Van won't start after sitting a while

Van won't start after sitting a while

Postby RPTech [OP] » February 21st 2012, 7:21pm

Ok I have 96 Astro conversion Van with 4.3L vortec RWD that i'm having problems getting started.

Back Story:
About 2 years ago I had a problem starting the van after rains so I figured it needed a tuneup since I didn't know how long it had been since the last one cause I only had it a year. After the tune up it worked great up until 2 months ago when I started having issues with it starting and it didn't matter wet or dry at this point. It would crank over and take a few seconds to start then it would run fine all day no problems starting it at all. If I would leave it parked for a few days or longer this would occur. Once it was running ran like a champ started no problem on long trips or short ones. Only thing I have ever done to this van is tune up, oil changes, & intake gasket/water pump(last year) other then that I believe all parts are original. Van now has 131k miles on it.

Problem now:
About 2 weeks ago I went out to start it and had some issue getting it started But, after a minute or so it started. I let it run for about 30-40 seconds and had to run back in the house so I shut it off (Needed the house key). When I came back out a few minutes later and tried to start it engine would crank over But, Not start at all. After many attempts all I did was drain the battery. Had a friend who is a mechanic come look at it with his computer and fuel gauge. He brought a used coil, cap, & rotor as I told him what happen before with it. coil checked ok was giving spark. Changed the cap and rotor and got it running. No codes were given at this time and fuel pressure would drop off slightly when turned off But, would start right back up again. We put a new cap & rotor in figuring we solved the issue. The next day I go out to start the van and nothing again just cranks over and no start. Buddy comes back over and again no codes, bright spark, & pump turns on and primes(at least sounds like it does). He plays with the rotor and notices it's got some play in it but not bad. Put it all back together and we get it started again. He checked the fuel pressure again and it would drop off slightly after shut down so he took it for a ride and the pressure stayed strong the whole time. Bring it back to the house and pressure stays up. I went out 5 times yesterday to start it after he left and first try no problem fired right up. I go out today and it won't start again. Tried the key on key off to prime the rail to see if that worked and nothing wont start just cranks over. Any ideas? Fuel pump? Dist? Anyone had this problem before?

After it gets started it runs great no noises dings clicks nothing. It's just getting it to start. HELP!!
Original Poster [OP]
RPTech
Fueling (Empty tank)
Fueling (Empty tank)
Years of Membership: RPTech has been a member for 2 full yearsRPTech has been a member for 2 full years
Posts: 5
Topics: 1
Joined: February 2012
Gender: Male
Year: 1996
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 4.3L Vortec V6

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Re: Van won't start after sitting a while

Postby paintdrying » February 21st 2012, 7:45pm

welcome aboard. So intermittent problems can be the worst to find. Many times it is best to go back to the very beginning. Such as check the battery, cables, ect. All the basic stuff first. After two years it could be time for a tune up again. Were ac delco parts used. What type of cap and rotor? Will it start with starting fluild?
Were the plug wires changed last tune up? It would not hurt to give the exact fuel pressure number to us.
One thing you may be overlooking is the crank position sensor. My van did the exact same thing, i replaced the coil and have never had another problem. Others will chime in, but this should get you started.
1999 chevy astro van awd ls 108,000 miles
parts van 2000 astro rwd 279,000 miles
User avatar
paintdrying
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L2)
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L2)
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Location: vermont
Gender: Male
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 108 000

Re: Van won't start after sitting a while

Postby RPTech [OP] » February 21st 2012, 8:28pm

Oh yeah sorry last tune up was plugs, wires, cap, rotor, & pvc These were done at a ford dealership(only place around where I lived at the time to work on cars) so I don't think they are ac delco parts. The cap & rotor I just put on is BWD. As for the fuel pressure I don't remember what it was exactly I think it was 60 psi But, Not 100% sure that's the right figure. I have not tried starting fluid as I 'm not sure where to spray it lol I'm a carb guy from back when things were simple to work on. I stopped working on cars in the mid-late 80's. lmk if you need anymore info!
Original Poster [OP]
RPTech
Fueling (Empty tank)
Fueling (Empty tank)
Years of Membership: RPTech has been a member for 2 full yearsRPTech has been a member for 2 full years
Posts: 5
Topics: 1
Joined: February 2012
Gender: Male
Year: 1996
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 4.3L Vortec V6

