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Author Topic: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash  (Read 1631 times)

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Offline ChrisPrice

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Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« on: November 03, 2016, 04:44:46 AM »
First off, I'm okay.

Decided that since the tarmac was bone dry, I would take my Sky out for the first time since the last storm. At first all was well. Got a couple miles down the road to the freeway onramp. I had already done a test pedal-down on surface streets, no issue. Did not redline it, but gave a spirited acceleration up the ramp.

Then all Hell broke loose.

First, the lights in the interior started to flicker. I gave that uh-oh look to myself as I took my foot off the gas. Then a fraction of a second later, the engine cut out.

Mind you, I'm on a two lane freeway onramp merge, and my car is now acting just as if the ignition switch had cut out.

Avoiding the merging car next to me, I steer to the right. This is the moment I realize I don't have power steering. Spinout ensues. At about this moment, I realize the car is chiming "ding ding ding" - as I start taking corrective action. Knowing my power brakes are cut, as is ABS, I start pumping the brakes and started trying to gently compensate the spinning out.

Thank God, nobody was behind me. My car went 90 degrees before I was able to correct. I almost had it straight, when my front wheel clipped the side wall... barely missing the fender.

I think the car can be repaired, but it's 48 degrees outside, pitch black, and I can't get it on jacks until at least tomorrow. My main concern is the steering rack, I don't think the frame was touched.

At a minimum, I lost the hood, front bumper, passenger tire, headlights, and brake line.

The police were right there and effectively shrugged and drove on. They might have had some questions had they seen what happened... but the flickering interior lights (and the entire dash) certainly confirm I had a loss of electrical power. If I didn't have the electrical symptoms, I would be thinking HPFP failure - but I'm fairly certain it's electrical.

And that's where I sit at this hour. My working theory is the alternator and/or battery just started to fail, and the high output on an incline... cut power to the fuel pump, which caused the ECM to cut power to everything.

Could have been much worse, I am feeling lucky tonight.

I have even more appreciation of the dangers that the ignition switch problem posed, and I already realized how bad that was - now I've been through it myself.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2016, 05:14:36 AM by ChrisPrice »

Offline DeepBlueGXP

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2016, 06:05:40 AM »
Glad to hear your ok, did you already have the ignition switch recall done?

Offline ChrisPrice

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2016, 06:23:57 AM »
Glad to hear your ok, did you already have the ignition switch recall done?

Yes, I would have been thinking something was done improperly there, but the electrical wouldn't be flickering if it was the switch.

Offline stungjoe

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2016, 07:10:06 AM »
Glad you're ok! I would have to add underwear to the casualty list  :drive:
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Offline Critterman

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2016, 11:01:54 AM »
Damn, glad you are okay.  If you ever find out what caused it please let us know.
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Offline Wartie

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2016, 02:02:09 PM »
Glad that you are okay as well. About 5 years ago my alternator went out at high RPMs but it only gave me a code nothing as drastic as what you just went through.

Offline Sol Asylum

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2016, 03:37:25 PM »
I think I would first suspect the ignition switch, just because it was replaced doesn't mean they did it correctly.  Next would be to look for a bad ground either at the battery or where the negative terminal connects to the body.

FYI when the engine quits you should have some vacuum on reserve for the power brakes.  Pumping the pedal like you state will actually use up that vacuum very quickly so you probably would have been better off applying gradual brake versus pumping the pedal.  But who really thinks about something like that when all hell is breaking loose?
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Offline ihawk95

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2016, 03:52:05 PM »
Wow!!  Glad you are ok!!!  I'm also interested if you find out what happened!

Offline ChrisPrice

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2016, 04:26:45 PM »
Here's some video I shot while waiting for the tow truck:



I'm kinda relieved it was doing that afterwords. I just wish it had happened before, so I would have known something was up.

