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SignOfZeta 07-28-2009 08:45 PM

Randomly stalling… fuel related?
I've got a 1997 SE that stalls out every so often. So far, it's done it at idle in neutral, 70 on the highway with the cruise on, when making a right turn, and at other unrelated times. Empty, half-full, or full tank. No check engine codes.

Tonight, I was idling at the McDonald's drive through (central Connecticut, behind a burgundy SSE…*anyone we know?), when the engine started surging. The voltage was dropping from 14 to about 11 or 12. I gave it a little gas, the voltmeter perked up, the tach settled at idle (~800 RPM) and all was fine.

Still waiting in line about 20 seconds later, and I hear the ding-ding-ding sound that indicates "hey, your engine shut off." I turned the key, and the engine turned over but didn't start. It took about ten seconds of intermittent cranking and waiting to get it to crank back up, and it roughly came back to life.

Runs beautifully and smoothly otherwise (of course).

Now, I saw this old thread ("Stalling woes", and thought that this might be related. The car is almost thirteen years old and is on its first fuel pump. Should I assume that this is fuel related?

Danthurs 07-28-2009 08:48 PM

Try using a different key. It could be a problem with your VATs.

SignOfZeta 07-28-2009 11:11 PM

The security light never flashes. Still, I'll switch over to my spare key and report back.

Danthurs 07-28-2009 11:15 PM

Also try checking the battery cables, make sure they are clean. This sounds like a loose connection.

SignOfZeta 07-28-2009 11:18 PM

Could be. I remember seeing "clean the battery cables" pop up a lot in search results, for just about every problem. That'll give me something to do this weekend. Will report back if I don't electrocute myself. :-)

BillBoost37 07-29-2009 07:53 AM

Thought I read before in the FSM that when security is triggered it allows the fuel pump to prime and then disables the circuit. This means the car will start and then promptly die out. Once the system starts though it will not shut down because disabling the car after running and driving would provide a hazard and therefore the engineers didn't build anything in to disable it once it was running.

The battery cables are a frequent culprit of this issue as well as a host of other items.

Colin.. if you believe it's fuel pressure, we can chack that when you stop by to look at the cooling issues.

SignOfZeta 07-29-2009 10:52 PM

Bill and I tested everything. Fuel pressure is fine, though on the low end of normal. Battery cables are clean, though one looks like it was custom-made. Throttle works fine, too. Spark plugs are 20,000 miles old, as are the wires.

Hopefully, the new crank sensor fixes it.

BillBoost37 07-30-2009 07:19 AM

:thumbup2What we did was clean the motor down. Serves three purposes, cleaner motor (makes me happier),tests that the plug wires are good and not arching and tests for vacuum leaks. Engine ran great while being doused with a hose.

Checked fuel pressure and while Colin believes it's the low's right on normal. The FSM states to click the key on and off auot 10 times to achieve the highest pressure possible with the motor not running. I clicked twice and the system held a good 50-52 psi. FSM says 48-52 is the normal value. :thumbup2 Having seen pumps get weak once in use, we started and ran the car. Overall it idled about 42ish and would drop ever so slightly and recover if I revved the motor. In my book, it appeared to be a good pump.

Then the crank sensor code was mentioned again, as well as what Colin's mechanic charges to do the job. I happened to have a sensor laying around, the jack and air gun popped out and about 15 minutes later the new sensor was doing the engine good. Hopefully that clears up the stalling issue.

Was good to meet you and get a chance to see the car. br2

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