Reader Question I own a 1994 Pontiac Trans am GT with a 5.7 V8 and 125,000 . Over the last several months my car has randomly died while driving, and when I accelerate at highway speeds there is a loss of power at times. After the car dies, it may start up immediately, it may take 20 minutes, and sometimes it would not start until the next day.
I have taken the car to two different mechanics on two seperate occasions. Neither shop could find anything wrong. They checked the wiring, fuel pressure, etc. Everything checked out fine which it should because the car has been well maintained and had a new distributor, wires, and sparkplugs installed two years ago. I stopped driving the car for about three weeks because the battery became weak after the second to last time the car died. After three weeks, I had the battery recharged and the car started up again, it drove ok for a few days, but then died again while I was driving.
It immediately restarted and I was able to make it home. It drove ok for the next couple of days, but today I tried to start it and the starter was slow to turn. (starter is AC DELCO 4yrs old) I tried to start the car two more times, but after that the power shut off. Nothing worked not even the power locks. When the battery died last time the process was slow and gradual.
I couldn’t start the car, but the panel lights passenger compartment lights worked a little. I’ve read hours of material from sites like this trying to find cases with similar problems, and I have, but never anything with my car and year. The fuel lines, filter, relay, and pump are what I normally see as the causes for other people, but the mechanics told me that these things checked out ok. They said that if there was anything wrong with these things it was read out.
I even had the fuel filter replaced just in case, but to no avail. I need help because I don’t want to sell a good car that has a very fixable problem. However, I will if need be. One other note: One time after the car died a tow truck came and put gas in the tank, even though I had a little over half a tank, and the car started up.
I had been attempting to restart the car for the last three hours, but it now restarted with no problem. I thought that maybe I needed to keep more gas in my tank, but the car has died on a full tank as well. Also, I always use premium gas, so I ruled out vapor lock caused from low octane gas.
First of all it sounds like you have a bad battery, so I would replace that first that should be the cause of your secondary problem. The dying issue, well that is not as easy. Some components that I would want to inspect if you were at my shop would be.
1. Fuel pump pressure – next time it dies, have someone bang on the bottom of the fuel tank with their fist or a rubber hammer AS you crank over the engine, this might kick start a weak fuel pump. If the engine starts, you need a new fuel pump.
2. Ignition coil and ignition module – the module can overheat and shut the engine down until it cools off again…similar to your complaint
3. Ignition coil wire to distributor cap – the distributor cap can become corroded and the ignition wire can loose contact with the cap and the coil itself