Question about 1997 Pontiac Sunfire
Engine starts but stops after short idle time
There can be several reasons, I am afraid without more information it is going to be hard to narrow it down,
start with a tune-up. spark plugs, wires, and a new PCV will help find the issue, also do not opt for the cheapest parts here, autolite AP104 plugs and at least middle priced wires will be your best bet since it will last you quite a long time if done right and if the parts are good quality you won't hve to worry about them causing other issues
next look for unplugged or broken vacuum lines, it may take quite some effort to look at each line but patience will help
if that does not find the problem then you are going to want to start with the electrical, look for unplugged sensors and corroded wires, is there a check engine light on? if so try to get a OBDII scanner (some parts stores loan them for free) and see what codes are coming up
I hope this helps
Posted on Oct 06, 2008
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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STARTING / IDLING PROBLEMS / MISSING
Your problem may be one of the following:
First check or just replace the fuel filter. Usually located under the car in front of the rear axle, drivers side.
Next, the fuel pump may be worn out. Usually they just stop working (running).
Next, check the fuel pressure regulator. Usually located on the front fuel rail, drivers side.
Is the vacuum line attached? Not leaking or rotted?
Also, do you smell a strong fuel odor when it won't start? May be one or more stuck-open injectors, or the coil pack is bad.
Checking these in the order listed will more than likely fix your problem.
The clicking noise indicates the battery can no longer run the starter, which also means the fuel pump won't run either.
It could be a fuel issue. How old is the fuel filter? Can you hear the pump run for a few seconds when you turn the key on? Try turning the key to ON without trying to start engine three times waiting for the pump to stop running each time. Then try to start the engine. If it starts, Its a form of Vapor lock caused by the extreme heat we have had lately. VAPOR LOCK
If none of this works, try a new fuel filter first. From there have someone check the fuel pressure regulator and then the pump. If you are in need of a new pump, take my word for it and spend the money to get one from FORD, and not from your favorite parts store. Most parts store parts are made in China and they are JUNK.
Have you hooked a scanner to the computer and checked the oxygen sensor(s)? If they are bad they could lean out the engine.
Check the following:
Cooling system working properly including fans.
Under hood fuel lines touching coolant or heater hoses.
Fuel lines under vehicle close to or not shielded from exhaust pipe, converter, muffler. Fuel lines pinched or crushed.
Fuel filter changed recently.
Fuel pump pressure.
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