Engine randomly stalls when it rains and ran into another problem
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Engine randomly stalls when it rains and ran into another problem in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; My car developed a random stall that only happens when I park my car outside in the rain. It'll stall ...
  1. #1
    weister42 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Engine randomly stalls when it rains and ran into another problem

    My car developed a random stall that only happens when I park my car outside in the rain. It'll stall cruising to a stop and sometimes have trouble starting back up (dies right away). It runs just fine after warming up. I don't have a problem driving it through rainstorm but afterwards if I stop at a stoplight I can feel it isn't running as smooth as it should be. No specific codes, just P1599 (random or near stall detected). This problem is also accompanied with a traction code TCS 1225 (driverside wheel excessive speed) and TCS 1232 (driverside wheel speed sensor open or short circuit). The wheel bearing is new and the ABS/Traction light only comes on when it's raining, it shows up even if the car's stationary so again it is probably an electrical issue.

    I figure I should check the fusebox under the hood since my problem seems to be associated with my car being wet, but in the process I encountered this...







    This is the fusebox under the hood with its cover removed. Not sure why GM decided to put it there since it isn't completely sealed all around and all kinds of dirt/water can get inside.




    Found these two relays with some ugly water corrosion, one is so bad that half of one of its connections broke inside the socket.




    The relay in question





    I don't know if this has anything to do with my engine dying randomly in rain but I want to replace them, any ideas on how can I go about getting the broken piece out? The local auto store said one of these relays are $17.

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  3. #2
    Manic Mechanic is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Engine randomly stalls when it rains and ran into another problem

    $17 is for the best relay in the catalog, there are less expensive ones available. Try another store or just go to a salvage yard grab a pocket full and be surprised if they even bill you for them.

    As for the broken pin, pull the junction block up and see what the access is to the back side. Perhaps you can use a pick to push it out from behind or see that you could push it through from the top. If you study the terminal's locking tab hard enough perhaps you can find a tool that will release the tab so you can remove the terminal from the block. Once the wire is loose you can really get the piece out.

    Dies randomly when only when it rains, slowing or stopped. Been there done that and got a swell T-Shirt. The windshield wiper motor is either poorly grounded or is failing and drawing excessive current. I'll bet you that you'll now notice it only dies as the wipers are sweeping the glass in a delay setting. If so then the wiper motor has a poor ground circuit (one that looks like your relay box) any other circuits sharing that same ground circuit will get a reverse polarity voltage burst every time the wipers sweep, it seems when it's on delay the sudden high resistance in the ground path knocks off voltage sensitive modules and things stop working for a moment. If you're off the gas the engine may just stall out. Check all the cars grounds, clean and tighten them. Things will start working better than they have in years. If you've done everything possible to ensure the grounds are good and it's still happening you can also try running an independent ground for the wiper motor and if that doesn't help replace the motor. I had to replace the motor.

    Grounds are battery NEG cable on both ends, engine sensor harness grounds, engine to body ground straps, etc. Heck run a few extras that never hurt and often helps.


    Vernon

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    Manic Mechanic is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Engine randomly stalls when it rains and ran into another problem

    I thought about this later, the worse part about this other than it never stalls at the shop (until customer figures out it only happens in the rain even then no amount of hoseing the electricals and glass seams has an effect) no the worse part is since it knocks out the PCM during said stall there are never any stored codes.

    Vernon

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    weister42 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Engine randomly stalls when it rains and ran into another problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Manic Mechanic View Post
    Dies randomly when only when it rains, slowing or stopped. Been there done that and got a swell T-Shirt. The windshield wiper motor is either poorly grounded or is failing and drawing excessive current. I'll bet you that you'll now notice it only dies as the wipers are sweeping the glass in a delay setting.

    Vernon
    Not necessarily, for example when I was in Myrtle Beach I left my car outside for a day and it rained pretty hard. The next day was pretty sunny and warm but my car almost stalled at a stop sign about 5 minutes after I started it. The wipers weren't on but the AC was, it was kinda funny because the car literally shut off (I think the rpm dipped to like 400 or lower) but came back to life all by itself, the blower motor stopped for a second and everything was normal after that.

    I applied electrical contact cleaner to all the connections and I plan on visiting a junkyard for two of those relays. I know one of them controls the windshield wipers (the one labels as "accessory) because my wipers and windshield fluid motor didn't work when I removed it. Why oh why did they put something so important in the engine bay without its own sealed compartment???

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    Re: Engine randomly stalls when it rains and ran into another problem

    Is it electrically dying, as when it does all the components including your IPC turn off and come back on, or is only the engine dying?

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    weister42 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Engine randomly stalls when it rains and ran into another problem

    Quote Originally Posted by maeng9981 View Post
    Is it electrically dying, as when it does all the components including your IPC turn off and come back on, or is only the engine dying?
    Just the engine that dies. Lights, digital dash, windows, wipers, etc. all still work. It does not lose memory for all of my settings.


    I parked my car outside in the rain and I'm going to check my car tomorrow and see if the cleaning made any difference.

