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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2002 Chevy Astro ( rear wheel drive) thats eating more money in parts then we can cope with.
it all started out with a bad thermostat. (auto zone ran free diagnostics) so we started with that but it quickly got much worse.
one day it would fire right up and an hour later we would be stranded. an hour after that it would fire right up no issues. we were attempting to burp the van, after replacing thermostat and such. so we were messing with the heating system. once I shut the heat off the van died. and has not been able to start since. (yes we tried to start it in a different heating position and in neutral) it will crank but not start. you can hear the engine trying to turn over but nothing happens. not even with a jump. there is a brand new fuel pump but it will not turn on. it's not getting power.
so far we've replaced the crank sensor, thermostat, dropped the fuel tank, changed filter and fuel pump, changed the oil and filter, the ignition switch, we have checked all fuses. tapped on the starter for a few laughs, we even sprayed ether in it to see if it's a fuel issue. it's electrical. mechanic I just got it back from told me it's got to be the ecm. if it's not the ecm it's a ground wire and for that they want 600$ to hunt for the ground wire and there is no guarantee they'd find it. PLEASE HELP any ideas and info would be amazing. thanks in advance!
 

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Wow… that’s awful. I am
Glad you did not change the ECM / pcm. It’s not that.

why was the fuel pump replaced? Was there not pressure, or was it just a random guess? does it have fuel pressure now?

So, you have no spark? Do you have spark coming from the coil? Do you have power at the connector to the ignition module? (It’s on the same bracket as the coil).
 

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I have a 2002 Chevy Astro ( rear wheel drive) thats eating more money in parts then we can cope with.
it all started out with a bad thermostat. (auto zone ran free diagnostics) so we started with that but it quickly got much worse.
one day it would fire right up and an hour later we would be stranded. an hour after that it would fire right up no issues. we were attempting to burp the van, after replacing thermostat and such. so we were messing with the heating system. once I shut the heat off the van died. and has not been able to start since. (yes we tried to start it in a different heating position and in neutral) it will crank but not start. you can hear the engine trying to turn over but nothing happens. not even with a jump. there is a brand new fuel pump but it will not turn on. it's not getting power.
so far we've replaced the crank sensor, thermostat, dropped the fuel tank, changed filter and fuel pump, changed the oil and filter, the ignition switch, we have checked all fuses. tapped on the starter for a few laughs, we even sprayed ether in it to see if it's a fuel issue. it's electrical. mechanic I just got it back from told me it's got to be the ecm. if it's not the ecm it's a ground wire and for that they want 600$ to hunt for the ground wire and there is no guarantee they'd find it. PLEASE HELP any ideas and info would be amazing. thanks in advance!
I would like to clarify a couple of things, so I understand exactly what is being stated.
"...crank but not start"-means the starter spins the motor, but the motor does not run...I got that.

Then, "...you can hear the engine trying to turn over but nothing happens." I assume you still mean the motor spins with the starter, but the motor does not fire up. It is just semantics, but I want to be sure I completely understand. The '...but nothing happens' part made me ask, because my first impression was that the starter was trying, but failing to spin the motor.
Sorry....
I see one possible connection with the heating system and the thermostatreplacement, related to the no start.
There is a significant ground connection at the thermostat housing. If it was inadvertently left off, or was badly corroded to the point of making a poor connection, it might be related.
Somebody recently posted a link to a Youtube video, which explained where al the ground connections are located, and to what specific systems they are related. I do not have the link handy, but it was excellent!
Try searching for Astro Van ground locations. Somebody may re-post the link soon, if you do not find it.

Rod J
Issaquah, WA
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow… that’s awful. I am
Glad you did not change the ECM / pcm. It’s not that.

why was the fuel pump replaced? Was there not pressure, or was it just a random guess? does it have fuel pressure now?

