1999 Ford Focus



April, 26, 2007 AT 2:47 PM

I am sorry, but this is a second hand plea for help,
A co-worker, owns a 99 saturn automatic, she was driving to pick her daughter up from day care, last week and the car stalled out on the side of the road. She was low on fuel and thought maybe she ran out of gas, I brought her some gas, got her vechle startedlet the vechle sit idle for about 5 mins and she was able to drive rought 125 feet before it stalled out. We waited roughly 15 -20 mins, (we would try to start the car, it would fire and turn over, but would not crank) got it started and this time drove it roughly half a mile and stalled once more. It took 15-20 mins to get the car started. (We would try to start the car, it would fire and turn over, but would not crank) third time again waited 15 -20 mins started and into my drive way. And it stalled again.
We made arrangements for a tow truck from a garage to come get her car. And it has been more then a week and they still have not been able to resolve the issue.

The garage, said they got it to run the next day Idle, 20 mins and drove it down the road a mile or so and it died on them also.

They said it could been the alernator, which made no sense to use cause the lights and such all staied on, when we had the car not running. We could turn it on and off if we desired. And there was no trouble 'trying to get it to turn over, just to start and keep it started. No dead battery, no dimmed lights no reset in radio settings.

The garage in qustion, is ran by good and decent people, they tend to focus on Ford's and so I would say 90% of thier expertise is on Fords, but where we live at there are no Saturn garages' less then 45 miles (or more away).

Here are some facts I can offer:
Vechle is roughly 120k-140k miles
I could not locate the ignition wires
Vechle will fire up as mention after what seems to be a 15-20 min cool down, from start, driving down the road and stopping, stalling.
Checked the fluids, and they were fine.
Checked the Air Filter and it was really good, Not sure when it was changed, but was clean and actually looked better then mine.

We by profession are E-911 Dispatchers, and neither of use are really mechanically inclined. But I have read many postings, for tips and ideas, and I want you guys to know that they have helped me out also with looking into my own vechle. I would like to say with a heartfelt Thanks to you guys that have helped other people, I can't donate to the website, but I can and will support the sponser of the website as I can.

Thank you guys in advance and have a wonderful day, and Stay safe!


Cj Stalling When Idling


Stalling Out


2 Answers



April, 27, 2007 AT 4:20 PM

Hey Sunny,
Good for you for helping ouit your friend. I would not know the first thing about routing an emergency response call properly but do know a bit about Saturns.

A very common problem on early 2000 and prior S-series Saturns is the coolant temperature sensor (ECTS). They originally had a composite (plastic) tip that cracked. Mine went at right around 100,000 miles. Saturn updated the sensor with a brass tip design that will last.

The sensor feeds the computer temps setting which the computer uses to regulate the air fuel mixture for the engine. When they fail they effect fuel economy, idle quality, starting, and more. If it has not been replaced it is a good place to start. Less than $20.00 from the dealer and not much harder to change than a spark plug. Have the shop unscrew it and look at the tip for a fine crack. If it cracked replace it and clean or replace the wire plug it attaches to. I will put a link at the end with specific instruction.

The other thing that comes to mind is a crank position sensor (CPS). They tell the computer the engine is spinning. The computer uses this info to fire the spark plugs and again to provide the engine fuel. When the CPS fails it will normally happen when going down the road. The engine will just quit.

After the engine dies just check for spark by removing the spark plug wires from the coils. Look for spark between the coil towers while someone cranks the starter. Be sure to replace the plug wires in the correct order. If no spark is present have the mechanic check the resistance of the CPS. It should be 700 to 900 ohms. If not replace it. Be sure the wire plug it attaches to is installed correctly. If it is on backwards it will not work! It is also an inexpensive piece and easy to install.

The ECTS is a commmon prob on sattys.The CPS Is just something that can fail on any car. Your garage should be able to check both.


Good luck and let us know. :)

Ps. My favorite mechanic is a ford guy too.



April, 28, 2007 AT 4:14 PM

Want to let you know that your post was very informitive and that I appricated your reply. I forwarded your information to Jess, and she was sorta in awe and greatful that you helped out as you did.
Thank you and I will keep you updated to the matter.

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