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Frequent stalling


dallyman's Avatar
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09-25-04, 06:29 PM   #1  
dallyman
Frequent stalling

I own a 1987 Chevy Celebrity 2.5

Recently, my car has been stalling on me while I drive even short distances. I normally can make it to work (10 to 15 minute drive), but if the ride is any longer, my car will stall.

First of all, the engine sounds like it is running rough the entire way (not too rough, just slightly louder than usual).

When it is ready to stall, the check engine light turns on, yet the engine is still running. I have no ability to increase my speed in fact, if I press on the accelerator, the car acts as if I am pressing on the accelerator while pressing on the brake at the same time (the engine roars, but it starts going abruptly slower than when I let it coast).

Sometimes when the check engine light turns on, I can let it coast for five seconds, then if I press on the accelerator, it will sputter for a couple of seconds, then drive normal for at least a little while (I have driven for another five miles once after that happened)

Here are some things I have noticed:
1. No smoke emits from the engine, and my temperate light does not go off unless I try starting it again multiple times rapidly.
2. If I let it sit for five minutes after stalling, it will drive normally for at least another ten minutes.
3. No fluids are leaking
4. All fuses are good.
5. Sometimes I need to pump the accelerator when I first start the car
6. Sometimes it backfires while stalling.
7. The front fan is not spinning when I turn on the vehicle. (fan is electric, not belt driven) I do not know if it this is normal.
8. It stalls most often while I am slowing down.
9. My cruse control no longer works.


Last edited by dallyman; 09-25-04 at 08:17 PM. Reason: typo
 
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09-25-04, 08:16 PM   #2  
Codes

You've got a pretty good list of the symtoms, but before you do anything you really need to have the codes read
Is there an Autozone or other DIY place neerby that will read the codes for free or a small fee?
Don't let them sell you something w/o posting back with the results and someone here can interpret them

 
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09-25-04, 08:30 PM   #3  
dallyman
Codes

Posted By: slickshift You've got a pretty good list of the symtoms, but before you do anything you really need to have the codes read
There is an autozone in the next city (the same city I work in). I will call them tomorrow to see what there price for diagnostics are and have them check it out after work on Monday.


Last edited by dallyman; 09-25-04 at 08:39 PM. Reason: Cut down the Size of message
 
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09-28-04, 02:35 PM   #4  
dallyman
Troubles with autozone

My area's autozone only has something called a check engine light checkups ... in other words, I have to have the check engine light on when I bring it in. It is only on when I am stalling.

Here are some things I have also noticed.
  1. The transmission is running perfectly, it is shifting very well.
  2. It only stalls when slowing down or at a stop light for a long period of time
  3. When it stalls, it acts as though it ran out of gas. If I step on the gas hard while stalling, it often will restart.
  4. It runs best while on the highway where I am going a constant speed
  5. I have noticed that after stalling the carborator is so hot it is evaporating the gas on contact
  6. My car does not appear to be overheating ... my temp light does work and is not turning on during the stalll
  7. It is not smoking at all
  8. It is running rough

I am wondering if a fuel pump could be the cause ... would that work for short periods of time when it is malfunctioning. Could a faulty fuel filter cause problems like this.

 
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09-28-04, 04:16 PM   #5  
Check all vaccuum hoses and check the air inlet hose that goes to the carb for a split. Check the EGR valve for carbon buildup. Check or replace the pcv valve(it is cheap). It wouldn't hurt to do a tune up (including the fuel filter) if you haven't done so lately. Its possible you might have an air leak around the base of the carb.

I could be wrong about this but I think it is normal for the check engine light to come on just before the car stalls when the rpms are around say 100-200? Is this when the check engine light comes on?

 
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09-28-04, 04:32 PM   #6  
If you could decide if the temp light is on or not while the vehicle is running it may help.Have you checked the coolant level in the radiator not the bottle?You can check the codes yourself,take a paper clip and jumper a to b at the connector under the dash,the 2 terminals will be next to each other.After they are jumpered turn the key on and the check engine light will flash.It will start as flash pause flash,flash.This is 12 and will be repeated 2 more times,then the next code will flash and repeat itself 2 more times and this will continue until all codes have been read and code 12 comes up again.At this point turn the key off and remove the paper clip and post the numbers here.It sounds like you have multiple problems to me.

