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Pontiac Sunfire Starting and Stalling Problems



  • opa_paya,

    I'm very glad to hear all is well so far. Sometimes it's the smallest things that are the issues. I would suggest running a bottle of fuel injector cleaner through your tank around 6000 miles, or every other oil change. This will prevent any return of the build up. If you have further issues, look into the items "danielsparks" mentioned - Also good suggestions.
  • I have a 2002 Cavalier Z24 with just under 100,000 miles on it. I went out to move it last night, and it was misfiring on (at least) two cylinders. The engine was shaking pretty badly when I looked at it. It wants to stall anytime I'm not giving it gas. Also, when I go to pull out from a stop sign, it wants to stall. It seems that whenever i put a load on my engine, it wants to stall. For exaple, it stalled when I went to back into my driveway (which is on a VERY slight hill) as soon as i put it into reverse. My dad, who is a mechanic by trade, said I got water in/around the engine and it's grounding out the cylinders. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.
  • Hi. I have a 1997 Sunfire, 2.2L. I just had my spark plugs, wires, ignition coil replaced (along with my front brakes and rotors) early this month. It ran fine for 2 weeks (maybe a total of 150 miles, more or less), but today while I was driving home the engine lost power and died. I put my hazards on, went to the side of the road about 4 times, and then started the car just fine. Fortunately, I still made it home (about 3 miles from where the car initially stalled). When I've safely parked home, I turned the engine off for about a minute, then started it again, and just let it ran (idle) in park. About 2 mins idling, it died again.

    1. Could you please detail what possible problems, I might have (including price quotations if possible).

    2. I've recently read about Seafoam, would that even help me at this point?

    I'm a student and can no longer put money into this car. (I bought it last November, and 2 weeks after I had fuel leaking from the fuel injectors, which caused me some $580 to repair at a shop.) Should I even have it repaired this time? How much do you think I could get for it if I just sold it to the junk man?

    Thank you! :cry:
  • No the fuel pump has nothing to do with your temp gauge(car over heating). The normal temp should be betwwen 195-220 degrees. Is the check enine light on if so go to Autozone and have them read the code (its free). If not check the antifreeze level in the overflow tank and radiator. If Autozone reads the code and it is a "lean mixture " then more than likley its the fuel pump but the car overheating is another issue.
  • After pulling my car in the garage overnight to try and fix the problems i had earlier (refer to post #138), the stalling seemed to go away. I simply turned the heater to about 72 in the garage, took off the cover that hold the module, etc. on the top of the motor, and aimed a fan on certain areas. Let's hope this fixed the stalling. My new problem is, I went to start it up after i put it all back together and as my idle was coming down after starting it, my "Check Gauges" light came on and my fuel gauge slowly dropped to below E. I have a full tank of gas in the car, no doubt about it. My dad now thinks the ECM is beginning to die, as all these things are quite random and never happened before. Any help or advice from ANYONE would be appreciated greatly.
  • How much fuel is in the tank if it is less than half I would say the fuel pump is going out (about $550 to replace parts and labor) because the fuel in the tank keeps the pump cool during normal operation. Normally a pump does not heat up much but under an abnormal load it will and as long as fuel is in the tank it will cool it self. The issue with running and quiting is the pump heating up and cooling off. I suggest if you have less than half a tank of fuel fill up and see if problem starts around half a tank or less.
  • oh ya the junk price is about $200 a car so suck it up and fix it!!! ;)
  • Thanks for your input!

    I have about half a tank of gas. So I guess, you may be right. I think it's really at the half point mark, if it dipped below that, it's just slightly below it.

    By the way, should I have noticed an incline in engine temperature in the dash, if my fuel pump is going bad? I kept looking at it while I was driving (when the car kept dying on me), and the gauge is just in the middle or a tad above the temperature monitor (whatever that is called).

    Any other ideas what my problem could be? I just want the car to run until graduation this semester or until I could sell it off for more than $200. That car has now cost me a little over $1,800. Tough luck. Thanks green0886!
  • You're a psychic! ;)

    My check engine light has been on since I bought the car last November 2007. About 2 weeks after I bought the car, 2 of the fuel injectors started leaking. I had those replaced, my CEL was reset. One day after that, my CEL was back on.

