Question about 1991 Pontiac Sunbird

1 Answer

Shifting problems/trouble starting cold

Sometimes when I first try to start my car I have to either give it some gas or put it is neutral and give it some gas. When the car first starts up it revs really high and usually eventually dies down, but not always. Sometimes if I let my foot off the gas it will die (while still in park or neautral while first starting.) The motor also shakes violently when first starting and especially if I put it in reverse and start to back up right after starting the vechical.
It also revs very high before shifting gears. The car only has drive (no overdrive.) The first time the high revs are obvious is around 35mph before it shifts. The next and most annoying time is when it nears 50mph. The revs get progressively worse until it shifts at 65mph. It had been giving me problems shifting into its last gears for a long time, but it never reved this high before shifting before.
I don't know how much it is related but the motor has been ticking ever since the timing belt went out and was replace several years ago. I'm pretty sure the ticking is coming from the top of the motor.
I have some ideas of what might be causing the problems, but would appreciate any advise anyone has. Also for the last few months the check engine light has been coming on and then turning off after 10 or so seconds (especially while driving in stop and go traffic of town, but not always.) I'm sure a diagnostic computer might be able to tell me what the problem is, but I can't afford to do the test and fix the problem, probably just one or the other. There are probably more symptoms, but those are the main issues

Posted by on


1 Answer

  • Level 2:

    An expert who has achieved level 2 by getting 100 points


    An expert that got 5 achievements.

    Vice President:

    An expert whose answer got voted for 100 times.


    An expert that has over 500 points.

  • Expert
  • 366 Answers

Theres many things that can be the cause,instead of having people tell you to try this and that,change this and that,scan codes it will point you at problem area and start from there

Posted on Mar 02, 2009


1 Suggested Answer

  • 2 Answers

SOURCE: I have freestanding Series 8 dishwasher. Lately during the filling cycle water hammer is occurring. How can this be resolved

a 6ya Mechanic can help you resolve that issue over the phone in a minute or two.
Best thing about this new service is that you are never placed on hold and get to talk to real repair professionals here in the US.
click here to Talk to a Mechanic (only for users in the US for now) and get all the help you need.

Posted on Jan 02, 2017


Add Your Answer

Uploading: 0%


Complete. Click "Add" to insert your video. Add



Related Questions:

1 Answer

2004 nissan frontier intermittent starting problem with shift lock

Shift lock is just a safety feature, so you have your foot on the brake, when you put it in gear. It has nothing to do with starting the car. Intermittent starting problems can be a few different things. Ignition switch, park/neutral safety switch, wiring, and corrosion. If it clicks when trying to start, it cold be loose/corroded battery cables or a bad battery.

Feb 19, 2015 | 2004 Nissan Frontier XE

1 Answer

I have a 98 Ford Explorer, sometimes it gives me trouble to go into park. The shifter is very hard to shift into any gear. I have to put my truck sometimes into neutral to start it.

sounds like you have a bad shifter cable. its not to bad of a job to replace if you have some mechanical experience. then again you may want to take it to a repair shop, because its easier done with a lift handy

Sep 08, 2013 | 1998 Ford Explorer

1 Answer

It starts and runs good when cold but after it warms up it dies and sometimes wont run right until cold again

Try putting your car in neutral, and then start it. Once it starts, put it in park, once you hear the engine start to choke out, rev the gas pedal, and see if it stays on. I used to have this problem with my '95 Ford Contour, I forget what the problem was. But, until you solve it, this may be your only solution lol. Maybe EGR Valve could be bad?

Mar 25, 2012 | 1992 GMC Sonoma

1 Answer

1998 Mazda B4000 truck wont start sometimes

When you say it won't start, do you have any power at all, does the radio play? Does it click or make a noise of any kind? Is it a cold non start or a warmed up non start? There are a lot of factors to consider in a non start. I still have an occasional cold non start, with full power to my lights, radio, etc. Don't want to make myself sound dumb, but for me it was gear shift (controller). Not really the safety neutral switch, but put it in neutral or move the gear lever and my car would start right away. Chances are while waiting to let it start up you have hit the handle a few times and maybe knocked into position to let it start. If this isn't your problem more info is needed.

Dec 05, 2011 | 1998 Mazda B-Series

1 Answer

I have a 92 svx with a starting problem with the starter . i put new batt,pos,neg ,wires and 3 new starters . when i try to start the car the siliniod starts clicking than the car will start sometimes fist...

Shift it into neutral and try. If it starts, the neutral safety switch needs to be adjusted. Some have made a starter bypass mode using a relay feeding the started directly from the battery. Check out

Mar 20, 2011 | 1992 Subaru SVX

1 Answer

SC2 car cranks and starts sometimes.put new plugs and wires and noticed oil on the 3 and 4 plug. Car once started with some starting flluid runs fine. and will restart. weather is getting cooler 20 degrees...

A common problem with the 90's engines was the ECTS (electronic coolant temperature sensor) going bad. Seems when attempting to start the car, the computer in the car will only allow enough gas it thinks is needed to start. When a car is cold, the computer gives more gas initially, until the engine warms up, then gives less gas. When starting a warm engine, less gas is needed.

If the sensor goes bad, it always tells the computer that the engine is hot. The computer give less gas to a cold engine, and sometimes it will start, sometimes not. Its a pretty cheap part, and a do it yourself one, just research it a bit on line...good luck

Dec 23, 2010 | 1999 Saturn SC

1 Answer

Cold Start and TRanny issues.

A neutral park switch keeps you from activating the starter in drive or reverse. It also turns the reverse lights on. Its on top of the transmission at the end of the shift cable . If it does not turn over in park try it in neutral, Clean battery cables. Check fuel pressure. Is check engine light on?

Jul 01, 2009 | 1989 Buick Century

1 Answer

Key won't always start the car,

Sounds like safety neutral or brake switch, but if you tell him same as you told us, he should be able to figure it out without too much trouble.

May 17, 2009 | 2001 Pontiac Aztek

1 Answer

1998 pont. grand am auto trans problem intermitant

1st thing to do is have a test run for trouble codes, Kragen auto and others do this for free, post the codes back here and I will look at them and give you some idea of the possiable problem(s)

Nov 05, 2008 | 1998 Pontiac Grand Am

Not finding what you are looking for?
1991 Pontiac Sunbird Logo

218 people viewed this question

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Pontiac Experts


Level 3 Expert

77499 Answers

Colin Stickland
Colin Stickland

Level 3 Expert

22306 Answers

Jeffrey Turcotte
Jeffrey Turcotte

Level 3 Expert

8825 Answers

Are you a Pontiac Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Manuals & User Guides