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Hi Guys, new around here... 02 Impala with a 3.8. 168,000 mostly trouble free miles... Till now. This is my brothers car. He was the "Pilot" through this.


Yesterday while running down the road (30) it died. Started, died. Started and drove to the gas station. Filled the tank and it ran fine.
He headed out of town and made it 15 miles. Where it died at 70mph! :yikes:

There he sat on the right shoulder. Start die start die. He got about 12feet at one point and said heck with it. Call AAA. He had it towed. It was towed to my house, ironically close to where it died.

Shooting from the hip isn't the best Idea, but time was limited. The parts stores were closing and I couldn't find my fuel pressure gauge. We ran the car till it died. Start, die, start, die, then just crank. I tapped on the top of the fuel pump with a ratchet, and the car fired and ran fine.

We dropped in a new fuel pump and he was on his way. He made it about 20 miles back home and was just down the street when it acted up again. Same issue. Now I have my fuel pressure gauge. 52 PSI at idle. Unplugging the Vacuum line at the regulator gives 60psi. The pump is solid.

The cat ran away, so we installed a "test pipe." No issues there anymore.
When it starts acting up it smells rich (thanks to no cat to burn it off), BUT after pulling one of the plugs it looks to run lean. The plug is very white.

I found the fuel pressure gauge but forgot my scan tool. The check engine light is on now as well. My next plan is to scan those codes, but I'm scratching my head and don't want to just be throwing parts at it.

It sounds almost like an ignition module, but it could be a crank sensor. I thought since they moved the coils by the belt and the front of the engine the module life had greatly improved?

Any ideas guys? Being I live 20ish miles from where the car is, and he's a College student, money is tight. Are there any easy tests with a multi meter that I can run?

Thanks a ton guys!
 

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First thing first is to scan the codes. Those will help direct you where to look. It is possible that the Opti is acting up.
 

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You tapped the fuel pump in the gas tank with a ratchet on the side of the road? Sounds like a pain in the ass.


What regular maintenance has he done? A lot of people ignore fuel filter, as well as plugs/wires.

I've never hooked up a fuel pressure gauge, is that done at idle? Maybe there's not enough fuel getting through it at higher RPMs.
 

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Opps. Never mind wrong engine I was thinking of.

What are the codes that the PCM has? Have you had it scanned yet?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Scanned it and got code p0102. Mass air flow sensor. Actual values show its stuck at 19.39 g/sec with no movement at all when you Rev the engine. So, we shall replace that and see how it goes. I Have never seen a MAF shut a car down. But after some other reading, it can on the impalas.
 

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MAF can definitely shut down any car if it's reading the incorrect value. It's used in calculating fuel requirements along with MAP and O2.
 

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Hey that happen to my car. Sound it like it was chocking , splutters and turns on but dies. One way to know is if you take it off it will run that's what they did in the dealership. I thought it was the fuel pump but it wasn't. Then I thought it was the Catalytic converter and took it to the dealer ship.. They said it wasn't it was the MAF Sensor and they wanted 800 bucks for it..I went and bought it $150 and put it in less than a minute..
 

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Hi Guys, new around here... 02 Impala with a 3.8. 168,000 mostly trouble free miles... Till now. This is my brothers car. He was the "Pilot" through this...

The Mass Air Flow sensor will definitely cause the symptoms you describe. When I read you post, I was going to suggest it but I see that you already got that error code. At least it is easy to replace.
 

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I had the same code. I cleaned the MAF with MAF cleaning spray, but didn't help. Ended up having to buy a new MAF and the code went away and engine runs fine. Cost me $130, but very easy install.

2002 Impala 3.8L
 

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Been there. Done that. 2000 Impala LS, Sometimes doesn't set codes.

I only suspected it because I just replaced it. The car basically died at a stop sign. When you tried to start it, you would have to keep your foot on the accelerator and you got VERY rough idle.

You can get into limp mode by disconnecting the sensor. The car becomes driveable and starts.
 
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