HEEEELP!! '93 Chevy Astro Van---goes putt, putt, putt THEN DIES!

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  #1  
Old 01-06-05, 02:24 PM
Jnetsmith
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HEEEELP!! '93 Chevy Astro Van---goes putt, putt, putt THEN DIES!

Hi!

I hope you can help me! We have a 1993 Chevy Astro Van EXT that, until yesterday, has given us ZERO problems...it has approx 160k and is my "stay at home mom" vehicle---I use it for trips around town and taking my children to school.

Yesterday morning on my way to my child's school the van began to stutter, and it felt like eventhough I was pressing down on the gas pedal, the engine wasn't getting any gas (kind of like a car does when there's bad gas/water in the tank). I, of course, cursed my husband because he had filled it up the night before....but anyway...

The van died in the school driveway. Lights, radio stayed on, it just stopped. I put it in park and restarted it. It made a little pop! and started fine....I dropped my son off and headed home----approximately 5 miles down the road it began to lose power, this time there was no sputtering, it just died and would not restart.

A friendly passer-by helped me get it to the side of the road and gave me a lift home. We had it towed to our mechanic---WHERE IT IMMEDIATLEY STARTED WITH NO PROBLEM.

Our mechanic (an exceptionally nice and honest man) said that most likely the fuel pump was going out, so we had it replaced----the filter on the 'old' pump was black and icky, so we thought that the problem was solved.

My husband went to pick it up and 1.3 miles from the garage, it did the same thing...died and had to be left on the side of the road. Called a tow truck and had it towed BACK to the garage. They get there with it, it runs FINE. They ran the engine for 2 hours, drove it, etc, NO problems. They even hooked it up to check the computer chips---they're fine. Husband picks it up, manages to make it home, but van STILL goes SPUT SPUT SPUT.

We've taken it back to the garage and they're baffled. They do all of our service/maintenance and are personal friends, so there shouldn't be a problem----we're just all clueless.

Is it posessed? Does it like the mechanic better than it likes us?
Please help this mom get back "On The Road Again"!!!!

Thanks for all your help!

Jen
 
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  #2  
Old 01-07-05, 08:23 AM
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hi
sound like vapour lock problem
Have you mechanic check it.
sometime the heat from the engine vapour the gas in the fuel line.
cheers

pg
 
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Old 01-08-05, 02:19 PM
Jnetsmith
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I'm trying to come up with a list of possible problems for them to check out on Monday...someone suggested that perhaps it was a failed gas cap....as that possible? And, if so, how does one check to see if the cap has "Failed"?
 
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Old 01-09-05, 08:24 AM
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Although not entirely similar, The Tow Guy just had a problem yesterday that had some of the same symptoms:

Jumped in the truck ('94 Chevy W4; 350 Gas engine) to head into town. Pulled away from a stoplight about 2 miles from the house and the engine quit about halfway through the intersection. Rolled to a stop on the shoulder. Engine would crank but not start. When first turning key, would get a momentary cough and then continue to crank with no sign of life. Towed it in to shop for troubleshooting, picking up a rotor and ignition module on the way. Determined we weren't getting any spark at the plugs but did have spark from the coil. Pulled distributor cap and then remembered (after seeing the condition of the rotor and cap) that we were overdue for preventive replacement of cap & rotor. Installed new rotor, put the cap back on, and it fired right up. Assumed the rotor had had a burn-through to ground. Drove it down the street to another shop where it sat idling away in the driveway while I conversed with the owener. Then drove back to parts place to get credit on the module we didn't use and back to shop. Shut off, sat around for a while, and then headed out. Got about three traffic lights down the road and the engine quit (#2 lane this time, cars going by on both sides while I ground away on the starter). Finally got it to run just enough to limp it to the shoulder where my partner picked me up for the 2nd tow back to shop. Picked up parts on the way as the parts place was soon closing. After further troublshooting, discovered the ultimate culprit was the coil. Patched in a new one and truck fired right up; reconnected old one and crank but no fire. Not sure why the rotor seemed to fix it the first time. Coincidental probably, like the dead car that starts after being towed in.

