1980 Chevy Camaro Car shuts off, turns back on while drivin

Tiny
WHITE80Z
  • MEMBER
  • 1980 CHEVROLET CAMARO
  • V8
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 185,000 MILES
Hello. I have a 1980 Camaro Z28 350 auto. I drive it about twice a week. Maybe 40 miles a week.

I'm going to be as detailed as possible. Sorry if it hurts your eyes!

About 5 months ago, it started shutting off and turning back on while driving. The headlights and electrical stuff stay on, but the engine shuts off. It seems to only do it after it has warmed up.

Five months ago I replaced the ignition coil ($20 cheapo from Autozone), cap and rotor (MSD). This fixed the problem. Until about a week ago.

I replaced the ignition module ($20 autozone), and its still doing it. My question is, what else could it be?

I found an entire hi-performance 65,000 volt Distributor that includes coil, upgraded module, pickup, cap, rotor, shaft, and gear on ebay (gr8hotrods) for only $53. In your opinion, would it make sense to purchase it?

I should also bring up that I have noticed sometimes at night the voltmeter reads significantly lower than usual, and the dash lights are slightly dim. Then all of a sudden it will jump back up to normal and the lights will get brighter. Could this be related? Could a bad ALTERNATOR be making it shut off?

Thanks for your input and your site. I'm a student on a budget, and I'm trying to do this stuff myself and spend the least amount of $$$ possible, so it really helps.

Thanks again,
Patrick
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Monday, September 28th, 2009 AT 9:09 PM

12 Replies

Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
Hi there white80z and TY for the donation this is what keeps the site going.

Lets try this:

Get the alternator output tested if okay do this use a jumper wire connect it to the coil's positive terminal and the other end to the battery positive post-what am doing here is trying to eliminate the ignition switch as the problem -start the vehicle and observe closely

BTW at any time prior to or after the problem do you see the oil flickers?
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Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 AT 1:56 AM
Tiny
WHITE80Z
  • MEMBER
Hi!
Thanks for responding so quickly!

I'll try what you said, but I probably won't be able to until this weekend (exams this week!).

I was wondering what you mean by "oil flickers"? Are you talking about the oil light? The oil light is on constantly for some reason. I replaced the oil sensor and it didn't fix it. Sometimes the oil light doesn't come on at all, even when you turn the ignition to on (when it's supposed to be on). But most of the time, it is on all the time even while running.

I'm pretty sure its not an oil pressure problem. The heads were rebuilt and the rings redone/cylinders honed about 20K miles ago.

Thanks I'll get back to you when I do that test!
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Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 AT 5:52 PM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
The oil pressure sending unit powers the fuel pump when the engine fires up. Do this when the engine starts wait for a few minutes then remove the fuel pump relay if the engine dies the oil pressure sending unit is defective or you have an oil pressure problem.

It takes about 4psi to close the oil pressure switch to power the fuel pump.
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Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 AT 6:18 AM
Tiny
WHITE80Z
  • MEMBER
Actually my car is the old 70's bodystyle. It doesn't have an electric fuel pump, it's mechanical. Probably should have told you that. It doesn't even have a computer.

I think my oil light problem is the connector, because I replaced the sending unit and it didn't make a difference. Anyhow I'm not too worried about that. I'm more concerned with the igniition stuff. The light has been on for a year, and the car runs perfect.
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Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 AT 8:34 PM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
The light has been on for a year, and the car runs perfect. What light is this?
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Thursday, October 1st, 2009 AT 11:31 AM
Tiny
WHITE80Z
  • MEMBER
I'm talking about the oil light. One day I Changed the oil and added lucas oil to the oil and the light immediately came on. Never turned off since then. I've changed the oil several times since. It doesn't run any different or use any oil. The light is just on for some unknown reason.

But yeah I'm more concerned about that fact that something with the ignition/alternator is making it shut off an turn back on while I'm trying to drive down the road lol!
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Thursday, October 1st, 2009 AT 7:07 PM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
Check the oil pressure with a mechanical gauge if normal replace the sending unit abnormal could be engine bearings and oil pump. Try disconnecting the oil pressure switch-did it turn off? If not its shorted to ground At this time I cannot track the oil pressure sending unit electrical circuit I've no reference on it-
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Friday, October 2nd, 2009 AT 9:38 AM
Tiny
WHITE80Z
  • MEMBER
Yeah, I've disconnected the switch already and the light stays on.
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Friday, October 2nd, 2009 AT 9:11 PM
Tiny
WHITE80Z
  • MEMBER
Could you tell explain to in more detail how to do this exactly? Where is the coil's positive terminal? Whats going to happen when I want to turn the car off?
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Friday, October 2nd, 2009 AT 9:18 PM
Tiny
WHITE80Z
  • MEMBER
So I'll disconnect the battery and connect it directly to the coil? I don't really know too much about cars, so I'm kind of afraid of what is going to be happening with the ignition if the coil is constantly getting power, even while the engine is off.I guess I don't know how that works lol
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Friday, October 2nd, 2009 AT 9:26 PM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
The oil pressure switch is shorted to ground-Disregard the jumper wire from the battery positive post to the coil positive terminal and find the short that's causing the oil light to come on.
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Saturday, October 3rd, 2009 AT 12:59 AM
Tiny
WHITE80Z
  • MEMBER
Hey I figured out what it was. The ground wire from the battery to the body was broken. Also there was a crimp-type connector that my friend put in about 8 years ago in place of a bad kill switch that he removed. There was some wire exposed around the connector, so I redid it and the problem went away.

I still don't know what the problem is with the oil light, but apparently it's not related.

All I know is that that light came on after I added lucas oil to the crankcase (the day I added it). Do you think it could have clogged up something that has to do with the oil sensor? I'm not sure how that thing works.

Thanks for all your help
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Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 AT 3:40 PM

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