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My car died on me

I hit a red light and as soon as I stopped, not only was the traffic light red but now my dash board was red in front of me. My car has been stalling quite often on me and I have been having with to deal with it. I immediately put my flashers on as I had a bad feeling I would be there a couple of light changes. The good news, it was so late at night and this road is not heavily traveled anyway that no cars were around or coming. So, my right leg now beginning its usual routine that it usually does everyday lately of bouncing off the seat when beginning to pump the gas pedal. The usual 5 dry deep thrusts of the pedal all the way to the floor and back up before turning the key first only to be met with a not so promising ?rrrrrrrrrrrr? that was lackluster at best, in other words my car didn?t even tease like it was trying for me. Release of the key and the only sights and sounds were the hazards resuming there ?blink blink blink? in the road and the sound they made in the car when it was not being cranked, and me beginning to bounce as the sound of the pedal squeaking thumping the floorboard began again while I continued pumping it. Now I sat in front of a green light, bouncing and pumping on a dead motor, looking in the rear view mirror as the first sight of head lights were about 150 yards behind me moving my way. They didn?t seem interested in stopping to help me because they blew by me and my stalled car pretty fast shaking us even more then we were already shaking from all the bouncing I was doing now cranking it over again. I am sure they probably could see me through the window bouncing up and down trying to get it started, especially since the hazards stop blinking when I start cranking the motor, so they saw the hazards blinking, then not blinking, then blinking again along with me bouncing like crazy!! They could have cared less, why are people this mean?? That?s ok though, I didn?t need there help anyway! I would get it started with my barefoot thumping the pedal and me bouncing up and down on the seat. Wrapping my left arm around the steering wheel and pushing the cigarette lighter in on the ash tray, I prepared myself for a third attempt at cranking my motor over as the red light above me now changed to red again to start the 2 nd cycle that I was stalled in the middle of this road late at night with no help. I stopped cranking it, dry pumped it very aggressively another 10 times and turned her over again to finally hear ?RRRRRRvrrooooom? as it staggered to life for me.



Knowing nothing about cars and being female, could somebody give me any ideas on what might be going on with it. It’s a 1984 oldsmobile delta 88 carbureted. Thanks

Lynn, your car is sick and has been for awhile. You can only depend on it to stall, and someday it will not start at all. You gave a detailed account of your actions and frustration, but very little useful info to define you car’s problem.

Pumping the gas petal just shoots raw gas into the carburator. If the car was not flooded before, keep pumping and it will be flooded. To start a flooded motor you put your foot to the floor and hold it there WITHOUT pumping as you crank over the motor. Your motor could stall out because it isn’t getting enough gas, or it is getting too much. It may need a tune up, when was the last time you had new spark plugs, spark plug wires, and a new distributor cap?

Your car may need a simple tune up and routine maintenance, or it could be a big problem. I think you need a mechanic to check it over for and tell you what is happening.

I had a tune up about a year ago, everything you mentioned above was done. It ran well for ahwile and now started this stuff, stalling on me and very hard to start in the mornings. This morning it took me 15 minutes to finally get it to crank, 2 cigarettes later. I am frustrated with it. Thanks for the advice Uncle Turbo- I have to get it figured out b/c I can’t afford anything else at the moment and have to make this car last for me:(

How extensive was the tuneup a year ago?

Unfortunately, Uncle Turbo is right, someone needs to look at it. Since it ran good after the tuneup I’m going to suggest a weak ignition system. Everything needs to be right to get good strong sparks, and if the wiring or distributor components are brand new they can allow a spark even with a poor voltage spike, even with a weeak coil or bad plug wires, for example. But the problem inevitably returns.

Since it stalled while running it’s also very possible that the fuel pump is weak or teh fuel filter plugged. Pumping the pedal would normally spray gas from the flaot bowl, but if that’s not being kept full pumping the gas will leave you sitting at the stop light struggling.

Since it’s carburated, there are a number of other possibilities such as a sticking float preventing the float bowl from filling. Or even a sunken float allowing the gas to flow to readily under the pressure of the pump and flooding the engine out.

There are just way too many possibilities here. Sorry, but someone needs to look at the vehicle to get to the bottom of the problem.

Thanks for the suggestions so far. I hope to get to the mechanic soon, need to take off from work and get it there.

As for your comment “pumping the gas will leave you sitting at the stop light struggling”, I was there again this morning for a couple of light cycles and people were not happy, but of course nobody stopped to offer me any help as it was probably quite visible I needed help based on the amount of bouncing I was doing in the seat trying to get it restarted. It’s unbelievable how rude people can be:(

lynn maybe the next time you car makes you mad once you get it going try revving the crap out of it like you are trying to blow the motor just stomp the pedal right into the floor and hold it down. see if this helps. if nothing else it might make you feel better