2001 Oldsmobile Intrigue RPM goes to 500, stalls close to work

01OldsIntrigueOwner

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Reasons why I hate Mondays. I was on my way to work in bumper-bumper traffic on the freeway, and about 1/4 the way to work, my car was idling at 500 RPM, which isn't normal, as it should be 750 RPM. As soon as I got off of the service ramp to get to the office, I was driving in the left lane, and as soon as I was going 45-50MPH, the RPM gauge went from 2,500 RPM to 0 (stalled). I turned the hazard lights on, moved into the turn around lane, stopped, put it in park, and started the car. Thankfully, it started right up and the RPM idle was back at 750 RPM. I also noticed the car was jerking when I hit the accelerator and when I let go of it.

When I parked my car at work, I checked the oil, transmission, and coolant levels and they were nominal, as well as the engine temperature. Would it be the rainy weather that's causing it, or a bad sensor/spark plug?

The engine is a 3.5L LX5 V6 DOHC MFI FWD that has over 116,300 miles on it, original motor, as well as the transmission.

I'll post updates on here later on.

Edit (09/25/18): replaced the O2 sensor, spark plugs, flushed and fixed the cooling system, including replacing the thermostat (now has heat. YAY!), patched the exhaust system temporarily, and it's still stalling. 2 years ago, when I got my battery and alternator tested, they said my battery was OK, but, the alternator was at 52% and I now know what the underlying issue is: the alternator is putting too much load on the engine causing the engine to stress out and stall (that, and coolant got in there when my dad and I replaced the thermostat). It's not the fuel pump and if it was, the car wouldn't start at all (fuel pump primes when turning the key). All I have to do is replace the alternator and the battery as they both need to be replaced (will get the diagnostics done on the weekend). At least the car still starts the first try after it stalled and the head gaskets are still good. Getting closer.

Edit (01/03/19): Replaced the power steering assembly a couple of months ago, replaced the EVAP canister purge valve, the fuel cap last month, the coolant reservoir clamp with a new one since the old one was starting to fall apart and a PITA to remove (removing the electrical box is required) and put the hose all the way to the reservoir (no leaks whatsoever), and slapped in a new battery. The car is functioning and not stalling any longer. Best of all, no engine light is on. Only a few things left to do: patch the resonator for the exhaust (I have 2 patch tapes), fix the suspension on the front end, replace the wheel bearing on the right front wheel (ABS is still out), the brakes, get new tires in the rear, and replace the fuel pump and filter (better to replace the pump than just 1 small part: the float sensor that checks how much gas is left in the tank).
 
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Cutlass350

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You need to check for stored codes.

Other than that, you'd need something like the Torque app to do live data recording.
Even then, vacuum leaks can be impossible to find without doing smoke, water, carb-cleaner tests on various surfaces. Even then, a vacuum leak may not be found or seen.

Clean the MAF. I've had off/on issues with mine reading nicely. I tried other new (non-OEM) MAFs, and they all were POS.

Otherwise, nothing that I can think of off-hand that is a common failure on an older LX5 that would cause that. Yea, fuel injectors, coils, and ignition modules go. But, in general, those are part of what I call the "90%-95%" awesomely designed/done parts.
It's that other 5-10% of POS cr*p cheap *ss parts that often screws people.

Good luck!
 

01OldsIntrigueOwner

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The car didn't do that again today and it was idling without issues and drove smoothly. I also put gas in it last night just to be safe as well. Maybe it's time for a new engine air filter. I cleaned the MAF sensor 4 years ago, and I believe I should replace that just in case. I also replaced the IAC valve and PCV valve 4 years ago since they were clogged or not working properly.

My gas mileage right now is about 18.7MPG (1.3MPG less than the specs since my plugs need to be replaced) and I removed the heavy load out of my back of the car (back seats and trunk), and kept the spare tire, jacks, lug wrench, and spare fluids (coolant, motor oil, and steering fluid in the pocket behind the front passenger seat).

Also, no codes as the engine light was off, except for the ABS, Trac off, and Service Vehicle Soon lights.
 

Cutlass350

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Fwiw, if/when the head gasket goes, that is NOT a symptom at all.

The only other thing I could think of is to check the grounds and the connection of the grond wire from the battery to the engine block (in back, above the starter).

Also, there's a common ground point, on the driver's side, near the front, where the engine bolts to the tranny. That may be harder to see. But, on my car, that loom was disintegrated, and one of the wires that went to that common ground point was breaking off from the eyelet.

Otherwise, imho, even with one bad cylinder, I wouldn't expect that behavior.
I have a (likely) china-clone Tech-II scanner. So, I can shut off cylinders in test mode. I've done that a few times, while hunting down stuff.

Fwiw, in general, GM did a very good job with ignition modules. Yea, anything can fail. But, imho, GM's ignition modules likely have a much lower failure rates than other manufactures. At least in the era of our cars.

Yea, GM offset great ignition modules by cheap POS wire looms, cheap brake lines, poor rust protection, etc.
 

