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Q: Starting issues

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So I was driving my car when it just died. It wouldn't start and black smoke came out as well as a gas type smell. I eventually got the car to start but it was sputtering and the Rpm gauge bounces up and down. It died again not 2 minutes later. We got it home and let it sit I started it earlier and it fired like nothing happened I then reved and the engine started to act like it was losing power and sputtering again then Rpms dropped and just died. Can you think of why it did this?

My car has 96100 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: The first thing that comes to mind is the i...

The first thing that comes to mind is the ignition control module, ICM. It is located under the ignition coils. It receives data from the crankshaft and camshaft position sensors. It relays this information to the engine computer, PCM. It is a computer, or module in itself. Circuit boards in parts like this usually fail when they are hot. It will not command the coils to spark, and the engine speed information will not be correct. This explains the jumping tachometer. If they are allowed to cool off, they can start to function again, but as you experienced, it was short lived.

The crankshaft position sensor could also cause this. It is a less common failure. It can produce a poor signal to the ICM. This will cause spark, and the fuel injector pulse to be erratic. The PCM will usually set a trouble code for this, but the only way to know for certain is the graph the output of the sensor using a lab scope. If you would like this repaired, consider YourMechanic. We can come to your home to perform a diagnostic on your starting issue and make any repairs that are needed.

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