Car suddenly dies while driving

Hi! I posted this problem sometime ago. I have a few more details on it now and since I have not been able to find the problem, I am posting it again with the updates. I have a Mazda Protege 1991 with approximately 250 000 miles on it. It always starts well first thing in the morning, but then it started to die on me when driving, just like if the ignition was turned off. When this happens and if I pull to the side of the road, it will not start again right away (engine will crank, but that?s it). After approximately 30 minutes, it will start again. If this happens at high speed (I notice the engine light turning on and the car losing power for a second or two), the car restarts itself on compression, I guess, then keeps going. Also, sometimes, if I try to restart the car after it was turned off a few minutes before, it will take 10-15 seconds on cranking before it actually starts.

I brought the car to the Mazda dealer: they did not see any code on the computer. So I have been trying to solve the problem myself. I replace the fuel pump and the fuel pump relay, but the problem was still there. I checked the ignition coil (when cold), the resistances were fine. I replace the ignition switch, the problem still persists. Any idea what I should check now? Thanks!

It seems to me that you’re shooting in the dark. Stop throwing parts at it and do some troubleshooting. Get a can of starter fluid and, the next time it dies and won’t start, shoot some starter fluid into the air inlet-if it starts, you’re not getting fuel. If it doesn’t, you’re not getting spark. This should lead you to the eventual source of the problem. By the way, it could also be any one of a number of sensors (camshaft, crankshaft, throttle position etc.)starting to go bad. Spend some money wisely and have your mechanic check these sensors. The camshaft sensor on my Cherokee went out and I had similar symptoms.

I don’t know what your car uses to detect the position of the engine to trigger a spark (e.g. crank position sensor), but that would be the next thing I would check.

I would tend to look at the ignition system. Checking for a spark when it does it next time would identify the ignition system. Buy one new spark plug. Carry the plug with you and the next time it does not start, get out and pull one plug wire off (pull on the socket part not the wire) put the new plug on that wire and hold the threads of the plug tight against the engine block while you have someone try to start the car. You should see a bright blue spark, and if you are not holding the plug with an insulated tool, you will also see stars! This can rule out a spark problem.

hi usually when it happens the problem is with the crank angle sensor or the ignition coil. i think you should change the sensor first and if not change the coil and see…gud luck

I have seen and had this kind of problem before, but I could still be wrong, so for y’all’s future refrence; just check that battery next time, sometimes it can keep going thanks to the alternator, and at high rpms can restart the motor through the combination of compression and increased electrical discharge into the battery, even though the battery recharges itself, the alternator can do this for the battery if necessary, but only for so long. The battery is probably going bad, so, replace it, if that doesn’t solve the problem, check for shorts in the wiring, but a short usually continue to drain the battery even after the vehicle is off, but it’s still possible.

i had a 1991 Buick Park Avenue with a lot of miles that did the exact same things. And it also took a while to figure out what was wrong with it. It turned out to be the alternator and i think the universal belt slipped.