 
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09-28-04, 08:19 PM   #7  
dallyman
Posted By: jeff67 I could be wrong about this but I think it is normal for the check engine light to come on just before the car stalls when the rpms are around say 100-200? Is this when the check engine light comes on?
I am not sure how many rpms my engine is going; I do not have a rpm gauge at all. I will check for air leaks as much as I can before I go to work tomorrow.

 
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09-28-04, 08:28 PM   #8  
dallyman
Posted By: davo If you could decide if the temp light is on or not while the vehicle is running it may help.Have you checked the coolant level in the radiator not the bottle?
I know the light turns on when I start the car as normal, and it did turn on when I tried repeatedly to start the engine. I will check the level in the radiator itself. I do know it is due for a flush though.

Posted By: davo You can check the codes yourself
I will try to make time to check the codes myself tomorrow. If not, I will do this on Thursday since I have the day off. I luckily have three days off work starting Thursday so I will have plenty of time to try to solve the problem with your help to diagnose the situation.

 
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09-28-04, 09:27 PM   #9  
What I was trying to ask is, does the check engine light come on only after the engine has died down, or does the check engine light come on before, or at the same time, the engine starts to sputter?

Sorry I wasn't clear on the question. I was trying to find out if you were having something go wrong with the check engine light condition that made the engine start to stall or if the dying down engine caused the light to come on.

Anyway, check the codes and post them when you get a chance.

Does anyone here know if it would be normal for the light to come on just before the engine dies? I assume that if there is some misfiring it would come on.

 
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09-28-04, 09:48 PM   #10  
dallyman
Posted By: jeff67 What I was trying to ask is, does the check engine light come on only after the engine has died down, or does the check engine light come on before, or at the same time, the engine starts to sputter?
No problem. It only comes on as the car is stalling (sputtering). It does not come on before at all, just when the engine has killed. Sometimes I can give it a little gas and it will turn off as the engine resumes consciousness.

I would assume this is because the engine stalled and not to tell me to service my engine. I say this because that light will stay on indefinitely if I turn the key to on, yet do not turn over the engine.



Last edited by dallyman; 09-28-04 at 09:56 PM. Reason: Added some more information.
 
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10-01-04, 08:39 PM   #11  
dallyman
codes not working

The codes are coming clean for me right now. I just bought a fuel filter. I thought that even if it is not the problem, it is only a $7 improvement anyways.

I am guessing I am not getting any negative codes because the check engine light only is coming on because the car is stalling. As I stated in the last message, if I turn the car to on (with out turning on the engine), the SES light keeps lit.

I have checked the coolant levels in the radiator, and it seems fine. I also did my best to check the airlines, but I do not see any problems. I have no idea when the fuel filter has been changed last (If it ever has been), so I am going on a hunch that it is that. I am making this decision because it stalls only while slowing down or driving in town.

Since I am strapped for cash for a Chilton manual, I am wondering where the fuel filter is on my vehicle and what should I do exactly to change it. I have heard that my car is ridiculously easy to fix, so I am guessing I can do it myself.

 
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10-02-04, 04:03 AM   #12  
Is the car only stalling as u come to a stop? And then start right up but stall immediatley if you put it in drive?
YOu should check for codes any way, take a paper clip, refashion it into a u-shaped jumper, and jumper between terminals a and b, which are beside each other in the corner of the data link connector, which is above your shins, mounted to the under side of the dash. Then turn the key on and watch the flash codes as described earlier......

 
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10-13-04, 07:54 PM   #13  
dallyman
Found Problem

After some work, I found the problem.

I could not get the codes to give me any errors. I think it is because my Check Engine light only light after the car stalled and that would occur regardless of the situation (the light stays lit if i turn the car to on, and do not turn it over)

I tried my own routine maintenance and changed the spark plugs, the spark plug wires, and the oxygen sensor. While the car ran much better, it still would stall after the car warmed up. At that moment, I concluded that it could not possibly be the fuel filter or pump because the engine would run perfectly until it would stall.

I gave up and took it in for diagnostics. They could not get a reading with the computer either, so they had to check by trial and error.

The problem was a faulty ignition modulator and crankshaft sensor. At least only 100$ in parts; unfortunately it is in a location that I cannot fix myself, but I can have it installed for 120$ (labor).

 
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10-13-04, 09:03 PM   #14  
You did the right thing. When you can't find the problem yourself, its best to take the vehicle to a pro with the experience, the test equipment, the right tools and a hydraulic lift for when you need to be under the car. You could have easily spent more than $100 or $200 replacing parts and still not solved the problem. Let us know the final outcome when you have it fixed.

 
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