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Tim's Auto Repair
Tim's Auto Repair, Mechanic
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 16027
Experience:  Have owned a repair shop for 25 yrs.
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Why does my 1987 Oldsmobile stall while driving?

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My car started stalling while driving. It will start back up again and keep driving but it will either stall again, act like it will stall, or drive relatively fine. The car seems a bit sluggish while driving however and a few times the engine died while I let the car idle. The vehicle is a 1987 Oldsmobile Regency Ninety-Eight and only has roughly 65,000 miles on it. The fluid levels look fine and I had the fuel filter changed in January....Any advice would be helpful.

What engine do you have? Does the engine light come on? If so,can you give me the computer codes?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
It says "Sequential V6 Fuel Injection"

and no, there is no engine light (or any indicator light) that comes on once the car is running.

This problem may be the crank sensor, these may do this when they first start going bad and not give a code.

The Crankshaft Position Sensor is located:

Under hood, passenger side, lower engine area, front of crankshaft pulley, mounted in engine block.

Tim's Auto Repair and 4 other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

There is something in the general area you described that is covered in an oily residue (dirty, grimy, and black). The serpentish belt goes around the side of it and I can see a bar code sticker from the top.

If that truly is the problem would you be able to tell me what I am looking paying a mechanic to get my car running reliably again?

If it is oily, the problem may be a leaking front main seal and is getting on the crank sensor. A mechanic may charge you 3 hours labor, depending on what the mechanic in your area charges per hour.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
The only thing is my car starts fine with no trouble at all and will run. In fact last night (when this started) it stalled about 4 times, each time, coming back on once I put it into to neutral, turn the key, and then back in to drive. After the fourth time it started I drove it roughly 25 minutes to my home and let it idle when it finally died again (after I was home).

The car will start immediately each time I've tried since it's been home but I don't let it idle long enough to have it stall. I am hesitant to do so because of the worry of having whatever is wrong with it get worse and ultimately make more problems....

Yes, this problem sounds as if the crank sensor is failing.

Car stalling while driving causes

A car can stall while driving for many reasons.

  • Bad battery – If the battery on your vehicle is bad it can cause a domino effect and cause problems with the alternator. If the alternator is overworked, it can cause stress on the engine and can lead to much larger issues. To check if your battery is bad, you can hook it to a voltmeter by placing the prongs on the corresponding negative and positive outputs on your battery. If the reading shows less than 12.45 the battery needs to be recharged. You can find a voltmeter at your local auto parts store.
  • Fuel pump – When fuel pumps start to go out there are usually no warning signs. If the fuel pump is faulty, and the car stalls or dies, most generally it will not restart and will need to be towed.
  • Fuel pressure – Fuel pressure can typically be detected if the vehicle stalls while going up or downhill. If you notice your vehicle is stalling while going uphill, you can try using fuel cleaner.
  • Moisture in the gas – One sign of moisture in your gas is if you notice issues after filling up the gas tank, but you had no problems before. Aside from your car stalling, your vehicle could misfire or sputter if the gas is bad. If you believe this could be the cause you have two options. First, you can try to use the bad gas until it runs out, or you can drain the gas tank and refill it with new gas.
  • Wiring – If all the above issues have been ruled out you might have a wiring issue. To check for bad wiring, you will need to look at the wiring on the control idle speed control system (mounted on the intake manifold) to make sure everything is connected properly and that there is no corrosion on the wires. If you do notice corrosion (rust or excess material on top of the wires), the wires likely need to be replaced.
  • Distributor cap – The distributor cap plays a huge role in the engine running properly. It distributes voltage to the spark plugs in the vehicle. If there is an issue it can cause the spark plugs to misfire. Look for corrosion or cracks in or around the distributor cap. In case of corrosion or cracks, it is best to replace the distributor cap.