Complete loss of power while driving

Tiny
RJONES
  • MEMBER
  • PONTIAC GRAND AM
My car is the SE model with a four cylinder engine. About six months ago on a road trip I started having car problems. I was going about seventy mph on the freeway, when my car lost complete power, the power steering went out, the gas pedal would not accelerate. The car just shut down. I pulled over to the side of the road and let it sit for twenty minutes. After that I drove it about forty five more miles before it happened again. Then I decided to leave it parked there overnight and deal with it the next day. The next day it started up and I drove it about two hours closer to home before it started acting up again. If I let it sit for a while it seemed to drive for a longer distance, but if I started it up right after it “shuts off”, it sputters and jerks and will not start. I ended up towing it to the dealership. They drove it and ran diagnostic testing on it and did not come up with anything. They could not figure out the problem so they changed the fuel filter and called it good. It has been driving good until three days ago when it started shutting off again. It only seems to happen when I am on the freeway and at the most incontinent times. Any ideas of what the problem might be seeing as how the dealer could not figure it out?
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Thursday, March 22nd, 2007 AT 6:30 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
This sounds like a classic crankshaft angle sensor which will not set a codes when it is going out. Here is a guide to help you see what you are in for when doing the job:

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

Here is the location for your car both engine types in case anyone needs them.

Check out the diagrams (below). Please let us know what happens.

Cheers
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Thursday, March 22nd, 2007 AT 6:42 PM
Tiny
RJONES
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Will a mechanic come to the freeway and diagnosis it there? It is a hit and miss situation.
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Thursday, March 22nd, 2007 AT 6:46 PM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
I kind of thought you might ask that. Some will, but it will get expensive or may get expensive.

There are some techniques you can do however. Most likely you are losing spark and/or fuel. If you take a can of ether with you and it acts up, you can access the throttle bore and shoot some in it and crank it. If it starts temporarily, it is a fuel problem.

I am more inclined to think it may be a ignition problem and or PCM problem.

I am making the assumption the engine does turn over when it stalls, but just does not start.
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Thursday, March 22nd, 2007 AT 7:03 PM
Tiny
DERAELER
  • MEMBER
2000 Grand Am four cylinder. I had the same problem, appears to be gas sending unit/fuel pump (in the tank). We have to keep the tank over quarter tank full or it will run out of fuel, even though the gauge still reads quarter tank full. Eventually I will replace the unit, but this seems to work for a short-term fix. Also, I learned that when adding fuel after having "run out of gas", you need to turn the key and let the sending unit/pump "prime" for a minute or two before trying to start it. You can hear it (very faintly) whirring as you do this. I put gas in the tank and it still would not start. Dealer put $10.00 worth in and it started. Probably because he knew this trick, but perhaps also due to the problem with the sending unit. Will not know until I work on it though. But it is helpful to know this trick so you do not ruin your battery trying to start it.
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Monday, January 14th, 2008 AT 10:50 AM
Tiny
CTRAVEL
  • MEMBER
I had this problem as well the crankshaft sensor fixed it. I got it from Amazon for $38.00. All fixed. :)
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Monday, June 4th, 2018 AT 11:50 AM

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