    Anyway, on Jan. 4, 2008, I had Autozone read my OBDII was PO300. (That's what the shop that repaired my fuel injectors had, back in November 2007 too.)

    We tried to "odd man out" the problem with cheapest solutions first, hence the change of spark plugs, wires, and coil. The car ran well for exactly 19 days, and then stalled yesterday.

    The OBDII code of Jan. 4 says:
    Definition: Cylinder misfire detected - Random cylinders
    Explanation: The powertrain control module monitors the crankshaft speed and has detected a misfire condition.
    Probable causes:

    1. Ignition system fault - spark plug(s), ignition wires, coil
    2. Vacuum leak
    3. Injector fault
    4. High or low fuel pressure.

    Also, since I bought the car in November, I noticed that the odometer wasn't working. It was only yesterday that I saw my odometer has moved. The trip meter has 49 miles and the odometer moved approx. 109 miles. I don't know when this happened. What could have made my odometer to work suddenly?

    (Purchase history: I never met the seller. It was a former student who left her car at a friend's to sell. I just talked to her over the phone. The CEL was on when I bought it. I took a gamble for $700. The car with repairs is now worth over $1,800. Hence my apprehension about more repairs. But I want to at least be able to use it until May and sell it off in running condition to recoup some of my money.)

    Last bit, when I have my heater or A/C on for a while, I get some stinky smell. Is that another set of problems all together? Or I just have to replace my air filter?

    Thanks for all your help green0886! :)
  • If you get a "sweet" smell when the heater is on it is most likely antifreeze which means the heater core is leaking and could be why your car is overheating. When you check the antfreeze smell of it and see if that is the same smell you are smelling when you turn the heat on. If so bad news!! But the ac smell if it has not been used in a while will be a moldy smell nothing to worry about.And yes that code could be a fuel pump to.It could show the code because not enought fuel is being supplied to each cylinder causing a misfire.
  • Thanks for your prompt replies. I'll try to bring the car to a mechanic within the week and see how much I'd need to repair the car's problems.

    I'll keep this board posted on whatever solution/s I'd find.

    Nonetheless, if any reader out there has other suggestions/comments, I would really appreciate it, just so I'd have an idea what kind of car repair fees I'm looking at. (Or junkman estimate.) :(
  • maggie29maggie29 Posts: 1
    On, this 02 Sunfire I have replaced the fuel pump, Battery & Cables. This car sometimes it starts other times it turns over but just don't start?
    This, happen to me about 2 Summers ago with this car but, I didn't ever really get anything done on it,cause then it would start and the problem only happened maybe three to four times but always started and I got home. Now, my Son has the car he starts it stop by to vist.Goes to leave the car don't start. :confuse: Take it to the shop (towed in). Then the car starts. What is wrong? I, found a recall on something that goes along with the fuel pump UPC(?) plug they forgot to put in the O'rings. But, my car's Vin # is not on the list. Could they have missed my Vin#? I, just would like some help cause this just isn't right. Cause, soon we will have new everything but the body? Hope someone can help us cause the shop guy has no iclue he said he has replaced the parts he though was wrong. It's been towed in 2 times in one month going to be towed agin on Monday? Pease, help. Thanks !
  • jfass_17jfass_17 Posts: 3
    Check the ignition coil. May have a short in it.
    I have a 96 that won't start sometimes right know and I was told to check that or the fuel pump. Will get at it in a couple of days.
  • my 04 sunfire will not start and stalls out while driving. when u go to start it, it will do one of three things. it will make a weird noise, all the dash lights come on and the headlights flash or it wont make any noise and wont start or the seatbelt dinger will come on and thats when u know the car will turn over and run, but recently when u go to put it in gear, it will stall. then while driving down the round, the car will just cut out and u can coast to a stop, put it in park and start it up again. has anyone had this problem and know how to fix it? please help
  • cmoore05cmoore05 Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 Pontiac Sunfire that has recently had a used motor put in ( 3 months ago) and 2 weeks ago had a heater core replaced. Just recently started shaking when it is first turned on. Will usually stop after being driven for a minute or two. Any suggestions about what it could possibly be? Have had numerous car issues recently and really can't afford anything else. Thanks in advance for any help.
  • jaxbuddyjaxbuddy Posts: 1
    I have a 1997 Pontiac Sunfire and last summer when stopping in traffic my car stalled. It started right up again than stalled whenever i had to come to a stop. It was fine all winter but last week it was warm and i was idling at a red light. When I went to accelerate it stalled. It did this 3 times on my way home everytime I had to stop. :(

    Could this be the fuel pump?

