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Cory Wolfe

Ode To The Sunfire

58 posts in this topic

Oh... Where to start? I suppose I'll be blunt. It broke down yet again. This time, with me.

As you know, I haven't gotten the miss fixed with my Millenia, so when I want to go out of town, I'll take the Sunfire. That's what I did last night. I basically needed something to do since I wasn't able to take it down to Carlisle. I took it to Dubois to look at cars and hang out with a friend instead. Things were going good for most of the night. Found a few cars to drool over, found some to laugh at, and I found some that I don't see often. Went to Burger King where a friend of mine works and got free food and a free milkshake. Had fun... After that, I head home.

I decided to take the interstate since I had no reason not to. This is where the fun started. As soon as I got on it, I went to accelerate up to speed. I got up to about 50 mph when I realised I wasn't gaining any more speed. Didn't think much of it, so I gave it more gas and then it died on me. Slowly down shifted while pulling over onto the side. I noticed that it was running a bit hot (nowhere near the max, but more than usual), so I shut it off. Needless to say, I was in "WTF" mode. After calming a bit, I tried starting it again. Wouldn't start. Called home. My mom wasn't too happy after I told her how it broke down on me. Not to mention that this was late at night, my dad was sick, and my mom had to go to work tomorrow. I couldn't do anything... I was pretty much stuck on the interstate. After talking a while, I tried starting it again, and it started surprisingly. It wasn't running great, but it was running, I started inching my way forward. I couldn't give it much gas. I was crawling along at a speedy 15 mph most of time time. I had to make it 10 miles at that pace until I was able to get off the interstate. Eventually, I was able to speed up a bit and give it more gas, though it was still notably under powered. I made it home, though.

She asked for my keys in case she needed my Millenia. I warned her about how it misses. Today, she took it to work since the Sunfire wouldn't start this morning. My Millenia may not run great either, but atleast it always starts and never dies on you while driving. Once home, she told me about how I should have warned her in more detail since she wasn't accustomed on how to drive it with the miss. T'was sort of funny. Anyways, my dad (who's still sick) didn't know what it could be so he called my uncle and he suggested it was the same problem as before. Since the Quad4 and TwinCam are similar, the ignition modules can be switched out for a quick fix. That's what he did last time until he could get a new one. Well, it wasn't that. I took it up the hill to see if it was fixed. At first it seemed to be, but once I went to turn around, it died on me. Not only that, it wouldn't start. I kept trying, hoping that no cars would come by as I was stuck in the middle of the road. Eventually got it started and got it back home... Where it died one me as soon as I got on the clutch. So yeah. Since the check engine light has been on for the catalytic converter for months now, that's what we'll try next. I'm not sure how it would make it run like that, but it's the only thing we know of to fix. Checked the diagnostics again and no new codes showed up.

Right now, I'm not too happy with the Sunfire. I didn't exactly want my parents to get it in the first place, but I didn't think it would be this bad. We've had nothing but problems with it, which is no different than how it was with the Blazer (albeit, it's not nearly as bad as the Blazer was). Once my mom gets it paid off, which luckily will be sometime soon, I think there will be a replacement in our future... and I doubt it'll be GM. My dad's not too happy about it. After all, he hears praises from his brother with the Titan and not to mention that my $1600, 172k mi. Millenia, even with its current engine miss, has been one of the more reliable cars that has graced our driveway. We'll see, though. I would like to see my mom have a reliable vehicle for once regardless of brand.

I think I need to start a Reliable Car Fund for my mom... :P

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Wow not even the Shadow was that bad...yeah it had problems but never left me stranded besides that time the new battery terminal wasn't connected properly. In fact I don't ever remember it stranding someone.

Dude, suggest an Intrepid :P It's way more reliable than a Sunfire! Much more refined too. So far all that had to be done to it was have the gasket between the fuel pump replaced...although I think it needs a wheel bearing (high mileage). Still, it's been extremely reliable so far.

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Before we go damning the car, maybe a diagnosis is in order. Lots of things could cause its symptoms, including bad gas. I've seen J-cars go up to and over 200k miles. Yes, it could be a GM problem, but outside forces could be working against it as well.
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Before we go damning the car, maybe a diagnosis is in order. Lots of things could cause its symptoms, including bad gas. I've seen J-cars go up to and over 200k miles. Yes, it could be a GM problem, but outside forces could be working against it as well.

