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Oldsmobile Alero Starting-Stalling Problems



  • appellofappellof Posts: 54
    Hello mslolar,

    Here are a few questions. Does the car start at all? Does the car start and drive and after several minutes does it fail? Does it mostly fail during the day or night? What error lights are on? (for example: Service Engine Soon, Service Vehicle Soon, Security light on or flashing). In my experience, I have had similar issues. Once the Fuel regulator failed, The ignition switch failed twice, the coils failed, and the ignition module failed. Here is a break down of the parts. Fuel regulator $75.00 plus tax. Ignition switch WITHOUT KEY CYLINDER $95.00 plus tax. Coils $45.00 plus tax there are 2 of them. I can not remember what the ignition module cost was but it was rediculusly high. Those prices are just part prices only, it does not include labor.

    However, I still have my Alero and I love driving it.

    Let me know if you need more help

  • I have a 2001 oldsmobile alero, that runs fine in town, but once on the highway it shuts down, i have to wait for 15 minutes before the car will start back up, any ideas on what could be wrong
  • appellofappellof Posts: 54

    More information please. After the 15 minute wait, the car starts. Does it then run okay on the highway? Do you notice anything happening just prior to the engine stalling? For Example, hesitation or sluggish acceleration. Are there any warning lights that come on on the dash board? I can name 8 or 10 possibilities. But I would rather narrow it down for you.

    Let me know

  • Here is my list of possibilities.
    * Starving for fuel at high speed. Possibly from clogged fuel filter, or Fuel pump not supplying enough pressure.
    * No Spark. Ignition module failing at higher temperature, Since there are two coils, I wouldn't suspect a coil, unless both are failing at the same temperature.
    It is not likely that timing is bad, since it runs ok in city driving. I'm assuming acceleration from traffic signals is OK.
    I would rule out the Passlock system, since it will not shut the engine off while cruising... It will only illuminate the "SECURITY" light.

    As others have said, getting a better guess would involve more information, or hands-on observation.

    Dick Berger
  • I know it has been a while since you posted this issue, but I am currently having the exact same problems. Auto lights not working, keyless entry not working, trunk release not working, and dome lights not working along with the starting issue. Seems like it is either the passlock system or BCM....I was just wondering if you ever figured out the issue. Thank you for your time and hope to hear back.
  • ekatiekati Posts: 1
    edited March 2013
    Just bought a used 2003 Alero and only had 93 thousand miles. Just yesterday it was having some issues starting and now today the car had to get towed back to my house because now the RPM Gauge or whatever you call it, doesn't move it is staying at 0 and there is no security light or any other lights on. It turns over and it tries to start but it won't crank over to start now. Any help would be great, now I have no way to work. :(
  • Ekati,
    It turns over and it tries to start but it won't crank over to start now.
    Sounds like you are saying that the starter motor is spinning up the engine, but the engine isn't firing up and running. This suggests that the engine is either not getting spark, not getting fuel, or is not timed right. Check these three items first.
    RPM Gauge or whatever you call it, doesn't move it is staying at 0
    Yes. It's normal for your tachometer to stay at zero until the car starts, and since yours isn't starting, that's what's happening. Once you get it started, it will register the correct RPM.

