The Broken Dream

The Broken Dream

Postby LaundryMonster [OP] » August 10th 2010, 6:07am

Hey guys!

Just picked up my first Chevy astro and thought I would share my story and problems :)


In the Begining..
-----------------
Earlier this year I moved from Australia to Canada, where I met this girl. After spending month together we both had the

Idea to take some time off of work next spring and go on a road trip to Alaska and the north of Canada for a few months.
Realizing This idea required a car to actually take place, I set out researching a few different cars and vans that I

thought would be good to take a road trip in. Then one day as I looked out the window I saw this van that I thought looked

really neat, so I walked over and checked it out, and realized It would be a good basis for a van to do a road trip in. Had

a quick look around on the net and found that there were plenty of these vans for sale.
After a few weeks of looking and searching for sale ads I narrowed it down to 3 possible vans that were for sale, after

comparing all three, I made the choice to call up and look at a red colored 2wd astro.

The Buy
-------
Looking at the picture in this advert of the van, and having just arranged to meet the owner of it I set off for a 3 hour

drive to check it out.
3 hours Later I pull up at this guys house to find him sitting in the van near his drive way.
I walk around the van noticing the condition of the paint was average and the wheels a nice shade of black. At this point i

was thinking to myself 'hmm i though this van had silver wheels and the paint was spotless in the picture?' It wasnt till

later on I realized that the van in the picture was a totally different van then the one I was looking at. Damn.
Anyway after a few talks and a question about any problems I was informed, 'the fuel gauge doesnt work, but i get about

450ks out of a tank.. oh and when i stop as lights there is a rattling noise but only when the car is in idle'.
After being informed this was the only problems, we discussed a price and i purchased the van.

Homeward Bound
--------------
I leave with the van and head to a gas station.. $50 later and I have myself a full tank and a 3 hour drive a head of me.
During the drive I look around the van and notice everything seems to work and be in decent order (except the gas guage)..

oh and notice the dash has a head light symbol on but the lights are off?
I pull into home and call it a night.

The Next Day
------------
I jump into the van and she fires up first go... Drive for half an hour and park. Decided to walk around town for 45mins

before i jump back in the van, fires first go and were off through some long country roads for an hour long drive to the

next town.
Reaching the town, I pull into a Canadian tire and ask them if they could do an insurence inspection.. turns out there was

a 3 hour wait so I decided I would drop by again the next day..
One foot out the door and i realized I should properly get a jerry can as the fuel gauge doesn't work and I had driven

300ks.
Buy myself a 40l can and jump in the van to drive 15 mins to the mall.
Pull into a parking spot and shut the van down.
Realizing I wanted to re-park the van, no more then 30 seconds later I try to turn the van over and it kicks but wont start.

So the Problems begin..
-----------------------
Less then 18 hours after the purchase and the van wont start, great. Thinking i may have run out of gas, i look at the trip

and notice i have only done 350ks.. thinking to myself, I had been using the aircon.. so it could be possible I was empty

already. so I lock the van up and do some shopping for an hour.
Come back to the van and she fires first go .. Thanking the gods I crawl the van 200 meters through the car park towards

the nearest gas station. Just as i start to leave.. the van dies.
I throw my hazards on and lock the astro up .. head to the gas station with my jerry can.. and fill up 15L worth. get

back to the van and fill the gas tank up. attempt to turn it over. but it just keeps kicking. ****.
Assuming by the sound of it.. the fuel pump has died.. I call a tow truck.
15 mins later and $60 poorer The van is getting unloaded off the tow truck, to the mechanic. where it sits outside over

night before they can look at it.

Canadian Tire
-------------
Talking with the girl at the counter, she suggest the problem maybe the fuel filter. The next morning the van fires and

they drive it into the work shop. the mechanic notices the fuel filter is dirty and installed backward?? .. he replaces it

and suggest that if the car quite again the fuelfilter might need to be replaced again. As i hand him a cheque for $200,

and tears almost form in my eyes.. he mentions the filter is at 55psi?

