96 Safari, No start/hard start, now a flashing CEL, plz help

96 Safari, No start/hard start, now a flashing CEL, plz help

Postby ZeroHostile [OP] » June 24th 2017, 7:58pm

Hi all, hoping I can get a little advice where to continue looking here. I have found so many posts/threads/pages where people have asked the same questions I am about to, but no one ever comes back and replies with what FINALLY fixed them once they are running again. Also I apologize for how drawn out this post will be, trying to be thorough, and provide all the info I have, since none of you can see, hear, or experience this issue with me...

1996 GMC Safari 4.3 AWD 202k miles

Before winter it started acting up, randomly wouldn't want to start in the mornings, some mornings it would fire right off like nothing was ever wrong, it had been parked for a few months prior to this so I started using Techron to clean out anything that may have built or gummed in the system, then replaced the fuel filter after dealing with the intermittent hard start issue for 2 tanks full of gas with techron, hoping any particulate would have been trapped by then. This made zero difference, and over the course of the next few weeks it got worse steadily to the point where it was an everyday occurrence, and then just flat refused to start. I parked it for the winter, as it seemed the cold was making the problem, and now that it's warm, it is the exact same, no start every single day. If I do get it to start, which requires a 7 second cranking of the motor about 50 different times, will start to fire a couple times then putter out and eventually run, after that it will start the rest of the day, sometimes requires that I milk the gas pedal to give it life after it has been run that day, other times starting with foot off pedal just turning the key over, but starting every time all day after regardless.

While it is in the no-start mode, I have healthy spark at the coil, the distributor, and to the plugs and ether will NOT force it to start, this made me think to rule out fuel delivery as ether wouldn't ignite either, after doing a lot of reading I found a lot of info on the spider delivery system being a huge problem and seemed maybe flooding might be the source of my problem, my oil is old, has a HINT of gas smell, so maybe. I got it to start one day, pulled the fuel relay let it starve itself out and die, then bled off the extra pressure from the schrader valve on the feed line, next morning replaced the relay and primed the pump with the key until I heard it whine harder, cranked it, nothing. Ether spray, nothing. Check spark every where, get shocked a lot, spark's good lol... Finally get it running, drive it about 50 miles to run the fuel around, runs fine, never stalls or sputters, but finally throws a CEL, I take it to get coded, Coolant Temp Sensor is shot, replaced it, next morning... Nothing, wont start and my starter finally gives up, replaced starter lol... Ether wont work, get shocked a lot, has fuel and spark. Finally accept it must be the spider assembly starting to go, even tho dry parked (starved out) and ether after wont fire, so I look around to get the specs and find a test the states "The fuel system in all CPI & CSFI Vortecs are designed to maintain prime for a few minutes" It claims if I don't drop to 0 "within seconds" "This tells us the regulator and other components in the fuel injector assembly are NOT bad"
My test went as follows, Key-on Engine-off primes to 62 rapidly, then within 2 seconds drops to 57 and holds (from this point if I get it to start my pressure remains above 55 at idle and moves up with acceleration) over the course of the next 15 minutes(Key Off at this point) it dropped to 49, I checked again an hour later 47, let it sit over night next morning it had 26 psi left (10 hours after it hit 47) According to the test I found, this PASSES, is this test accurate? I managed to find a vacuum leak to the air dam for the vent director, repaired it, and also got a MAF code 0103 in the same time frame, cleaning it and patching the vacuum line removed that code (thus far).

Yesterday, I get it to start, runs great as always when running, then shut it off, and restarted instantly, after 30 seconds of idling, my CEL illuminated and started flashing, a moment later idled like crap, sounded like a miss badly. Shut it off, restarted CEL on, but NOT flashing, running fine.. ( I am in the process of determining all the reasons that can happen via research today, and have NOT had a chance to code the latest CEL) ...

Does anyone have any idea what takes a perfectly good running vehicle and turns it into this temperamental monster I have described?? Any help advice would be highly appreciated, and if I left out a detail you need, please ask me and I will give you an answer within the best of my ability, I am obviously not a mechanic by trade so I'm not 100% where to even look at this point...
Original Poster [OP]
ZeroHostile
Fueling (Empty tank)
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Van Model Year: 1996
Van Make/Model: GMC Safari
Extra Info: AWD MarkIII Conv.

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Re: 96 Safari, No start/hard start, now a flashing CEL, plz

Postby ZeroHostile [OP] » July 2nd 2017, 4:18am

Fixed... As I said I replaced the ECT and repaired a vacuum line in the process of this, so those likely added to the issue... However, I discovered it was the distributor, lots of play in the rotor, due to a VERY worn out gear at the base of the distributor... Replaced and all is well, no codes and several days of solid starts every morning...
Original Poster [OP]
ZeroHostile
Fueling (Empty tank)
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Years of Membership: ZeroHostile has been a member for 3 full yearsZeroHostile has been a member for 3 full yearsZeroHostile has been a member for 3 full years
Posts: 2
Topics: 1
Joined: June 2017
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA): Zero
Van Model Year: 1996
Van Make/Model: GMC Safari
Extra Info: AWD MarkIII Conv.

Re: 96 Safari, No start/hard start, now a flashing CEL, plz

Postby WoodButcher » July 2nd 2017, 1:13pm

:rofl:

Glad you got it, Welcome to the forum!
Sorry I didn't see your thread earlier.
Common questions to your problem would have been "what have you done?", mostly in regard to tune up parts.
At 200K miles all the little bits and bobs become maintenance items. Plugs, wires, cap and rotor, coil, ignition module, MAF and or MAP, PCV, vacuum lines, hoses and belts, Grounds need cleaning and dielectric grease, same for all the plugs and electrical connectors. Air filter, fuel and oil filters, oil, PS fluid, brake and trans fluids along with the differential(s) and transfer case fluid.

I know,
TMI,,,
but that is only the beginning of the list. These vans get old and tired like every thing else on this rock but if you do it all from top to bottom they are pretty darn reliable for "old" vehicles. Generally I like to go through a vehicle one system or section at a time. I don't like the idea of throwing parts at it until it works but if your in the doghouse things like the PCV that are cheap and easy I'll clean or replace. The EGR often causes problems so clean that and add a clean screen gasket, Clean and lube everything you can reach. I'll spray WD40 and wipe clean all I can with that, check and wipe all the wires, be sure the separators are in good shape and clean. Heat and moisture cause a lot of issues in there so if the engine bay is clean there is less chance of arching electrical. Dirt holds moisture and can give electricity a path to follow.
Don't feed the gremlins! :lol:
I'll very seldom use water to clean in there, WD40 is good, non conductive. I'll use carb and brake cleaner, MAF spray and other solvents but the WD40 is least harmful to the rubber parts so I use it most.
Good luck, glad to have you here, and thanks for the follow up on your issue! :rockon:
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Re: 96 Safari, No start/hard start, now a flashing CEL, plz

Postby Eraz » July 6th 2017, 5:23am

Glad ya found it. Same thing my 93 did shortly after I got it. New distributor after going through all the crapola you did and TAADAAA!Distributors in these things have been known to be temperamental.
Eraz
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