Engine shut off while driving now it cranks but does not start

Tiny
STUMPED.STEVE
  • MEMBER
  • 2010 SATURN OUTLOOK
  • V6
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 115,000 MILES
While driving down the highway, sixty mph, the car shut off. Everything else works, lights, etc. No dash lights came on, no warning at all. Son described a "sweet" burnt smell (not weed). Small amount of smoke or vapor. There was plenty of fuel. Battery is new, checked out fine. We towed it home. Under the manifold cover small amount of orange brown liquid. What next? It will crank but not fire.
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Monday, January 8th, 2018 AT 12:04 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
HARRY P
  • EXPERT
Get some starting fluid. Spray a decent amount of it into the intake air tube. Put the tube back into place and crank the engine. If it starts and shuts off, then your problem has to be a fuel delivery issue of some sort. If it will not crank at all, try again, but with more fluid. If it still will not fire up, then it is a spark problem of some sort.

On second thought, a sweet burnt smell, combined with the orange fluid that you saw, could be antifreeze. They use an orange antifreeze in many of today's cars. Check your coolant level. And check your oil too. If the oil is milky looking, then your car seriously overheated, a head gasket blew, and started leaking into the oil. Eventually some got into the cylinders and flooded the spark plugs, keeping them from firing.

Let us know what you come up with and we'll go from there.
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Monday, January 8th, 2018 AT 2:56 AM
Tiny
STUMPED.STEVE
  • MEMBER
The coil packs and spark plugs are good, the spark plugs are not wet with any coolant, gas, or oil. The compression seems good, the coolant system holds pressure. Is it possible the thermostat stuck shut and it forced coolant back through the coolant tank, which overflowed and sprayed coolant on the manifold? Creating steam that would be pulled into the vehicle through the heating system? Not sure if this theory would cause the engine to shut down. Thank you for the information.
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Monday, January 8th, 2018 AT 7:10 PM
Tiny
HARRY P
  • EXPERT
I could see that happening actually, except the part about it shutting the engine down. Go ahead and pull that thermostat and check it. If you cannot open it manually, or if it is bent, or it is just ridiculously hard to open, then it is likely what caused the overheating. If the car was severely overheated, the engine parts could have swelled up so much that they could not slide by each other, causing the engine to shut off. Serious damage would have been done, probably requiring new heads, gaskets, and the like.

I would go ahead with pulling the thermostat and replacing it. Even if it was not the cause of the problem, it is probably bad now anyways. Then I would refill the cooling system, spray some starting fluid down the intake, and turn the key to see what happens.
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Monday, January 8th, 2018 AT 8:33 PM

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