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Thread: Car died in parking lot after running, now won't start, will crank

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date:  Aug 2011

    Location:  Colorado Springs

    Posts:    19

    My VIN:    3297

    Car died in parking lot after running, now won't start, will crank

    We had a nice day today so I drove the DeLorean. Drove it to and from work and out to lunch. Then went out for a trip to the store. Car was running buttery smooth did high speed highway and surface street driving. Pulled into the store parking lot, engine still on and I go to turn the key to turn the car off and it just dies. Electrical still worked, radio still going, lights still on, but engine suddenly cut out. OK... Try to restart, no go.

    I tried cranking a few times and the engine sounds like it wants to start but it just isn't. The starter is definitely working the engine. It didn't sound low on voltage but I haven't tried to jump it yet, will do tonight.

    I read that the main beginner culprit is the rpm relay I guess to the fuel pump. So I unplugged it and jumpered the connection using some alligator clips and I could hear the fuel pump going. Tried to start, still no start. This was after many failed starts so it could be a low battery at this point too.

    But what else and where should I look? It's sitting in a sketchy parking lot, dead.

  2. #2
    Senior Member jmpdmc's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Cranberry Twp., PA

    Posts:    104

    My VIN:    01678

    How about ballast resistor connections? Tighten them and/or inspect for a damaged wire.

    Jeff Porter

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Oct 2014

    Location:  Virginia Beach, Virginia

    Posts:    388

    My VIN:    5312

    Ballast resister then check the ignition coil connections over on the back right side of the engine compartment. I had an issue like yours awhile back that stranded me and it was literally just the ignition coil wire came loose
    - OCT81 DeLorean DMC-12 Vin 5312 "DeLores"
    - 1978 Lotus Esprit S2 "Problem Child"
    - 1995 Mazda Miata Turbo "Happy Daily Driver"

  4. #4
    Join Date:  Feb 2015

    Posts:    89

    P.J. Grady Emergency Troubleshooting Guide
    Excellent PDF file copy of Glovebox Service Manual!

    Go to post #9 for the pdf copy in the link below.

    Maybe this will help you out. Good luck.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date:  Aug 2011

    Location:  Colorado Springs

    Posts:    19

    My VIN:    3297

    Ok thankyou will check both if I can find them. What's the best place to find an exploded view diagram of where these parts actually are? I've seen the ballast resistor but I don't know the engine compartment backwards and forwards unfortunately.

    I was also reading about the Cold Start Valve (CSV) and ThermoTime Switch (TTS) potentially being issues. If the car was running, engine on, if the CSV was stuck and spraying extra fuel, could it flood while on? It was just idling in neutral with the parking brake on when it suddenly died.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date:  Aug 2011

    Location:  Colorado Springs

    Posts:    19

    My VIN:    3297

    I understand how a bad coil connection could cause an idle death, but it's my understanding that the ballast resistor is only important during start? So if the car was idling and it died, the resistor is less likely the culprit?

    I found where the coil and resistor are so once the rain calms down I'll see what I can find. I'll also put the relay back in and make sure I can hear the pump or not.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Dec 2016

    Posts:    282

    Ballast/ignition resistor is in affect and important for both start and run. When cranking some of the resistance is shorted (removed) to give the coil a higher voltage. Once the key switch is returned to the run position, the full resistance is in the circuit as the engine runs. Open connections in the ballast/ignition resistor will not allow any voltage to the coil (no spark), while a bad connection can make the voltage to the coil too low for proper spark. As has been suggested, clean the connections and replace any corroded connectors. The resistor connections are a common cause of sudden engine stoppage.


  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date:  Aug 2011

    Location:  Colorado Springs

    Posts:    19

    My VIN:    3297

    I got the car towed to the house so I can work on it in leisure. When in the quiet garage I did notice that I did NOT hear the familiar whine of the fuel pump when the key was in ON but not START. Silence... I pulled the relay, shorted the 30 and 87 pins and heard the whine. However when trying to crank, still no running but lots of cranking.

    I checked (visually) and wiggled and plugged/un-plugged/plugged the wires for the resistor and the coil. Also no start. I will have to measure with my DMM what is actually going on or if something is broken instead of just a bad connection. I did notice that when I was in the fuse area getting the wires for the fuel relay when I kind of jiggled the harness, the doors would try to lock. Seem to have narrowed it down to 2 wires (I think red and brown but I am colour blind) that connect to spade terminals that are then screwed into hex bolts. But I removed those 2 wires and I could still hear the locks trying to actuate. So I plugged them back in. I do know that the locks in the past would always lock, but most of the time not unlock. So I have never locked them since. Probably completely unrelated to this, but something new on my list to track down.

    I also jiggled and plugged/un-plugged/plugged the 2 connectors that go to the ECU that is behind the drivers seat for good measure. Also no difference, no start.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Nov 2014

    Location:  Alexandria, VA

    Posts:    230

    Now that you have it home, what's your battery voltage on a multimeter?

  10. #10
    Senior Member powerline84's Avatar
    Join Date:  Mar 2015

    Location:  TN

    Posts:    635

    My VIN:    2706

    This has happened to me 3 times with kjet. 1st time was driving on the highway and the feed line off the accumulator popped. 2nd time I was driving on the highway and the car died. I though it was rpm relay but I have Dave's unit . I sent it to him and it tested ok . Then trying to diagnose it I discovered my frequency valve actually cracked and was pissing fuel all over. Could have been a car burning down kind of thing. 3rd issue I am having now is some hot start issues. I am installing a check valve on my aftermarket dmc pump because many have had issues. And replacing the o ring on my distributor. Next year I am going injected . Kjet is constantly requiring attention .

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