So, you have no spark? Do you have spark coming from the coil? Do you have power at the connector to the ignition module? (It’s on the same bracket as the coil).


when we bought the van I was told it would need a new thermostat and an oil change. some days it would die after you shut it off and leave you stranded. then if you added some gas to it some days it would fire right up. other times fresh gas wouldn't help start it. with that in mind we had the mechanic drop the fuel tank. the fuel was black and the fuel filter was full of debris. so why not replace the pump as well surely that would fix it. (it didn't) we replaced the main computer to try to fix it a few days ago. it was our last option. your 100% correct it did not fix the problem! there is no power going to the coil, or fuel pump. however there is spark. other things work as they should. I have been told I should replace the battery, because this one keeps draining, and to replace the entire wiring harness if the new battery dosent fix it. but I'm trying to gain more information before any more money is put into it.
I would like to clarify a couple of things, so I understand exactly what is being stated.
"...crank but not start"-means the starter spins the motor, but the motor does not run...I got that.

Then, "...you can hear the engine trying to turn over but nothing happens." I assume you still mean the motor spins with the starter, but the motor does not fire up. It is just semantics, but I want to be sure I completely understand. The '...but nothing happens' part made me ask, because my first impression was that the starter was trying, but failing to spin the motor.
Sorry....
I see one possible connection with the heating system and the thermostatreplacement, related to the no start.
There is a significant ground connection at the thermostat housing. If it was inadvertently left off, or was badly corroded to the point of making a poor connection, it might be related.
Somebody recently posted a link to a Youtube video, which explained where al the ground connections are located, and to what specific systems they are related. I do not have the link handy, but it was excellent!
Try searching for Astro Van ground locations. Somebody may re-post the link soon, if you do not find it.

Rod J
Issaquah, WA

to clarify: I am not very good when it comes to vehicles. I am 25 and just learned how to change oil on my Astro. this is a learning process for me so please bare with me. you can turn the key and it will crank but will not start. we were under the impression it was a fuel problem but has turned into something alot more confusing. the van has quite a few corroded, burnt wires that have been replaced. like the blow motor and ignition switch. I'm not sure how to explain it another way.
 

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Unfortunately electrical diagnosis is a problem for many otherwise competent shops. In this case true diagnosis seems to have been set aside for swapping parts.

From what you are saying it almost certainly is a corroded or damaged wire or ground somewhere causing this issue. The fact that there is "no power" going to the fuel pump would have me concentrate very closely on that circuit first. If the ground is good you can check the power wire for continuity as you wiggle the harness. Sometimes this might reveal a corroded partial break somewhere which would explain the intermittent problem.

This thread has a list of grounds, but also some data on finding the necessary service manual information on the web to access the relevant diagrams.


Here is where i would start, i would as said above, first verify all ground locations are indeed good. If you have a simply voltmeter with ohm reading capability, you can check for continuity in your grounds. The van is now 20 years old, so do not take as gospel that a tight looking bolt is indeed a good ground. I jut had this problem myself on a 99, where a tight ground was in fact rusted inside the body.

I would avoid shops which recommend "replace the entire wire harness" ect. That a shotgun approach which skips diagnosis. I would look for shops that specialize in electrical work.

Around here we even have a few resources of mobile mechanics that specialize in electrical diagnosis that will come to you. That sort of resource may exist in your area as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Unfortunately electrical diagnosis is a problem for many otherwise competent shops. In this case true diagnosis seems to have been set aside for swapping parts.

From what you are saying it almost certainly is a corroded or damaged wire or ground somewhere causing this issue. The fact that there is "no power" going to the fuel pump would have me concentrate very closely on that circuit first. If the ground is good you can check the power wire for continuity as you wiggle the harness. Sometimes this might reveal a corroded partial break somewhere which would explain the intermittent problem.

This thread has a list of grounds, but also some data on finding the necessary service manual information on the web to access the relevant diagrams.


Here is where i would start, i would as said above, first verify all ground locations are indeed good. If you have a simply voltmeter with ohm reading capability, you can check for continuity in your grounds. The van is now 20 years old, so do not take as gospel that a tight looking bolt is indeed a good ground. I jut had this problem myself on a 99, where a tight ground was in fact rusted inside the body.

I would avoid shops which recommend "replace the entire wire harness" ect. That a shotgun approach which skips diagnosis. I would look for shops that specialize in electrical work.
this is very helpful information! thank you!
 