It's worth noting that I hadn't driven the car in five days. I let it idle for a minute before departing - then a test acceleration on flat road. I'm going to test charge the battery later today to get a better idea of the charge state.

I won't be able to do much more forensics than that (alternator, ignition, etc), until the body shop gets the hood out of the passenger tire. I barely got the hood open, terminals were well secured. Took me a minute in the cold to get the negative wire off. Engine had no tripped codes on the DIC, though I didn't do a code scan before disconnecting.

Offline elff

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2016, 06:56:39 PM »
I think I would first suspect the ignition switch, just because it was replaced doesn't mean they did it correctly.  Next would be to look for a bad ground either at the battery or where the negative terminal connects to the body.

FYI when the engine quits you should have some vacuum on reserve for the power brakes.  Pumping the pedal like you state will actually use up that vacuum very quickly so you probably would have been better off applying gradual brake versus pumping the pedal.  But who really thinks about something like that when all hell is breaking loose?

From what I read, they had to do a recall for the people who had the recall switch done early as they got another faulty unit.
I wonder if SA is correct?

I am very happy to hear that you are OK.  These cars turn into possessed demons when the battery gets low, so that is another possibility, and they also tend to have some weird grounding issues that can cause issues.

Offline ChrisPrice

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2016, 10:30:10 PM »
From what I read, they had to do a recall for the people who had the recall switch done early as they got another faulty unit.
I wonder if SA is correct?

I am very happy to hear that you are OK.  These cars turn into possessed demons when the battery gets low, so that is another possibility, and they also tend to have some weird grounding issues that can cause issues.

There were three Kappa related ignition recalls. The original recall, a second recall because some NOS units (of the old switch) were deployed, and a third for the gear shift that is optional - that third one cannot impact driveability.

I can say for certain neither of those two played a role here. My Sky was bought well into the ignition switch recall, and after that was caught. I got my replacement switch after GM had caught/corrected that batch issue. My car also had the revised gear shift cable, though that could not have caused the loss of power.

So, if there was an ignition problem, it would be an installation issue. I've had it in for two years now, and I only drive with just the key and FOB on the keychain.

First service tech to put eyes on it. I said "I have an idea, I want to hear your best guess first."
Service tech: "Alternator"
Me: "My thoughts exactly"

Body shop won't happen until Monday, but the good news is I got a really good look at the damage today, and it doesn't look like the steering rack is involved. None of the frame I can see is bent. And the brake line looks intact too, the liquid probably was defrost drip.

Edit: I certainly am never driving a Kappa again without a voltage reading from OBD-II. Like you said, this car acts insane when the voltage gets low. Found pages of other people having odd voltage issues without a code. Why the heck didn't they put that in the DIC?
« Last Edit: November 03, 2016, 10:34:54 PM by ChrisPrice »

Offline 2kwk4u

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2016, 05:07:56 AM »
More specifically, my guess (based on the video) would be your voltage regulator - but that's a part internal to the alternator since some time in the 1980s anyway.  Glad you didn't get hurt.   

Offline ChrisPrice

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2016, 03:02:30 AM »
Quick update, looks like the Sky will survive. Was quoted $4,500 on the body work. Car blue books a hair above $10,000, so I think it won't be totaled, I should know by end of week.

Claim got delayed because it got sent to the old adjuster for a past claim (scratches)... while I was out of state on travel.

Oh, and my CNA extended warranty is picking up the electricals, since they technically broke moments before the point of impact.

Looks like my PCM is toast. Car now reads Service ESC and won't power up. But Tech 2 reports all other equipment is fine.

The alternator is being preserved for forensics... if I can prove the likely cause of the accident was that the voltage regulator failed, I may be able to get the at-fault accident on my record removed. Especially since no other car was hit.