01OldsIntrigueOwner

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Well, it did it again on my way home, not even 1 mile away from the office. I made sure the battery terminals were nice and tight. The ground wire that's in front held in by a bolt or screw is really rusty (I should replace that) and the wiring to the relay box has a couple of small spots that has corrosion. On Saturday, I'm going to look and see what the issue is, check for any breaks in the wiring, and go from there. Still no engine light or battery light that's on. I might get the battery and alternator tested again to eliminate the possible issues.

Thanks for helping.

Edit (09/14/2018): Did it again on my way to work. I checked the oil level and it didn't show anything (maybe a small drop) on the dipstick. Also, the oil level sensor isn't sending a signal saying low oil (maybe this is the culprit), and I added 1 quart of oil and the dipstick now shows there's oil in there.
 
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Edit (09/14/2018): Did it again on my way to work. I checked the oil level and it didn't show anything (maybe a small drop) on the dipstick. Also, the oil level sensor isn't sending a signal saying low oil (maybe this is the culprit), and I added 1 quart of oil and the dipstick now shows there's oil in there.
I think it would only show low oil for a catastrophic loss. Not a half quart or 1 quart low.

it's been a while since i read the manual though so i could be wrong, but i've never seen a low oil light in 18 years (and both of my valve cover gaskets leak and I top up regularly). Either way, I would never trust that light and only depend on manual checks of the dipstick.
 
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01OldsIntrigueOwner

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My dipstick says it's full now (thankfully). Sometimes my car loses oil and I have to add that every month, and I think the seal for the oil level sensor is destroyed. I also noticed the oil pressure light turn on for a split second (could indicate the oil pressure sensor might be another cause, too). On Saturday, I'm going to take it to the repair shop for diagnostics and see what the issue is.

Edit (09/16/2018): my friend and I took a trip to Autozone and I purchased new spark plugs, boot protection (the boots are still good), spark plug gap setting tool, carb cleaner (for my lawn mower and leaf blower), and a throttle position sensor. We then installed the new spark plugs since the old ones wore out, and the car does run. I'm going to get more diagnostics done tomorrow after work and see what the underlying issue is and fix it (possibly the TPS is out, and I checked the MAF Sensor, plus the air filter and they looked OK to me). I'll post an update tomorrow and let you know what the issue is and if it's fixed, and get the power steering to not leak anymore (it's leaking again). Thank you all for your help and advice.

Edit (09/20/2018): nothing yet (no codes), so, I'll wait until Friday night and see what the issue is. Another issue my car might have is a dirty fuel filter and I'll get the power steering evaluated on my car as it still leaks.
 
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01OldsIntrigueOwner

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Status of the car: The heat Oxygen Sensor (second sensor) is on its last legs. My friend and I are going to replace the sensors at the Catalytic converter and exhaust manifold, later on, it'll be the right-front wheel bearing since the ABS is at fault on there, and getting the power steering pump replaced again. I also discovered the heater isn't working in my car and the temperature gauge spikes up and down (O2 sensor at fault and I'm going to fill the coolant up).
 

01OldsIntrigueOwner

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Status update: replaced the O2 sensor that's after the catalytic converter and it runs better, and it didn't give me a hard time when I started it when the engine was warm. Now comes the bad part: the exhaust assembly that connects to the catalytic converter split in two (the ends are still there) and my exhaust is now loud, and the car is overheating for some reason, no heat, but, no leaks at all (coolant levels are perfect).

I purchased the linkage for the exhaust assembly to do a temporary fix until I get new exhaust parts since my muffler and the resonator have holes or splits on them either at the top or on the side, and I also bought 3 gallons of Dex-cool, a new thermostat, and a drip catch pan to flush out the cooling system.

Edit (09/24/18): my dad and I replaced the thermometer and it still overheats, but, the heater is starting to work, but, not very well. There aren't any leaks and the coolant level is normal. Going to get it flushed tomorrow.
 
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01OldsIntrigueOwner

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Status update: cooling system is fixed. I accidentally crimped a hose when my friend and I were replacing the spark plugs and got it flushed as well. My alternator is now starting to go (stalled on me again) or it could be the battery. I'll get this checked over the weekend. Close, but, no cigar.

Edit: car's overheating again.

Edit 2: cap was loose, which shot up, causing the car to boil over and overheat. Cap is still there.
 
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01OldsIntrigueOwner

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Alternator passed the test, as well as the battery.

There are two codes that popped up today (Sept. 30th):

P0446 - EVAP Canister Purge Valve Blocked
P1258 - Engine Coolant Overtemperature - Protection Mode Active (replaced the thermostat, flushed the cooling system, and fixed the crimped hose to allow flow to go through) <-- the engine temperature is nominal now (close to the half-way marker), no coolant boiling, and the heater works great.
 
