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Old 08-09-2016   #1
1988PontiacGTA
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GTA Year: 1988
GTA Engine: 305 TPI 5-Speed Manual
HELP! Stalling as soon as the engine gets warm.

1988 Firebird Trans Am GTA 5L 5 Speed with TTops and Digital Dash.

Hoping I can find some help maybe someone has had the same problem. I replaced a bunch of parts to tune the car up and now I am having issues with it running.

It fires right away no problem what so ever but while running idle jumps back and forth from 500 to 600rpm and once the car gets hot enough will just stop dead. It will then not start until cool again.

I checked the timing it seems fine, fuel pump is working ok full list of new parts and I am not sure what to look at next. Someone suggested EGR Valve... any ideas would be great.

New parts just installed: MSD Distributor Cap and Rotor, MSD blaster coil, MSD spark plug wires, AC Delco Spark Plug Set, alternator, battery, ram air intake and Ignition control module.
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Old 08-09-2016   #2
JonBlake
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Re: HELP! Stalling as soon as the engine gets warm.

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Originally Posted by 1988PontiacGTA View Post
1988 Firebird Trans Am GTA 5L 5 Speed with TTops and Digital Dash.

Hoping I can find some help maybe someone has had the same problem. I replaced a bunch of parts to tune the car up and now I am having issues with it running.

It fires right away no problem what so ever but while running idle jumps back and forth from 500 to 600rpm and once the car gets hot enough will just stop dead. It will then not start until cool again.

I checked the timing it seems fine, fuel pump is working ok full list of new parts and I am not sure what to look at next. Someone suggested EGR Valve... any ideas would be great.

New parts just installed: MSD Distributor Cap and Rotor, MSD blaster coil, MSD spark plug wires, AC Delco Spark Plug Set, alternator, battery, ram air intake and Ignition control module.
From my basic understanding on these specific third gen cars, they don't come factory with ram air. I think the term is naturally aspirated or something to that extent. So if you have installed a ram air system or your car has an aftermarket ram air system installed, there could be an issue with the sensor that detects airflow into the motor. If it's not that, I would then guess that perhaps the ignition control module might be causing it. Also you've installed so many aftermarket parts, really hard to tell which one of those, if any, is causing the issue. "Blaster coil" sounds like it may require more then just stabbing that on for it to work properly. Would a computer chip need to be customized to utilize the full potential of such aftermarket parts? And would stabbing this stuff on a car without customizing a chip cause issues? Good question for those who are experienced in this field. Me myself I have no idea, but just throwing out ideas and suggestions as to what it may be.
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Old 08-09-2016   #3
89-5.7GTA
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GTA Year: 1989
GTA Engine: 350 TPI Automatic
Re: HELP! Stalling as soon as the engine gets warm.

Is your ignition control module an AC Delco unit? If not, I have heard these cars can be finicky with an aftermarket module. If so, try swapping the original back in. I did some of the same stuff on my car, but used a factory module without any issues.
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Old 08-09-2016   #4
JonBlake
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Re: HELP! Stalling as soon as the engine gets warm.

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Originally Posted by 89-5.7GTA View Post
Is your ignition control module an AC Delco unit? If not, I have heard these cars can be finicky with an aftermarket module. If so, try swapping the original back in. I did some of the same stuff on my car, but used a factory module without any issues.
Yeah, I've read that too in various forums about those modules. Fun fun fun.....
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Old 08-09-2016   #5
1988PontiacGTA
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GTA Year: 1988
GTA Engine: 305 TPI 5-Speed Manual
Post Re: HELP! Stalling as soon as the engine gets warm.

Hi thanks guys as for the coil it's a bolt on part and shouldn't affect the computer as far as I know. The ignition module is AC Delco I was told to get the OEM part for it works better as well as the plugs. I thought it may be the ram air intake but dowant make sensense to me because it will run for a good 4-5min until hot. Then it will stall out crank over but won't fire. Maybe a faulty module?
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Old 08-09-2016   #6
1988PontiacGTA
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GTA Year: 1988
GTA Engine: 305 TPI 5-Speed Manual
Re: HELP! Stalling as soon as the engine gets warm.

