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96 3.8 Camaro dies after driving ~3 hours

Posted By: IndyTruck On: 04-23-2015 @ 10:21:54         Reply | Edit
Hey y'all--

My kid has a 96 Camaro 3.8 5-speed, all stock except a Flowmaster. I bought the car as a non-running project (it sat for several years) and we just got it on the road Monday.

The car has 77K miles. New parts before getting it on the road include:
plugs (AC Delco Rapidfire/Irridium/whatever/$4 each)
wires (MSD)
front O2 sensors (Bosch)
fuel pump - complete assembly w/ pickup & sender (Carter iirc)
Purolator fuel filter
drained gas tank, filled with new gas

New parts installed trying to fix the problem:
TPS (Delco)

New parts being installed today:
Water pump (Delco)
195* thermostat (Delco)
Radiator cap (Delco)
Radiator hoses
Heater hoses

It runs perfectly, until we've been driving ~3 hours, then it won't accept any throttle (push the gas, doesn't rev), runs crappy, then dies. After turning off the key and sitting for a minute, it starts right up. It may run fine for 15 minutes or 15 seconds, then does it all over again. I had to restart it probably a dozen times monday night trying to get home, and when it ran, the idle speed was ~2200 RPM.

The ~3 hours driving is mostly around town, running errands, a little bit of highway, just making sure the car is OK and teaching him how to drive a stick. Like I said, the car runs flawlessly, right up until it quits. The gages read normal. It shows P0122 on the code reader, which is TPS.

I replaced the TPS with a new AC Delco Tuesday, and went for another long drive. It quit again after ~3 hours the same way. Required several re-starts to get it home, but this time the idle speed was normal. Again, it shows P0122, but I'm thinking that disconnecting various sensors (including the TPS) while trying to find the problem may be falsely setting that code. But that's the only code it has.

I only had time to drive about 90 minutes Wednesday night. Nothing went wrong. Had a fuel pressure gage taped to the cowl and, when running WOT thru the gears, the fuel pressure dropped to ~18 midway thru 3rd. Iíve got a new Delco fuel filter for it; that goes in today. I plan to install a new fuel pump relay. Iíve been told I should have bought an AC Delco fuel pump!

My kid drove the car a bit on Thursday with no problem again.

I probably should have dropped the tank and had it cleaned, but instead I used the trapdoor method of fuel pump replacement. I'll open up the trap door again and look at the fuel strainer, and probably get the tank cleaned once we run the gas out of it.

I haven't found the fuel pressure regulator either. The Haynes manual has photos of a 3.4 and an LT1, but no 3.8. Where is it? At this point, Iím thinking the FP is regulated by the computer via variable pump voltageÖ

The cooling system wasnít maintained, and is full of sludge. The radiator cleaner I poured in seems to have cleared out the crud that was holding the water in the water pump, and now it leaks freely. I got a new water pump, radiator cap and 195* thermostat (all Delco), plus new radiator hoses and heater hoses.

I havenít found any wiring that is worn thru or eaten by rodents. Will keep looking.

Someone suggested a new intake air temp sensor. Other suggestions were a bad gas cap, and to spray ďComponent CoolerĒ on electronic items when the problem occurs.

After I put the car back together today, Iíll drive it until it quits again. Iíll have the fuel pressure gage taped on, so I can tell if I have a fuel problem. Iíll take off the gas cap and see if it fixes the problem. If not, Iíll disconnect the intake air temp sensor and drive it again. If it still quits, Iíll disconnect the MAF and see how it does.

Iím REALLY HOPING someone here has experienced this and fixed it!!

What do yíall think?


[ Edited on 08/21/2007 @ 22:05:20 ]

Posted By: IndyTruck On: 08-21-2007 @ 22:04:13     Reply | Top | Edit
I have successfully duplicated the problem while having a fuel pressure gage attached! The fuel pressure drops to ~10. This is with the rusty gas tank nearly full, a new AC fuel filter, the Carter fuel pump, and the original relay. It happened while accelerating onto I-75;

I shut it off on a roll, coasted in the shoulder for a bit, restarted and was able to keep the car running with a feather foot in 5th gear. After 5 minutes or so, the pressure started creeping back up. When it hit 20, the car ran pretty well, and eventually returned to normal.

So the plan is:

1) new tank and AC Delco filter- if that doesn't help,
2) new relay
3) new cap
4) new AC Delco pump

A new tank from is cheaper than getting mine cleaned and re-lined! Or if I skip the re-lining, it's the same price.

