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Another no start -- 1999 Astro

PLACE ANY ISSUES RELATED TO YOUR VAN NOT STARTING OR STARTING HARD IN HERE.

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vanagon40
I am merely driving my van
I am merely driving my van
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How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Another no start -- 1999 Astro

Post by vanagon40 » Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:25 am

I have a 1999 Astro Van (2WD, 4.3 L V6). About 132,000 miles. Since I purchased it (2011), it would not start in extreme rain. I knew (or at least strongly suspected) the problem was the coil. If I wanted to get the van started, I could shoot a hair dryer at the coil for 30 minutes and good to go.

On Tuesday, January 12, 2016, the van died on the way to work. It was right at 32° and snowy (i.e., high humidity). Oddly, after sitting for about 25 minutes (waiting for my wife), the van started and ran fine. It ran fine the next day, Wednesday, but would not start on Thursday. Again, it was very humid. There was a lot of sparking and arcing with the old coil. That evening, I replaced the coil.

The van ran fine until Monday, February 29, 2016, when it again died on my way to work. This time there was no restarting the van. That evening I determined the fuel pump had died. I replaced the fuel pump on Saturday, March 5. The van started and ran fine until March 10, 2016.

On Thursday, March 10, 2016, the van started sputtering on the way to work. It kept running, but a little rough. I got to work and parked. Again, it was raining and high humidity. The van would not start that evening (or ever again). It would not start on Friday or Sunday (I did not try on Saturday). I pulled the van home on Sunday.

It still will not hit a lick. I do not believe it is a fuel problem. I sprayed a little bit of starting fluid in the throttle body, but no effect. I dumped about 2 ounces of gas in the throttle body, no difference. There is voltage to the fuel pump at the initial “on” position and while cranking, I can hear and feel the pump running. Finally, I unhooked the return line at the fuel pump and there was good pressure there when turned to the initial “on” position.

I have an old inductive timing light and it shows a spark on the all wires. I replaced the coil wire, distributor cap, and rotor. Still no sign of starting. Checked after dark tonight and no obvious arcing or sparking. Good battery and good charge.

I am at a loss.

Any suggestions?

ihatemybike
I plan to be buried in my van
Posts: 2275
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How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 6
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Re: Another no start -- 1999 Astro

Post by ihatemybike » Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:15 am

What brand fuel pump did you buy?
Did you replace the fuel filter?
Have you hooked a fuel pressure gauge up to it?
Have you inspected the gear/bushing on the distributor?
What brand cap/rotor did you use?
Aaron

2005 Astro (Gandalf) - AWD, 4.3L, 3.42, 130k+ miles
1997 Astro (Grumpy - $250 Rally Van) - AWD, 4.3L, 3.42, LSD, 2" lift, 31" tires, 335k+ orig engine, $30 eBay fuel pump
Prev Astros:99,97,00,94,87,86

vanagon40
I am merely driving my van
I am merely driving my van
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:52 pm
antispam: No
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: Another no start -- 1999 Astro

Post by vanagon40 » Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:38 pm

What brand fuel pump did you buy? AC Delco
Did you replace the fuel filter? No, the unions were VERY rusty and I was waiting for a more opportune time. That is why I checked for fuel at the return line.
Have you hooked a fuel pressure gauge up to it? No (I don’t have one).
Have you inspected the gear/bushing on the distributor? No.
What brand cap/rotor did you use? AC Delco.

ihatemybike
I plan to be buried in my van
Posts: 2275
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:57 am
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 6
Location: Elgin, IL

Re: Another no start -- 1999 Astro

Post by ihatemybike » Mon Mar 14, 2016 5:23 pm

Fuel in the return line means nothing.

1996 and later vans need 58-64 psi to start and will run in the mid to upper 50s.

I'd swap the filter and if it still has trouble check the fuel psi.
Aaron

2005 Astro (Gandalf) - AWD, 4.3L, 3.42, 130k+ miles
1997 Astro (Grumpy - $250 Rally Van) - AWD, 4.3L, 3.42, LSD, 2" lift, 31" tires, 335k+ orig engine, $30 eBay fuel pump
Prev Astros:99,97,00,94,87,86

vanagon40
I am merely driving my van
I am merely driving my van
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:52 pm
antispam: No
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: Another no start -- 1999 Astro RESOLVED

Post by vanagon40 » Mon Mar 28, 2016 3:55 pm

It was the coil. I got delayed on this project and the emergency ceased when I got my old Toyota running.

I figured I would check the things I had already replaced rather than plowing new ground. I borrowed a fuel pressure tester at AutoZone and had 60 psi. I was pretty confident it was not a fuel problem due to my previous rough testing procedures.

I had replaced the coil in January with a new Duralast (AutoZone) coil. I still had the original coil that worked (but arced and would fail under high humidity conditions). I was able to wire in the old coil without removing the replacement and the van fired right up.

Replaced the coil with another Duralast and the van starts and runs great. Checked after dark and no arcing anywhere. I think I am again good to go.

I am also happy to report that replacing the coil for the second time is a fairly easy procedure. No need to remove the bracket, just the two small bolts that replaced the rivets on the original coil.

AstroWill
I finally get the smurf thing
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How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: Another no start -- 1999 Astro

Post by AstroWill » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:49 pm

Might want to pull your distributor cap and check for play, the drive gear on them wears out. Combined with other worn parts can cause a lot higher resistance and more work for your coil.

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