Car keeps stalling

I have a 1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera 6 cyl.The car starts up and runs with no problem. However every two to three weeks while I’m driving the motor
will just die on me. It doesn’t matter where I am or the speed I’m driving it will stall. It takes about a minute and the car starts again, but I need
to get this fixed!! My mechanic says it isn’t the fuel pump, fuel filter or the crank sensor. He is a good mechanic too. Can anyone help?

This was a fairly common problem on the GM 2.8 & 3.1 engines in those years. A bad coil pack would cause the ignition module to shut down. Then when you would let it cool down for a few minutes it would restart. I would replace all three coil packs. If the problem persists then replace the ignition module too. I had this happen on two cars from these years.

My son-in-law’s '98 Grand Prix did the same thing. I told him, “Just tell the mechanic to put a new crank sensor in. If it happens again, I’ll reimburse you the cost.” It’s been four years since with no shut-downs.

My 2 cents and insightful have both identified common problems for these cars as they age, however… has anyone done a compression test on this well aged workhorse? Good compression is an important element for reliable strong combustion, and it’d be nice to know that you’re not changing parts on an engine that doesn’t have enough oomph left to stay alive.

The coil packs and the crank sensor are good possibilities the efficacy of which can be determined by a mechanic good with a scope. On newer cars it could be done through the OBDII system, but the '92 didn’t have an OBDII system, so you need someone good at the old ways. A mechanic with well grayed hair. Or missing hair.

You car should have a diagnostic system built into the ECM. See if you or your mechanic can figure out how to read out the stored diagnostic codes. Might provide a clue. On most cars this era usually the codes are blinked out on the check engine light after doing something to put the ECM into diagnostic mode.

Besides the comments above, which I concur, there’s a chance the problem is the fuel pump relay. I had this happen to a VW Rabbit of mine back in the 70’s with the same symptom, the car would completely die, without warning, while driving on the freeway, for no apparent reason, and it was the fuel pump relay.

You’re right George, even though the OBDI system was relatively crude and limited, checking it for blinks is a good first step. I tend to think they’re not very useful, but that isn’t a good habit to get into.

The OBD I correctly diagnosed a throttle position switch problem on my Corolla one time.