Rough idle causes stalling

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  #1  
Old 04-02-07, 07:00 PM
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Rough idle causes stalling

'97 Grand Am SE 4Cyl 2.4L 4-door 85,000 miles:

I just bought this car a few days ago for $900, and I thought I was getting a good deal because the body and engine seemed decent. When I test drove it the only problem I noticed was that the instrument cluster was inop. Every light is stuck on, none of the guages work, but the odometer does work.

The day after I bought it there was what I thought a major tranny slip, so I put some Lucas Trans Fix in, no go. Put new plugs in, no go. Every single time when I accelerate from a stop or park I get some major sputtering and misfiring, but then it catches and is fine until I get around what I think is 60-70mph (speedometer is inop) and it sputters/misfires some more. Once I'm driving for 15 minutes+ and come to a stoplight, the car idles really low/really rough and will shutoff. It does start right back up, but I just have to crank the ignition a little longer than normal. Now when I come to a stop I put it in neutral and do a brake stand to prevent it from shutting off, but it still sputters when I start to accelerate. Is there a dial somewhere that regulates how much gas the engine gets while idling? Would notching that up help?

I took it to the local GM dealership to get diagnostics done, and all that showed up was:
P0300 Misfire, P0335 Crankshaft Sensor, and P0341 Camshaft Sensor. They said to replace those sensors I'm already up to $220 and that wouldn't guarantee a fix, not to mention the cluster problem they said would cost $300+, so I paid the $80 diag fee and left. At autozone the cam and crank sensors are $19 each. I called a junkyard and they told me $30 for the cluster, but they said that it could just be bad wiring or a ground.

Now I do have a buddy who will put all 3 of those in for "50% of what a shop charges." For you mechanics out there, about how much is that? He is somewhat of a rookie mechanic, but he can do it if he knows exactly what to replace. Is there anything specific I can tell him to look for regarding fuses or the wiring and grounds behind the cluster so I don't have to drop that $30? Neither of us really know much about electrical problems, but is that rather simple?

Sorry for the long post, but I just don't want to spend hundreds of dollars for nothing. Is there anything else it could be? I saw a post on another forum that was similar to my problem and a new EGR valve and vacuum hose fixed it. I really don't want to replace hundreds of dollars worth of stuff if I don't have to.

I think the dealership's diagnostics were a ripoff. They didn't even look into the cluster problem, they just told me to replace it. I think I'll try Autozone's free diagnostics. If something comes up I'll post it shortly.
 
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  #2  
Old 04-03-07, 05:15 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Near Philly
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Try Autozone.com and look for repair area. You can put your car particulars in and it will likely tell you how to repair.
My guess is that these replacements are not that hard if you've some basic skills and tools. What have you to lose at this point? A tow charge to a shop or pay the "friend" to finish it up for you. Good luck!
 
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