In addition to deploying an OBD2 Android for monitoring voltage to the battery, I also will be replacing the alternator every seven years proactively. It looks like GM did a part revision (I see two part numbers for the 2.0T 140A alternator), so I'm hoping mine had the older part number in it.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2016, 03:07:39 AM by ChrisPrice »

Offline ChrisPrice

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2017, 09:42:21 AM »
Still don't have the car back. Body shop screwed up the work. We're going to court.

Can't speak too much as there's now a lawsuit... gotta wait until it concludes. But the shop is holding my car hostage. I've filed a Bureau of Automotive Repair complaint, and small claims service goes out Monday.

I paid extra to have specific work done in tandem with the insurance claim, spelled out in an email. Body shop replied "perfect" confirming - right down the paint codes and specific trim work. None of it was done. Even noted the specifics on the deposit check, deposited same day.

And worse, they want me to pay the added cost for the work that clearly, obviously was not done.

One of my friends who paints really expensive cars (six/seven figure cars) exclusively, looked over all my emails and work orders... he thinks the shop knows they screwed up, and is just holding the car so as to deprive me of it for the 60-90 days it takes to go to court. Basically, being petty.

I'm beginning to think I'm cursed when it comes to Kappa. I really do. Thank heavens I justified a second car, or I'd be a mess right now.

Oh, and insurance refused to pay for the electrical repairs... so when I do get the car back, it has to go to GM dealership for what insurance has decided is "warranty work" - I'll admit, they have a point on that, but it means more weeks without my car after this mess is done.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 09:46:39 AM by ChrisPrice »

Offline Robotech

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2017, 02:34:27 PM »
Damn Chris, sorry to hear all this. Damn...

Offline ChrisPrice

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2017, 02:34:25 PM »
Damn Chris, sorry to hear all this. Damn...

Thanks, I go to court February 24. Had a very positive call with state regulators on my regulatory complaint... state of California has very competent people in the Bureau of Automotive Repair. That route may get more results sooner, actually.

But I expect to have the car back in my hands by March 1, unless the case gets delayed.

Then reinspect the body shop's work (since I now trust none of it), and do the electrical repairs (new ECU, Alternator, Battery, and lead wires), and replace the tires (since one shredded), deploy a voltage gauge... and dispute the at-fault determination by insurance (assuming the alternator belt is intact - and I presume I'll find the voltage regulator solenoids shot, but I have tools to look inside thanks to my day job).

This is supposed to be a hobby that removes stress, not adds to it. Sigh.

Offline Sol Asylum

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2017, 04:37:20 PM »
Voltage regulator solenoids?  I don't think I have seen a coil type regulator on a car made after what maybe the 60's.  Anyone know when they made the jump to solid state regulators?
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Offline ChrisPrice

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2017, 11:13:58 PM »
It's back, finally. Details here:

http://www.kappaperformance.com/forum/index.php?topic=11553.msg191314#msg191314

Started a new thread as I've got a lot of work to de-mothball it since it hasn't driven for eight months.

Electrician diagnosis and data from the car confirms the voltage regulator as the probable culprit. Voltage spikes were all over the logs. Since the ECU has to be replaced, it has to go to the dealership - where the alternator will be preserved for further testing.