    Thanks so much
  • lexieblexieb Posts: 6
    Hi there, my car has a similar problem, but I haven't had the fuel pump changed. What I learned about the fuel pump though is not to have my fuel go below half a tank. Does your car also have a difficulty going uphill?

    Try to see if your car would have a hard time going uphill, and do take note of when your car stalls (whether at full tank, half a tank of gas, a quarter of gas). My car still runs and doesn't stall nowadays, but I make sure I always have a full tank or close to a full tank of gas. I also do not turn on the AC, as the car cannot take load and eventually stalls. My mechanic has replaced the car's module, plugs, wires, coils, sensor, and fuel filter. I think it needs an EGR valve and possibly a new fuel pump.

    Hope that helps. Anyway, if you've identified the real culprit for your car stalling, do share. Also include which parts you've changed to solve the stalling problem and how much it cost you.

    Thanks! :)
  • korardekorarde Posts: 4
    I have a 2000 Pontiac sunfire that the igntion broke and I removed the lock and tumbler and can get the car to turn over but it wont stay running and the theft system shuts the car down anyone know how I can by pass this system so I dont have to buy the whole new lock set up
  • Folks,
    My 2001 Pontiac Sunfire has the identical symptoms. I have change the whole fuel and ignition systems. I've even exchanged the entire exhaust system. It ran good for two weeks. I just left it at the Wal-Mart parking lot knowing that nobody can possibly steal it. I agree with an earlier e-mail traffic stating that the Transmission Control Solenoid in the transaxle may be defective. I have worked with earlier Sunfires, Cavaliers and Celebritys that also have this device and it is a very unknown item even to the local mechanics (or I think so $$), however; it is never mentioned in commercial repair manuals or at dealers (they are mum $$). And these symptoms are indicative to all GM front wheel drive vehicles. The Transmission Control Solenoid activates at 45 mph (your overdrive), however; if stuck, it may fool the PCM it is going at that speed even though you are going 20 mph and cause the engine to become flooded by fuel, hence the stall and leaking fuel injector symptom and starting two hours later. Please, look at part number TCS1 at Autozone. I'm replacing mine tomorrow. It costs approximately $26.99. Commercial repair manuals do not mention this item (I wonder why?$$) Unbolt the the rear transmission pan (not the bottom pan) located on the driver's side of the transmission (approximately 10 bolts) and you will see the Transmission Control Solenoid smiling at you. For those of you that have felt the frustration and loss of money; General Motors, the secret is OUT!!!
  • hfv688hfv688 Posts: 1
    1999 sunfire 210,000 klms no problems then all of a sudden wont start runs about 2sec stalls wont start,Treid the passlock trick of leaving key on for 20 mins.nothing happens security light on but not flashing,pour gas down thottle body cars stars up and runs till fuel gone,can hear fuel pump working what else is there in this system that can shut off fuel. First time never happened before no warning,can the ign switch be shot.????????????????????? :mad:
  • mandykmandyk Posts: 2
    Hey there can anyone help me with this situation. I own a 1997 and I replaced the spark plugs on it, fuel filter, changed oil, ignition switch and a starter. And it still won't start. I hope someone understand what I'm talking about, but the theft system light won't go off and the little orange triangle above the gears on the dash well if it is not lit up the car won't start. What does anyone know about that? Please HELP!!! :cry: Me and my father also rented a diagnostic thing from auto zone and it read passed no codes need. Well then what is the problem!
  • salem3psalem3p Posts: 2
