Diagnosing an Intermittent Stalling Problem

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98 Acura TL. 130k or so. Friend says several weeks ago, the car would take longer than usual to start. The battery was load tested and checked out fine but my friend was told that the alternator's output was a bit on the high side. Nevertheless, the starting problem has not reappeared since. Fast forward to tonight. When she was driving the car tonight, the car stalled. It didn't display any usual problems prior to stalling. After stalling, it restarted just fine. The car has been running fine since. From my basic knowledge, I understand that a car needs to have fuel and spark to stay running. So, I assume that the problem is either fuel or ignition-related. Where should I start the diagnostic process? Thanks!
 
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On some cars this could indicate a bad coolant temperature sensor. Depends on whether or not the coolant temp data is required by the ECU to determine the proper air/fuel mix.
 
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 Originally Posted By: Onmo'Eegusee
Does this vehicle have an automagic transmission?
Is this about Harry Potter's car?
 

The Critic

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 Originally Posted By: Onmo'Eegusee
Does this vehicle have an automagic tranmission? Did it stall while coming to a stop?
It is an automatic, but the stalling did not occur as the vehicle was coming to a stop. The stall occurred at around 20-30 mph.
 
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Pull codes first, you might get lucky and have a memory code to play with, otherwise it can be a shot in the dark trying to find the problem. I have run into numerous causes for intermittent stalls-bad PCM grounds, flakey torque converter solenoids, leaky evap valves, fuel pump relays, PCM relays, bad/rubbed insulation on wire harnesses and a few dozen other oddball problems. Intermittents are a PITA for techs.
 
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This sounds like the typical loose connection issue. Also check all grounds. At first I was thinking the IAC, but since it happens at speed, it can't be that.
 
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When my old Legend had a hard time starting, I started telling my Honda expert about it, and before I could finish he interrupted and said it was the master(?) relay under the dash. And it was!
 
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Honda's of that vintage had bad ignition switches. As a matter of fact, most of them were recalled. Some of them even had to go through another replacement. Google Honda Ignition Recall. Bad ignition switch can cause the vehicle to stall with no other symptom because as far as car is concerned, you just turned off the ignition :-) Get this fixed before it starts stalling more often. Also make sure driver knows how to restart the vehicle. It is NOT fun when you have couple of semi on both sides and one on your rear when it stalls with no warning. Since it is in "D", the starter will not engage, you lose power steering, you lose brake ... Call Honda/Acura dealer and have them run your VIN. It might be covered under the recall. - Vikas
 
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The Critic

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Car is fixed. As always, the local Acura dealer did a great job. They diagnosed the following: - Failed Battery - Failed Starter Motor - Failed Main Relay The battery was still under warranty from Walmart, so my friend is going to take care of that herself. She went ahead and had the dealer replace the starter, main relay and do an oil/filter change for a total of $1147. While I didn't get the exact bill, I think the breakdown is something along the lines of this: Diagnostic- 1hr @ $120/hr R/R Starter- 3.4 hours @ $120/hr= $408 Starter Motor-- $433 Main Relay- $75 Oil Change- $40
 

PT1

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Originally Posted By: The Critic
She went ahead and had the dealer replace the starter, main relay and do an oil/filter change for a total of $1147.
$1147???? shocked
 
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Let me understand this. The car stalled on your friend. It restarted fine. She took the car to the dealer. The dealer did a "great job" of "fixing" intermittent stall by replacing alternator and main relay and recommending to change the battery for low low price of $1147. Wow :-( The title says "Diagnosing"; I see no such thing here. - Vikas
 
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They threw every part they could at it. The battery [referenced as poor quality in another post] was probably fine, if charged up again. Don't tell me every one of those parts failed at the same time! Not a chance! If you like that dealership, you're gonna like your first day in prison.
 

OVERKILL

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Originally Posted By: mechtech2
They threw every part they could at it. The battery [referenced as poor quality in another post] was probably fine, if charged up again. Don't tell me every one of those parts failed at the same time! Not a chance! If you like that dealership, you're gonna like your first day in prison.
HHAHHAHAHAhA, gotta agree. That's a "perfect storm" of parts failures, there isn't a chance that happened.
 

The Critic

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I think you guys are misunderstanding the situation. The car stalls intermittently. It also refuses to start at times, as described in the original post. The dealer diagnosed the problem. Starter motor and main relay failures are quite common with this particular vehicle-- I checked in with BITOG's AcuraTech. The dealer charged $120/hr, which is in-line with what most dealers charge. Parts were right at MSRP. How was their price unfair?
 
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A 10 year old car with that kind of mileage should be nowhere near a dealership garage. It was easy enough to diagnose with AcuraTech. You shouldnt have to pay $120/hr to fix a car like that, and you shouldnt be paying OEM MSRP for parts either.
 
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Quote:
You shouldnt have to pay $120/hr to fix a car like that, and you shouldnt be paying OEM MSRP for parts either.
Maybe not what you would do but... Critic is correct. The customers problem is solved and the solver needs to be paid fairly.
 
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3.4 hours to replace a starter? I'm not familiar with Acuras, where is the starter located? They must have had to do some digging for the RR to take that long.
 
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