If this were the first time it experiencing a problem, perhaps you could say that, but it's not. We've had problems with it ever since we bought it. Remember how I talked it having to be taken back to the dealer the first week we bought it? Tell all the "happy, high mileage" stories you want, but the J-bodies don't exactly have a reputation for quality for obvious reasons. No matter the car, there will always be success stories. That doesn't make it a good car. Either way, my dad is the one that isn't happy with with the car or GM, for that matter. You know how it is... If my parents could afford to buy new, alot of problems would be solved, but buying used means we're buying "old GM" vehicles, alot of which weren't that reliable, especially the ones that appeal to my mom (like me, you won't see her in a Buick Century :P ). I know we're all GM fans and would like to think all older GM cars are better than their reputation, but let's not fool ourselves now.

Finally, obviously it's going to be diagnosed. We can't afford to not fix it, especially since its not paid off yet. My mom needs a car and can't exactly drive mine to work to everyday (her reason being it's own problems and not liking paying for premium... my reason being, she usually forgets to pay for premuim which just makes things worse). As far as having bad gas, considering 100 miles or so were put on it's current tank of fuel before ever experiencing a problem, I would have to say it's not very likely. As I mentioned, the catalytic converter is being replaced. Even though I don't see how it cause it to run like that, I hope its the problem, as its all we've got to work with right now.

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Could easily be the cat, a clogged-up cat causes a ton of backpressure not allowing the engine to breathe. Made a HUGE difference on my Maserati when I replaced the cat. When cars first got cats, this sort of thing happened all the time. If the car has really high miles or ran junk gas for any length of time, the cat makes sense as the source of the problem.

Otherwise, I'd suspect a fuel filter.

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Never Buy A Used J-Body. You just ask for these issues. seriously at one time i could get them from 7k from the dealer lot. At that price you just destroy them then off them. One question though How has your dads work truck been to him?

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A clogged up catalytic converter is not the car's fault, if that is what the problem is.
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One question though How has your dads work truck been to him?

Been good so far.

A clogged up catalytic converter is not the car's fault, if that is what the problem is.

A catalytic converter doesn't just clog, true, but it can be numerous things, engine related and owner related. After reading up on it, problems with the ignition system can lead to a cat becoming clogged. If you remember, our Sunfire has had problems with that. That is the most likely situation as nothing we've done would have caused this.
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I spose if gas isn't being fully burned because the ignition system is faulty, it can be dumped out the exhaust, contributing to a clogged converter. Camino brings up a good point too, it could need something as simple as a fuel filter. Does your mom go to the same gas station all the time? Edited by ocnblu
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Before we go damning the car, maybe a diagnosis is in order. Lots of things could cause its symptoms, including bad gas. I've seen J-cars go up to and over 200k miles. Yes, it could be a GM problem, but outside forces could be working against it as well.

The man speaks the truth.

Though I think a lot depends on the previous owners....this really sounds like a beat up J.

All my Js have been problem free...expect for the little stuff....

My 14 year old -rusted like crazy-with over 140k-has less issues than that.....

I have to replace some stuff now, only due to the fact my fuel system is old, and needs replacing...(hello, new IAC valve)

Have you considered setting the Sunfire on fire-and collecting the insurance? :thumbsup:

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Never Buy A Used J-Body. You just ask for these issues. seriously at one time i could get them from 7k from the dealer lot. At that price you just destroy them then off them. One question though How has your dads work truck been to him?

Nah, you just gotta take a good look at them.

Keep in mind most people who drive em' new are young and beat the crap out of them. :AH-HA_wink:

THough I do agree with destroy and off idea..... :thumbsup:

Though these are the last Js I will own..they are killing me on insurance though...

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Could easily be the cat, a clogged-up cat causes a ton of backpressure not allowing the engine to breathe. Made a HUGE difference on my Maserati when I replaced the cat. When cars first got cats, this sort of thing happened all the time. If the car has really high miles or ran junk gas for any length of time, the cat makes sense as the source of the problem.

Otherwise, I'd suspect a fuel filter.

Yep.

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I spose if gas isn't being fully burned because the ignition system is faulty, it can be dumped out the exhaust, contributing to a clogged converter. Camino brings up a good point too, it could need something as simple as a fuel filter. Does your mom go to the same gas station all the time?

No idea. I think there are only two gas stations I've seen her at in Brookville, though, Sheetz and 7-11 (BP). Myself, I've had problems with bad gas and I've never had problems like this. Nowadays, I only get gas at that 7-11.

Nah, you just gotta take a good look at them.

