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 Post subject: Another 'won't start'-'98 LT AWD
PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:47 pm 
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Drove it home recently and parked it. It was getting harder and harder to start, often 'catching and running' seemingly as the ignition key was being released after what seemed like a no-start.
I suspect a problem with the ignition switch or the Passkey system, due to badly worn keys and sloppy actuation.
I have not checked anything yet ( ignition or fuel pressure), but I have been looking through the site for information on eliminating the Passkey/Passlock system. I have no need for that system with my use, so I would like to bypass it is possible ( One less thing to strand me in some remote area)
I found some postings from over 10 years ago about the subject , in the conversion discussion area, and it mentioned two or three wires that could be used to defeat the system, but I cannot find any more on the subject.
Would any body care to comment on how to disable that system.
Rod J

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WE7X aka Rod Johnson
Forest Green Metallic '98 LS AWD
Issaquah, WA


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 Post subject: Re: Another 'won't start'-'98 LT AWD
PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:52 am 
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I sleep in my van

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:10 pm
Posts: 436
Location: southeastern ct
Although I know nothing about the passlock system I agree that it would be wise to look at the fuel and ignition systems. It might be as simple as a coil.

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Captn. Crunch
"I don't beat my rig-I use it to it's maximum potential"
1994 Safari conversion (sold) and miss'n it!
1999 Safari SLE AWD
np236 transfer case
Torsen limited slip cast iron front diff
Torsen rear w/3.73's
2" body lift
S-10 rear leafs
Coming soon:
Skid plates
Rock rails


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 Post subject: Re: Another 'won't start'-'98 LT AWD
PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:44 pm 
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I get chills without my van.

Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2015 1:58 pm
Posts: 100
Hey not for nothing bud but on the outside just a thought.....................................how about a basic tune up, after how many years..............and miles, she deserves one!! :muhaha:


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 Post subject: Re: Another 'won't start'-'98 LT AWD
PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:40 pm 
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Thanks for the reply..
Yes, I understand the need for that routine maintenance, and I do know the recent history of this vehicle. It is very unusual for a well running motor to suddenly and completely quit for lack of a basic tune-up. There should be several clues indicating the need for such maintenance. It is possible that a significant failure of something important ( coil, wire harness, broken distributor rotor, failed distributor drive gear or fuel pump, etc) has just happened. Those types of failures are not something that would likely be detected during a routine tune-up. They just suddenly happen.
I have not had the need, time, nor inclination to dig into it just yet; so it could be either ignition or fuel related. When I determine that, I will have a much better idea which direction to point my efforts.
Besides my 'flaky' (badly worn) ignition switch; the known issue of worn distributor drive gears affecting the ignition control computer, is an intriguing possibility, due to some previously exhibited symptoms. Until I know there is an ignition problem, I am not going to make any guesses or blindly begin replacing parts.
Rod Johnson
Issaquah, WA
'98 Astro AWD Forest Green Metallic

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WE7X aka Rod Johnson
Forest Green Metallic '98 LS AWD
Issaquah, WA


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 Post subject: Re: Another 'won't start'-'98 LT AWD
PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:12 pm 
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I sleep in my van

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:10 pm
Posts: 436
Location: southeastern ct
Mine died a couple of months ago. It would want to start but never catch. Took off the dog house and while turning the engine over there were sparks dancing all over the coil.

_________________
Captn. Crunch
"I don't beat my rig-I use it to it's maximum potential"
1994 Safari conversion (sold) and miss'n it!
1999 Safari SLE AWD
np236 transfer case
Torsen limited slip cast iron front diff
Torsen rear w/3.73's
2" body lift
S-10 rear leafs
Coming soon:
Skid plates
Rock rails


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 Post subject: Re: Another 'won't start'-'98 LT AWD
PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:29 pm 
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I get chills without my van.

Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2015 1:58 pm
Posts: 100
Oh sorry about that I thought Crunch was talking about his van, just thought it was his because of his commitment to a regular scheduled maintenance program................... :muhaha:


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 Post subject: Re: Another 'won't start'-'98 LT AWD
PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:11 am
Posts: 102
Well, you make a good very good point about the ignition wires...particularly when the weather turns cold, and damp...The rainy season is October thru June here in the Great North West, but it is generally warmer rain April thru June !

