1981 Corvette Stalls at Stop Lights

My 1981 Corvette drives fine except from time to time it will stall at stop lights.

The car has a carburator and it does not stall all the time only every now and then. For example yesterday I stopped at 10 stop lights and nothing happened then at the eleventh stop light there was a fender bender thus it took me four changes of the light to get thru the light and the 1981 Corvette stalled.

Last year a mechanic replaced the fuel pump but the first time I drove it once I hit 45 mph the car would stall so the mechanic made an adjustment to the fuel pump.

I took the car to a new mechanice but of course the car did not stall for the mechanic because it only stalls from time to time at stop lights.

Since no mechanic can find my problem could you please hel me to find out why my 1981 Corvette stalls from time to time at stop lights?

If the gas you’re using contains ethanol, the ethanol can cause the gas to become more volotile. This means the gas is susceptible to boiling. So as you sit for an extended period of time, the engine heat starts to boil the gas in the gas line, then vapor lock occurs and the engine stalls.

Boy! I sure hope you’re not using ethanol gas in that nice car?


Was the engine idling perfectly and just suddenly DIED? Maybe it was idling poorly and the tachometer was dipping to below 600 rpm. Or possibly it was surging to over 1100 rpm and then dropping below 800. If the mechanic knew more he might have been able to find the problem. Likewise, readers here. We don’t have the car in front of us so we need more information. Is it automatic? What is the normal idle rpm? When was it last tuned up? How responsive is th throttle? Is the carburetor an OE Rochester Q-Jet? Is most of your driving done in heavy traffic?

No, I’m not using any ethanol

The engine was idling perfectly and then suddenly just dies. Basically the tachometer was idling around 700 then all of sudden it just drops to zero and stalls. The normal idle is around 700-800. The car is automatic last tuned up around 3 years ago but I do change the oil every 3,000 miles and just had the air filter changed and the car has a carburetor and most of my driving is in heavy traffic. I know this is a tough problem for a mechanic with the car in front of him and I realize that it is 100 times harder problem to solve by the readers of this mesage board because they don’t have the car in front of them but since no mechanic can figure it out I’ll be happy to recevie and help anyone can give me. Thanks to you and to everyone else for their posts, I appreciate any help I can get.

What happens next? Does it start right back up as if nothing is wrong? Has it ever had to resume idling for a long period after restart and how did it run?

It starts right back up as if nothing was wrong and so far has never had to resume idling for a long period so I can drive it and after starting it back up it would run like nothing was wrong unless I hit another long stop light because on very rare occassions it would stall more then once if I had to stop at more then one long stop light. Basically the car runs fine once it is going it only stalls from time to time at very long stop lights. At stop lights I now watch the rpm’s and stop a long way from the car in front of me and if the rpm’s drop below 600 I step on the gas pedal a little bit and that will keep it from stalling if I am quick enough to catch the rpm’s dropping.

i OWN A 1981 Corvette as well and bought it after leaving the USArmy, Europe. I totally rebuilt this car with Bobby Erwin a Nascar race driver. I gave him $10,000 and he p[urchased parts from Eckler and just about changed every part, trailing, arms, breaks, wheels, radiator, New Carb., all engine parts and tune up, wiring, pump, and much more. Took 6 months. I am astonished no one can find out WHY THIS CAR STALLS AT RED LIGHTS AND FOR THE FIRST TIME ‘ON THE FREEWAY YESTERDAY AS I SLOWED AND TOOK MY FOOT OFF GAS’. Two 81 Vette’s with the ‘same problem’. Three mechanics on my end. Nothing found. I use premium gas #91 all the time. Indeed, I wish we could all get together and work on these two vehicle’s. The smartest people are on THIS SITE. I’ll keep you posted. Sergeant J. H., US Army

I saw that too: “BRAKES” (sorry)