  8. #7
    weister42 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Engine randomly stalls when it rains and ran into another problem

    Okay so my result is sort of inconclusive. It didn't stall the last time I let it sit in rain but today it was misting out and my engine kept dying until it's warmed up. It definitely have something to do with moisture/wetness but again no codes besides P1599 (stall or near stall detected). It feels literally like someone blocked the intake or cut the power to the ignition, no weirdness before it dies. I can keep the engine from dying by pressing the gas pedal slightly to keep the rpm up, I wonder if this has anything to do with the part that controls the air intake at idle?

    I dug up two used relays from a junkyard and I'm going to replace the two worn ones and see if it changes anything. Does anyone know if the 5 relays have anything to do with keeping the engine running?

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    Re: Engine randomly stalls when it rains and ran into another problem

    Quote Originally Posted by weister42 View Post
    I can keep the engine from dying by pressing the gas pedal slightly to keep the rpm up, I wonder if this has anything to do with the part that controls the air intake at idle?
    When was the TB last cleaned and have you tried cleaning it?

    The part you are talking about is the IAC (Idle Air Control) valve and it rarely causes a problem, but if cleaning the TB doesn't help, I'd pull it just for the hell of it, clean it and the electrical contacts since it is so easy.

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    weister42 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Engine randomly stalls when it rains and ran into another problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger View Post
    When was the TB last cleaned and have you tried cleaning it?

    The part you are talking about is the IAC (Idle Air Control) valve and it rarely causes a problem, but if cleaning the TB doesn't help, I'd pull it just for the hell of it, clean it and the electrical contacts since it is so easy.
    I cleaned the TB the same day I cleaned and found the worn out relays so it didn't help the car dying part. I will clean the electrical contact for the IAC today and see if it helps.

  11. #10
    weister42 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Engine randomly stalls when it rains and ran into another problem

    I replaced the two relays and cleaned the connections to the IAC with deox-it and it did nothing. Engine still stalls, no codes besides P1599. I will try to get it on video tonight.


    Let me mention that the engine only stalls during warm-up, if I've been driving it for say, 15 minutes then it won't happen and it'll be fine for the rest of the day. It mostly stalls when in gear but it will stall in Park sometimes too. When it stalls it either just dies or the rpm will dip to ~400 then shoot back up to 800~900rpm as if the engine is trying to keep running but then it'll die. It was 68 degrees out today, really humid and I noticed that my idle was around 600~650rpm when the coolant temperature is around 120 degrees, doesn't that seem a bit low? I have another used IAC motor and it did not change the behavior when I swapped it.

  12. #11
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, chrome it
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    Re: Engine randomly stalls when it rains and ran into another problem

    Have we considered one or both CKP's ? A slow speed or warmup stall is typical of a failing CKP or CKP signal.

  13. #12
    weister42 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Engine randomly stalls when it rains and ran into another problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Submariner409 View Post
    Have we considered one or both CKP's ? A slow speed or warmup stall is typical of a failing CKP or CKP signal.

    Hummm I haven't thought about the crankshaft position sensors and its wiring harness, wouldn't they throw a code if it's faulty?

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    Re: Engine randomly stalls when it rains and ran into another problem

    CKPs should, but don't always set a DTC.

    You might also check the fuel pressure during a cold start and warm up. See what it is at idle and watch to see if it fluctuates with or just before it stalls. It would not be humidity related, but based on what you said in post #10, it might be a possibility.

  15. #14
    Manic Mechanic is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Engine randomly stalls when it rains and ran into another problem

    Engine at idle, spray a salt water mixture on the CKP sensor harness, wet down the spark plug wires and coils, check for stall or RPM response.

    Test the resistance of the spark plug wires. 3000 ohms per foot is maximum allowable. Wires with excessive resistance can induce Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI) into the crank sensor circuits.

    Measure the Ignition Control Module (ICM) and Powertrain Control Module (PCM) ground circuit voltage drop. It should not exceed 40 milli-volts.

    Disable one Crankshaft Position (CKP) signal at the Ignition Control Module (ICM) connector and see if the engine will start and run. The engine should run on one sensor. If the engine does not run replace both CKP sensors, A and B.

    Vernon

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    weister42 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Engine randomly stalls when it rains and ran into another problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Manic Mechanic View Post
    Engine at idle, spray a salt water mixture on the CKP sensor harness, wet down the spark plug wires and coils, check for stall or RPM response.

    Test the resistance of the spark plug wires. 3000 ohms per foot is maximum allowable. Wires with excessive resistance can induce Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI) into the crank sensor circuits.

    Measure the Ignition Control Module (ICM) and Powertrain Control Module (PCM) ground circuit voltage drop. It should not exceed 40 milli-volts.

    Disable one Crankshaft Position (CKP) signal at the Ignition Control Module (ICM) connector and see if the engine will start and run. The engine should run on one sensor. If the engine does not run replace both CKP sensors, A and B.

    Vernon

    I don't have a lift to get to the CKP, and how do I go about measuring voltage drop on the ICM and the PCM? This is what I did so far... I parked my car outside in POURING rain all day, started then drove around and guess what... nothing happened, engine didn't even stumble one bit. I parked the car with the engine running, sprayed water on the spark plug wires, the connections by the IAC, ignition module and the wires going into the passenger side firewall and nope, still runs just fine, no hiccups. The only thing that's different from the last time it kept dying during warm-up is the outside temperature, today is 48 degrees instead of 68 degrees.

    I can't even take it to a mechanic because the problem can't always be reproduced. This car I tell ya... has a funny attitude

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