Keep in mind most people who drive em' new are young and beat the crap out of them. :AH-HA_wink:

Well, we overlooked the Sunfire pretty well. It was a very clean car that seemed to have been taken care of. So who knows. Besides, from all the J-bodies that has been in my family (4 or 5 for my uncle, 2 for us, 2 for other relatives, and I have a few friends with them... I think it's more than a coincidence that they're all crap. You know? :P
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How I will choose to remember the Sunfire...

Posted Image

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*sings*IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII'm going to soak up the Sunfiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiire...*sings*

Posted Image

That actually looks cool.

The Prizm is far better than the J bodies... Yeah, ours had to have the tranny replaced but I don't believe that is very common. The interior is so much better, the drivetrain is so much more refined...it handles better looks better sounds better...

Little stuff breaks on them...like door handles...so many Corollas and Prizms have broken door handles. But that's what the junkyard is for. Plus it's pretty cheap to insure...much cheaper than I was expecting.

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Any other compact is far better than the J-bodies... :P

Although, I did like some of the concepts, like the one posted as well as these, atleast styling wise:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Edited by blackviper8891
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That actually looks cool.

The Prizm is far better than the J bodies... Yeah, ours had to have the tranny replaced but I don't believe that is very common. The interior is so much better, the drivetrain is so much more refined...it handles better looks better sounds better...

Little stuff breaks on them...like door handles...so many Corollas and Prizms have broken door handles. But that's what the junkyard is for. Plus it's pretty cheap to insure...much cheaper than I was expecting.

Sorry, but I'm going to be a jackass here.

Sick of hearing about your Prizm and Intrepid. Glad you love 'em, but I here about them pretty damn often.

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They only refer to the Intrepid, Prizm and Millenia as being nice cars because they don't know any better.

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You mean.. Hearing about my Millenia more often isn't more annoying? :D

You've toned it down in the last little while :)

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Sorry, but I'm going to be a jackass here.

Sick of hearing about your Prizm and Intrepid. Glad you love 'em, but I here about them pretty damn often.

Then uh..don't read the posts them..no one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to read about them.

They only refer to the Intrepid, Prizm and Millenia as being nice cars because they don't know any better.

Nicer than Malibu, a Cavalier, a Sunfire, a Taurus, an Escort, or a Neon of comparable years. I've ridden in or driven all of the mentioned. I know better. And no $h! there are nicer cars out there, but I doubt you'd find many for that low a price.

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Lesson #2: If you have to resort to, "For what I paid, its a good car" then odds are its a car most people on an enthusiast board don't give a flying f@#k about. That goes for Intrepids, Millenias and 23 year old Datsuns bought in the name of hypocrisy.

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They only refer to the Intrepid, Prizm and Millenia as being nice cars because they don't know any better.

Lesson #2: If you have to resort to, "For what I paid, its a good car" then odds are its a car most people on an enthusiast board don't give a flying f@#k about. That goes for Intrepids, Millenias and 23 year old Datsuns bought in the name of hypocrisy.

Here's a lesson for you... World wide, Mazda Millenias have more of a following with Mazda enthusiasts than that other Mazda... You know... The best selling roadster in the world? You may have heard of it. Millenias are great cars for any price. This won't be my last one. So please... spare me your BS and go back to your little corner to find someone more worthy of it. :P
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No idea. I think there are only two gas stations I've seen her at in Brookville, though, Sheetz and 7-11 (BP). Myself, I've had problems with bad gas and I've never had problems like this. Nowadays, I only get gas at that 7-11.

Well, we overlooked the Sunfire pretty well. It was a very clean car that seemed to have been taken care of. So who knows. Besides, from all the J-bodies that has been in my family (4 or 5 for my uncle, 2 for us, 2 for other relatives, and I have a few friends with them... I think it's more than a coincidence that they're all crap. You know? :P

Yeah, yeah-you and your family's bad luck..heard it before... :P

And looks aren't everything....I've seem some pretty good looking pieces of $h!.... :AH-HA_wink:

Now, if you had the 'Fire with the 2.4, I could feel for ya.... :P

Hopefully, after a few fixes, she should run ok...

BP gas sucks-ALOT-I'd better be running out of gas before I'd hit a BP station, which is a shame, because it used to be good gas...

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Lesson #2: If you have to resort to, "For what I paid, its a good car" then odds are its a car most people on an enthusiast board don't give a flying f@#k about. That goes for Intrepids, Millenias and 23 year old Datsuns bought in the name of hypocrisy.

Usually those are beater cars..like my wagon. :AH-HA_wink:

These cars protect our good cars..like the ones we really like to drive.... :pbjtime:

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