2001 Pontiac Firebird Engine loses power then dies

Tiny
CKSMITHJR
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 PONTIAC FIREBIRD
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 90,000 MILES
This car will start and run for anywhere from a minute or two, to 30 minutes, maybe longer. It will run fine, then starts losing power, and eventually dies. No check engine or any other lights ever come on. After waiting a few hours this process can be repeated, over and over. Fuel pressure seems to be low.

A possibly related problem; when I lock or unlock the doors with the remote, the headlamp doors open and close, then a terrible noise that sounds like gears stripping occurs for about 5 - 10 seconds. This also occurs when the lights are on and I turn them off.

Could the security system cause one or both problems? Is the engine problem likely the fuel pump, fuel filter or a sensor or the computer? What else could the headlamp issue be? Thanks SO much for any help!
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Thursday, November 13th, 2008 AT 8:25 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
IMPALASS
  • EXPERT
Hello - CKSmithJr

We need to figure out if it is electrical or fuel related. Pull a plug wire off of the spark plug and insert something into the end of it and have someone try to start the car and have the metal object really close to a piece of metal on the engine and see if you are getting a good strong popping blue spark. Don't have your hands on any part of the metal! If there is no spark, then it is electrical. If you are getting good spark then you need to get a fuel pressure check on the fuel pump to ensure it is putting out okay.

Next, if it is drivable, please go to Auto Zone or O'Reilly's and for FREE they can pull the codes to the car. Most important: Once they check your codes, if they find something and you don't get it fixed and need to get back with us, please make sure you tell us exactly what the code was, number and all. Example, if the code was E0568 O2 Sensor bad. Then make sure you give us all of that. While there for FREE also they can bring their tester out and check your battery, alternator and starter.

This way we can check for any codes, a good strong alternator, battery and no problems with the starter.

Next, fuel pressure - need to check that so we know for sure. Key on, engine off it should be 48-54 psi.

Next, the lights -the above check will ensure our battery is working. When you turn your headlights on and off, do the headlights raise and lower smoothly or do they make the same terrible noise? I know you said they do when on and you turn them off, but what about you just turn the switch on. Do they open smooth, nice? Then close what?

Lots of questions you have but let's eat this elephant one bite at a time.

Do the above checks and let's make sure we have a good strong electrical system, how our fuel pressure is, our spark and get back with the results.

Last, the noise from the headlights, is it only one side or both, if only one which?

Fuel System Pressure Key On Engine Off 48-54 psi
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Thursday, November 13th, 2008 AT 9:32 PM
Tiny
CKSMITHJR
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the response! I will do the suggested checks for the electrical and fuel issue.

The headlamps operate properly when turned on. When I turn them off they both make the gear-grinding noise. Same when using the remote entry switch. If I lock or unlock the car with the remote entry switch, both headlights open, then shut and make the same gear-grinding sound. It is both sides, only upon closing.
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Thursday, November 13th, 2008 AT 9:50 PM
Tiny
IMPALASS
  • EXPERT
Hello -

Well at about $275 from the dealer for the door motors, I would suggest a little more trouble shooting. Have they been doing this for a while or just started? Did anyting hit the front or water in the front?

I would inspect the linkage really good for any damage, bent, binding, corrosion, something in the way. Look at the door hinges for anything there. Place your hand gently on them and feel them as they close. Bind, grind, etc.

You may have to end up removing one, taking the motor off and shooting 12v right to it (unless you can do in on the car and it open and close) to see how it does. It is either binding or both motors went out at the same time. Maybe disconnect one, work the light, then the other and see if it only happens on one side. Do you want the info on removal?

I will wait of course for the other info on the other checks.
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Thursday, November 13th, 2008 AT 10:03 PM

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