    there is no security light or any other lights on.
    THAT is extremely unusual. When you first turn the key to the ON position, you should have a short period when ALL the warning lights are on. This is the "bulb check". Then the warning lights should go out, leaving only the OIL, BATTERY, and "Service Engine Soon" lamps on. Once the engine is running, these lamps should extinguish. If you don't get any lights to go on, there is probably something wrong with your ignition switch, or your wiring. This could also possibly be a blown fuse that furnishes power to the dash lights. You will need a service manual to tell you which fuses to check.
  • **2nd post**First one did not seem to post?***Hi folks--thank you in advance for any info or insight you may offer. 2004 Alero 4cylinder automatic (2.2 Ecotec), 102K miles. Purchased 5 weeks ago, and have put just over 500 miles on it. It has started, and driven beautifully every day until this morning. Started right up this morning. Stopped at a store on my way into work, made my purchase, went back out, and it started right up again. Drove approx. 500 feet out of the parking lot to turn into traffic. Right as I turned into traffic, the car died. Attempted to start several times to get out of the road (it did start and then died within 1-2 seconds each time--but battery light would stay on), until a nice man took pity on me and pushed me out of traffic. Called a tow truck--it again started and died. Tow driver theorized it may be fuel related (no prior incidents since I've owned it, purchased as is--I have no service records). Towed home where it is sitting now. Husband read up on Passlock security info, but it still does not seem to want to start after 3+ hours of sitting (he read about resetting it after ten minutes). Of course money is tight, and I'm frustrated. Could it just be the battery, since it actually started and drove out of the store parking lot? I don't have $$$ to go to the mechanic, or to throw money down on guesses. Any info or advice is appreciated. Thank you.
  • drumrickdrumrick Posts: 1
    im having the same exact problem as you did along with the trunk popping open by itself. did you find a remedy? i also have a 2001 alero. my mechanic cant figure it out either after 2 weeks. HELP !!! Thanx
  • appellofappellof Posts: 54
    Hey Drumrick,

    For what it is worth, I have a 2001 Alero. I bought it in 2009 for $2500 she had 101 thousand miles on her. Since I have had that car, I have yet to have problems with the BCM or the ECM. (Now with that said, They both will fail tomorrow, that would be just my luck.) But anyhow, in the last 4 years, I went through 2 fuel regulators, a set of coils, an ignition module, a starter and the ignition switch. All of that was within the first year of owning it. She currently has 184K miles on her. In my experience with my car, all electrical issues have been traced back to the ignition switch. I remember with the original switch from the factory if the outside air temp was below 50 degrees the car would not start. The starter would hit but no fire in the cylinders. and the trunk would randomly pop open and the door locks would unlock as if I was turning off the ignition switch. Onto a different subject and car, I have a 95 GEO Tracker, she has a problem with not idling at 750 RPM. The engine idles at 3000 RPM. I still have not figured that out yet. I am thinking it is the ECM.

    But anyhow, that is my 2 cents worth,

  • This is NOT a passlock problem. It could be many things. Check these:
    * Fuel Filter [just replace it. it's cheap, and at 102,000 miles, it should be replaced anyway.
    * Fuel pressure at the fuel rail. [get a service manual for instructions on checking this]
    * Read out trouble codes through the ALDL connector. [a scan tool that connects by bluetooth to your smart phone or android tablet costs only $12 - $25 on ebay, and an App called "Torque" is free at the Google Play store.] You will then be able to read the engine trouble codes, and diagnose what is causing the no-start condition.
    * You may have a bad crank position sensor, which can cause stalling. [A trouble code will be set if this is the case.]
    * you may have a defective catalytic converter, in which the catalytic beads have blocked the exhaust, causing back-pressure in your exhaust system. [this will cause an oxygen sensor trouble code to be stored.]
    * you may have a bad ignition module, causing only half your cylinders to fire, which could cause stalling. [This would be indicated by a missfire trouble code]

    Good luck, and I hope you find the problem. A 2004 Alero is a nice, economical car to drive, if you can get it running right. (hope it's a stick shift. They are the best!)

    Dick Berger
  • ajb15ajb15 Posts: 1
    2003 Alero. Initial problem is the car would not start. Changed the starter, still no start. Did the secruity of 10 minutes with the key in on position, then the car started. Car ran for 1 week. Car died again. Tried the secruity thing again. Car ran for 1 block and died while driving. Changed the alternator. Car ran for 5 miles died while driving. Replaced the new alternator with another new one and a fully charged battery. Car drove for 5 miles and died while driving again. The battery light is coming on the dash board. With a new alternator (that passed test) and a fully charged battery the system is showing only 30 amps. Any ideas.
  • ghedge66ghedge66 Posts: 4
    Hi,I have a 2001 olds alero with a security light issue .I took it to gm and they said it was a ignition switch and lock cylinder. So I replaced it and all was fine. Then I started having other issues like, auto lights wont work, door locks started going crazy while driving, trunk was popping open on its own. Recently the security light came on again so I replaced the cylinder lock and ignition switch again. The car started fine but when I shut it off, it would not start again. I tried the relearn but the security light will not blink and will not start the car.I took the BCM out and noticed a crack in it so I took the case apart and seen te circuit board was corroded like its been wet.
    My question is can the BCM cause the car not to start if its bad. When I start the car it starts up fine then shuts off.I aslo want to note that I did not buy a gm cylinder lock it was from autozone.

