or wear out over time. These switches have to be making contact to enable all the permissives. Including the security pass. The ignition switch & changeout cost me somewhere in the $275 range. Yours altalberta.
  • All,

    I agree with altalberta about the ignition switch. I have made several posts about replacing or cleaning the ignition switch. It usually wears out first because of the heavy use it gets on a daily basis. Also, I think that maybe Oldsmobile got a lot of bad switches form the manufacturer when they built the alero. Also, it does not take much dirt to get in there and cause the contacts to wear out faster. Especially since thay are waffer switches. I have yet to replace mine. My alero will start only if the temperature is above 50 degrees. On cold mornings, I have to use a hair drier to heat it up before I can start the car.

  • I have a 2003 alero with 107000 miles. When I use the turn signals they suddenly blink irregularly and the car stalls. I'm not sure what to do. Also it has trouble starting at times, especially when it rains.. Believe it or not. Any suggestions?
  • I have a feeling the two problems are not related. I can't help you with the stalling problem, except the usual advise.... check your fuel filter.

    On the subject of the turn signals, you might find this link helpful
    How to Fix Alero Turn Signals

    Dick B
  • Motor will start after ether injection. Then it runs fine. It will start then for a few days, but then returns to not starting without ether. Replaced crank and cam sensors. Replaced and flashed ECM. Fuel pressure is fine. Spark plugs fine. Injectors fine. Wondering if this is a PCM problem, and if so, why?
  • How many miles on this vehicle? I suspect you have low compression. That would be the next thing to check. Does it refuse to start after sitting for an extended period, or does it happen if only sitting overnight? It could be that you lose compression after your lubricant gravitates down into the crankcase.
    That's the only thing I can think of.
    Dick B
  • OK I'm back again- after going since July with no problems the car is stalling out while driving again -it's basically the same thing as before except before it would stall and start back up and keep driving - now it stalls and now we have to wait a few minutes b4 it will restart and when it does it keeps stalling out. It did finally start and stay running thankfully my daughter made it home. Again it's random but does seem to be getting worse.
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