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Oldsmobile Alero Maintenance and Repair

I keep finding a small puddle of coolant sitting on a lip about 1/3 of the way down the engine. About 4 months ago it kept overheating so I changed the thermostat, fixed. But it still leaked coolant slowly. Now the car is overheating again and the heat doesn't work most of the time. It also is going through a crazy amount of anti-freeze, and it is blowing out the overflow hose on the reservoir. About to take it to a dealer or mechanic, I don't have a garage and it is -4 outside. Can anyone help??


  • I have a 2000 Alero and whenever i drive it it turns off, but it'll turn on again, but i have to wait for like 2-5 mins. so it can start it up. what is wrong with it?
  • My 2000 Alero did the same thing. Dealer replaced electronic fuel pump, no more occurences (yet).
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    If it's a V6 then it's a real possibility the intake manifold is leaking. It's a problem that has been discussed many times here and in the Grand Am forum.
  • Taking my 01 v-6 Alero in to get fixed any idea on how much it should cost? Leaking Intake Manifold.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    If that's what it is, if I remember right, expect $600-$700.
  • Head gaskets, $1,000 to $1,500.
  • robwhitrobwhit Posts: 13
    My daughter's 2002 Alero 4 cyl stalls maybe twice a week, especially in cold weather,when engine is warm and idling- NO check engine light comes on. Mechanic confused- one reply said changed fuel pump to solve problem-would yellow light not go on if fuel pump failed? Any other ideas what problem may be? Mechanic wants to start replacing some other expensive electronic parts. Car has new fuel filter. Runs GREAT otherwise.
  • I'm so glad that I found this website. For the past two weeks my 2003 Alero has been doing the same thing. The dealer has made me feel like I'm making this up because they weren't able to recreate what happens when the car is in my possession. I've paid for a new battery and several diagnostics that turned up nothing. No engine or service light has come on. I will be printing this suggestion off and telling the dealer since my car is currently not working. Thanks again!
  • robwhitrobwhit Posts: 13
    Further to my daughter's alero problem-It has been suggested to me that many times the key assembly loses the signal (anti theft)and will shut the car off-local dealer sells a lot of these ignition assemblies and my dtr had A LOT of extra heavy keys etc on her key chain which can damage it due to the extra weight. She now only has the one key on the chain and so far car hs run fine-We are crossing our fingers-Do you have a lot on your key chain and is yours a 2.2 engine? Our dealer says not many fuel pump assemblies are sold-they are very costly!!
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Is the security light coming on while driving? The passlock system is not supposed to shut the car down if it detects a security fault while it's running, but the light will come on.
    Having a failing fuel pump shouldn't in itself cause the check engine light to come on.
  • robwhitrobwhit Posts: 13
    No there are NO lights coming on the dash-Interestingly it only stalls when idling.
    someone else suggested that if fuel pump failed the engine yellow light would likely NOT come on. The price of a fuel pump assembly is unreal for this car!! So far the car has been OK with only the ignition key on her keychain but the stalling tended to happen when it was cold outside even after engine was at running temp.
    Thanks for your interest in trying to solve this wierd problem. If a dealer started playing with the car it would soon be over a $1000 and still maybe not fixed.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Have you tried wiggling the ignition switch while it's idling to see if you could replicate the problem?
  • robwhitrobwhit Posts: 13
    Yes but it did not cause it to stall. With the nicer weather the problem seems to have gone away till next winter.
  • mickey20mickey20 Posts: 1
    i took my car back to the dealer in october to get mines fixed. I paid 800.00 dollars. Now the same things has happen again this time they say i need a new motor, I think that they did not do something right the first time. because the car did the same thing again.This time it messed my motor up
  • thompdthompd Posts: 2
    I've read through the thread and I can't believe all of the problems with coolant leaks from an Alero. Just took mine to a dealership to check the cause of a coolant leak and some other "loud" noises. Was told that I needed the following - Engine drive belt (is this the same as serpentine belt?), spark plugs, water outlet assy., F&R Brakes,;fuel filter,front engine mount, engine cover, outer tie rod ends and "set toe in"(never heard of that one). I've had the car for 5 years. Not quite ready to purchase a new car and huge payment but was told by one mechanic that it really may not be worth fixing since the mileage is high and don't know what will go next. There are also some lights that need replacing. Estimated about $2700. (pricey dealership fees). Any thoughts??