Offline 09GXPconvertibleohio

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2017, 09:59:54 PM »
I have a 2009 Solstice. In Cincinnati OH.  I'm the second owner and purchased it over two years ago with only 10,600 miles.  The original owner was a female Doctor who traded it in on a Corvette.  Car was taken great care of.  It now has 18,700 miles.  Garaged and well maintained.  No racing or no modifications other than replaced the radio with a blue tooth and backup camera capable stereo.  That was done over a year ago.  I looked up the VIN and the recall is not outstanding for the ignition switch.  Just recently in October 2017 I had a loss of power just driving down the street and had trouble restarting it.  Couldn't figure out what was going on.  But it seemed to correct itself and I kept driving it for the day to see if it repeated and never did.  Let my cousin drive it when he came to Cincinnati for a visit and the car did not act up.  Then went to start it about two weeks later and the dash lite up with ESC, CEL lite and the gauge for fuel was going haywire like the dash board was possessed.  I also here an electrical clicking noise coming form inside the engine on the top of the intake manifold under the drivers side of engine plastic solstice removable engine cover. Not sure how old the battery is but possibly three years or more old.  I put my Voltage meter on it and it read a low 11.89 Volts.  I bought a Battery Tender Jr and charged it for about 19 hours and got a reading of 12.16, still the car is doing same thing.  Lots of clicking and dash board all lit up.  Radio and headlights and interior lights are working while all this is happening.  Getting afraid to drive this car anymore.  I haven't had a chance to jump it but was going to do that next.  No evidence of any wires chewed by mice that I can see and all cables are clean to the battery and nice and tight on the terminals.  SO I'm hearing a lot of this happening with these models and the Saturns so it might be another National Recall safety issue needed since this is really dangerous after reading this post.  Glad your OK and didn't suffer a more serious incident.  Any other ideas Love the help.  I have been reading the posts and have some ideas but how many people are having these issue?  It could be that we need to bring this to the attention of the National Recall center???. 

Offline Critterman

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2017, 10:23:09 PM »
12.16 is still low.  These cars do not like weak batteries.  Replace it with a new one and leave the cables disconnected for a half hour or so before you connect it back up.  Hopefully that will take care of your problem.
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Exedy Stage II Clutch
big brake kit, slotted/drilled Rotors w/Porterfield pads & blue juice
Backbone, Probeam, Cross Strut Brace
Underhood, trunk, & door Lights
ZOK suspension
Lambo Doors

JPM
Center console, door inserts, & dash
Seat bolster & lumbar support

Focuztech Tri-Y Header & hi-flow cat
Solo Performance SQR-2
Norm's Rear facia
Heated Seats
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Offline Sol Asylum

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2017, 10:45:48 PM »
I agree with Critter, you need a new battery.
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Offline 09GXPconvertibleohio

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2017, 09:49:29 AM »
Would a low battery cause the car to shut off while driving?  I mean it started and was driving when it stalled.  Could be a bad voltage regulator or alternator - shouldn't a good alternator properly charge battery while car is driving/running.  Kind of scary that car just shuts off and all the dash board electronics go haywire flashing.  Never happened in the over two years owned car.   I got this car to have fun.  No longer fun if have to worry about loosing control of car due to lose of power. 

I will charge the battery before replacing and see what happens.  But the way the electrical's are behaving I'm wondering about the alternator or voltage regulator.   

Offline Gentleman Jack

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2017, 11:49:25 AM »
12.16 is still low.  These cars do not like weak batteries.  Replace it with a new one and leave the cables disconnected for a half hour or so before you connect it back up.  Hopefully that will take care of your problem.


^^^^^^This ^^^^^^^

Time for a new battery.
May the Schwartz be wit you

Offline Sol Asylum

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2017, 12:10:32 PM »
I just went through this with my daily driver also a Pontiac.  It would start hard or the starter sounded slow.  Check the voltage while running and it's at 14.7 shut it off and it's 12.5.  Put the battery charger on it and everything is good for a few days.  Then I would get odd electrical issues like the cruise control didn't work or the ESC shuts down everything worked good after a restart. Finally leaving work one night it started slow but started, drove the 20 miles home and checked the voltage running 14.7, shut off 12.5, wouldn't restart voltage would drop to 11.1.  Charge the battery and it was good to go.  Replaced the 8 year old battery that was only supposed to be good for 6 years and no problems now.

As batteries go bad they loose capacity or CCA the voltage can be good but they just don't have the power to do the job.  This can cause all sorts of problems with the computer.
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Offline LatinVenom

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Re: Loss Of Power At Speed, Then Crash
« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2017, 05:27:14 PM »
Replace the battery as everyone is suggesting, 12.7 is low it should be reading 14+
Also check your ground cable and make sure is fine.
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