Problems with Chev Lumina 93 ~ Car Losing Power/Not starting


Asked by michellefae33 Jan 12, 2013 at 11:19 AM about the 1993 Chevrolet Lumina

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I was looking for a little help for someone please ~~ I have a 93 lumina 3.1 v6 ~ and I was losing power going into the engine, didn't want to idle ~ and when it did, it idled very low ~ wanted to shut off ~~ thought it might have been the coil packs.. due to that was the issue last year when it was doing the same thing. I replaced 2 of them then ~ there is only one left to replace... but then thought it could be something as simple as just spark plugs. Tonight ~ had someone replace them... and when they took them out ~ they were corroded and caked with gunk. After they were replaced and we took it for a test drive, the car ran like a champ.... you could tell the difference. But when we stopped at a gas station, and shut the car off ~ took the keys out.. the parking lights came on without the keys in the ignition... and when we put the keys back in the ignition... nothing. Not a click, not a sound. So what the hell.... ?!?!? Does anyone know what this could possibly be? Not sure if he changed out the wires with the new spark plugs ~ could it be just that simple? Or could it be more complex than that? Any advice would be great at this point :) Thank you

5 Answers


Ok... so last night I did hook up some jumper cables to it ~ and it did start up immediately :) Yay right... lol. Let it idle for a bit, it was good when we took the cables off... then when i put the car in reverse and went to put it in drive it died completely again. No power locks... lights... nothing. Battery dead. I'm thinking alternator in general that it's not giving power to battery at all. Now Jason on here was saying fuses and wires for alternator... I'm gonna look into that and see if those could be it. But my question is why all of a sudden does the alternator go when it worked the other day? That's strange... I hope its not more.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
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OK, during the process of changing the plugs, a wire may have come loose from the alternator, and it ran on the battery until you shut it off, then the battery didn't have the poop to start it. Guessing here, OK? Now the parking lights? THAT is a mystery, to me anyway...was there any warning lights on on the instrument cluster?

Not Active

Sort of backs up my thoughts...alternator...may not have gone bad just disconnected since it did start with a jump


Hi Michelle... make sure your battery cables, connectors, lugs, are all neat, clean, tight..., there is a fuse in the fuse block inside your car, I believe it's labeled HVAC... it is also the "Turn ON" input for the alternator... make sure it's OK. If you can locate it (follow the wiring)... make sure the wiring going to your HVAC (blower) fan is good, and not intermittently shorting to anything..... If the battery is toast and the car dies completely when you try to move it, then yep, your alternator is probably not charging (sending an output voltage anywhere)... but first check that fuse... or you'll replace the alternator and be disappointed... there are also large fuse like devices down by your starter called fusible links... normally, when they fail, they blow apart and you can see that it's melted... sometimes they don't completely blow apart and operate intermittently... or the wiring down there is botched... just clean it all up down there with some carb spray and do a good visual on the wiring, look for melts and bad looking crinkled insulation... tug on the wires a bit to check for loose connections... in other words, make sure Everything going to and from the alternator has Integrity and is Quality Secure..... your car is getting on, and plastic, rubber, etc..... may be getting brittle and cracking apart in places... the wiring harness on that engine, in my opinion, is a bit too tight in places..... i've seen it where a big bundle is stretched tight under the power steering pump, crushed up against the engine block (my car, a '90)... the wires, sure enough, all brittle and greasy, and shorting..... weird stuff going on everywhere..... if you get the car running again, and you have a digital multi-meter handy, check the voltage across the battery..... it should be about 13+ volts and drop to 12 when you shut the car off..... The best thing to do, if possible, in my opinion, If you get the car running again, and you feel that you can drive it, then drive it over to AutoZone or Advance and have them test everything for you... it's Free.... Wacky things will occur when you have electrical issues, like bad connections, iffy fuseable links, loose wires, funky relays, etc..... shorts that only short when there's a certain amount of heat/cold/vibration..... lights/accessories, radio, etc... will go on and off... just saying, expect wierd stuff when you have electrical problems..... also when the car loses power, the ECM resets to defaults, and your idle will be bad/low, and when you come to stops, the engine may idle too low and stall... the ECM can take a long time (week or more, depending on your driving habits) to Re- learn it's parameters, or you can take it to someone who knows how to reset it..... or let me know, and i'll see if i can find a cheat sheet on how to do it somewhere....

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
Jason Zane

i was thinking that when the sparkplugs were done, it may have made the problem worst. the sparkplug wires are routed right next to the alternator. white burns on the wiring (short) or possible disconnection (like david suggests) are first thoughts that come to mind. Lumina has more experience than me in this area.. hope u get it solved. if your alternator is bad, get a good one like ac/delco or from napa. not o'reily's or autozone; reliablity/ quality part is important.

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