Homeward bound (again)
----------------------
I jump in the van.. she fires first go and i let here idle for 2 mins.
Being super careful i baby her to the nearest gas station and fill it up. Next i start to make the hour long trip down the

country roads to home.
Everything seems to be going good.. except for the slight feeling of the car stuggling very faintly up some hills. being

super careful the whole way..I hit a straight stretch of road. Doing about 100l I go over a smooth little bump in the road
Where the car drops dead. And I coast for 500m, Notice the 'check gauges' light come on my dash I role to a stop. get out

and look under the van. Not knowing what i look for i tap a few things and notice near the of the van to the left of the

fuel filter about a foot (laying on your back looking up at the floor pan) i notice a wire loose, which i clip back in.
Attempt to restart the car .. and it just kicks but wont fire like always..
In the end, I had only driven 90ks and was about 15 mins from home, and i got a friend to flat tow me home.


So there she sits the Astro that was ment to bring dreams.. but so far as brought nothing but problems :(

Im kind of at a loss as to what keeps causing this.. people have suggested the fuel pump.. others suggest the alternator..

I not very good with engines.. So im not to sure where to look from here.
1998 Chevy Astro - (2WD / 5001-6000-Hydraulic / [L35] 262 ci V6 4.3 MFI)
Problems - Damaged Cat / Broken Gas Gauge / Car Randomly Quits while driving
Original Poster [OP]
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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby ihatemybike » August 10th 2010, 12:15pm

Welcome to the site. Sorry that you are having problem right from the start, but we will help you out the best we can.

First thing, what did the gauges show? I had a situation in Grumpy where it would cut out. Turned out that after working on it one time I didn't tighten the battery connections down good. Cleaning the grounds is also something that might be beneficial.

It is generally accepted that after 100k miles one is on borrowed time with the fuel pump. When I buy one of these vans I just assume I'll be replacing the pump. History has proven that ACDelco/Delphi is the only replacement truly worth the effort and thanks to the net can be had for roughly the same price as the LAPS.

My van Grumpy is proof that a van that was relatively neglected by the PO can actually still be a pretty dang good van. I took it on a 3800 mile trip (Chicago-New York-New Orleans-Chicago) in June and am hoping to run out to Santa Monica then drive Route 66 back in November if I can afford the time off.
Aaron

2005 Astro (Gandalf) - AWD, 4.3L, 3.42, 130k+ miles
1997 Astro (Grumpy - $250 Rally Van) - AWD, 4.3L, 3.42, LSD, 2" lift, 31" tires, 335k+ orig engine, $30 eBay fuel pump
Prev Astros:99,97,00,94,87,86
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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby AstroCan » August 11th 2010, 2:01am

Which province are you in? Did you go back to the Canadian Tire? They might be accommodating and look at your van again for free.
Canadian Tire is not the best place to bring your van, IMO.

I bought my van 2 months ago, it's a 1998 and I am just back from an across canada trip. It ran perfect the whole time, in those 2 months I put 16,000km on it. Don't get desperate, these are great vehicles.
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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby LaundryMonster [OP] » August 11th 2010, 2:20am

Woahh... Just realized this topic got moved, Hmm .. Maybe I should have split it up and wrote about my problem in a separate thread lol :)

Ihatemybike - I didnt look at the gauges straight away, but I did notice that after i sat on the side of the road for 10 mins and trying to turn it over a decent amount of times, that the battery gauge did read about 12.

Sounds like a great trip you have planned, out of interest.. Where would one find a Delpi pump for a decent price?


