Question about 1998 Pontiac Sunfire

2 Answers

I have a 98 Sunfire and it wont start?

My sunfire was running really good, then one day i shut it off and it wouldn't start again. The original starter was stolen from me, ( I don't exactly know which one it was and how many shims where there) so I got a brand new starter, at the auto store they said it was the right one based on my VIN. Now that it is in there we get a metal on metal grinding sound when we try to start it, and it wont start. We have tried more shims and less shims, nothing works. I have read on here that this can be from the fusible link, the anti theft feature or a faulty ignition switch. I was wondering has anybody else had this problem.

Posted by sunfire89 on


2 Answers


  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.

  • Contributor
  • 1 Answer

Last year, on my 96 sunfire, I bought a reman starter from O'reilly auto parts. the starter was a little smaller than the OEM starter I replaced it with. The thing would cause a metal grinding sound. It's the starter gear teeth rubbing off the flywheel gear teeth which is bad!!! I took it off and returned it back O'reillys. I bought an OEM reman starter from a GM dealership, used no shims, and the starter fit perfectly. I haven't had a problem since. Sad to say, if you ran that starter for along time with the metal grinding noise, you could have messed up the flywheel teeth. then the starter doesn't have a flywheel to turn the crankshaft to start your engine. The only way to know for sure is to take the starter off. Stick a digital camera in there to take picture of the flywheel teeth. then turn the crankshaft by hand with a wrench. continue to take pictures to see if you have any missing flywheel teeth.
That's what I did.
See how my flywheel teeth got scuffed up by using a starter from the auto chains! This has happened to me on two different vehicles. Same reason, those lifetime starters at the auto chains are junk. See the flywheel teeth in the pic. I'm glad I caught it in time. if there are pieces of teeth missing from your flywheel, your going to have starter problems.

Posted on Jun 09, 2009



  • Level 3:

    An expert who has achieved level 3 by getting 1000 points


    An expert that got 10 achievements.


    An expert that got 5 achievements.


    An expert whose answer got voted for 500 times.

  • Master
  • 957 Answers

Sorry about the theft, I know the feeling. You may want to take the starter back out and bench test it, Find out if it was assembled correctly (meaning is the pinion gear throwing out far enough) take a measurement from the pinion gear to the flange and compare it to the distance from the flywheel to the case. It is possible the starter is wrong too. Take a look at the face of the pinion gear and flywheel and see if the gear might be the wrong size.

Posted on Jun 01, 2009


Add Your Answer

Uploading: 0%


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



Related Questions:

1 Answer

My 2001 sunfire starts fine.but after i drive for about half hour it will stall and wnt start again for half hour.the oil light stays on when this happens.wassup with this?

This happened with my Sunfire. It was the radiator. The engine wasn't cooling, but the sensor wasn't showing that it was overheating. So the engine would start when it was cool, but as soon as it got hot, then if I stopped it wouldn't start again.

Apr 14, 2012 | 2001 Pontiac Sunfire

1 Answer

98 pontiac sunfire turns over but wont stay runing

When was last healthy tune up? Plugs, wires, all fluids & filters??? Especially fuel filter? I'd start there and run a good fuel system cleaner through it.

Mar 19, 2011 | 1998 Pontiac Sunfire

1 Answer

02 pontiac sunfire, wont stay running!

have you checked your timing?sometimes it jumps.

May 29, 2010 | 2002 Pontiac Sunfire

1 Answer

Looking to do a motor swap in a 98 sunfire...what motors fit?

It is true, you can only put another 98 2.2 liter in it. They did come with a 2.4 liter but you have to swap the motor, transmission, wiring harness, computer, and God knows what else. I would go with the 2.2 liter and check into some performance aftermarket parts for the 2.2, computer chip, performance exhaust and so on, somewhere like Summit Racing.

May 23, 2010 | 1997 Pontiac Sunfire

2 Answers

98 sunfire wont start, battery good, replaced starter solnoid, starter, ignition.. please help

if you had the starter recall done, there is a relay mounted near the center of the radiator that controls start power. Pontiac dealer sells the part.

Oct 27, 2009 | 1996 Pontiac Sunfire

1 Answer

1999 Pontiac Sunfire ignition lock cylinder changed but car has anti theft and car wont start. How can I get it to start?

try turning the ignition on try to start then without shutting key off wait 10 mins then shut key off then back on but do not try starting leave on for ten mins then back off turn key back on to run but do not try starting it wait ten mins then if it reset it should crank over and start if not repeat all steps again

Sep 19, 2009 | 1999 Pontiac Sunfire

1 Answer

98 pontiac sunfire starts then in a second shuts off

first of all lights on dashbord should come on no matter security or pass key deterant is in .better check "ignition switch".

Sep 16, 2009 | 1998 Pontiac Sunfire

2 Answers

98 pontiac Sunfire shuts self off

You might not need a tumble, the sys is controled by the key, and transponder, and the ecm. Most auto locks smiths can come out and check the system, might just need a key re-programed

Nov 14, 2008 | 2005 Pontiac Sunfire

Not finding what you are looking for?
1998 Pontiac Sunfire Logo

543 people viewed this question

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Pontiac Experts


Level 3 Expert

85239 Answers

Colin Stickland
Colin Stickland

Level 3 Expert

22485 Answers

Jeffrey Turcotte
Jeffrey Turcotte

Level 3 Expert

8984 Answers

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

Answer questions

Manuals & User Guides