Fuel pump / fuel pump relay?
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Old 08-10-2016   #7
89-5.7GTA
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GTA Year: 1989
GTA Engine: 350 TPI Automatic
Re: HELP! Stalling as soon as the engine gets warm.

When my fuel pump quit the car would not start at all, or start and run poorly for a minute or two. You can check the pressure at the fuel rail via a schrader valve. I used a Harbor Freight tester that was under $20 US. I suppose you can check the pressure right after the car stalls and determine if that is your issue. But, I would think you would have had some symptoms before all of your upgrades. If original, just think - the pump is around 29 years old.
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Old 08-10-2016   #8
1988PontiacGTA
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GTA Year: 1988
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Re: HELP! Stalling as soon as the engine gets warm.

SO, I just went out again to let it run and watched the temp gauge. It got up to 110 degrees and then stalled out. I then realized that both of my rad fans did not come on what so ever the whole time it was running.
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Old 08-10-2016   #9
JonBlake
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Re: HELP! Stalling as soon as the engine gets warm.

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Originally Posted by 1988PontiacGTA View Post
SO, I just went out again to let it run and watched the temp gauge. It got up to 110 degrees and then stalled out. I then realized that both of my rad fans did not come on what so ever the whole time it was running.
Hmmm. Well I don't know a thing about these cars but what you said is interesting. So do the fans come on at a specific temperature? Or do they come on when the motor is turned on. You mentioned "fans" so I researched and see that the GTAs have two from the factory. Also someone wrote that one fan will come on when the a/c is turned on. Well, at 110 degrees would that be hot enough to trigger the fan(s) to come on if they only come on at a specific temperature range? If the fans should be coming on but are not, would there be some sort of feature that causes the motor to be cut off so it's not damaged from overheating?
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Old 08-11-2016   #10
Roadrunner
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Re: HELP! Stalling as soon as the engine gets warm.

Unless modified, it has to get pretty hot to turn fans on. Factory setting for fan turn on is like 222F or high AC pressure.
Idle air control system is a common problem - could need cleaning or adjustment.
Could also be a problem that appears when going into closed loop ( >155F ?) - such as a bad MAF.

To rule out IAC, try holding throttle to keep it above 1800 rpm before the time where it normally stalls.
If you are able to keep it running with throttle, you most likely have IAC problem.
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Old 08-12-2016   #11
JonBlake
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Re: HELP! Stalling as soon as the engine gets warm.

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Originally Posted by Roadrunner View Post
Unless modified, it has to get pretty hot to turn fans on. Factory setting for fan turn on is like 222F or high AC pressure.
Idle air control system is a common problem - could need cleaning or adjustment.
Could also be a problem that appears when going into closed loop ( >155F ?) - such as a bad MAF.

To rule out IAC, try holding throttle to keep it above 1800 rpm before the time where it normally stalls.
If you are able to keep it running with throttle, you most likely have IAC problem.
Can you guys tell me why would this electric fan design be any good? I never really looked into this until it became a topic here, but why would this car want or need to have fans that only come on through commands of a computer in a car? Personally I feel better with the traditional fan attached to the water pump pulley design. So when the engine is running, the fan is "running". The way it's set up on the third gen relies on electrical connections and computer commands. Too many things can go wrong with it that way such as fan motor failure, wiring failure, sensor failure, computer failure, and I don't know what else. With the traditional design, the only thing that's going to go wrong is belt failure and maybe, just maybe fan clutch failure, though I've never had a vehicle with that type of setup have a fan clutch failure.

So why did GM design this electrical fan system and what was / were the benefits to having such a system?
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Old 08-12-2016   #12
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Re: HELP! Stalling as soon as the engine gets warm.