    I am so glad I discovered this site. My Husband/I were going nuts trying to find out why our 2000 Sunfire (Sunny) was stalling. We just spent $628.00 for Injector kit, BG throttle body service at a Pontiac dealer because we thought maybe they would have some idea since they work on them all the time. They also said our water pump was leaking so after quoting us ANOTHER price of $700.00 plus (we did it ourselves Saturday). We also have done a full tune-up with the works of spark plugs, wires, ect. Battery is fine. Alternator is fine. Fuel pump replaced 2 years ago. We are tottally stumped but are taking Sunny back to that dealer because they DID NOT fix the stalling. We refuse to pay for any more labor. They said they diagnosed it and that was the problem. I never got any recall notices either. GGGRR!!! We had no problems with Sunny until now. Its freaky that so many of us are having this stalling problem. Especially since it is all different years. My Husband/I have been baking in this Volcanic Texas Sun working on Sunny. Pontiac needs to look into this and why so many at this time? Very odd. :(
  • jaco0062jaco0062 Posts: 8
    I live in ont canada. I have been a technician for about 5 years. I enjoy working with the electronic side of the auto. I have read many of the posts about sunfires and can't figure out why u guys can't get these problems delt with effiently. (Sry not verygood at spelling.) Mostly all of the problems found with sunfires are extremely common to all. If your techs are unable to locate these problems i sugest going somewhere else. For electronic problems i find that techs in there 20 to mid 30 are the best. Most old timers have no clue about modern technology. I have looked at about 200 sunfires for a no start condition and find 90% of the public neglect to change fuel filter. This causes undo stress on the fuel pump eventually it says goodnight.Rec fuel filter be changed once a year. When i bring a sunfire into my shop for a drivibility problem i can on average figure it out in under ten minutes. If u can find good qualified techs with good quality diagnostic tools they should also be able to do the same. If not come to my shop in Ask your techs if they go on any courses, most good techs will go to them all, I know i do. You need to be constatly learning Hope that helps. ps u get what u pay for, if u don`t want to pay for the time to diagnose the car then what do u expect the tech to do.(sry just a little venting there.)
  • can't get the emissions done because obd has no power, or we just can't get a reading. I replaced the cig fuse and still no luck. Is there another fuse for the obd port or does anybody know what it could be. Thanks
  • salem3psalem3p Posts: 2
    On my previous post I said that we also had tried many options to fix this stalling problem. We had even taken the car to a dealership garage. We spent $628.00 and it still stalled before the weekend so we took it back. They had it over a week and a half because they were swamped with other vehicles. (Only a few dealerships in a much growing town). We were mad and said we would pay for parts but no labor. Of course they would not go for that, gggrrr!!! but they did find the problem on our car. It was the ignition switch. They only charged us about a half hour labor even thou they said it took them an hour and a half. I couldn't argue because I have no idea how long it would take. I know it took my hubby/I about 5 hours to replace belts, hoses and a water pump so maybe it took them that long. LOL Anyhow, so far so good. *Knock on wood* LOL Sadly there may be several reasons for this stalling and we may all have to take each one of our cars individually until we hit on the one thing that gets each of our cars running again. For us it was the ignition switch. :) :) :) Yah! We got our Baby back.
  • I drive a 2000 Pontiac, and after reading this I know I need to replace my fuel filter. I wanted to know if you could tell me where it is located on my model/year vehicle. Thanks a lot.

  • Look above the rear axle it should be there. Thats where it is on my 2003 sunfire. Very easy to change.
  • GENERAL MOTORS Chevrolet Cavalier (1993-1999), Pontiac Sunbird (1993-1994), Pontiac Sunfire (1995-1999)
    • Recall covering 1992-1993 models with the 2.2L engine: unstable deceleration or stalling due to a defective lower intake manifold seam. Replace seam.
  • I have a 2000 sunfire 2.2 It will run about 5 to 7 miles and then lose complete power, sometime stall and sometimes will stay running, when it comes to a stop, it starts right back up and goes another 5 miles. I have replaced the plugs, wires, and fuel filter and it is still doing it? Any suggestions?
  • Sounds like the classic sign of fuel pump failure. More than likely you 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 case 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.
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