1997 GMC Sierra 1500 dies out out of the blue.


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Old 04-11-06, 05:22 AM
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1997 GMC Sierra 1500 dies out out of the blue.

The symptoms: Basically the only 'Huge' problem I really have is that I can be driving in the middle of the road going 30 mph and all of a suddden the engine dies out. Sometimes I just barely turn on the engine and it will turn off... There is no stalling, loss of power, it just flat shuts down. No sign of the engine over-heating, no sign of shortage of electrical current, No sign of overheating, the check engine light doesn't light up, and the truck turns right back on as soon as I can put it in parking and turn the key on again.

Previous Checks: I checked the fuel pump since I've had previous problems with it, but it seemed to be in good conditions (I replaced this pump once already). The fuel line seems good I get fuel up to the engine. The engine doesn't vibrate unusually so don't think it's the injectors that are failing and causing miss-fires. I see a good spark from every one of the spark plug cables so don't think that the distributor or the cables. The battery always shows a good charge besides the truck turns on right away.

Questions/Comments/Suggestions: <--- This section is for someone else to fill out... please feel free to suggest on the cause of this problem. I was thinking of opening up the manifold and checking the pressure regulator of the fuel, but if one of you has another suggestion (an easier fix suggestion) I'd rather try it first since doing what I previously suggested would take a bit of time. Thank you, hope to hear something soon.
 
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Old 04-11-06, 06:38 AM
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List of items that have been problematic on my wrecker (350 Chevy, some similar components) that have from time to time had to be replaced to fix stalling problems:

Fuel pump
Fuel filter
Ignition module
Rotor (they like to burn through)
Coil
Coolant temp sensor (for the computer, not the temp gage sender; this failure gave a check engine light, the other items do not)
 
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Old 04-11-06, 07:22 AM
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Well...

Would a burned rotor or one of those components (or which do you think is more probable to) still allow the truck to turn on and function for a good 20-25+ minutes before it flatly turns off? If so, why would it also cause it to turn off right off in less than a minute when I start the engine? (oh and I don't get a check engine light at all.)
 
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Old 04-11-06, 12:59 PM
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The most common in my case has been the fuel pump. Think I've changed mine about 4 times in the last 6 or 7 years and intermittent engine dying has usually been the symptom. Last time I had to change it (about 6 months ago), the engine stumbled a couple of times and then quit. Would not restart.

Of those components, the rotor and fuel filter are cheap; the others are a little pricier. Bit of a crap shoot. When a fuel pump dies completely, as above, it's pretty easy to diagnose. Intermittent engine dying is a little tougher to narrow down.
 
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Old 04-11-06, 01:04 PM
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Had a similar problem once on a Chrysler. ran great for a while then died for no apparent reason. Had to sit for hours before it would restart. Turned out to be the fuel pump.
 
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Old 04-12-06, 12:11 AM
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most likely electrical

'92 gmc suburban just died on me on the freeway months ago, it turned out to be bad ecm, cheap and easy to replace, electrical parts are really hard to diagnose and dont usually have a pattern of failure, had the same experience with my wife's 2000 suburban weeks ago, bank # 2 misfire on and off due to deffective coil pack, really hard to diagnose even when scanner because it wouldn't misfire all the time.
Replaced coil pack on cylinder 2 ,problem solved.
( no distributor on these, they use 8 coil packs )

replace ecm and go from there.
 
