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Car turns off by itself randomly


sttubs

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This is a weird problem to me. I was wondering if anyone would have a solution. 2003 Impala 3800: Sometimes will start normally and runs nice and smooth without any check engine lights. It will then randomly turn off on it's own. It does not sputter when it happens, it's like the key was turned off. Then when you go to restart it it will turn over but not fire, leave it alone for couple of hours and it fires right up. It's nothing to do with heat, the car can sit overnight in the cooler weather and not start too. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

 

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It does happen while driving. I thought the ignition recall was regarding too heavy of a key chain.

That's what I would think but I'd take it into your dealership and see what they say about it. I think you just get a new ignition switch. Do you loose control of the car? Power brakes? Steering? Etc?
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That's what I would think but I'd take it into your dealership and see what they say about it. I think you just get a new ignition switch. Do you loose control of the car? Power brakes? Steering? Etc?

 

Yes, it loses all power.

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Yes, it loses all power.

Ok yeah that sounds like that recall. I'd check with the dealer even if you didn't get a notice and see what they say. There may be more cars effected then what's on the recall list. Something like that is extremely dangerous so the dealership should do something.

 

 

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The ignition switch issue is related to NHTSA Recall #14V400000.

 

This recall is completely pointless because all they do is put plugs in the key along with smaller key rings so you can't hang shit from it, but that doesn't explain not being able to restart the car.  Those same ignition cylinders also have known issues with Passkey.  Does the Security indicator flash when the car won't restart?

 

If the car is truly "powering down", it almost sounds like you have some combination of the two, or at the least, a faulty ignition cylinder. 

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CKP or ICM would be two likely offenders. Sounds a lot like when my CKP went though.

 

Crank position sensor.

 

I've had more than my fair share of 3800 CKPS die and have never seen a code.

:thumbsup:

 

Textbook crank sensor.

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:thumbsup:

 

Textbook crank sensor.

I'm new at diagnosing certain things so I put it with that recall that I've heard of. But you are right if it was that recall he should in theory be able to just restart the car and keep going. But since the car won't start it wouldn't work. I would still suspect the ignition cylinders. Is your key damaged at all? If it's like what digital said the car may be loosing signal with the key and shutting down to prevent theft

 

 

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Crank sensors can fail in a variety of ways

 

A code gets set - probably the most uncommon

Engine just turns off with seemingly no reason and either will start back up or eventually does only to die again at a undetermined amount of time

I've even seen where a tachometer just goes to 0 while the engine is still running as a sign

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Yup, just like the car was turned off.

If it shuts off like the ignition switch then it's the ignition switch, if the dash is still powered but the engine has stalled its probably the ckp.

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Is it while your driving? Almost sounds like the recall with the ignition cylinder GM put out...

 

 

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The ignition cylinder issue had to do with the key moving by itself to the ACC  position. Impalas had PASSLOCK 2 and the key looked like this...

 

s-l225.jpg

 

The people with keys like this got recalled because the weight of the keychain would cause the key to deteriorate the ignition cylinder. All they got was a center piece that made the key "centered" on the keychain. 

 

It does happen while driving. I thought the ignition recall was regarding too heavy of a key chain.

 

This for the win.

 

The question for you is "are you using a key with more than just the key fob on it?" I always keep my car keys separate from my house keys, and I have a belt clip that I use to keep all my keys. All my cars have their keys on its own keychain. Most people however put all their keys on one ring. If you're doing the latter, stop. But to me, it seems your issue has to do with the CKP, especially if your key is still on the "ON" position when it cuts off. 

 

Is there any specific time it does this? Bumps, turns, sudden shifts of movement?

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  • 2 months later...

I realize this is a fairly old thread...but generally, on 3800 Buick engines, it's the crankshaft position sensor.  I've seen it most frequently shortly after the water pump develops a coolant leak.

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I was curious to see the solution here too. I think it's a crank position sensor as well but he said it shut down just like the ignition switch was turned off. could be a bad ground or a battery cable or something too.

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Mark 1997 Cutlass Coupe

My 3100 97 Cutlass has been doing this occasionally for the 9 years I've had it. Doesn't matter if it's hot or cold outside, or if the car is hot or cold. I'll be driving down the street, and it's like the key has just been turned off. All power dies, and once the car coasts to a stop, once I put it in park it ALWAYS has instantly restarted. I had hoped that when I got the Jasper rebuilt motor the problem would stop, but it persists. It might go several months, and then do it. I've had it do it twice in a day. There seems to be no pattern at all, which is maddening. I've gotten used to it, but my wife will now start to drive the car occasionally, so I really need to figure it out. My mechanic thing crank sensor, so I'm encouraged to see others think the same thing. But, wouldn't that have been replaced with my rebuilt motor? My car isn't part of the recall, and I've never had more than a few keys on my ring.

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