Intermittent shut down of the electrical system

Tiny
STEVE DUBOSE
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 PONTIAC FIREBIRD
  • 3.8L
  • V6
  • 2WD
  • MANUAL
  • 150,000 MILES
My friend's car listed above electrical system started shutting down at irregular intervals leaving him stranded for short periods. Sometimes once a week now several times a day. It is a one owner car that has been well cared for and trouble free until now. I replaced the ignition switch and all seemed fined until the next day it left my friend stranded. By the time I got there it started up again. Any ideas as to what to look for?
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Thursday, July 2nd, 2020 AT 5:20 PM

4 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

What you described sounds like a bad crankshaft position sensor. When they start to go bad, often times they are affected by heat and fail until things cool down. Take a look through this link and let me know if it mirrors what you are experiencing:

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/symptoms-of-a-bad-crankshaft-sensor

It that seems possible, we have two choices. First, if you have access to a live data scan tool, see if there is an RPM signal when you have a crank no start condition. Or, simply check to see if there is spark to the plugs. If the sensor fails, you will lose ignition spark.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-test-an-ignition-system

If you find no spark or no RPM signal, replace the sensor. Here is a link that shows in general how it's done:

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/crankshaft-angle-sensor-replacement

Here are the directions specific to this vehicle. The attached pics correlate with the directions.

____________________________________

1996 Pontiac Firebird V6-3.8L VIN K
Crankshaft Position Sensor Replacement
Vehicle Powertrain Management Sensors and Switches - Powertrain Management Sensors and Switches - Computers and Control Systems Crankshaft Position Sensor Service and Repair Procedures Crankshaft Position Sensor Replacement
CRANKSHAFT POSITION SENSOR REPLACEMENT
Crankshaft Position Sensor

pic 1

Crankshaft Position Sensor Shield

pic 2

REMOVE OR DISCONNECT
1. Be sure ignition switch is in "OFF" or "LOCK" position.
2. Serpentine drive belt.
3. Crankshaft balancer bolt, balancer, and key from crankshaft.
4. Fuel pump/engine oil pressure sensor wire harness retainer clip from shield.
5. Electrical connector from crankshaft position sensor.
6. Crankshaft position sensor shield from front cover.
7. Studs mounting crankshaft position sensor to front cover.
8. Crankshaft position sensor from front cover.

NOTE Sensor 0-ring for wear, cracks or leakage. Replace if necessary.

INSTALL OR CONNECT
1. Lubricate sensor 0-ring with engine oil.
2. Crankshaft position sensor to front cover.
3. Studs and crankshaft position sensor to front cover. Tighten Studs mounting crankshaft position sensor to front cover to 30 Nm (22 ft lb).
4. Crankshaft position sensor shield to front cover.
5. Electrical connector to crankshaft position sensor.
6. Fuel pump/engine oil pressure sensor wire harness retainer clip to shield.
7. Crankshaft balancer key, balancer, and bolt to crankshaft. Tighten crankshaft balancer bolt/screw to 150 Nm (111 ft lb) 4 degrees.
8. Serpentine drive belt.

_________________________________________

Let me know if this helps or if you have other questions.

Take care,
Joe
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Thursday, July 2nd, 2020 AT 7:17 PM
Tiny
STEVE DUBOSE
  • MEMBER
When it does it, the entire electrical system shuts off. Everything in the car goes dead. Wait a minute and it starts. I checked the cables and they seem good. I'm beginning to suspect a ground problem.
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Monday, July 6th, 2020 AT 7:43 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

That's very possible. Check to see if the main ground between the battery and the engine.

Let me know.
Joe
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Monday, July 6th, 2020 AT 10:03 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
This guide can help fix it:

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/everything-goes-dead-when-engine-is-cranked

Please run down this guide and report back.
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Tuesday, July 7th, 2020 AT 11:38 AM

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