'Another' cranks, but no start-with a twist

'Another' cranks, but no start-with a twist

Postby Rod's Trucks [OP] » February 22nd 2020, 2:40am

1998 AWD 214K
Last November, I came out of a 2 hour meeting and the engine cranked, but popped, stopped, cranked slow and then would fire once or twice. It would continue to do that repeatedly with each try, so I finally had it towed to a shop I known for a long time and have used in the past when I was too lazy or didn't want to mess with something.
I expected the worst-a timing chain issue. To say I was pleasantly surprised to hear the problem was a bad distributor cap; was an understatement. I had replaced that cap less than a year previously ( with DELCO parts) , and only a few thousand miles.
Two or three day later, on one short trip, I noticed the engine would hesitate badly upon adding throttle, but after gaining a bit of speed it would go away. I was concerned, but wanted more data points before returning to the shop, but It gave me no more trouble for well over a month of occasional trips (less than a tank of fuel).
A couple of weeks ago I started it up ( it started up instantly, as usual) to get some heat into the cabin, while working on a small interior project. I ran the motor for 10 to 15 minutes and shut it off, with no issue noticed.
A week later, I was headed to the dump, with a load of garbage cans, and the original problem came back. It would crank, fire once or twice, cough, come to a complete stop, while still trying to crank, and then speed up, fire once or twice and repeat the cycle in one of several random variations. I have tried to start it several times over the last couple of weeks, with the same result. The van lives outdoors and is parked on a gravel pad.
My first thought was to pull the doghouse and check the distributor cap again, for signs of moisture etc.; but the weather has been cold ( just below freezing a lot of mornings and very wet when it was not below freezing). I was wondering about the possibility of condensation forming under the cap. The replacement cap ( not sure, but I think it was a 'Standard' brand cap), put in by the shop a few months ago, has less than a tank of fuel run with it.
But today, after a week of dry weather, it started and ran normally, even taking it up a couple of very steep hills, with no issue.
Any suggestions as to what might cause this? It will be a few days before I have the time to pull the doghouse and look inside the distributor, but the question of reliability has now reared it's ugly head.
Rod
Issaquah, WA
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Rod's Trucks
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Extra Info: Forest Green LS AWD

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Re: 'Another' cranks, but no start-with a twist

Postby AstroWill » February 22nd 2020, 4:43am

Check for Pancake Distributor Disease, fireworks test, and make sure your PCV system is working like it should.

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Re: 'Another' cranks, but no start-with a twist

Postby Rod's Trucks [OP] » February 22nd 2020, 6:22am

AstroWill,
Thanks for the suggestions.
Pancake disease was looked at prior to these problems ( when I installed the AC Delco cap and rotor about 3000 miles ago), and slop seemed to be just fine.
Fireworks has not been checked yet, but it has run flawlessly until the recently mentioned issue....It definitely could be an issue, particularly with the wet weather ( nearly three months of record rainfall) we have been having, and then sudden starting with no problem after a dry and relatively warm week. I do not know the age of the plugs; other than the PO said they were quite new, and the shop that replaced the cap said "They pulled the ones on the driver side and they looked good, so they did not waste my money to pull the other side plugs". Plugs with an extra wide gap would exacerbate a leaky plug wire issue, but the wires look quite new and very clean, so I had sort of discounted that.
The PO seemed quite knowledgeable and did a lot of his own work....not that means a lot.
I have not put 4000 miles on this van yet, but at 214K, many things are possible.
I feel I have been very lucky with my purchase
A worn out steering box ( replaced ), bit of oil seeping from one side of the front diff, some leakage from the oil fittings on the driver side of the radiator ( new fittings here) , a failed heater control valve ( bypassed), and some some water leakage from rear hatch ( solved), and failed A/C ( seldom needed in the Pacific Northwe(s)t round out the majority of the issues I have.
P.S. A while back, I tried to order a Skip White distributor, and was told they do not produce one for (my 4.3L any more.

RodJ\
Issaquah, WA
Original Poster [OP]
Rod's Trucks
Firing on 5 Cylinders (L1)
Firing on 5 Cylinders (L1)
Posts: 538
Topics: 30
Images: 55
Joined: January 2020
Location: Issaquah, WA
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA): Rod and/or WE7X
Van Model Year: 1998
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: Forest Green LS AWD

Re: 'Another' cranks, but no start-with a twist

Postby AstroWill » February 23rd 2020, 3:57pm

If your distributor still has the screens in there, remove them, https://sites.google.com/site/astrosafa ... istributor and re-inspect/clean the cap/rotor while you are in there.

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