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Old 05-23-2013, 08:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default help! serious conundrum continues to go unresolved

hi all, i'm an owner of '99 suzuki esteem 1.8 glx wagon. and i've previously posted in the esteem subforum, but due to low traffic, i wanted to post freshly here in the hope of piquing more interest. obviously i'm here due to a car issue. it has a very mysterious, intermitent stalling issue. and i'd like to share my story in the hope that someone might shed some light.

in late april, my car stalled out as i was accelerating on an on ramp. it sputtered once, and a few seconds later, done… everyone said, 'oh, probably the fuel filter'. i had it towed to a mechanic i have previously used and who i like and trust. the way it sputtered before stalling made me think that maybe i was out of gas - i had only two or three gallons in the tank at the time, but given my inaccurate fuel gauge, i thought it possible.

the mechanics were still at the shop when i had it towed, and they spent an hour or two looking at it. next morning, a new camshaft sensor installed, i picked it up, drove across honolulu (approx 8 miles; 20 minutes), and my car stalls again at a red light. have it towed back to same mechanics… they then decide to replace the ecm. and even drive it around town one afternoon - didn't stall on them.

a few days later, i pick it up, drive across honolulu - literally the same route i did previously… it stalled again at a red light. i have it towed back again to my mechanics.

this time, they simulate driving it on whatever that platform is called. they run it off and on until well after midnight. they were able to get it to stall four times, during which, they were monitoring the engine, fuel system, battery, etc… everything was kosher. this led them to believe that it was electrical and a heat issue, and they could not diagnose it. i got my car back with a full refund.

i then make an appointment with the local suzuki dealership (servco) to let them have a crack, but the appointment was three weeks out, so in the interim, i continued driving my car. during that time, it stalled on me only twice (due likely to my adjusted driving habit). it happened after i had driven 5-6 miles through town (~15 minutes), and then unexpectedly had to drive back home immediately. it stalled just as i pulled up in my driveway. another time, i was trying to get my young daughter to fall asleep in her sleep before we got home, so i was doing circles around the block. both times, i was driving slowly, and the car sputtered a few times -almost like it was out of gas - before finally stalling.

believing that it has something to do with heat, i had been very careful to not drive too much and unnecessarily. i make sure my car has an opportunity to cool. and i park in structures or in shade. this is hawaii after all, and we deal with an intense, tropical sun. i also thought/think it might have something to do with the a/c running. possibly due to the load it places on the system? or maybe it causes the engine to heat faster?

my appointment with dealership was for may 21st. the night before taking it in to the dealership, i did a few errands, and as i returned home, i decided to continue driving my car around my neighborhood for a good 25 minutes, in the hopes that it would stall. but i could not get it to stall. maybe it was because the cool night air was not permitting it to overheat?

i took it in to the dealership, they keep it for two days (got it back this morning), and they cannot get it to stall. nor can they diagnose it. going on what i have told them, they guess that it might be the egr. they say this because the egr valve could stick and cause a vacuum problem with the idle. this would cause a stall without the fuel pressure dropping (remember, fuel pressure has never dropped in the observed stalls). they check it but it seems fine. i asked them not to replace it.

so i picked it up this morning with the suspicion that maybe the stalls were the result of some multivariate phenomenon that has since passed. i pick it up, drive across town. do a few errands. and sure enough, i got to my house, put it in park (daughter asleep in her seat), a/c running, and it stalls.

so that's where i'm at now… very frustrated.

anyone care to chime in?
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