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johannag

2013 Spark Stalling During Slow, Sharp Turns

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I bought a used 2013 Spark (w/ automatic transmission) about a month ago - it has high mileage (83k) but I had it inspected before I purchased - my mechanic said everything, including engine and transmission, were in great shape except the tires, which I had replaced a few weeks ago. 

 

However, in the last 3 weeks, the car has stalled 3 times. Twice it happened while taking a sharp right turn, slightly uphill, at a slow speed, while in my parking garage at work (after driving only about 2 miles from home). The third time it happened when my boyfriend was driving the car — we had just gotten off the freeway after driving about 30-60 minutes, and he was making a sharp right turn into a parking lot. I brought my car to a mechanic, who took it to a Chevy dealership for me. The dealership had my car for 5 days and claimed they could not get the car to stall for them, so they couldn't diagnose the problem. They handed the car back to me.

 

Today, I had the car at my mechanic to fix a leaking coolant surge tank. He did the repair, then took the car for a quick test drive. At the end of the drive (only a couple minutes), he made a sharp left turn into a parking spot, put the car into park, and then the car stalled again. I am so baffled as to what the issue could be, since my mechanic and the Chevy dealership have been unable to diagnose it. My mechanic said that when it stalled for him, it felt like the car thought it had run out of gas (I had about 1/8 of a tank of gas when it stalled for him, and at least 1/4 tank every other time it has stalled for me). He checked the computer, and nothing is showing up (no check engine light or anything, either), so he doesn't think it's an engine or transmission problem, but instead something with the fuel system or an electrical/wiring issue. He is looking into this for me, but in the meantime, I have a potentially dangerous car that I really want fixed. Has anybody had ANY similar problems, or have any thoughts on how to diagnose or fix?? I love this car, and it seems to be in good shape otherwise. I know the mileage is high, but I want this car to work for me for at least another year or two... Please help! :) 

Edited by johannag
Clarification

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Do you have a heavy key chain?

Does it do the same with a full tank of gas? 

 

 

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When you make a sharp turn the gas moves to one side of the tank and the fuel pump is in the center of the tank, so it could be sucking air on the turns with less than 1/4 tank of gas. Try keeping the fuel at 1/2 or higher and see if that solves the problem. This normally does not happen, but a weak or partially blocked fuel pump or fuel line filter may contribute to this issue. I have had this happen on a previous car with a big V8 that had a high fuel demand and it would shudder or stall on sharp or long turns when the fuel was under 1/8 or less remaining in the tank...so try a full tank and see how low on fuel you can go before it shows up again. If it happens with a full tank, the it is most likely a fuel pump issue or a slight blockage in the fuel delivery system between the tank and injectors. That's my best guess.

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I don't have any keychains on my key, so I don't think it has to do with ignition/the key shifting around while it's in the ignition. Gas tank question has come up with my mechanic/Chevy folks too -- I can't recall exact fuel levels during each stalling experience, but I think every time it has happened, the tank was less than half full. I am trying to experiment with my fuel levels to see if this happens when my tank is more than half full - so far, it hasn't. Definitely thinking a fuel system problem could be the cause because of this.

 

Thank you for your input! I am going to talk to my mechanic and see if he can take a closer look at the car's fuel delivery system

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A quick update...haven't gotten the car to the mechanic yet, but it stalled on me again this morning. Gas tank was 7/8 full, and this time I was driving completely straight, no turn at all. I was in pretty heavy traffic, very start-and-stop, so a lot of slow driving/coasting and idling; I'm pretty sure I was just coasting when it stalled, not giving it gas or braking. When it stalled, I tried lifting my foot off the gas pedal and then giving it a bit of gas, the car seemed to sputter once or twice? Had to put it in park, turn the car off, and turn it back on; everything started back up fine and I thankfully was able to keep driving and get to work but this is the first time it has happened in the middle of the road in traffic, so it was really scary. 

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Have your mechanic check to see if you have gunk in your tank. If only takes a tiny bit to upset a fuel  pump. Not sure if there is a fuel filter on these cars but you can check that to. If the engine is starving for fuel is going to sputter  and stall. 

 

I don't know much about these. I didn't even m know they existed till I test drive I one about three weeks ago. Owned it as of the first of November. 

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On 11/14/2017 at 0:32 PM, johannag said:

A quick update...haven't gotten the car to the mechanic yet, but it stalled on me again this morning. .......it has happened in the middle of the road in traffic, so it was really scary. 

It is not gonna fix itself. So you need to take to a good mechanic to find the problem.

 

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On 11/18/2017 at 10:09 AM, Mr.tozzi said:

It is not gonna fix itself. So you need to take to a good mechanic to find the problem.

 

Well aware that cars don't fix themselves, thanks. 

 

Brought it to a mechanic, he has had it for 1.5 weeks, has run countless tests, and has not been able to diagnose it.

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I'm going to take a shot in the dark here and say it's the programming of the transmission control module or engine control module. Same thing was happening with mine, but I took it into the dealership for a reprogramming once they released the recall.

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8 hours ago, robstacles said:

I'm going to take a shot in the dark here and say it's the programming of the transmission control module or engine control module. Same thing was happening with mine, but I took it into the dealership for a reprogramming once they released the recall.

Hmm interesting, thanks! Would have expected that the Chevy dealership service guys I had looking at it a couple weeks ago would have thought of that, but it's definitely worth bringing up to them and my mechanic again. Appreciate the input :)

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On 11/29/2017 at 8:46 AM, robstacles said:

I'm going to take a shot in the dark here and say it's the programming of the transmission control module or engine control module. Same thing was happening with mine, but I took it into the dealership for a reprogramming once they released the recall.

Question: was your check engine light on when the car was stalling for you? I just talked to a Chevy service manager to see if the ECM or TCM could be the problem for me. He said that according to the Chevy bulletin, my VIN isn't part of that recall, but that there is a slim chance it could still be affecting my car. However, he also said that my check engine light would be on if that was the case, and mine isn't on (and no codes coming up in the computer)

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Gotta love GM service people. If the light isn't on there is nothing wrong. Exactly why I hate going to the dealer. 

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6 hours ago, Ray Dockrey said:

Gotta love GM service people. If the light isn't on there is nothing wrong. Exactly why I hate going to the dealer. 

Ugh I know! And then they charge an arm and a leg to do practically nothing. Yesterday they updated my ECM software (or something along those lines...I might be phrasing that wrong) and replaced a "G107 bolt" and charged me $83. At this point I'm so desperate to get this figured out that I just went for it.

 

My independent mechanic had it for nearly 2 weeks, he ran several tests and still couldn't diagnose it. Checked the fuel pump, wire harness, full transmission inspection, throttle body for any buildup, ran a smoke test to check for any leaks or cracks in vacuums/pumps....nothing. Will be driving it all weekend to see if it stalls again (which I expect it will)...!

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Software update did not solve the stalling -- it stalled twice in two days, both times while I was in Park...

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Just out of curiosity, did you have your battery and alternator tested? 

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Have them check the gas peddle control module.

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