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Welcome to the site!

Good advice above. I would focus first one where work was done just before it stopped running, like mentioned, the ground at the thermostat housing. It is the ground for a few things and will definitely cause problems, just remember that it could be in the wiring and not just the connector. Example grounds: Astro-Safari-Info - Grounds

If you don't have a manual, I recommend getting the GM Techline eSI which is the factory service manual but digital. It has all of the troubleshooting/repair instructions/wiring diagrams/etc that you will need for everything on your van. See links in my sig, or Info Share - Owners/Service/Parts Manuals - Wiring Diagrams

Electrical diagnostics can be difficult but not impossible esp with all of the resources available online these days. The most important thing is the manuals, then get yourself a cheap digital meter(don't need anything fancy) and get to work. Give yourself time, it will be a learning experience.
 

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when we bought the van I was told it would need a new thermostat and an oil change. some days it would die after you shut it off and leave you stranded.
Problem #1... oil change and thermostat will NOT cause engine to stall or not start.
Additionally, you only change thermostat if there is a temperature issue.
Pointless repair. How much did they get you for THAT one?

then if you added some gas to it some days it would fire right up. other times fresh gas wouldn't help start it. with that in mind we had the mechanic drop the fuel tank.
Problem #2... you ASSUMED it needed a new fuel pump, without taking actual readings?
You even admit fresh gas it started some days, and other days not. So it wasn't that.
Yet you had your mechanic pull your fuel tank based on YOUR assumptions?
I'm sure he was more than glad to do it and take more of your money, at your request.

we replaced the main computer to try to fix it a few days ago. it was our last option. your 100% correct it did not fix the problem!
Problem #3... you once again ASSUMED this without any actual proof this was the culprit?
At least now you have a spare (or did you at least keep the old one?)

there is no power going to the coil, or fuel pump. however there is spark.
Problem #4: That is IMPOSSIBLE!
Spark comes from coil which must have power if you are getting spark
So which is it?
No power can be easily diagnosed and fixed.
If you can't find a wire break.. run a new wire.

Fuel pump is easy to diagnose.. check relay and check if it has power.
Also check power (and ground) at pump connector (if relay good).
When the mechanic replaced the pump did it run then?

It certainly won't run with no fuel pressure.
Maybe it's a faulty connector (or splice) at the pump?
Unless everything is dead.. that might be even easier to diagnose.

I have been told I should replace the battery, because this one keeps draining,
Problem #5: THEY MUST LOVE YOU!!! OR AT LEAST LOVE THAT YOU SPEND MONEY!!
This is FOOLISH to just keep replacing things without any solid reason.
Does the battery drain... or is something draining it? BIG DIFFERENCE!
If the battery "actually tests" bad under load or won't hold charge, then replace it.
But be sure it's the battery, and not something draining it.
Cranking it all the time doesn't help.. it will need re-charge.
Meanwhile you just threw away your money, and problem still exists.

and to replace the entire wiring harness if the new battery dosent fix it.
SERIOUSLY??? THIS IS CRIMINAL!!
Do NOT go back to these guys.

What if it turns out to be a bad cheap electrical component? (and not the wiring)
Maybe it's just a bad or intermittent connector to any number of components.
What if it's a bad fuel injection spider (like what happened to me)
(mine would stall, and wouldn't start for a few minutes until it sat)
What if you have a faulty key ignition switch? That's not terribly uncommon.
What if it's the firewall connection?

Cluelessly changing parts is NOT the answer!
Find another mechanic!
And STOP assuming things.. just because it "seems" right.

If you don't find a new mechanic or fix this yourself, then maybe get rid of the van before it sucks the life out of your wallet and bank account.

Good luck.. seriously!

some days it would die after you shut it off and leave you stranded.
When mine did stuff like this.. it turned out to be a faulty intermittent fuel injection spider.
But I'm NOT saying this is your trouble.
There are many other electrical components.

1) Does it have fuel pressure?
2) Does it have spark?
3) Do they have power?