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WE7X aka Rod Johnson
Forest Green Metallic '98 LS AWD
Issaquah, WA


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 Post subject: Re: Another 'won't start'-'98 LT AWD
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:59 pm 
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As I reported earlier, the van ran fine with no significant issues ( except the poor heater output) for the trip to the Seattle area, and a couple of short local runs. Then, suddenly, it would crank but not start, and it has sat for most of two months due to poor weather and my disdain for working outdoors in the cold rain, snow and wind. The weather has warmed up some, the snow is gone for the time being, and the times between the rains are increasing. Time to look into the van's no-start issue.
I do hear the fuel pump cycle for a few seconds when I crank the motor, but I do not currently have a proper fitting to test the pressure. I tried a bit of starting fluid in the air intake, with no result, so I am looking toward the ignition as a potential problem. I pulled the engine cover and checked for any errant sparks visible when cranking. Seeing none, I checked for spark at the coil wire. Wow! That was one healthy spark! It easily jumped nearly an inch. Then I unplugged the three driver side plug wires at the cap, flipped the cap over, and cranked it again. With three terminals having no plug wire attached, I got healthy sparks from the center terminal to a couple of terminals that did have plug wires attached, so I know there is not a weak coil in this case.
Distributor 'wiggle' seems quite acceptable.
The cap, rotor and wires look to be quite new, and appear to be just fine, but cap and rotor are some off brand, so I have ordered Delco replacements for both, along with a new set of spark plugs. Plugs were supposedly changed withing the last
few thousand miles prior to my purchase, and there were some used ones in a box of odd stuff found under the rear seat.
I was hoping to be able to get the van started and into my garage, but I may have to attempt changing plugs in the dirt where it is parked. There are a 'few things' that are more frustrating than having to jack up a vehicle in the mud and dirt, when you have a nice warm shop a short distance away.
One thing I have noticed quite regularly, which seems rather unusual.
When I release the key from the cranking position to the RUN position, the starter stops and the engine quits rotating, as it should. But if I hesitate just a bit (or sometimes not), when I turn the key to the OFF position, more often than not, I feel a momentary 'bump' as though the engine just fired one spark plug.
It is is as though, when the key is turned to OFF, there is a momentary connection to something that causes one cylinder to fire. The strange part is that I get a very healthy and regular spark when cranking, so I do not understand what might be making that odd 'bump' of the motor when returning the key to the OFF position. I guess there could be an issue with the electrical portion of the ignition switch, or possible even the passkey function of that switch. With a regular spark during cranking, I would think it would sound like it is at least trying to fire when cranking. I could make more sense out of the situation, if it would shut off, or hesitate when returning the key from the cranking position to the run position.
Input appreciated...please.

Rod
'98 Astro AWD
Issaquah, WA

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WE7X aka Rod Johnson
Forest Green Metallic '98 LS AWD
Issaquah, WA


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 Post subject: Re: Another 'won't start'-'98 LT AWD
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:36 pm 
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Posts: 102
UHH! Some success! :bounce:
I posted the last message before noon today, PST, and at about 2PM I headed out to do something else, but decided to try the ignition again, to maybe get a better idea of what might be happening with the previously mentioned 'bump' after turning the key to the OFF position (not the RUN position, but to the OFF position). I also now know my battery is just fine after sitting for a couple of months, and all the starting attempts.
I decided to try a quick shot of starting fluid, and as before, that did nothing. I then realized I still had three spark plug wires off the cap, from the work done the night before while looking for errant spark traces. I put the three plugs wires back in the cap (yes, in the correct order) and cranked the motor once again. Still no go, but the feeling, as I returned the key to the OFF position, seemed to have changed as I maybe held the key sightly differently. It felt like I was getting more than one 'bump' (like maybe it fired on two or three cylinders before quitting). It still acted like there might be some odd connection with the position of the key in ignition switch, so I tied the 'other' key which I received with the van (both are original keys, and both are badly worn). Now it seemed to fire multiple times when released to the RUN position before stalling. On the second attempt, the motor fired up and idled more or less like it did when I bought it.
Three more tries and it started 'normally' each time, so I did a quick trip to get it from the friends house, where it had been parked for the last couple of months, to home with no issues (a mile or so down the road). After getting it parked outside my garage door, I tried the first key again, and of course, it started just fine.
Now what ? ?
I am certainly not yet ready to say 'I trust it'. That would be really foolish! But, it started and drove for the first time in nearly two months, and it is in a much more convenient place to fiddle with it.
I will get the correct key code from the local dealer, so I can have a NEW key cut, rather than a new 'copy'. I also have a new electrical portion of the ignition switch ( Start, Run, ACC contacts and harness assembly, but not the actual lock part), so that may be installed soon. I want to wait a while and see how each minor change affects the overall operation.
Rod
Issaquah WA
'98 Astro AWD

