Question about 2004 Pontiac Sunfire

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Car not running on all cylinders

Please help, I am so frustrated with this car! In Dec of 2007 my car died while driving it, it restarted but seemed like it wasnt running on all cylinders. Thought it was the spark plugs, took it to autozone had them test it, code came back for ECM engine control module that sits on top of the engine. Replaced this $120.00 part from NAPA car ran fine for almost a year. Dec of 2008 car died again while driving restarted same problem as before, ran test said ECM again. Since the part wasnt even a year old yet NAPA replaced. Car ran fine for a week did the same thing. NAPA replaced again. Then my o2 sensor went out, car sat in driveway until I could fix it, running fine with new ECM but car was only moved in and out of driveway not driven long distances, finally replaced o2 sensor yesterday I pushed down on the gas pedal car jerked and lost a lot of power but did not die. Same problem ECM went out, I looked at it it was not hot or anything. Any ideas on what could keep making this part blow out? Seems to happen when gas pedal is pushed hard and fast.

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  • Andreadrejo Mar 05, 2009

    Thanks for your response. No work has ever been done on the car before, just that ECM part being replaced numerous times (as replacing that part does make the car run agian just not for a long time or past aggressive driving) I will have a look at the things that you suggested and see what happens.....hopefully I will find the problem and be able to fix it. Again thanks.

  • andreahanaga May 11, 2010

    Ok so the oil and coolant were checked and they are clean, so it's not my head gasket. Another thing is that my cars engine is a 2.2L Ecotec it does not have wires per say it has spark plug boots, so being connected to the wrong spot isnt really possible. And as for the test to try to see which cylinder is misfiring, as I dont have spark plug wires I cant remove them one at a time, so now I am back at square one. Also a diagnostics test was redone and it came back that there was random misfiring. (uh we seem to have known that prior since the car is not running on all cylinders so that doesnt really help me much either) Does anybody have any other ideas???

  • shainaleemay Jan 11, 2013

    I'm having the same problem, did you ever get it fixed?

  • shainaleemay Jan 11, 2013

    I am having the exact same problem. did you ever get it figured out?

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The first thing that comes to mind is ignition system faults. Are the spark plug wires connected properly, in the right firing order? Has work been done on the distributer, or the engine head, recently? Ignition timing can be 180 degrees out, and the engine will still run, sometimes. If it is not the ignition system, the next most likely culprit is the head gasket, which seals the head to the block of the engine. If this gasket is breached seriously, it can cause a cylinder(s) not to fire. Is there water in the oil, as evidenced by a thick, white foam? Is there oil in the coolant? Either of these are symptoms of a leaking head gasket. 
Basically, one cylinder isnt firing for one of a number of reasons. The most common cause is an igntion fault. This will cause the engine to feel and sound "lumpy", and the power would be greatly reduced. The best way to find the cylinder which is responsible is quite simple but care must be taken. Firstly if you hate electric shocks as much as I do, find a proper pair of electricians insulated pliers, and even some decent rubber gloves if you can aswell. Start the engine, and one at a time, use the pliers to remove a lead from the top of one spark plug, if the engine almost stops, or gets worse in any way, it is not that piston which isnt firing. Repeat the proccess, one at a time, you will know which piston ISNT firing when you remove the plug lead, and there is no change in the engine sound, this is your defective cylinder. Its just a case then of looking at the condition of the spark plug and asessing the cause of the misfire before carrying out repairs. BEWARE:- THE LEADS WHICH CONNECT TO THE SPARK PLUGS CARRY SEVERAL THOUSANDS OF VOLTS - HENCE RUBBER GLOVES AND INSULATED PLIERS 

Posted on Mar 05, 2009

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