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    The drive belt is the serpentine belt. Brakes of course are wear items. Fuel filter is recommended to change at 100K, but it may need it or not, but it's good maintenance, same with the spark plugs. I take it your coolant leak is from the water outlet leaking - is it a gasket or the housing leaking itself? The engine mount can be bad at 100K, it's not unusual. Don't know what they mean by the "engine cover". Outer tie rod ends if worn and replaced will mean the toe in will have to reset, in other words an alignment.
    I like to get at least 150K out of a car, so I would consider doing the repairs, but I do as much myself as I could to keep the cost down. You may get by without the plugs and fuel filter, the rest you should do.
  • ronsmith38ronsmith38 Posts: 228
    My daughter's 2001 V6 Alero shuts down while driving. The first symptom is the doors unlock on their own, and some dash lights may flash. So far she just pulls off to the side and is able to restart the car.
    Also, sometimes the car won't start, it acts as if the battery is dead (the battery was just recently replaced). After several tries if then will start.
    Any idea of what can be wrong?
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Bad ignition switch? Does she have lots of stuff hanging on her key ring?
  • robwhitrobwhit Posts: 13
    Thanks for your reply-Yes she had quit a bit extra on her key chain and since removing all of it the car has not stalled-if this is the problem it is wierd that it did not stall while driving and only at idle.
  • when I went to put it in reverse,the little button on the side of the shift lever popped out.It won't stay in,is it broke or can it be fixed or do I need a new one.How easy is it to fix? 2000 alero 4cy
  • joe7074joe7074 Posts: 2
    same thing happened on mine also.i was planning on going to the junk yard and seeing if i could find another looked to me like the hole gets wollowed out from use until it just popps.sorry i dont have an answer but your not alone
  • Just got the car fixed.The part was broken and it cost $43.00.My mechanic took ten minutes to put in ..........
  • ksnmlaneksnmlane Posts: 1
    My g/f's '01 alero, driving to work, every light on the dash came on, check engine, trac-off, etc... what could this be??
  • lgoodenlgooden Posts: 1
    My 1999 Oldsmobile Alero, V6, 3.4. Had problem running hot, I took it in for repairs an it would not start after they did service. after complaining I did the work all over myself.. I had the heads serviced; serviced, valves adjusted and replaced head gaskets. but when I torque the rocker arms done to 168 inch pounds the car want idle smoothly an some time want start. so I keep re adjusting the rocker arms, loosening them and slowly torque them down, it works find if I dont torque them down all the way, but they loosen like that. also I've notice that the Ex-rods our a little longer than 6 inches. And I read the my over heating problem could and still maybe that my water tank on the radiator could be bad or need a smooth service.. Which I think could be the next issue.
  • rpino69rpino69 Posts: 7
    My wife owns a 2001 Alero and the check eng and trac off light keep coming off an on. When it is on the trans hits real hard. Can anyone help.
  • I've been having a problem with my Alero. I'm driving & then suddenly the car won't go past 10 mph, it doesn't shut off or stop, it keeps driving but not over 10, and when I step the gas, the car pulls . I have to turn it off and re-start it again for it to gain speed but then a couple of miles or blocks, whatever the car feels like doing, later it happens again. I've been on the highway when this happens, I've been on city streets when it happens, I've even been on stop lights when it happens...It's emabarrassing, annoying & not to mention, dangerous. Does anyone have any suggestions/solutions? I've had the spark plugs changed. :mad: :cry: :confuse: :sick:
  • I have a 2000 Olds Alero with a V6. It is throwing a code for the Cam sensor. I purchased a new Cam sensor but now I'm not sure where the Cam sensor is located. Can anyone tell me where to find the cam sensor on this motor? Thanks.
  • Our 3.4 2002 Alero (65,000 miles), has a problem with acceleration. It is very sluggish when accelerating, although after about a 5 mile run on the freeway, it improves, but is not perfect. It's now virtually impossible to drive safely, and on an incline, we are in trouble!

    About 10 days ago, we filled it up with gas from our usual gas station, and inserted a well known make of fuel-injector cleaner, which we use about every 3 months. Therefore, we thought it may be some dodgy gasoline. So, when it dropped to about 1/4 full, we filled up again, but it has made no difference. Now the 'Service Engine Soon' light is on, but is not flashing. I've checked the fuel cap, and that seems to be fine.
    Can anyone advise before I take it to my shop for yet more remedial work!

  • Turns out the repair shop guys ran a scan, and the catalytic converter was shot! Apparently, the average life for the 3.1, 3.4 & 3.8 liter engines is 71,000 miles. Total cost to repair was around $450! HOWEVER, the good news is, GM waranty these converters for 8 years or 80,000 miles; at least for our model (2002). So, if you have this problem, check with GM, to see if it is covered by their warranty.
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