A fan, mechanical or electric, is only good at very low speeds. It's not needed all that often, overall. Therefore, using engine horsepower to run a mechanical fan 100% of the time is wasteful. It wastes horsepower, and it wastes gasoline.

So it is done for efficiency, both in economy, and in power. Very little in production today uses a mechanical fan. Electrics have been the standard for 30+ years.

And they have proven to be very dependable. While all parts fail eventually, nothing in this system is particularly prone to failure.

My take? If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
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Old 08-13-2016   #13
TTOP350
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Re: HELP! Stalling as soon as the engine gets warm.

Could be any number of things but to me, It sounds like it could be something electronic heating up and failing.
MAF, MAF relays(power, burnoff) coil, pickup coil, ign mod, injs, fuel pump or ecm.
I would also test the ecm coolant temp sensor.

Last edited by TTOP350; 08-13-2016 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 08-13-2016   #14
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Re: HELP! Stalling as soon as the engine gets warm.

Nobody asked this question: Are you getting a service engine soon light after the stall out?

Do you have a scan tool?
ALDL connector?
WinALDL?

Ram Air will not affect anything unless you've damaged the MAF but then you would get an SES light.

The fluctuating idle could be a vac leak, IAC or MAF.
Make sure all of your vac connectors at the back of the plenum are still hooked up and not cracked.

It sounds like the failure is when the car is entering closed loop operation which is when the computer relies on all of the sensors to add/remove fuel, idle air and spark.

You can test your fans to make sure they are working by jumping pins A and M on the ALDL connector. This should also display any stored codes in the computer by blinking the SES light.
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Old 08-13-2016   #15
1988PontiacGTA
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GTA Year: 1988
GTA Engine: 305 TPI 5-Speed Manual
Re: HELP! Stalling as soon as the engine gets warm.

Thanks everyone I just wanted to update you because I got her running! I was up til 3am last night I voltage tested all the terminals and relays, cleaned them all, took off the distributor cap and uninstalled the ignition module and tested all the connections. I cleaned it all and reinstalled it and cleaned the pickup coil connections. This morning I got it and she fired right away, it ran idle for 35 minutes without dying and my fan went on too. Must of been a loose connection it looked like the pickup coil connection was loose too.

Voltage key on:

Power to coil - 11.66v

From coil to ignition module - 11.68v

4 post terminal to/from module - 0.98v

Ignition module 2 prong out to pickup coil
When connected:
Prong 1 - 5.53v
Prong 2 - 5.56v

To fuel pump relay - 12.29v
To MAF power relay - 12.29v
To MAF burnout relay - 12.27v
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Old 08-14-2016   #16
89-5.7GTA
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GTA Year: 1989
GTA Engine: 350 TPI Automatic
Re: HELP! Stalling as soon as the engine gets warm.

Thanks for posting the update. Good to hear that it was nothing major, and it helps everyone when the solution to a problem is posted.
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Old 08-15-2016   #17
JonBlake
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Re: HELP! Stalling as soon as the engine gets warm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DynoDave View Post
A fan, mechanical or electric, is only good at very low speeds. It's not needed all that often, overall. Therefore, using engine horsepower to run a mechanical fan 100% of the time is wasteful. It wastes horsepower, and it wastes gasoline.

So it is done for efficiency, both in economy, and in power. Very little in production today uses a mechanical fan. Electrics have been the standard for 30+ years.

And they have proven to be very dependable. While all parts fail eventually, nothing in this system is particularly prone to failure.

My take? If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Thanks for the info. Makes good sense. Over the weekend I was researching the pro's & con's of the Belt driven fans vs the electric and found a pretty good explanation. Basically what they are saying is for stock cars and cars that have very mild performance modifications, belt driven is fine. It's when you move into the more higher performance cars that the electric fans provide most benefit.

http://www.onallcylinders.com/2012/0...-your-vehicle/
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