Question about 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix

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Charging system failure pops up and it idles up and down like it wants to either die or take off fast. What could be causing this?

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Does the check enginge light stay on

Posted on Nov 15, 2010

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1988 Suburban with 5.7 TBI runs fine until warms up. Goes to fast idle and when it comes off fast idles won't start back until cools down.


Lets start at the beginning. Is the check engine light on ?
You have an idle air control valve which could be sticking open or shorted to ground. You should be able to unplug it to test. There also could be a gasket or hose that is opening up and causing a huge vac leak.

Aug 06, 2014 | 1988 Chevrolet K1500

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What could cause up and down idle on 1988 Bronco II


Check for vacuum leaks & if you find none,
have the entire vehicle smoke tested for leaks

You have unmetered air coming from somewhere

Mar 09, 2013 | 1988 Ford Bronco II

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Idle fluctuates on 1995 f250, sometimes dies, sometimes revs, no apparent vaccum issues, IAC with scan tool reads low voltage issue. Could this be vaccum, charging system, faulty computer? Problem is...


Engine stalls cold or RPM fluctuates at idle up and down or dies near idle.

This problem is commonly caused by a dirty automatic idle speed control valve and throttle valve but always run a OBD2 fault code as well as the cleaning procedure. Buy a can of throttle valve cleaner (do not use carburetor spray cleaner!) from NAPA or Carquest (made by CRC chemicals) and spray it into the air intake while the engine is running, use up about 1/2 the can, engine will try to stall hold the speed up, shut it down and let it soak for 30 minutes, restart and blow out the remaining fluid, shut it down and disconnect the negative battery cable for 5 Min's to reset the base idle control. If the above cleaning doesn't cure your issues you need to have the computer controlled automatic idle speed control system diagnosed and repaired by a dealer or electronic engine control repair shop.

Nov 08, 2012 | 1995 Ford F250

2 Answers

Battery light comes on and car dies


The battery light comes on to tell you there is a problem with the charging system. If the light comes on while you are driving than you need to check voltage at the battery. It should be more than 14 volts. If its more like 12.5 or less than the alternator is likely the problem.

If the battery light comes on after it dies, that is normal. You will need to figure out if its a fuel issue or a spark issue that is causing the vehicle to stall.

Mar 14, 2012 | 1994 GMC Suburban

1 Answer

Dome light started staying on, then the headlights dimmed and car died. 99 Pontiac sunfire


It sounds like charging system failure to me. Most likely a bad alternator. The entire charging system needs to be checked including the battery, the battery cables and connections and the alternator and alternator circuits.

Just to help you understand.....the reason your dome lamps started coming on is because they are controlled by the Body Control Module (BCM) (AKA Body Computer) The body computer did not have enough power going to it to function properly and this is what caused your dome lamps to come on (Computers do all kinds of WIERD things when they start getting delirious from malnutrition).
Then as the charging system voltage got even lower, this is what caused the headlamps to go dim. Finally, the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) (AKA Engine Computer) did not have enough power to function proerly and this caused your engine to shut down.

Diagnose and repair the charging system problem and all should start working properly again.

Nov 29, 2011 | 1999 Pontiac Sunfire

2 Answers

Start the car and it iddles fast and than slow as it does this it smokes out of the tail pipe and than dies.


you have water in gas your going to have to drop gas tank and clean or you can try gas cleaner maybe that will fix the problem.

Feb 14, 2011 | 1999 Audi A4

1 Answer

2000 Durango SLT 5.9Ltr. Will start but idles high, around 7000-7500. All dash lights come on and stay on for a while. Voltage gage drops to below charge range and then all of dash dies and Durango starts...


well the fast idle is 1 of 2 things, Either the throttle is stuck? or a super nasty vacume leak, Check all hoses carefully, if that proves good check intake leak. Something is allowing tremendous vacume into engine causing this high idle, The charging system is a whole nother story

Jun 17, 2010 | 2000 Dodge Durango

1 Answer

CAR IS NOT CHARNGING THE BATTERY BUT WHEN I DISCONNECT THE BATTERY WHILE RUNNING, THE BATTERY CABLES SHOW 14V. AND WHEN I CONNECT IT BACK, THE CABLES JUST SHOW BATTERY VOLTAGE AND IT IS GOING DOWN. WHAT IS...


You problem could be one of two thing a charging problem or a battery dying. yes you can get the voltage but not get the amperage to charge a battery. Do the lights dim at idle and brighten as you accelerate? Does the car continue to run but the battery goes down after sitting for a while? DO NOT DISCONNECT THE battery cables with the vehicle running as this can result in damage to the charging and other systems. Here are things i look for (1) does the car start on it owns without a jump? (2) does the vehicle idle smooth? A dying battery uses more charging load on the alternator and can result in rough idle and poor performance and gas mileage. (3) this is an odd one but but has helped int he past, does the battery smell like rotten eggs? When a battery is dying it can stink when it is getting a charge from the alternator. To be sure go to your local auto parts store for a free battery and charging check. Takes few minutes and no cost. Hope this helps.

Mar 05, 2010 | 1988 Mazda MX-6

1 Answer

My Jetta is not a TDI....My car is dying when I come to a stop. It will start right back up. It also shows the battery warning light. Would this be the battery or alternator?


It is possible.

When at idle the RPMs drop as the engine slows. This results in the alternator slowing. If it is failing or you have a problem with the charging system it can cause the car to die.

Usually however with a charge failure it will not start back again easily.

Try checking under full load. Run all electrical systems radio, heater, lights etc at idle. If you see the lights start to fade and the engine dies it is likely the charging system.

Most likely the alternator or part of the regulating system.

You can have the alternator tested or you can do it yourself.

Connect at voltage tester to the terminals on the alternator. Run the engine and measure the output. It should read as per the indications on the alternator. There is a sticker on the alternator telling you the output.


Start there.

Hope this helped. Please rate if this helps you.

Oct 19, 2009 | 2001 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

1 Answer

Idle fluctuates


Its could be a few things. Most likely cause is you IAC (Idle air control valve) If this valve gets clogged up with carbon it will cause a idle surge on cold starts like you are describing.

Next your FITV (fast idle thermal valve). When the hot wax inside of this valve starts to wear it will cause a idle surge on cold starts.

Dec 13, 2008 | 1997 Acura CL

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