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1998 TransAm stalled out after a right turn and wouldn't start back up

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1998 TransAm stalled out after a right turn and wouldn't start back up

 
Old 05-15-2019, 11:49 AM
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Default 1998 TransAm stalled out after a right turn and wouldn't start back up

My 1998 TransAm WS6 A4 (~80,000 miles) suddenly stalled out after a hard right turn. I threw it in to Neutral instinctively and pushed the key to start it, but all I heard was cranking cranking cranking. So I threw on my Hazard Lights, and pulled off in to the grass. For about 10 minutes the car would not start. Just crank-crank-crank-crank-crank. Last year I had my Fuel Pump replaced, along with the Fuel Filter, and one of the lines. It ran perfect until this moment, there hasn't been any kind of sound coming from the fuel pump, or low pressure on start. It's always instant start-up since the work was done.

Anyways, after 10 minutes, suddenly the car came back to life and started right up. I got it to the house, and put my fuel pressure gauge on it. On prime it was about 60 PSI, and it slowly dropped to about 40 PSI (over like a minute or two.) And then it slowly dropped to about 33PSI (after another minute or so) and then just kind of hung out there. On prime again, it instantly shot back up to 60 PSI. I started the car, and it idled stably (I can't remember where, but I think 55 or 60 PSI) and on repeated throttle pulls, it remained very steady in the same range give or take 2-3PSI. After shutting the car off, it behaved the same as prime. 60 PSI - 2-3 minutes - 40 PSI - 2-3 minutes - 33 PSI (didn't see it move from there.) I'm not sure if that's normal behavior or not, but I also wasn't able to get a reading while it wouldn't crank (I don't like carrying a tool covered in fuel inside the car.) Now I'm scared to drive my car (it's my only vehicle at the moment) and I am broke as ****. Ugh. Any expert advice from you guys?

Oh, also, I'm about a quarter tank of fuel.

Last edited by SouthernRex; 05-15-2019 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:48 PM
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A GM gas gauge is the least accurate thing you can find. At a quarter tank on the gauge and a hard turn you may have starved the pickup and sucked air. That would take a bit of cranking to pump through the air and refill the line with gas. You can also overheat the pump by running the tank low since GM uses the fuel to cool the pump.

You could have also had a wiring harness shift that tripped a breaker. That would take a few minutes to reset and work again.
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by bammax View Post
A GM gas gauge is the least accurate thing you can find. At a quarter tank on the gauge and a hard turn you may have starved the pickup and sucked air. That would take a bit of cranking to pump through the air and refill the line with gas. You can also overheat the pump by running the tank low since GM uses the fuel to cool the pump.

You could have also had a wiring harness shift that tripped a breaker. That would take a few minutes to reset and work again.
Thanks, brother. I'm gonna fill it as much as possible. I try to keep the tank full, seeing as how expensive that fuel pump was to replace (I had my mechanic do it, I didn't want to do the access door method), but I'm on really hard times financially... and my driving record is making it outrageous to insure my little manual Ford Focus 4-cylinder so I have to sell that or find a better insurance company... which leaves me driving my 93 Octane V8 that we all love. (I know it's better on gas than most people expect, but it's night and day compared to how awesome the Focus is when I shift nice and low.)

The wire harness makes a lot of sense, because then obviously the pump is doing nothing. Is that something I can better secure? I mean don't people take these cars to race tracks? lol

Last edited by SouthernRex; 05-15-2019 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by bammax View Post
A GM gas gauge is the least accurate thing you can find. At a quarter tank on the gauge and a hard turn you may have starved the pickup and sucked air. That would take a bit of cranking to pump through the air and refill the line with gas. You can also overheat the pump by running the tank low since GM uses the fuel to cool the pump.
I think some combination of the above (fuel starvation and temporary pump overheating) is probably much more likely than a wiring harness related issue. But, based on the readings above, it sounds like the pump wasn't permanently damaged in the event (at least not as of yet, but who knows what sort of effect this might have on the overall lifespan of the pump).

Originally Posted by SouthernRex View Post
I try to keep the tank full, seeing as how expensive that fuel pump was to replace (I had my mechanic do it, I didn't want to do the access door method), but I'm on really hard times financially...
Honestly, the access door method is the only way I'd ever consider doing a pump swap on one of these cars, especially without a lift. And considering that the replacement pumps rarely last as long as the assembly line originals, once you've replaced it the first time you'll probably be going back in there sooner than last time. I know there's a ton of debate on whether or not this is a "hack" method, but to me it's no different than drilling access holes in the inner door structure to easily swap out power window motors. Both are just modifications to simplify current and future repairs, and neither will be visible nor compromise rigidity or durability of the adjacent areas. I would do either of these modifications even to my very low mile show car, but that's just my opinion.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by RPM WS6 View Post
I think some combination of the above (fuel starvation and temporary pump overheating) is probably much more likely than a wiring harness related issue. But, based on the readings above, it sounds like the pump wasn't permanently damaged in the event (at least not as of yet, but who knows what sort of effect this might have on the overall lifespan of the pump).