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WE7X aka Rod Johnson
Forest Green Metallic '98 LS AWD
Issaquah, WA


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 Post subject: Re: Another 'won't start'-'98 LT AWD
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:50 am 
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I went to the local GM dealer this morning, and had a 'new' key made to the original factory code. (cost $10)
Upon trying the new key, the whole ignition switch operation felt much more solid. I had not really noticed the ignition switch being particularly 'sloppy' before, but the new key was a huge improvement. It seems to have tightened up the whole key operation, and the van started right up at least a dozen times this afternoon and evening.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that I may have found the problem.
I am still somewhat puzzled. I was hearing the fuel pump for the first few seconds after turning the key, but I am wondering if for some reason the fuel pump then was shutting off during the time the starter is cranking. I know the fuel pump should not shut off when cranking; but if there is another circuit that was not functioning in the start mode, due to a marginal ignition switch, that could explain the observation of the fuel pump running initially, and the good spark observed, but yet not fire up (as a result of low fuel pressure).

Rod J
Issaquah, WA
'98 Astro AWD

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WE7X aka Rod Johnson
Forest Green Metallic '98 LS AWD
Issaquah, WA


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 Post subject: Re: Another 'won't start'-'98 LT AWD-problem possible solved
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:22 am 
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So far, so good!
Four full days, with no sign of the issue with the previous 'crank, but no start' problem.
After some 25 tries, It has fired up immediately, every time, since replacing the ignition key with a 'new' key cut from the dealer supplied factory code.

Rod J.
Issaquah, WA
'98 Astro AWD
Forest Green

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WE7X aka Rod Johnson
Forest Green Metallic '98 LS AWD
Issaquah, WA


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 Post subject: Re: Another 'won't start'-'98 LT AWD
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:11 pm 
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It has been nearly a month now; after checking fuel pressure, ignition and timing; in an attempt to find out what was causing the no-start condition on my '98 van.
After going through the security system circuitry in the manuals, and noticing some odd things happening when operating the ignition switch, and having been given two badly worn original keys; I had brand new key made by the local dealer.
Since then I have had the van start immediately every time ( probably fifty starts and many short trips now) with no hint of a problem.
My '98 van has just over 200K on odometer, and the previous owner had commented 'sometimes it didn't want to start every time'. But after a couple of tries it always did. I had looked at, and driven, the van a couple of times before finally making the purchase and noticed it often took a couple of tries, but it seemed to always start and run after a try or two....until after I got it home and cold weather set in. Then suddenly it would not start at all.

If you have any indication of an intermittent crank, but no-start condition; and the physical ignition switch seems a bit sloppy, or the keys look badly warn; I would strongly suggest spending the ~$10 to get a 'new' factory key made. (Dealers needs title and/or registration and ID to cut a brand new key form the original factory code)
The new key solved the problem and even the 'slop' in the ignition switch is much improved. I still find it hard to believe this could have been such simple to fix, but such a pain to troubleshoot.
YMMV, but that may be the best $10 I've ever spent, on any of the many vehicles I have owned over the years..

Rod Johnson
Issaquah, WA

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WE7X aka Rod Johnson
Forest Green Metallic '98 LS AWD
Issaquah, WA


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