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2003 Elantra shuts off
11-21-2014, 10:47 PM
Post: #1
2003 Elantra shuts off
2003 Hyundai Elantra GT, 298,865 miles, Manual 5 speed, Maine and Mississippi coasts. Car runs fine but shuts off unexpectedly. It does not stumble or lose power, it just stops running. Engine cranks, but will not run. After sitting awhile it will restart. Checked for spark with starting fluid into intake, engine fires. Tested fuel pump, pressure good. Checked fuse and relay box under hood, all seems good. Replaced cam position sensor, same problem. No check engine light except after repeated attempts to start with no success, and after sit period, no light, and car starts and runs fine. This problem has been getting progressively worse and is now to the point where the run time is about 5 minutes and the time it must sit to restart is several hours.
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11-22-2014, 12:07 AM
Post: #2
RE: 2003 Elantra shuts off
At the risk of stating the obvious, if you add starting fluid and it starts then there's most likely a lack of fuel. The reason I say that is due to time factor. My best guess is you can grab that can of fluid faster than you can rig up the fuel pressure tester, which may be long enough for a failing pump to come back from the dead. The other part is a failing pump generally doesn't leave a trouble code other than (possibly) a multiple cylinder misfire. OTOH, it would have to be limping along at a low pressure for long enough to set that code, which is generally 5-10 seconds, and that doesn't always happen.

As for finding the issue, you may have a code and NOT have a CEL that stays on! You'd have to use a scan tool to see what's in there and probably clear the codes then see what new ones come into play when it dies. (may take several times to set a code too) The other thing is if it's that predictable you can put a fuel pressure gauge on it and wait to nail that down as it happens. Fuel pressure is a funny thing. 10 PSI low may keep it running but 20 PSI low may cause a stall.... and you "think" you have good pressure... but there's no way to know for sure unless you can give us a hard number. The pressure should be about 50 PSI.

BTW, there were two recalls I know of in that era. One was for weak fuel pump and the other was for a problem with the anti-theft system where the computer would not read the "bumps" on the ignition key properly. A recall is forever as long as it's never had that fix previously so might be worth a phone call to a dealer. Both could cause the car to die intermittently. Have the VIN handy when you talk to them and they can tell you what's going on in that department.
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11-22-2014, 01:07 AM
Post: #3
RE: 2003 Elantra shuts off
(11-22-2014 12:07 AM)Rupe Wrote:  At the risk of stating the obvious, if you add starting fluid and it starts then there's most likely a lack of fuel. The reason I say that is due to time factor. My best guess is you can grab that can of fluid faster than you can rig up the fuel pressure tester, which may be long enough for a failing pump to come back from the dead. The other part is a failing pump generally doesn't leave a trouble code other than (possibly) a multiple cylinder misfire. OTOH, it would have to be limping along at a low pressure for long enough to set that code, which is generally 5-10 seconds, and that doesn't always happen.

As for finding the issue, you may have a code and NOT have a CEL that stays on! You'd have to use a scan tool to see what's in there and probably clear the codes then see what new ones come into play when it dies. (may take several times to set a code too) The other thing is if it's that predictable you can put a fuel pressure gauge on it and wait to nail that down as it happens. Fuel pressure is a funny thing. 10 PSI low may keep it running but 20 PSI low may cause a stall.... and you "think" you have good pressure... but there's no way to know for sure unless you can give us a hard number. The pressure should be about 50 PSI.

BTW, there were two recalls I know of in that era. One was for weak fuel pump and the other was for a problem with the anti-theft system where the computer would not read the "bumps" on the ignition key properly. A recall is forever as long as it's never had that fix previously so might be worth a phone call to a dealer. Both could cause the car to die intermittently. Have the VIN handy when you talk to them and they can tell you what's going on in that department.

Thanks for your post. I was aware that it is a fuel issue. A weak or dead fuel pump causes a stumble in the engine before it stalls, this is more like the engine just turning off. Similar to turning the car off. I don't have the equipment to check but it seems that the fuel injectors simply stop. Any other thoughts?
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11-22-2014, 11:51 AM (This post was last modified: 11-22-2014 11:57 AM by Rupe.)
Post: #4
RE: 2003 Elantra shuts off
Something else to pin down would be if the fuel pump stops. Actually this is part of what I was trying to say earlier. We need to know if the pump stops first (no fuel pressure) or if the injector pulse goes away. Both result in no fuel to the engine but each has it's own set of diagnostics.