Honestly, the access door method is the only way I'd ever consider doing a pump swap on one of these cars, especially without a lift. And considering that the replacement pumps rarely last as long as the assembly line originals, once you've replaced it the first time you'll probably be going back in there sooner than last time. I know there's a ton of debate on whether or not this is a "hack" method, but to me it's no different than drilling access holes in the inner door structure to easily swap out power window motors. Both are just modifications to simplify current and future repairs, and neither will be visible nor compromise rigidity or durability of the adjacent areas. I would do either of these modifications even to my very low mile show car, but that's just my opinion.
My concern isn't so much hacking the car, as it is causing an explosion while sawing the rectangle, or fuel fumes getting in to my cabin while driving, or if God-forbid I'm in a serious car accident, that fuel would be spraying all over the inside of the car on fire while my family and I are still trying to get out. I'm not sure if that's very realistic...
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:07 PM
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Please do not feel like any lone stranger! I'm dealing with the same thing except I get a "Crank but no start" scenario. As I started to read your post I thought maybe the crank position sensor as I had that go out and wow.. run for a few minutes and then wait for 30. run for a few minutes and wait again and again and again... It was hell getting home that day..threw P0335 code. Got that fixed. Now, my situation is I freaking grounded my starter wire against my header and now I am chasing a problem I created all on my own.. I have checked all fuses, relays and the wiring harness, all check good... When I turn my car on.,, I no longer hear the fuel pump..I'm at a point of going crazy... before I realized I had the problem I started the car a couple times... AFR was 25, so I did not run it long,.... Could that have destroyed the fuel pump?

My friend hacked / cut his car and while it's a lot easier get to the fuel pump that's just not something I can do to my car.. Same reasons as yours, plus my car is a Firehawk.. which a do still have all the oem parts.

Please keep updating as you find your solution.. thanks....
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by SouthernRex
My concern isn't so much hacking the car, as it is causing an explosion while sawing the rectangle, or fuel fumes getting in to my cabin while driving, or if God-forbid I'm in a serious car accident, that fuel would be spraying all over the inside of the car on fire while my family and I are still trying to get out. I'm not sure if that's very realistic...
Lol you aren't going to cause an explosion cutting the trap door. Your fuel tank is sealed and not going to melt from from a little cutting above it. As far as what the problem is hard to diagnose a lot of stuff via the internet so hopefully someone else has had this issue and can give you some insight.
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by RPM WS6 View Post
I think some combination of the above (fuel starvation and temporary pump overheating) is probably much more likely than a wiring harness related issue. But, based on the readings above, it sounds like the pump wasn't permanently damaged in the event (at least not as of yet, but who knows what sort of effect this might have on the overall lifespan of the pump)..
After considering this explanation and a lot of thinking - more than likely I fried my fuel pump... Over worked while trying to compensate for the high AFR, plus igniting the system with the grounded wire..
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by SouthernRex View Post
My concern isn't so much hacking the car, as it is causing an explosion while sawing the rectangle, or fuel fumes getting in to my cabin while driving, or if God-forbid I'm in a serious car accident, that fuel would be spraying all over the inside of the car on fire while my family and I are still trying to get out. I'm not sure if that's very realistic...
As mentioned above, unless there is a leak at the top of the tank, fumes/fuel won't be an issue. And if there were a vapor leak, you should be getting an EVAP code of some kind, so barring that I don't see anything to worry about during the cutting process. As far as any safety issues during future operation, there's no enhanced risk if you secure a new plate over the hole when complete. A few sheet metal screws and some rope caulk or silicone sealant (or even HVAC tape) and the panel will be serviceable without allowing any exhaust fumes into the cabin (regardless of where your exhaust pipes exit, even if you have dumps).

Originally Posted by Y2kHawk05 View Post
My friend hacked / cut his car and while it's a lot easier get to the fuel pump that's just not something I can do to my car.. Same reasons as yours, plus my car is a Firehawk.. which a do still have all the oem parts.
If you had an ultra-rare '97 LT4 Firehawk with delivery mileage then there might be cause for concern here, but the vast majority of these 4th gens are low end collector cars at absolute best. If you're already well into the 5-digit mileage range, even with a Firehawk, such intense scrutiny as disassembling the interior to check for panel modifications isn't going to be part of any typical pre-purchase inspection, so nobody but you would ever know it had been done.

I do realize that cutting and drilling holes seems counter-intuitive on a car that one considers to be special, it feels like a very permanent thing to do. But, unlike some other modifications which are highly visible and/or impact the way the car drives and behaves, the only real downside here is psychological.
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Old 05-16-2019, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by RPM WS6 View Post
I do realize that cutting and drilling holes seems counter-intuitive on a car that one considers to be special, it feels like a very permanent thing to do. But, unlike some other modifications which are highly visible and/or impact the way the car drives and behaves, the only real downside here is psychological.
I gave into this psychological factor when it came time to change my fuel pump. I didn't want to molest the car. But after doing it, even with a lift, my conclusion is "never again." When my current pump goes south (currently at 65k and performing well), it will be the trap door method hands down.
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Old 05-16-2019, 12:25 AM
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Trap door is the only way. Clean, quick and smooth.
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Old Yesterday, 07:44 PM
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you can also get one of these to make it look somewhat professional and less redneckified



https://www.jegs.com/webapp/wcs/stor...rsistYmm=false
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Old Yesterday, 08:26 PM
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Not sure if this helps but I had a similar problem with 02 ws6.....it would crank but not start... it would happen intermittently....turns out it was a relay related to the alarm......he put a new relay in and it's been good
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