Starts But Won't Idle


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
140,000 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
  2. placed tiny steel washer on the idle cable (1 reports)
1999 Oldsmobile Alero engine problems

engine problem

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1999 Oldsmobile Alero Owner Comments

problem #2

Dec 092009

Alero GL 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,000 miles


Well it's like this. On cold morning the car just hates idling. It will start up just fine, but quit shortly after. It isn't that big of a deal, all you have to do is give it some gas, but at the same time it shows GM's automobile importance.

- , Fargo, ND, US

problem #1

Mar 202008

Alero 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 151,000 miles

Biggest problem with Alero is running into stupid, incompetent, and thieving dealers and mechanics who "fix" problems by replacing perfectly good parts. Had the same problem with my 99 Alero. About three weeks ago (Mar 2008) it would start and immediately stop when the ignition key was released. On this 3.4L engine there are two throttle cables, one of which keeps the engine running at idle. Problem was solved by adjusting idle throttle cable length with the throttle cable length adjuster which is a little black box (about the size of last section on your pinky finger) which sits a few inches back from the throttle body on the cable itself. I'm talking about the front cable. There are two cables and the second one works off the accelerator which shouldn't need any adjusting ever (well maybe in a thousand years). Anyway, by lifting a clip on the left side of the little adjuster I was able to pull the cable back (probably just a hundredth of an inch) I then pushed the clip back down to lock the adjuster in place - in essence shortening the cable. Did the trick. I think the explanation is that the engine is 9 years old and the idle cable has stretched in that amount of time and usage. Therefore, if the cable has stretched even the slightest, the cable is not putting enough tension on the throttle to keep it open long enough till the engine warms up. I think this problem is the reason why the Olds engineers put this device on the throttle cables. These cables are found on the top of the engine and are right there in the open and can be seen as soon as you lift the hood. The very ends of the throttle cables are exposed and look silvery. They run to the back of the engine and down to the transmission and are sheathed mostly in a black protective tube. However, most important part for the purposes of this discussion is the silvery end near the throttle. Also, BEST ADVICE for any car owner: get an OBDII handheld tester to diagnose car problems on your own. VERY SIMPLE TO USE-even an adult can use it. Cost is about $100. at the Wal-Mart or AutoZone. This device has saved me thousands of dollars over the past 9 years. I have two Aleros, 2nd one is 2004 3.4L V6 and I love both of 'em. Good luck.

- , Chicago, IL, USA

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