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Old 04-12-06, 11:36 PM
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just a thought

very possible your (ECM) is going bad. one way to test this theory is called a wack test. next time vehichle dies use the handle of a large screw driver and wack the kick panel on the passenger side just in front of where the door hinges would be this should be done in the iterior of the vehichle as u are trying to start it....>>>>i have a gm and replaced every electronic part in the ignition system until a gm ase tech gave me this idea. sounds backwoods but found and solved the prob with 10.00 after about 250.00 in electonic parts. also there where times i had to hold the key in the start possition and wack it and it would fire up drove for about six more months like this before having to replace (ECM) JUST TRY IT!! also please pm me to let me know if this helped GOOD LUCK
 
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Old 04-15-06, 12:06 AM
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one problem part not listed by n e 1

Originally Posted by mezman001
very possible your (ECM) is going bad. one way to test this theory is called a wack test. next time vehichle dies use the handle of a large screw driver and wack the kick panel on the passenger side just in front of where the door hinges would be this should be done in the iterior of the vehichle as u are trying to start it....>>>>i have a gm and replaced every electronic part in the ignition system until a gm ase tech gave me this idea. sounds backwoods but found and solved the prob with 10.00 after about 250.00 in electonic parts. also there where times i had to hold the key in the start possition and wack it and it would fire up drove for about six more months like this before having to replace (ECM) JUST TRY IT!! also please pm me to let me know if this helped GOOD LUCK

WE all forgot to mention the capacitor it is in the distributor . once removing the cap the capacitor is the silver cylinder about 2" long looks like a short metal tube of chapstick they are a couple of bucks and can cause failure to fire. most of the time it is after this item gets hot that it starts to malfunction but not always heat related this part is like a thermostat in the car you can go through 2 or 3 b4 u get a good 1
 
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Old 04-15-06, 04:24 AM
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Doubtful it's the ecm. I'm thinking more in the lines of an ignition switch, or possible fuel related, maybe regulator or pump.
Connect a voltmeter to something ignition switch fed, such as the ignition coil, and drive it until it fails. If it still has 12-14 volts when it fails, it's not the ignition switch.
 
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Old 04-16-06, 05:56 AM
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Kicking the passenger side panel won't do a darn thing . The computer is under the hood. His year is 97, reading is fundamental and you failed that portion.

Nice edit job... mod

Originally Posted by mezman001
very possible your (ECM) is going bad. one way to test this theory is called a wack test. next time vehichle dies use the handle of a large screw driver and wack the kick panel on the passenger side just in front of where the door hinges would be this should be done in the iterior of the vehichle as u are trying to start it
 

Last edited by majakdragon; 04-17-06 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 04-16-06, 06:39 PM
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Sorry I hadn't replied...

Well let me get you all up to date, first of all.. I checked the fuel regulator and there's no aparant physical damage or deffect (it is pretty new as well since it was replaced about a year and a half ago), changed the distributor rotor, that was not the problem. Next I changed the ignition module... no such luck there either. Finally I have changed the ignition coil and still.. not problem. I really am begining to wonder if it is some kind of electrical problem since I had been having some trouble with the electrical switch ( that operates the signal lights and the windshield wiper ). I'm wondering if it is causing some sort of short circuit and thus dying out. The problem really has worsened since a while ago though, since I can't really drive it anymore due to it cutting off soon after I turn it on. As soon as I turn it on and I do not rev up the engine, it will tend to turn off faster than if I do rev up the engine (both will end in turning off the engine pretty soon though). I aslo wonder a bit more about the fuel pump... but I can turn on the truck immidiately after it turns off, and there is no struggle for the truck to keep on, it just dies even if I'm reving up a bit so it makes me at the same time believe it's not the pump. Well, anymore suggestions are very appreciated.

PS: also about the ECM, what really are the chances that this could malfuction in this manner? I really wouldn't hate to guess.. out of the blue and keep spending money on parts that make no sense to buy and try. Well, thanks again.
 
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Old 04-17-06, 07:54 AM
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Put a fuel pressure guage on it for a cold start and see if you lose fuel pressure when the engine stumbles. I am not sure where the relay for the pump is unless under the hood in the relay center just aft of the computer. It almost sounds like a relay acting up.

Relays are difficult to troubleshoot, especially when intermittent. Good Luck.