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01OldsIntrigueOwner

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Purchased a new EVAP Canister Purge Valve for my car from RockAuto.com since prices are scarce at auto part stores, and it's being sent right now. Once I get the part, I'm going to replace it, go to the mechanic on Friday night to get further diagnostics and code clearing, and see what happens. Doesn't stall on short 1-2 mile trips, but, longer trips are causing it.

I'll report back with the results.
 

01OldsIntrigueOwner

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Update on the car:

Replaced the EVAP Canister Purge Valve yesterday, drove the car around and to Belle Tire to get my power steering fixed again, and it didn't stall. However, I'm losing coolant and I don't see any leaks at all (probably because the system wasn't burped/bled out when the cooling system got flushed out, or the cap needs to get replaced) and the compression is still good and the car still runs. Getting closer and closer to getting the car working once again, and the engine light didn't go away after disconnecting the battery (Overtemperature Protection Mode Active code).

Got 4 engine light codes:

1) EVAP Purge Valve (getting cleared)
2) Overtemperature (getting cleared)
3) Fuel sensor high (going to get replaced sometime)
4) Transmission temperature exceeded (tied to the overtemperature)

And the power steering leak could be either the reservoir (discontinued) or the pump.

Got the engine codes cleared, and the reservoir is shot for the power steering (discontinued and the only spot that has that is the junkyard).
 
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01OldsIntrigueOwner

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Update on the car:

After much cursing and getting a cold, I replaced the power steering pump/reservoir combo on my car, accidentally put the pulley in backwards, and after getting the 3-jaw puller to borrow from Autozone, I got the pulley off, placed it in the right direction this time, compressed the pulley to meet the pump bearing, and all is well. Steering is a lot better, returned the core (old pump/reservoir combo, kept the cap) and the two loaner tools and got my money back. I'm planning on driving the car over the weekend on long trips to make sure it doesn't stall any longer.
 

01OldsIntrigueOwner

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Code P0446 came back again when driving it around on Saturday. Time to replace the fuel filter or take it to the shop to get it looked at on Friday or Saturday next week.

The fuel gauge is also erratic (says full, drops to empty, then back to full on a full tank of gas), the gas cap's gasket has cracks on it (will replace with a new cap), and the filter was replaced 6 years ago.
 

01OldsIntrigueOwner

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Update on the car:

The coolant was leaking and I discovered that the coolant line at the reservoir was not seated in correctly. When the time is right, I'm going to change the clamp with a new one that uses a screwdriver or socket wrench to loosen or tighten. Also, the resonator has holes in it and I bought some patch to wrap around the resonator (might have to buy another one) to fix the exhaust from leaking out, I replaced the fuel cap a couple of days ago, and the fuel filter still needs to be replaced (will do that with the resonator patching on Saturday).
 

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An update:

I ended up getting a new battery on Sunday since the old one went kaput after 4 years, more exhaust patch (haven't gotten the patch on the resonator yet on account of weather and other things), and wire brushes to clean the terminals. On Saturday, I took the old clamp off to replace it with a new one for the coolant reservoir and it's not dripping coolant anymore. No engine light yet and it didn't stall when I pushed it to the floor on the freeway. Darn fuel cap was the culprit, and I'm planning on checking the tank for holes and other stuff underneath to make sure the gas isn't leaking, replacing the fuel filter (it's been close to 7 years since it was changed last), and patching the resonator.

Edit: the coolant is leaking at the reservoir for some reason and the car temperature went to the 3/4 marker. I'm planning on replacing the reservoir, sensor, and the line that goes to the thermostat.
 
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01OldsIntrigueOwner

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Update: the engine light came back on and the temperature is still rising when idling.

P0446: Evaporative Emission Control System Vent Control Circuit

Fortunately, on my car, it's by the filler neck and might not be easy to replace.

The cooling system is still acting strange (temperature rises when idle at a stop sign or a red light, but goes back down when I hit the accelerator), but, it's not leaking or losing coolant since I added the appropriate coolant this time (the one I put in was straight Dex-cool instead of Dex-cool 50/50). Could a failing water pump cause the temperature to rise in the car's engine? I checked the oil dip stick and didn't see anything. I'll check the oil cap to make sure there isn't any milky goo on there, and there's no white smoke coming out of the exhaust, which is a good thing.
 
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01OldsIntrigueOwner

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Fixed the issue with the cooling system and the suspect was the tank (return hose port on the tank had a crack). Fortunately, I found a new one at an O'reilly's Auto Parts store and slapped it in 6 days ago. All is left is to test and replace the Canister Vent Solenoid, Throttle sensor, IAC valve, fuel filter, fuel float sensor or pump; engine air filter, clean the throttle body with throttle body cleaner, and figure out why my ABS is intermittently going in and out (ABS/SVS/Trac Off) by cleaning all 4 ABS sensor harnesses and adding dielectric grease to the sockets to prevent corrosion, debris, oxidation, and other stuff from entering into the electrical sockets. The car had a couple of stalls, but still started without issues. Getting closer to my destination.

Edit: pulleys are squealing and it sounds like I need to replace the power steering pump pulley, idler pulley, and belt tension pulley.
 
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