96 Grand Am starts, then stops



I have a '96 Grand Am that had the tranny replaced. The car ran fine for a day or so. When I went to start it on Day 2, it would start, then stop. Not a spark problem (turns over every time), but seems to be starved for fuel. It is getting fuel, though (you can hear the pump kick on in the fuel tank…it just won’t stay running.

Any ideas???


The problem might be with the ignition module. The ignition module operates in two modes. These are the start and run modes.

When you go to start the engine, the ignition module allows full battery voltage to the coils to make sure the engine starts. This is the start mode. Once the engine starts, and the ignition switch is allowed to go to run position, the ignition module drops the voltage to the coils. Because it doesn’t take as hot of a spark to keep the engine running, and it also allows the secondary ignition components to last longer. This is the run mode.

So ignition modules can fail where the engine starts, but as soon as the the ignition switch is allowed to go to the run position, the engine stalls.

If this sounds like what’s happening, suspect the ignition module.



It could just be coincidence that your troubles started right after the transmission replacement, or it could be something to do with the tranny work. Would the battery have been disconnected, resetting the computer into “limp home” or “factory default” mode, and over a day or two the computer “learned” something bad? I can’t think of what it would “learn” that would cause a no-run condition. When you say “not a spark problem (turns over every time)”, you mean that it actually starts up, and then quickly sputters out? Could a fuel line have been crimped or damaged? If the car ran fine for a day or two, it sounds unlikely that something would have suddenly squeezed off the fuel line, unless a bad/unconnected transmission mount let the whole engine/tranny move around too much. Since the engine starts, it wouldn’t be the neutral safety switch. You say you hear the fuel pump running… can you confirm that it’s actually producing pressure (maybe by disconnecting the fuel line at the engine and seeing if it squirts gas into a container)? How exactly does the engine die – does it sputter and kick like it’s running out of fuel, or does it cut out after actually starting? How long does it run – if more than a few seconds (after releasing the key to the run position), I would think that Tester was on the wrong track.


OK how’s this…

There appears to be a lack of fuel getting to the injector…when the key is on, it gets a “spurt” of gas, then nothing…fuel pump? That’s what we are trying next…

It does not sputter, it just quits right after turning the key…