This will greatly narrow it down.

Some vehicles have a security system that could be suspect, but I have no experience with these.

Also if you replaced computer, I'm sure you followed instructions on the new vehicle re-learn procedure.
Won't run if not done correctly.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
once again I am not mechanically inclined what so ever. I am just repeating what I was told from the mechanic. from what I understand the coil is not getting power nor is there spark I had to look back at the messages to make sure what was going on. there was no power going to the fuel pump either. it's currently sitting at my mother's house while we try to find the bad wire. I have been told to replace the wiring harness but I don't know if that will fix the problem either. everything that has been replaced was necessary according to the guy that worked on it. I do not have a good understanding of vehicles but I am doing my best with the help of family and YouTube any advice is appreciated.
 

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from what I understand the coil is not getting power nor is there spark
Then you have a great place to start, find out if/why the coil isn't getting power. Get the digital FSM or at least the wiring diagrams pack from the link above and a meter.

Don't get discouraged, YOU CAN DO THIS.
 

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once again I am not mechanically inclined what so ever. I am just repeating what I was told from the mechanic.
I guess he missed my point about getting a new mechanic (and why)
 

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once again I am not mechanically inclined what so ever. I am just repeating what I was told from the mechanic. from what I understand the coil is not getting power nor is there spark I had to look back at the messages to make sure what was going on. there was no power going to the fuel pump either. it's currently sitting at my mother's house while we try to find the bad wire. I have been told to replace the wiring harness but I don't know if that will fix the problem either. everything that has been replaced was necessary according to the guy that worked on it. I do not have a good understanding of vehicles but I am doing my best with the help of family and YouTube any advice is appreciated.
Don't be discouraged. MMusicMan's biggest point is if you just buy new parts then you are wasting your money and time. Finding the problem and resolving the issue is the correct way to fix something, even if "professional" mechanics don't follow that procedure. You will either have to find a new mechanic or start learning yourself. If you want to post your general location someone might be able to recommend a different mechanic.

Even if you don't know how to do something someone on here has (old forum posts) or can walk you through how to check it out and make sure it is good. Electrical can seem like black magic, but it's not once you get the basics.
 
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This is the thread that i think rods trucks was referring to, link to video of ground locations

Back on May 3, you stated:" ...there is no power going to the coil, or fuel pump, however there is spark."
If you have spark, you DO have power to the coil. Either you are testing incorrectly, or maybe the key was off. Maybe your testing procedure is wrong and you might have power to both.
How are you testing for power at the fuel pump and coil?
But, If you are getting spark, you are getting power to the coil. You may not be getting an adequate spark - it should be very blue.
Poor grounding of the coil can be a problem, but I do not recall you mentioning the coil being replaced, and since it occasionally starts and runs, I suspect it is not related to the coil.
Do not give up. Relate as much information as you can. WE are here to help you learn. The best diagnostic information is often that which you have determined yourself, by actual testing. You will get many opinions and anecdotal results, but this issues is just another variation of the various ways and reasons a vehicle ( any vehicle) may fail to start.
Hang in there.
Rod J
Issaquah, WA
 

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Lots of good advice.

Look at my Mynock thread. You can quickly check to see if there is a problem with the battery cables underneath the engine by the starter.
 

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once again I am not mechanically inclined what so ever. I am just repeating what I was told from the mechanic. from what I understand the coil is not getting power nor is there spark I had to look back at the messages to make sure what was going on. there was no power going to the fuel pump either. it's currently sitting at my mother's house while we try to find the bad wire. I have been told to replace the wiring harness but I don't know if that will fix the problem either. everything that has been replaced was necessary according to the guy that worked on it. I do not have a good understanding of vehicles but I am doing my best with the help of family and YouTube any advice is appreciated.
This is definitely a tough situation, you have spent a lot of money with someone in good faith who has frivolously and quite randomly it seems, thrown parts at the van without ever addressing what is actually wrong with it. Now you are in a position where this mechanic will continue to justify all the random stuff he replaced as "necessary", and you quite reasonably must now question any work he did as well as the actual problem.