Someone suggested an 02 Camaro has a plastic tank that will fit and I should look for a used one.

Posted By: Rg320camaro On: 08-22-2007 @ 00:04:41     Reply | Top | Edit
99-02 had a 16.8 gallon tank, while 93-98 had a 15.5 gallon. I though all years had plastic tanks

You might try a fuel pressure regulator.

when you get a new fuel pump (if the regulator doesn't fix it) might as well get a Walbro 255lph fuel pump. Its cheaper and better, and I had it in my v6 with no problems.
'99 Z28 M6 Hooker LTs/y-pipe/Cat-back, MSD wires, TSP XS cam 233/239 .595/.603 113lsa, TSP tune, raised rev limiter to 6500rpms, Electric cutout, Pro 5.0 shifter, CF Whisper Lid, SLP CAI, Z06 clutch and flywheel

'98 3.8L Camaro, black w/silver stripes sold, you will be missed

Posted By: badSol On: 08-22-2007 @ 02:13:46     Reply | Top | Edit
Only the 16.9 gallon tanks are plastic.

1999 Trans Am M6, FRA, K&N, Skip Shift bypass, SLP Radiator, LS1 Motorsports lid, LS1 Motorsports Smooth Bellows
Flowtech Long Tube Headers, Lane's Custom True Duals: Dr Gas X-Pipe, 12" Dynomax Bullets, Hotchkis STB, Pro 5.0
Textralia OZ700 clutch, billet steel flywheel, 334.6 rwhp 345.6 rwtq, 2001 Trans Am A4, SLP LM2

Posted By: IndyTruck On: 08-22-2007 @ 07:48:38     Reply | Top | Edit
Where is the regulator? The Haynes manual doesn't show the 3.8 and I can't find it...


Posted By: Rg320camaro On: 08-22-2007 @ 13:27:14     Reply | Top | Edit
I believe the FPR is gonna be behind the intake manifold on the drivers side.
'99 Z28 M6 Hooker LTs/y-pipe/Cat-back, MSD wires, TSP XS cam 233/239 .595/.603 113lsa, TSP tune, raised rev limiter to 6500rpms, Electric cutout, Pro 5.0 shifter, CF Whisper Lid, SLP CAI, Z06 clutch and flywheel

'98 3.8L Camaro, black w/silver stripes sold, you will be missed

Posted By: Jeremiah On: 08-22-2007 @ 14:41:37     Reply | Top | Edit
could be that or the fuel pump is still picking up crap from the fuel tank and clogging it...might want to replace the filter again.
**FOR SALE** 2005 GMC 1500HD 6.0L, dumped true duals - Flowmaster 50 series - 16.43@85.29
2006 Pontiac Grand Prix - 3.8L - bone stock

"uhmmm maybe all the dinosaurs farts caused the first ice age, and all the mammoth's farts caused the world to warm back up again. so now since we don't have anything that big all the other animals farts have taken so long to ruin the world more. interesting haha" --Fattie

Posted By: maxdotcom On: 02-18-2009 @ 10:42:19     Reply | Top | Edit
Did you ever figure out what was wrong? My Camaro is doing the same thing.

Posted By: IndyTruck On: 02-18-2009 @ 11:03:32     Reply | Top | Edit
The new gas tank fixed it. I got a Spectra brand tank from RockAuto.

If you have to change your tank, don't waste time with shortcuts - the only way to get it out is to remove the panhard bar, disconnect the shocks, let the rear droop as far as it can go, and completely remove the exhaust after the cat. It sucks!!

Good luck.

Posted By: maxdotcom On: 02-18-2009 @ 11:05:17     Reply | Top | Edit
Thanks for the quick reply! I will give it a try!

Posted By: scotts98Bird On: 02-18-2009 @ 21:52:25     Reply | Top | Edit
Mine had 70k on it and the fuel pressure regulator was bad. It is on the drivers side of the intake and it is facing the firewall, fun! The book says to pull the intake and fuel injectors off, screw that! I got some off-set snap ring pliers and an inspection mirror, again, fun...
Quick check it is to pull the vacuum line off, car not running, there should be NO gas in the vacuum line. If there is, it leaking through and flooding the intake.
3800II Auto Magnaflow, UMI 3pnt Subframe,Rear LCA, Panhard Bar BMR Shock Tower Brace
One-piece DS, UMI Tunnel Brace Mounted Torque Arm and maybe Headers

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