Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for mechanics and DIY enthusiast owners of cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Back Story: I recently took my Geo Metro on a road trip. 2700 miles of road trip. The first 800 mile nothing happened. Then going up a hill it died, dropped from 75 mph to 55 mph then the engine kicked back in. It then did this on the next hill as well, and the next. After that it was fine even on the hills. On the return trip it happened once again on the same hill as the first time, then 700 miles later it happened again this time at a stop sign on small hill. When I was about 60 miles from home it started dying every or 6 miles.

Vehicle information:
4 cylinder motor

Details of stall:
No sputtering before it dies.
Electronics, such as radio still work.
If I am at low speeds 50mph or below, I have to pull over and shut off completely (sometimes wait a minute) then restart.

Things I have checked or replaced:
The air intake temperature sensor was the only computer warning - Replaced
Fuel filter - Replaced
Distributor cap and Rotor - Replaced
Ignition control module - Passed tests at Autozone
Spark plugs and cables - Replaced and gapped properly
Fuel Pressure - I setup a gauge to monitor it and took it for a test drive. It maintained 20 psi when idling, 25 -30 psi when driving, and 20 psi when it stalled.

Question: So far I have been thinking it was electric because of the lack of sputter. Am I right in this assessment? If I am what else to check? If not, what should I be checking?

Right now, I am planning on replacing the ignition coil with one from a junkyard. New would cost $95, junkyard is $7.99

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The coil does seem like a likely candidate. I had a coil on my car that would intermittantly kick in/out (dual coil setup, so I would sometimes have all 4 cyl firing, sometimes just 2). Took months before we finally figured out it was the one coil. :-)

share|improve this answer
Do you think I am going down the right path with the electrical or should I be reconsidering fuel and air. – Wulfhart Jun 8 '11 at 16:21
I wouldn't rule out fuel and air yet either, but my limited experience suggests that ignitions systems suffer, by far, the most failures... Electronics of all kinds are suspect. Now that I think about it, I do know a couple GM owners that had similar problems due to failing MAFs (of the flapper variety). I don't know what type of AFM your car would have. Probably not a TPS though, I've had a flaky TPS that made driveability a bit "off", but never threatened to kill the car. – Brian Knoblauch Jun 8 '11 at 16:44
Thank you. I will let you know how replacing the coil goes. – Wulfhart Jun 8 '11 at 17:10
Replaced the ignition coil and pickup coil, despite it passing a ohm resistance test. I took it for a test drive and it worked fine. Hopefully it wasn't just playing games with me. Thanks for the answer. – Wulfhart Jun 12 '11 at 1:00

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.