    Thanks for any input in my problem
  • appellofappellof Posts: 54

    The body control module is what controls everything from headlights to the trunk latch. If there is corrosion on the connectors and it has gotten wet that would cause a lot of the issues you are describing. Clean up the corrosion and look at the module circuit card. Make sure that it is clean. Also make sure the connector contacts are clean as well. If you are fluent with a soldering iron I would recommend that you look over all the solder connections and make sure that there are no cracked solder joints. Worst case scenario, you may have to replace the body control module. If you determine the module needs to be replaced. I am sure someone has a refurbished module on eBay.

    Good luck with it,
  • ghedge66ghedge66 Posts: 4
    Thanks Daniel, One more question. Can the BCM cause my car not to start? It will start up then shut down.Security light comes on and it wont do the relearn to start back up.I was told to make sure I buy a GM cylinder lock instead of after market one. I have had this security light issue before and relaced the cylinder lock and ignition switch and it lasted a year. Any input would be appreciated ..thanks

  • appellofappellof Posts: 54

    When the car starts, does it run for 1 or 2 seconds? The BCM is where the security system lives. It is also referred to the "pass lock" system. Just for S&G,
    Have you checked the fuel regulator? If the"> fuel regulator has failed it will allow the engine to start but quit after a few seconds. If the engine starts and immediately dies the security system thinks the car is being stolen and it Locks out the ignition module. Also check the coils and make sure that the coils are good. What size engine do you have? If it is the 4 cylinder engine, it utilizes what is called "wasted spark" design. Meaning that the coils produce a spark not only on the compression stroke but also on the exhaust stroke as well. The fuel regulator could also be partially failing meaning it will run for a little bit but then die. If the regulator fails it will allow all 65 pounds of pressure from the fuel pump right up to the injectors. The injectors are only good for up to 5 PSI. If more than that gets to the injectors, they will leak and flood out the engine.

    Let me know if you have more questions I hope this is helpful

  • ghedge66ghedge66 Posts: 4

    The car does run then dies in about 2 seconds. Yes it is a 4 cyl . So if the bcm is bad could It cause the start/stall problem? Is there any special way to check the fuel regulator?

    thanks for all the help

  • appellofappellof Posts: 54

    Do you know where the regulator is located? If not it is located on the top left side of the engine. It is round and has a vacuum hose connected to the top of it. The best way to test it is to remove the vacuum hose off the top and move it to the side. Then, turn the ignition switch to the "on" position.
    Just turn the switch to the on position. Look through the opening between the hood and the dash. From the driver's seat you will be able to see the regulator. If there is a stream of gas coming out from where you pulled the vacuum hose from the top of the regulator, The regulator is dead.

    The BCM could cause the engine to stop but not likely.

    Try that and let me know,

  • ghedge66ghedge66 Posts: 4
    Ok thx Daniel I will try that today and get back with you later.

  • tbs10tbs10 Posts: 3

    I have a 2002 olds alero with a 2.2 ecotec 4 cyl with 201,000 miles. I bought a new car earlier this year and gave the alero to my fiancee and she has had nothing but trouble with it since. She is experiencing random stalling while she is coming up to a light or stopped. Usually it starts back up but one time she had to wait 2 hours for it to start.

    Before this started happening she stated the car would start fine in the morning but when she would leave for lunch it would "hesitate to start". I replaced the crankshaft position sensor, and looked at the starter while i was doing it and decided to replace that as well. That corrected the starting problem, but she has been experiencing the stalls since. The battery is 2.5 years old.

    I replaced the ignition module last week (easy enough- took about 10 minutes) and when test driving it stalled again.

    I've also repalced the fuel filter and spark plugs and air filter, still stalls. I put lucas in to clean the fuel system and put premium gas in, still stalls.