Originally Posted by YcomoDigoYo
Well let me get you all up to date, first of all.. I checked the fuel regulator and there's no aparant physical damage or deffect (it is pretty new as well since it was replaced about a year and a half ago), changed the distributor rotor, that was not the problem. Next I changed the ignition module... no such luck there either. Finally I have changed the ignition coil and still.. not problem. I really am begining to wonder if it is some kind of electrical problem since I had been having some trouble with the electrical switch ( that operates the signal lights and the windshield wiper ). I'm wondering if it is causing some sort of short circuit and thus dying out. The problem really has worsened since a while ago though, since I can't really drive it anymore due to it cutting off soon after I turn it on. As soon as I turn it on and I do not rev up the engine, it will tend to turn off faster than if I do rev up the engine (both will end in turning off the engine pretty soon though). I aslo wonder a bit more about the fuel pump... but I can turn on the truck immidiately after it turns off, and there is no struggle for the truck to keep on, it just dies even if I'm reving up a bit so it makes me at the same time believe it's not the pump. Well, anymore suggestions are very appreciated.

PS: also about the ECM, what really are the chances that this could malfuction in this manner? I really wouldn't hate to guess.. out of the blue and keep spending money on parts that make no sense to buy and try. Well, thanks again.
 
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Old 04-17-06, 01:12 PM
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Well I already explained how to check for a failed ignition switch, but let me back up a second. I'll go on if you reply that you have a voltmeter with alligator clip ends in it, and that you know how to use it.
 
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Old 04-17-06, 09:47 PM
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Problem Solved!!!

Well... fortunately I saved a good bundle either way on the electronical parts that I purchased since my friend works at my local auto parts store, so I got a good discount. Total amount spent was about $130 and well.. here's what I did at a final attempt. I put my ear just to the hose where you pump fuel into the tank and had someone turn on the key to the ignition... the pump sounded great at start. Right before the engine turned off... I heard that it was slowly, but surely giving up and realized, this is going to be the problem. Fortunately I had just purchased a fuel pump not to long ago and it was still under life-time warranty and I got another free of charge. Changed that up really quick, fired her up and problem solved. I know you'll think (duh! you retard!) But this problem really gave me way different symptoms than previous occasions that the fuel pump had problems. (despite that, the pump was really the first thing I checked and it checked out pretty good but I guess it isn't always the same in these malfunctions.) Well, as for anyone that has this problem, listen in to the fuel pump as it works and it sure will save a lot of time and money ;-). Thanks to everyone that commented and gave suggestions, it is greatly appreciated (always) and hopefully we can all learn a bit more and more by reading these threads in the forum. Thanks!!!

Edgar Gomez
your ordinary troubled with automotive repair guy.
 
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Old 04-17-06, 10:12 PM
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Good deal!!

Originally Posted by YcomoDigoYo
Well... fortunately I saved a good bundle either way on the electronical parts that I purchased since my friend works at my local auto parts store, so I got a good discount. Total amount spent was about $130 and well.. here's what I did at a final attempt. I put my ear just to the hose where you pump fuel into the tank and had someone turn on the key to the ignition... the pump sounded great at start. Right before the engine turned off... I heard that it was slowly, but surely giving up and realized, this is going to be the problem. Fortunately I had just purchased a fuel pump not to long ago and it was still under life-time warranty and I got another free of charge. Changed that up really quick, fired her up and problem solved. I know you'll think (duh! you retard!) But this problem really gave me way different symptoms than previous occasions that the fuel pump had problems. (despite that, the pump was really the first thing I checked and it checked out pretty good but I guess it isn't always the same in these malfunctions.) Well, as for anyone that has this problem, listen in to the fuel pump as it works and it sure will save a lot of time and money ;-). Thanks to everyone that commented and gave suggestions, it is greatly appreciated (always) and hopefully we can all learn a bit more and more by reading these threads in the forum. Thanks!!!

Edgar Gomez
your ordinary troubled with automotive repair guy.
 
 

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