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1997 GMC Sierra 5.7L K1500 dies while driving

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May 19, 2013, 3:46 PM

Post #1 of 7 (6083 views)
1997 GMC Sierra 5.7L K1500 dies while driving Sign In

I own a 1997 GMC Sierra 5.7L K1500. While driving home from work, about a 15 minute drive, my truck died just over a mile into the trip going ~30mph. It died as if I had just turned off the ignition. All the lights on the dash were on as if I had just turned the key without turning over the engine. It then died about another dozen times on the way home. When trying to restart the truck, I always have to turn the engine over multiple times and it works best when put into park rather than neutral when stopped or rolling. It can die at anytime, while accelerating, braking, driving, or coasting.

I then loaded it on a trailer at home and took it to auto zone to have them hook it up to their computer. 2 O2 sensors near the catalytic converter were giving codes. The vehicle has never overheated or given any signs of exhaust issues. They also tested the battery and alternator and said they are fine. Both have been replaced throughout the life of the vehicle.

Just for good measure while trying to figure this all out, I have replaced the fuel filter.

I bought a fuel pressure gauge and when turning the key before starting, it is registering right above 50psi. When started, it registers around 52-55psi. The pressure does not rise or drop when revving the engine or after turning the engine off until the pressure release button is pressed on the fuel pressure gauge. When starting the engine or turning the ignition key before turning the engine over, the pressure registers the exact same every time. I tried starting the engine and releasing the pressure 20+ times and it registered the same 52-55psi each time.

After sitting in my driveway for a while, I am able to go start it up as if nothing were ever wrong, but when driving, the problems starts again.

There are no warning signs or repeated behavior regarding the vehicle dying. It is sporadic. I may make it 5 miles, I may make it 1 mile, prior to it shutting off.

There are no signs of any fluid leak around the engine or under the vehicle. None of the gauges are reading anything out of the ordinary; oil pressure is fine, RPMs are not jumping around, battery is reading 12-14, temperature is staying as it should.

Various suggestions I have been given by local sources include:
Fuel pressure regulator
Ignition coil
Fuel pump (this was ruled out by all of the sources after testing the pressure, but I have not ruled it out)
Crank shaft sensor (I was told that it would just stop working all together if this were the problem, but I am not so sure)

There have been numerous other suggestions, but none that seem that they would definitely be the solution.

I greatly appreciate any suggestions the community may have and I thank all of you in advance!

(This post was edited by Repute3619 on May 19, 2013, 4:09 PM)


May 19, 2013, 3:51 PM

Post #2 of 7 (6076 views)
Re: 1997 GMC Sierra 5.7L K1500 dies while driving Sign In

You can pinch off the return line to make sure that pump isn't capable of more pressure but it sounds like you have a bad pump. This engine requires a minimum of 55PSI to run and fuel pump failures are very common.


May 19, 2013, 7:42 PM

Post #3 of 7 (6046 views)
Re: 1997 GMC Sierra 5.7L K1500 dies while driving Sign In

The pressure increased when pinching the line. I also retested the pressure (prior to pinching the line) with the new oil filter and it is pushing a steady 60psi.

Anymore suggestions everyone? I'm off work tomorrow so it's my day to get this thing back on the road.

Veteran / Moderator
nickwarner profile image

May 21, 2013, 7:33 PM

Post #4 of 7 (5999 views)
Re: 1997 GMC Sierra 5.7L K1500 dies while driving Sign In

What exactly did it increase to? You say you got a 60psi reading on a retest. Did the engine have a running issue at 60psi? You need to post the reserve capacity of this pump. With the engine running, put the bleed off hose into a measuring cup and hold it in for 30 seconds. If the engine dies, you know it is a fuel issue. If it doesn't die, measure what you got for fuel in that 30 seconds.


May 29, 2013, 6:58 PM

Post #5 of 7 (5949 views)
Re: 1997 GMC Sierra 5.7L K1500 dies while driving Sign In

I have been driving a friends vehicle and have been unable to mess with mine lately. He needed it back and I had to resort to mine.

I have not had time to test anything else as suggested in the previous post due to time and resources.

I have been able to drive it recently when there is more than ~1/3 tank without any issues. No dying or anything. When it reached ~1/3 tank about a week ago it died as I was pulling into the gas station. I put ~10 gallons in and had no issues until today. The gas gauge currently reads ~3/4 tank.

On the way to work after driving around 10 miles, it began to sputter when pressing the gas pedal while in gear. It then died as I pulled into the parking lot at work. I went out to leave work and was able to start it with no problem, and even tried revving it a bit to see if it would have an issue. No problem at all. But when I put it into drive (also tried in reverse), as soon as I gave it gas, it just started sputtering and the RPMs dropped down as if it were idle and if I kept holding the gas down it was just kind of jerk as if I were just tapping the gas over and over then die.

After it dies, I am able to start the truck up just like normal as if nothing were wrong.

It would be just fine if I put it into drive or reverse and did not touch the gas. It would roll along at a slow speed, but as soon as I touch the gas the previously mentioned scenario would ensue.

While waiting for a ride, I opened the relay/fuse panel under the hood and noticed all of the relays are cool to touch except the fuel pump relay. It wasn't really hot, but uncomfortable to touch for very long. Not sure if this would have anything to do with it. Not much I could mess with or diagnose with no tools with me. I was able to let it idle for about 20 minutes without it sputtering or dying.
I left it at work and I am going to try to mess with it later tonight after everyone is gone so no one is there to bother me.

(This post was edited by Repute3619 on May 29, 2013, 7:03 PM)

Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

May 29, 2013, 7:29 PM

Post #6 of 7 (5936 views)
Re: 1997 GMC Sierra 5.7L K1500 dies while driving Sign In

Sounds like a bad fuel pump to me.


We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.

Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

May 29, 2013, 7:56 PM

Post #7 of 7 (5933 views)
Re: 1997 GMC Sierra 5.7L K1500 dies while driving Sign In

HT it is past your bed time...time for bed young man. Tongue

I'm out...have a wonderful night. Smile

Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

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