Astrocan - Im in Alberta, Didnt take it back to Canadian tire as I was alot closer to home, and would have rather worked on it myself. Chances are they wouldnt have done it for free either due to fact that they suggested the filter might go again on their paper work. Oh and the only reason I took it to canadian tire was because it was the closest shop :S


So Far Ive had all sorts of suggestions from people.. from replacing the fuel pump to repacing the fuel filter to replacing the alternator to replacing the battery..
But the most interesting suggestion was that 55psi was too low for the fuel filter. Anyone got any knowledge about this? thanks
1998 Chevy Astro - (2WD / 5001-6000-Hydraulic / [L35] 262 ci V6 4.3 MFI)
Problems - Damaged Cat / Broken Gas Gauge / Car Randomly Quits while driving
Original Poster [OP]
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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby Gary » August 11th 2010, 4:06am

Welcome to the forum.Now I am going to ask you a direct question.Will you "buy into the idea" that here there isn't any problem too big on these vans they we can't figure out.That quite the opposite of broken dreams is the basis we work off of.Buying a used van,you should accept there are going to be issues that your going to have to resolve until you have it where you want it.I am not trying to be a hard ba$$ on you.Just trying to get a working relationship.

55psi is not acceptable fuel pressure.Take off the dog house on the inside of the van and test the fuel pressure at the shader valve on the engine.Many of the auto parts stores have tools they either rent or loan out,so you can get a fuel pressure test gauge from them.I am saying long before you replace a expensive fuel pump,we/you want to be sure that is the problem.Here I am saying don't just throw parts at it without the diagnostic work confirming that is what the problem.

Log onto: www.autozone.com

Read the repair sections and see if some of those questions you have in how to are answered there.ASK questions here.No matter how dumb they may seem.There isn't much we haven't seen and solved before.

A inexpensive Delco pump can be had from Rockauto.Be sure that given how far you want to travel with this van that it is a Delco pump only and the use of the same brand name parts are used for plugs,cap.rotor,wires.

If it where me going on that kind of a trip,new or used vehicle I would be doing maintenance work bumper to bumper.We will help you every step of the way.

Again.Welcome to the forum.Let's get-er-done now.
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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby LaundryMonster [OP] » August 11th 2010, 4:22am

Thanks for the input gary, I have expected a few issues when I purchased this van, and my intentions are to maintain it bumper to bumper! :)

I had a play around with it tonight, She fired firts go and idled fine for 10 mins, drive it about 50m and back and she moved.
Watching the volts gauge it sat on 14, but i have a feeling it was very slowly dropping.. I also noticed in the engine bay the alternator had been replaced and there was 2 wires loosely hanging around and wired together (I will get a pic of this when my camera battery charges)

Having had the presure tested and the result was 55 psi, How do i go about brining it up to an acceptable pressure, is that even possible..
come to think of it, when the van quit the other day, i did release the fuel cap and noticed there was no pressure releasing.. Maybe the fuel pressure reg has died?
wow. I think i just answered my own question lol.
1998 Chevy Astro - (2WD / 5001-6000-Hydraulic / [L35] 262 ci V6 4.3 MFI)
Problems - Damaged Cat / Broken Gas Gauge / Car Randomly Quits while driving
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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby Gary » August 11th 2010, 4:41am

Well a common problem with these vans is fuel pumps.If you find your going to replace the pump,you should do the fuel filter at the same time.You do need to drop the tank to replace the fuel pump and a big key to that is to get as much gas out of the tank as you can to lower the wt of it to make handling it easier.I am going to make ya work for some of it through.Hehe-do a search here and look up ref's for replacing a fuel pump and the tests to determine a bad pump,reg,etc.It's all here for the taking.(of course you could cheat this test and just look it up on autozone) :lol: :doh:
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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby rev_les » August 11th 2010, 6:46am

like Gary stated, do the filter at the same time as the pump, and KEEP RECORDS....a fuel pump is only warrantied if you have records of filter replacement at the same time. Clogged fuel filters are a big cause of fuel pump failure on these vans, and most other vehicles.
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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby Matrixx » August 11th 2010, 12:32pm

Hi LaundryMonster

It quit going over a bump eh? hmm, just another quick suggestion here is to pull the dog house off and have a look at the coil wire. Their was a recall on these vans for the coil wire being positioned in the wrong spot and will eventually short out on any metallic object near it and stall the engine. This happened to me (before i got the recall notice) and the symptoms were similar to yours.

