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Van died while driving.

2213 Views 13 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  RECox286
I backed out of my drive way and put it in drive... went 10 feet and she died :(

Had no spark to the plugs... checked coil... no spark coming from the Coil.
Have 11.14 volts on the +terminal when probed the coil
Voltage on the -terminal fluctuates while cranking.

I would guess that all means that everything up to that point is working correctly?

What I've replaced so far:

1. Coil
2. Spark plug wires
3. Spark plugs
4. Distributor cap
5. Rotor

I just installed the new coil (after drilling out the rivets of the old one while it was in place... that bracket is hell to try and take off)
I cranked the engine and heard a loud pop (guessing that was from gas in the cylinders from testing, meaning I'm getting spark to the plugs)
At least now it sounds like it's trying to catch... but very faint.

These are my questions:
1. Is there an easy way to put my finger in the #1 spark plug hole? or get my 15 month son to do it :) cause it's a pain in the a** to get to them in the first place.
2. How would I test the pick-up coil on the distributor... that's the only thing on the high tension side I haven't checked yet.
3. I had the old coil disconnected completely and removed the rotor cap.. the rotor spins slow while cranking... don't know how fast it is suppose to be.

My battery is now almost dead (from death at street till now I've only cranked it around 20 times)

If anybody has had this issue or knows what might be wrong... I'd appreciate the help (it's my only vehicle and Christmas is coming)
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UPDATE: somehow 1 and 3 plug wires got switched... van now tries to start... but distributor timing is off.

I marked the rotor and the distributor before I pulled it to check if the gears were in good shape.

I noticed there is a 7/16" slop in rotor movement if I twist it... I guess that's why the timing is off. It was late last night when I did this and didn't notice it.
UPDATE: I fully charged the battery... while this was going on I took out all the spark plugs and let all the gas evaporate (thought about this because I cranked the engine so many times without spark). 5 hours later I put everything back together adjusted the timing and it fires right up... runs great.

Should I still be worried about all that play in the rotor? It's running great.

Next thing I have to do is get the rear heat working. I've noticed my rear carpet is wet by the sliding door... yet I'm not loosing any water out of the engine. Don't know if it's the door seal or what.. but it's a lot of water, and apparently has no source haha. I wasn't going to worry about it but the kids need heat back there.
Rather than start a new topic I thought I'd just add to this one.

I replaced my battery a couple days ago, and it ran fine. My wife went to the store, came home and parked it, everything ran fine. I go out to start it the next morning and all I got was crank crank nothing. So off comes the doghouse and I see the coil arcing... I thought my problems were solved. Replaced the coil, wires, plugs. Popped the distributor cap off and cleaned the white corrosion off the terminals inside, van still wont start. There was about an 1/8" on each one. All the old plugs were burnt looking. I just went through this in Dec 2009... I have only done light driving since then, about 8,000 miles.

The spark was and still is yellow coming from the coil (old coil and new one). Any thoughts on the next step?
Everything was ACDelco except for the coil and cap, which were Duralast... changed the Duralast coil to ACDelco and purchased same for plugs and wires. Plugs were and are now still the ACDelco Rapidfires. This is the same engine that I rebuilt (top half) in Dec 09'-Jan 10'. I tested and inspected everything when it was easy to get to (with just the block left in on the rebuild). Still has great compression. The van has always ran a little 'off' in the rain. Took longer to start in high humidity conditions...fog/rain. It's been raining for the past 4 days (the day this all started is the day it started raining).

I have all the receipts for everything done, I purchased the coil and cap with a gift card, Christmas gift from Satan I guess.

I've read so many posts about "hard to start in rain" "hard to start when cold", which is the same as my van. Everybody seems to find the fix, which is a bad coil or wire.

There is a strong smell of gas when I try and start the van. I removed the plugs after trying to crank it and they all were wet. There are no leaks anywhere. I'm young and still dumb, so most of you are going to laugh at me for saying "if there is fuel+air+spark, the damn thing should run or at least start then stop" haha. I don't even get a backfire or a chug out of this thing.

I don't have time to mess with it until this weekend. I'll check the voltages on the ICM and CPS then.

On a side note, there was a lot of lightning the night before all this started. The next day my van was dead, and my wife's 2007 Kia started acting up. Hers feels like a coil pack is bad and not firing. Could these 2 things be related? A lightning strike? Just dumb bad luck? There is a telephone pole about 5 ft directly to the side of my van, from where our cars are parked.

Diagram time!---> [TP] [Van] [car]

I might be fishing but if the charge dissipated after hitting the ground, then my van, then her car would be less effected, correct? :) Might not of been lightning at all, I'd just hate to be one of those people who left out something.
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I went out and my van started right up today, first try. Today being the first non-rainy day I let the van sit and dry out from the past few days of bad weather, and thought I'd see if it was just humidity causing the problems.

This van has had horrible problems with starting in the rain... it could be sitting for days and start/run fine. If I let it sit for a few days in the rain, it wont start. No water is splashing up under the van cause it's not being driven.

The bad news is the news has it raining the next 2 days, dry for 2, then wet for 5 :banghead:

What part(s) would be effected by humidity? I don't believe it is temperature at this point seeing how both days are within 2 degrees of each other.

  • Air intake sensors
    distributor cap

I did the old screwdriver test on the MAF sensor, ran perfect.
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