    I purchased an entire new fuel pump last weekend but have not had a chance to put it in yet. After reading the forum i am skeptical. I would like thoughts/opinions on what this could be. I am planning on changing the pump within the next 2 weeks.

    The car DOES have an aftermarket python security/remote start system. Best buy said they would remove it for 50-75.00.

    Do you think it is the fuel pump? Could it be the aftermarket system is the cause of it? Battery? Alternator? BCM/PCM? Thank you.
  • TBS10,

    It sounds like you pretty much hit everything that deals with fuel delivery. However, you missed one item that would cause that. Replace the fuel regulator. I have a 2000 Alero and she eats fuel regulators about every 2 years. I just replaced my regulator 2 days ago. It should cost about $75.00 plus tax at your favorite auto parts store. There is a good test for the regulator. If it is like mine, there should be a vacuum hose attached to the top of it. Pull that hose off and turn the key to the "ON" position. WARING DO NOT TRY TO START THE ENGINE. If fuel comes out where that vacuum hose was attached, the regulator is shot.

    Hope this helps

  • You GAVE your fiance an 11 year old ALERO, with 201000 miles on it?
    Is she still your fiance?
  • tbs10tbs10 Posts: 3
    edited December 2013
    im not sure if im not looking in the right place but it seems the "hoses" on mine are all aluminum. Can you tell me where i should be looking? I thought i knew where it was but i guess not.

    edit: yes, i did give it to her and yes she is still my fiance. At the time it had 193,000, and she was driving a 1999 sunfire that needed quite a bit of work and wasn't running. :)
  • TBS10,

    Let me look in the book and I will find it. Hang tight for alittle bit

  • TBS10,

    The book does not differentiate between the 2.4 and the 2.2 so I am guessing that the only difference between the 2 are the bore and stroke. The regulator on mine is right above the alternator on the end of the fuel rail. It only has one bolt that keeps the bracket attached to the fuel rail. As you are standing in front of the car, it should be on the left, right behind the timing chain compartment. It looks like a "top hat". Be warned, when you find it, and you remove it, fuel will spray everywhere. there is between 40 and 60 PSI of fuel in that rail.

    Let me know if you find it.

  • appellofappellof Posts: 54
    edited December 2013

    I am going to try this. I am going to see if I can paste a picture here.

    Well that does not work. I was hoping that it would allow a picture to be posted. The moderators will not allow personal phone numbers to be posted. otherwise, I would text you the picture. You may be able to google the fuel regulator location and there may be a picture of it there.

    I hope this helps

  • tbs10tbs10 Posts: 3
    I really appreciate all the help so far. There is no definite picture of the location on google images that i can find for the yr/model of car, just of the engine. I will play more later to see if i can find the exact location.

    Went here and tried this a couple of years ago. Starting problems all fixed. Good luck. I know have a mechanic friend who told me when I bought my 03 Alero that it would last 15 years or 300,000 if I took it for yearly check-ups. I bought it with 12,000 miles on it in 2004, and it is still running pretty well. Pray you'll be okay. Mine only has 124,000, so I'm praying I still have 5 - 8 years left, as the loans been paid off for 4 years now. Happy Alero trails to you!
  • OK. I was just kidding around about giving it to your fiance. Anyway, after reading further posts and seeing you are trying to find images that show the fuel pressure regulator, I checked in my manual for 2002 Grand Am with 2.2L L4 engine, which should be same as yours. I scanned the pages regarding replacement of Fuel Pressure Regulator, and posted the pics on my website. Take a look and see if they are helpful. You can access them at:

    Here is the "Description and Operation" section of the manual:
    The fuel pressure regulator is a diaphragm relief valve. The diaphragm has fuel pressure on one side and regulator spring pressure and intake manifold vacuum on the other side. The fuel pressure regulator maintains a constant pressure differential across the fuel injectors at all times. The pressure regulator compensates for engine load by increasing fuel pressure as the engine vacuum drops.

    You might check for vacuum leaks too, since by the description, the fuel pressure is controlled by manifold vacuum.
    Dick Berger
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