This is a very quick check and won't cost you anything to do. While your in their, why not have a look at the cap and rotor as well. It could very well be a bad fuel pump or another plugged fuel filter, but the above mentioned only costs you time to check.

55-PSI would be normal if the engine was running. 58-62 PSI with ignition on engine off. Bleed down not to exceed 2 lbs/10 minutes.

They only mentioned 55-PSI, they didn't mention how and when they got that number when they tested it. Important to know this (how and when).

Some great advice from others to follow LaundryMonster, but this check would only take a few minutes to do and who knows, it could be as simple as the coil wire shorting out (like mine did), wouldn't hurt to check.

Let us know how things work out or if you have any more questions.

:)
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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby ihatemybike » August 11th 2010, 1:15pm

LaundryMonster wrote:Ihatemybike - I didnt look at the gauges straight away, but I did notice that after i sat on the side of the road for 10 mins and trying to turn it over a decent amount of times, that the battery gauge did read about 12.

Sounds like a great trip you have planned, out of interest.. Where would one find a Delpi pump for a decent price?

Here's a page I made with fuel pump info.
https://sites.google.com/site/astrosafa ... umps-tanks
Aaron

2005 Astro (Gandalf) - AWD, 4.3L, 3.42, 130k+ miles
1997 Astro (Grumpy - $250 Rally Van) - AWD, 4.3L, 3.42, LSD, 2" lift, 31" tires, 335k+ orig engine, $30 eBay fuel pump
Prev Astros:99,97,00,94,87,86
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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby 94 Van Guy » August 11th 2010, 4:36pm

Matrixx wrote:Hi LaundryMonster

It quit going over a bump eh? hmm, just another quick suggestion here is to pull the dog house off and have a look at the coil wire. Their was a recall on these vans for the coil wire being positioned in the wrong spot and will eventually short out on any metallic object near it and stall the engine. This happened to me (before i got the recall notice) and the symptoms were similar to yours.

This is a very quick check and won't cost you anything to do. While your in their, why not have a look at the cap and rotor as well. It could very well be a bad fuel pump or another plugged fuel filter, but the above mentioned only costs you time to check.

55-PSI would be normal if the engine was running. 58-62 PSI with ignition on engine off. Bleed down not to exceed 2 lbs/10 minutes.

They only mentioned 55-PSI, they didn't mention how and when they got that number when they tested it. Important to know this (how and when).

:)



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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby LaundryMonster [OP] » August 12th 2010, 3:42am

Hmm.. Ok, Some Ideas there.. Im hopefully going to try them all this weekend, Just trying to get my hands on a fuel pressure gauge first to try it all out.
In the mean time.. I put up a thread in the electrical section trying to identify what this plug is that i noticed was not clipped in when the van quit.

I dont know if this has anything to do with it .. but I noticed these 2 wires that look like they come off the alternator, thy were just taped and wound together.. What are they and why are they loose?
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1998 Chevy Astro - (2WD / 5001-6000-Hydraulic / [L35] 262 ci V6 4.3 MFI)
Problems - Damaged Cat / Broken Gas Gauge / Car Randomly Quits while driving
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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby LaundryMonster [OP] » August 14th 2010, 7:59pm

Ok.. Still no progress.
I got the dog house off, not to sure what im ment to be looking at.. like im nto sure what a coil wire is, i even goodled it ..
Everything looks pretty normal .. The leads run to the spark plugs, and one of the leads runs to the upper right hand side on to of the motor, im assuming this is the coil and it seems to be secured pretty solid

I got a scanner too.. and it reports no codes

I will keep trying ..
1998 Chevy Astro - (2WD / 5001-6000-Hydraulic / [L35] 262 ci V6 4.3 MFI)
Problems - Damaged Cat / Broken Gas Gauge / Car Randomly Quits while driving
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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby Matrixx » August 14th 2010, 11:05pm

Hi LaundryMonster

Yes the one wire that goes off to the right side of the engine is the one I'm referring to. If it's near "any" metal objects, it will more than likely short out if it's worn.