Re: Van won't start after sitting a while

Postby paintdrying » February 22nd 2012, 3:11am

Good luck with the air filter box. There is a write up somewhere on how to get it back together. So you should see these two buckle snap looking things and pop those and wrestle the top part off. Then a quick blast down the throat. You will see a screen, just do a quick blast. If no start post back.
1999 chevy astro van awd ls 108,000 miles
parts van 2000 astro rwd 279,000 miles
User avatar
paintdrying
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L2)
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L2)
Years of Membership: paintdrying has been a member for 3 full yearspaintdrying has been a member for 3 full yearspaintdrying has been a member for 3 full years
Posts: 1384
Topics: 94
Images: 1
Joined: November 2010
Location: vermont
Gender: Male
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 108 000

Re: Van won't start after sitting a while

Postby RPTech [OP] » February 22nd 2012, 3:17am

Just got back from the store with some starter fluid will try in the morning and post what happens after this test. Talked to my buddy that worked on it and he said the pressure test was 58-60psi which he says is in spec.
Original Poster [OP]
RPTech
Fueling (Empty tank)
Fueling (Empty tank)
Years of Membership: RPTech has been a member for 2 full yearsRPTech has been a member for 2 full years
Posts: 5
Topics: 1
Joined: February 2012
Gender: Male
Year: 1996
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 4.3L Vortec V6

Re: Van won't start after sitting a while

Postby RPTech [OP] » February 22nd 2012, 7:11pm

So I tried to start it as normal before spraying the starter fluid in and it didn't start at all just cranks over. Popped the air cleaner off and sprayed the starter fluid in and she started right up no problems. Let it run a minute shut it off and restarted it with no problem. Shut it off waited 10 minutes and restarted it again like nothing was wrong at all. So if the pump is running at 58-60 while running could it still be the pump or am I looking for something else?
Original Poster [OP]
RPTech
Fueling (Empty tank)
Fueling (Empty tank)
Years of Membership: RPTech has been a member for 2 full yearsRPTech has been a member for 2 full years
Posts: 5
Topics: 1
Joined: February 2012
Gender: Male
Year: 1996
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 4.3L Vortec V6

Re: Van won't start after sitting a while

Postby paintdrying » February 22nd 2012, 8:22pm

This has narrowed the problem down for now. We are looking at a fuel problem. I would recommend changing the fuel filter, it is fairly easy, and cheap. Of course this maybe not be the problem. I have to tell you it sounds like a weak coil, but it started with ether so maybe not.
The fuel pressure sounds normal, but these vans are sensitive to even a few pounds off. They are also picky about using good ac delco parts. Make sure to seal the air box back up. Do not drive it around open. One other way to check the pump is have someone try and start it while you hit the tank with a rubber mallet. These fuel pumps can die a very slow death, and it can be a hard problem to trace back. Good luck
1999 chevy astro van awd ls 108,000 miles
parts van 2000 astro rwd 279,000 miles
User avatar
paintdrying
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L2)
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L2)
Years of Membership: paintdrying has been a member for 3 full yearspaintdrying has been a member for 3 full yearspaintdrying has been a member for 3 full years
Posts: 1384
Topics: 94
Images: 1
Joined: November 2010
Location: vermont
Gender: Male
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 108 000

Re: Van won't start after sitting a while

Postby RPTech [OP] » February 22nd 2012, 8:52pm

Yeah guess I failed to mention that we tried the hammer gas tank trick yesterday twice and no start. My dad(who used to be a mechanic now retired) had that problem with his 95 chevy 1500 4x4 and it worked a few times before replacing the pump. As for what pump is in my truck IDK it may be the orig pump I've had it for 4 years now. I'll try the fuel filter and see if that helps hope it's something as stupid as that!
Original Poster [OP]
RPTech
Fueling (Empty tank)
Fueling (Empty tank)
Years of Membership: RPTech has been a member for 2 full yearsRPTech has been a member for 2 full years
Posts: 5
Topics: 1
Joined: February 2012
Gender: Male
Year: 1996
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 4.3L Vortec V6


 
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