If you think the injector pulse goes away that can be checked with a "noid light" which is cheap. It's basically a low voltage test light to work at 3-5 volts. I a pinch I have used a regular test light with small clip leads but hard to see unless you can find a suitable bulb... perhaps a flashlight bulb from a hardware store is available?

Remember what I said about the anti-theft and the system not reading the key. About the only way to catch that would be a high end scanner which can ready body accessory codes, unless the dealer has another clue to share. (some will and some wont)

I recall back a few years where I was banging my head on a Grand Caravan with similar issues. There was no CEL but was a code for "serial buss communications error" in storage that kept showing up each time I cleared the memory. The short version of the story is I wound up repairing a bad solder joint in the dash cluster that was part of the anti-theft circuit. I never would have found it if I didn't have access to a scan tool and fuel pressure gauge. IOW, the right tools are very necessary! Without them it's just a shot in the dark.

Edited to add: Many parts stores have tools to loan out and while they may not have a high end scanner on the list they may have a fuel pressure gauge. A cheap scan tool can at least read the codes and clear them so you can get a fresh start. Post any codes you find here for more chatter, especially the ones that come back after clearing the memory.
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11-22-2014, 12:37 PM
Post: #5
RE: 2003 Elantra shuts off
I agree with Rupe. All “Ideas” are just that, “Ideas.” You can play them out and sometimes hit on the solution by accident. “Facts;” on the other hand, will usually get you there quicker and cheaper. I have a fuel pressure gauge with a hose long enough to hook it up; under the hood or at the fuel filter, and be able to tape the gauge to the windshield. When test driving you can look at the gauge right as the car dies to see the fuel pressure. You can have a good pump and no fuel pressure if the “Anti-Theft” system turns the pump off. But the gauge is a way to find the right path to know what is the next step. If the engine dies and there is 50 pounds of pressure showing on the gauge you can eliminate a lot of things and narrow the search. Also, what Rupe is saying about a High End Scanner is true. I own one and I can get into systems that don’t even show up on a parts store Code Reader. Someone who knows what they are doing can hook it up, set it to “Record,” and then drive until the car dies. It will show all system reading at the time that the car failed. If the injector pulse quit and the security system activated, it may be that Recall that Rupe mentioned?
At any rate, please keep us updated. It’s interesting and it could help someone else.

Thanks for using the forum,
Garner

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11-23-2014, 03:34 PM
Post: #6
RE: 2003 Elantra shuts off
Thank you both and here is an update. I have no pulse at the injectors during the problem, so I need to diagnose the electronics to the injector system to see why. Im looking for pass and fail specs for each component to test them with the intent of removing them from suspicion or replacing them as necessary. I can not find any information on a recall notice on an "anti theft" device for my vehicle. We have had only three recalls, nothing to do with the ignition switch or security systems that I am aware of. Brake line proximity, lower control arm rust, and fuel filler valve, all of which my wife and I fixed before the recalls came out. There is a service bulletin on our air bag system that has never been addressed, but the system has been disconnected since 2003 (I don't want an air bag the way of my steering during an accident).
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11-23-2014, 04:38 PM
Post: #7
RE: 2003 Elantra shuts off
There's not much in the way of electronics that you can diagnose as a stand alone item. The basics of the system are the ECM, harness, and the injectors themselves. Of course the ECM needs input so there's an ignition signal and a crankshaft signal to trigger the ECM at the right time. The balance of the inputs have to do with throttle position, load (manifold vac), air and engine temp. These inputs change the amount of fuel via slight fuel pressure changes or pulse duration of the injectors. This is where a good scan tool comes in handy because anything to do with input or mixture will either set a code or show up as out of range.

What the books never mention (and may not show up as a trouble code) have to do with old fashion bad connections so you'd be looking at harness grounds (rusty or not tight?) and any possible old repairs from collision or other physical damage. I can't tell you how many times I have found an older vehicle with heat damage to a harness that finally let go or a relay center with water damage to the terminals.

Personally, if the first half hour dosen't turn up anything obvious (you may get lucky) I would go with a full scan and that will tell you what the ECM sees.

BTW, the only failed sensor that I can think of to kill the injector pulse would be the crank sensor. The others may cause it to run bad or not start but you should at least have a pluse if they are out of spec.
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