The first thing to do here is you must sever this relationship with this person immediately. They dont know what they are doing and its costing you a lot of money. Rest assured that anyone who tells you "replace the entire wiring harness" is a fool, and you certainly do not want someone who made that suggestion to actually embark on the job of replacing a wiring harness. The current problem will be a happy memory after the mess he creates hacking that job. From what you have said, no diagnosis has been made at all. This mechanic is deciding something or other is the culprit, replacing it, and justifying the work on your dime as "part of the problem" when it made no change to the original issue. To suggest you should simply replace all the wiring is the ultimate shotgun approach. He doesnt know what the problem is, he hasnt looked for the problem, hes not sure how, but he thinks if he just gets all new wiring in there the problem will be caught with everything else that didnt need to be done, and hes going to try and convince you this is a worthwhile endeavor to cover his many earlier mistakes. Do not let this person touch the van again, next stop will be the junkyard.

We are all giving you advice to do the work yourself, but if you are not mechanically inclined at all, that is also frustrating for you. What is absolutely essential here is to find a legitimate shop and have the van towed there.

I would go on yelp or similar, and i would find a place with good reviews for honesty and skill. I would call them and explain the situation where this van has been at the mercy of someone just slapping parts on it, and when you drop it off make sure to provide a list of everything that was done. A legit shop will probably have to double check all his work for proper installation.

It really really stinks to throw good money after bad, but you are very much at that point. This is a straight forward incredibly common GM drivetrain, millions of these vans were built, millions more GM products have the motor and transmission. Almost any shop can work on it. Your burden is to find a good one, which fortunately, internet reputation can really help.

Not sure what location you are but if you post you area a member might be able to help with shop recommendations.
 

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Im in NYC, and go to NJ & PA. ( I'm a electrican and fix my Safari a lot 300,000 mi )I didn't read every single word in these posts but kind of a long thread I had a similar problem and it turned out to be a distributor cap making really horrible connection...and the distributor needed replacement, but a cap made her start fine.
 

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I absolutely echo this. I am sorry you are in this position, but this is absolutely correct.
This is definitely a tough situation, you have spent a lot of money with someone in good faith who has frivolously and quite randomly it seems, thrown parts at the van without ever addressing what is actually wrong with it. Now you are in a position where this mechanic will continue to justify all the random stuff he replaced as "necessary", and you quite reasonably must now question any work he did as well as the actual problem.

The first thing to do here is you must sever this relationship with this person immediately. They dont know what they are doing and its costing you a lot of money. Rest assured that anyone who tells you "replace the entire wiring harness" is a fool, and you certainly do not want someone who made that suggestion to actually embark on the job of replacing a wiring harness. The current problem will be a happy memory after the mess he creates hacking that job. From what you have said, no diagnosis has been made at all. This mechanic is deciding something or other is the culprit, replacing it, and justifying the work on your dime as "part of the problem" when it made no change to the original issue. To suggest you should simply replace all the wiring is the ultimate shotgun approach. He doesnt know what the problem is, he hasnt looked for the problem, hes not sure how, but he thinks if he just gets all new wiring in there the problem will be caught with everything else that didnt need to be done, and hes going to try and convince you this is a worthwhile endeavor to cover his many earlier mistakes. Do not let this person touch the van again, next stop will be the junkyard.

We are all giving you advice to do the work yourself, but if you are not mechanically inclined at all, that is also frustrating for you. What is absolutely essential here is to find a legitimate shop and have the van towed there.

I would go on yelp or similar, and i would find a place with good reviews for honesty and skill. I would call them and explain the situation where this van has been at the mercy of someone just slapping parts on it, and when you drop it off make sure to provide a list of everything that was done. A legit shop will probably have to double check all his work for proper installation.

It really really stinks to throw good money after bad, but you are very much at that point. This is a straight forward incredibly common GM drivetrain, millions of these vans were built, millions more GM products have the motor and transmission. Almost any shop can work on it. Your burden is to find a good one, which fortunately, internet reputation can really help.

Not sure what location you are but if you post you area a member might be able to help with shop recommendations.
 
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