Turn the engine over and listen for any "Ticking" sounds while your looking at that wire as well. If it's dark out, you will see and hear it for sure. If it's light out, you will hear it, but it will be more difficult to see it. Mine was shorting out on the "oil filler tube". I had to re-route it away from anything metal just to get it to start and drive it home. I replaced those wires shortly afterwards.

Please keep in mind this problem you described sounds very familiar to mine and why I mentioned it here, but it may or may not be the problem. It doesn't take much time to check it though just to be sure.

The picture of that wire sure looks after market to me. Either way, you might want to check it to see if their is power running to it. If their is, then you might want to wrap it up with some electrical tape then find out where it goes to. I'm just wondering now if their wasn't an after market alarm put in this van previously. If their was, then that can (and has) created a lot of starting/stalling problems with some members here on the board.

Let us know how things work out LaundryMonster. If you have anymore questions, myself and I'm sure others will do their best to help.
:)
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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby LaundryMonster [OP] » August 14th 2010, 11:58pm

Ok, I checked again the coil wire??? was resting just under the the trans/lock pipe .. however i dont think this would be causing the issue as the wire is pretty insulated.
I moved it however and now it is resting over the top of that big cold pipe, i think its got something to do with the air conditioner.
i do hear a ticking noise when i turn the car on and it comes in intervals.. im pretty sure its something to do with the engine timing.

as for that wire.. traced it back to the back side of the alternator.
I noticed also there is a motor in the engine bay for cruise control .. but i cant find any buttons on the interior for it? odd..
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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby chevy57bert » August 15th 2010, 12:22am

turn signal switch or did some replaced it with the wrong one?

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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby LaundryMonster [OP] » August 15th 2010, 1:20am

Ahh.. That makes sense.. I have that turn signal switch, It just appears that the text that says set cruise and whatever is written under it is cleanly missing!

Now Im not to sure what the oil pressure is ment to be, but the needle seemed to be at the line between the 275 and the 550
I ran the car for about 10 mins in the drive way.. the volts sat on 14 and dipped a little bit. I noticed the ticking that was starting and stopping was actually something to do with the air conditioning .. im thinking its more of a noisy bearing rather then an electrical shortage

Before turning the car over i checked the dash for what lights were on. and the check gauge light was on, as well as the engine light under it
I belive the battery light was on and so was the head light light .. I cant remember if the battery light went away.. but I do notice the head light light is always on even when the head lights are off.

the more i play with this van the more im starting to feel like its something electrical.
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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby LaundryMonster [OP] » August 16th 2010, 5:13pm

Edit. Post to confusing
Last edited by LaundryMonster on August 16th 2010, 7:28pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby 94 Van Guy » August 16th 2010, 6:33pm

I have looked at the photo you added. I see a possible problem. In the highlighted area, these spark plug wires seem to be a little close to the cover. They may be shorting out when the engine cover(dog house) is in place. Check to make sure these wires don't get pinched when you replace the dog house.
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Re: The Broken Dream

Postby Matrixx » August 16th 2010, 6:44pm

Hi LaundryMonster

Thanks for the picture.

I'm not quite sure by what you mean by an inch to the right of the throttle body. What you have over their on that side is a bracket that holds both the ignition module and Coil where the coil wire comes from and goes back to the distributor cap.

The wire that's under your transmission filler tube which appears to be touching it, that wire. You might want to wrap some rubber tubing around it anyways to prevent it from chaffing on the filler tube.

I'm sure you will find the problem LaundryMonster, it's just a matter of trouble shooting on your part now to check things that have already been suggested to you .

I'm sure others will chime in if they can.

Keep us updated. Thanks:)

PS: Just a heads up here regarding your picture LaundryMonster, is the left side of the dog house opening. You have a single wire that looks Crimped and caught up on the rubber seal their, and your spark plug wires must be moved away from that sharp edge which they appear to be touching. That sharp edge will cut through those wires in no time.

Hope this helps.:)
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