2003 Bonneville Stalling while driving

Sigh…Yesterday this thing died on me twice. 30mph to 0 in nothing flat. No problems with stalling before yesterday. It’s at the shop now, but they tell me they aren’t finding anything and probably won’t if they can’t get it to die on them too. It had only been driven for about 5 minutes before each occurance, and each time I had just topped a small hill(if that matters). The second time, it did slightly hesitate to restart and seems to me there was some light smoke from the tailend.

More than likely the crankshaft position sensor is being effected by heat. If I were to have kept every crank sensor I’ve replaced in vehicles for this problem, I’d have a bushel basket full of them.

To test if it is a bad crankshaft sensor, you take a heat gun and point at the sensor. Then start the engine and let it idle. If the engine suddenly shuts off it’s the crank sensor.


Do you have a prior reason to suspect the radio is involved? That wouldn’t be a first suspect unless there was a specific reason.

It may be difficult for the shop to diagnose this if it won’t happen for them at the shop. One option would be to ask one of the shop crew to drive it as their daily driver, and you rent a car for yourself. Consult w/your insurance agent to make sure it is within the rules.

Won’t work for you? Then you may have to drive it until it stops working again, at which point tow it to the shop. If you end up blocking traffic, pull to the shoulder if possible & legal and be sure to put your emergency flashers on. Someone will likely stop to provide assistance. And bring your cell phone, and pre-program in the telephone number of a couple of local tow services.

Thanks gang. Just thought I’d stop in for an update as the saga continues. George, I only mentioned the radio because the shop kept asking me if the radio and dashboard lights were still on when it died.(Found out tonight, they are)

So, Monday evening and Tuesday I left the car at the shop. They said they saw nothing on testing and they had driven it multiple times during the day with no signs of problems. I picked it up, drove it around for an hour Tuesday night, all day Wednesday and part of Thursday. Good as can be. Tonight, driving along and just instant stall. Just like before. I pulled over, got it restarted. For the next 5 minutes there was a burnng smell. Then it faded. What a mess…

I was thinking ahead too because before you mentioned it, I programmed mechanics and tow trucks in my phone…lol

I am thinking maybe I better skip my usual mechanic again and maybe take it to the dealer…maybe they will have a better idea?

Dealer had the car all day yesterday. They said they ran several tests but didn’t find anything. They called and asked questions that might give them a hint. I let them know of a new symptom it showed on the way to the shop. When I started it for the day yesterday, it was spitting and sputtering(so bad I almost towed it to the shop), it had black exhaust smoke that was very smelly. After about a block or so, I punched the gas hard and the sputtering seemed to stop. Didn’t even stall on way to shop after that.

3.8 motor? Bad maf.

Yes, 3.8L V6 supercharger

Tester gave you the best tip, if you don’t want to do it yourself, suggest it to your mechanic.

Crank sensor is behind balancer. Not hard job but awkward nonetheless. Cheap part. $30. Maf is a bit more.

I brought up checking sensors to the shop last night. They responded, did I know there was over 200 of them ( I couldnt remember crank at the time!)

Next time you’re at the shop and can’t remember something, tell them to pull up the CarTalk website on their computer and read what Tester said. :wink:

It was at the shop last week, they didn’t find anything. I drove it for a few days, then last night it stalled(while moving). I noticed that when it did, all the dashboard lights went black except for a little red light that looked like a battery. I was able to coast to the side of the road and restart it. Does this give anymore clues?

Possibly narrowing this down, I was just thinking about this. The car battery is under the back seat. The one time when the car died and there was a burning smell, there was a passenger sitting on the seat over the battery. Could there be something with the battery or wiring there causing the stall? Could the pressure from someone sitting on that problem cause the burning smell that one time?(It has stalled many other times without a passenger over the battery) Maybe I’m grasping at straws…

The fact that all the dashboard lights dies suggests a bad electrical connection, possibly a bad ignition switch. Do you carry many keys on your keyring? That can wear out an ignition switch.

The fact that you were able to restart it immediately also points to the ignition switch.

No, just one key the fob and a keychain.

Well, the ignition switch can still go bad without a big ring of keys hanging from it, so you’re not to blame. :wink:

dash went black? headlight stayed on? i assume. so car interior was black. no lights at all.so you stopped. put car in gear. and it started up with turn of key?

@Stoveguyy, the car shuts down while in motion(not at a stop). The dashboard lights go black, a little red light comes on that looks like a battery. The headlights and radio stay on. I put it in park, turn the key, and it starts back up.

Still dealing with this. As recent as yesterday, spitting sputtering chugging. Stalled 3 times in 8 blocks. Smoke from exhaust with horrible smell that lingered for hours. A few hours later started right up as if nothing had happened. During the 8 blocks, the check engine light came on(first time it ever came on in the months I’ve been dealing with this, it was on about 10 minutes before I made it home), when I went out the few hours later to check this thing it was off. During that short time it was on, would there have been any codes recorded to help a mechanic diagnose this?

yes a cel should leave a code. the cel usually does not clear in 1 driving cycle.