Stalling problem

The car is 1985 Chevrolet Cavalier, 2.0L 4 cylinder engine, throttle body fuel injection.
I drove it today and it stalled while I was driving it.
Immediately after stalling the car will not start. If I let it sit for 3-5 minutes or more it will start and drive for about 1 minute (0.25 miles or so) and then stall again. I had to do this about a dozen times to get back home.
It doesn’t seem to matter if I drive it fast or not, it still stalls after about the same amount of time (about 1 minute), so I am guessing it is not a fuel problem. But anything is possible.
The car stalls all at once, it does not sputter or anything.
The car stalls at high or low RPM.
No engine codes are flashing.

I am guessing that it loses ignition due to some intermittent thermal problem.
What do you think? Any usual suspects that fail after they get hot?

The problem might be with the ignition module mounted inside the distributor.

Some parts stores are capable of testing these types of ignition modules. And if you find one that does, make sure they leave on the tester for at least fifteen minutes to verify it is the ignition module.


Thanks. I replaced that module years ago, but that time I had an engine fault code. Nothing this time.
It is good to know I can get it tested.

It was indeed the ignition control module. I made them run it through the test about two dozen times before it got hot enough to show failure. They really ought to improve their testing procedure to let you test it at full operating temperature and not just cold.

“They really ought to improve their testing procedure to let you test it at full operating temperature and not just cold.”

You’d have to bring it in fresh off the car at operating temperature to do that, wouldn’t you?

That’s why shops don’t bench test anything, be it a starter or an electronic module. We test components in their normal operating environment to duplicate the failure.

The parts store has a different business model and may test it two dozen times but if you ever went into a shop and insisted on a flat rate mechanic doing this all hxxx would probably break loose…

It was an AutoZone actually.
By the time I got the thing out of the distributor and into the store and they hooked it up to the tester, it would have cooled down and started working again.
They had a regular testing jig, made by Wells I think, but it only ran the module for 15 seconds or so, not nearly long enough to get it hot.
Now there are two ways they could improve on this. One, make it operate the module continuously, until the operating temperature is reached, which they could monitor with a thermometer. Two, build a heating pad that will heat the module externally.