Comments: I was thinking fuel pump, too. We've had problems with fuel pumps before and the current one has been in for about 70-80,000 miles. Although your fuel pump may not have been the trouble THIS time, it probably didn't have a lot of life left in it and now you can rule that out (unless there is a wiring or relay problem in the pump circuit).

Items to consider: Distributor cap & rotor, ignition module, and coil. Hard to tell with failures on these items sometimes. In our case, once we started thinking coil we found some discoloration the outside case of the coil unit. We were still getting spark out of it, but it was a weak yellow color and arced poorly to ground vice the bright blue spark that SNAPs to ground.
 
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Old 01-09-05, 10:03 AM
Jnetsmith
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I don't know if it makes any difference, but the van has a "VORTECH" (sp?) engine....
 
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Old 06-27-06, 11:40 AM
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Not sure if you had the problem solved already or not but I also have the same vehicle for my wife and found that the oil was low, they have a low oil sensor to eliminate the risk of loosing the engine. Put in two quarts f oil and now things are running smothly. All this after changing the fuel filter screen and filter, an hour later nothing wouldnt startor anthing sat for 1.5 days and enough oil settled to enable the engine to sense oil.
Best of Luck!
 
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Old 06-27-06, 12:01 PM
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did they also change the filter besides the pumps prescreen.

Also sounds like its time for the fuel injection sevice you never got along with the throttle body cleaning.

Every one never does these until their cars have problems much like described above, and all of a sudden they are believers in doing it.

you can throw the faulty gas cap idea away. might as well get a tune up with the fuel injection service if you haven't had one of those in a while.
 
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Old 06-27-06, 12:04 PM
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If it is throttle body injected get a can of throttle body cleaner take the air cleaner up and get the rpms to about 3krpms and spray the stuff in for about 3 sec and stop and wait 5 sec then repeat for atleast 10 times, you may have to get the rpms up more or work the gas to keep it from dieing when doing it. They will be pretty much as good as a fuel injection service. And will only cost you about $3-5 to do.

Its amazing how these vehicles never have vapor lock problems/symptons until they reach around 80k miles when the fuel injection and throttle body cleaning services are extremely vital to keeping it running good because the backs of the valves and the combustion chamber have so much build up.
 
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Old 06-27-06, 12:19 PM
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Also the correct way to investigate a possibly bad fuel that is still working is as follows:

1. you need an oscilloscope
2. you need a current clamp for the oscilloscope.

Now you zero the current clamp and then clamp it around the power line of the fuel pump; start vehicle let it run; watch the current wave form. It should look much like a square wave. Now you want to look to make sure the tops of the square wave from the current wave form are about even. None sitting really high or really. If there is any really high or really low compared to the others you have bad pump.

What you are seeing from the current wave form is the each bar the brushes are contacting and gaps between the bars as the brushes move over them. If any bar is pulling alot more current than the other you know its bad. You can't just measuer the current of the fuel because it can vary quite a few amps with temperature. When you first start it in the morning the amperage draw of the motor will be way different than after you have drove it for an hour. So you have to look at the wave form.
 
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Old 06-27-06, 12:21 PM
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If only mechanics would probably diagnose the fuel pumps instead of guessing and saying that probably it, people would save quite a bit of money and time.

Carbon build up in the combustion chamber and back of valves causes a lot of problems that seem similiar to others.
 
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Old 06-27-06, 01:38 PM
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suggest you leave it at a shop until it acts up for them and they can see the problem. may take all day could take a week.
wouldnt waste your money on an injection cleaning at this time and fuel injected vehicles never vapor lock and gas cap isnt even a possibility.
 
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Old 06-27-06, 01:57 PM
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Vapor lock is still a possibility with FI cars. Some FI cars will bleed the vacuum off to the fuel pressure regulator keep the fuel pressure higher than normal when starting to help purge the fuel rail of any bubbles.

And spraying throttle body cleaner in costs $5 so its worth a shot because with that many miles I will gurantee with 100% accuracy there is crap on the back of the valves.
 
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Old 06-27-06, 02:05 PM
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it isnt a possibility the higher pressure of fuel injection plus it always is recirculating back to the tank makes it impossible to vapor lock vapor lock problems were rare to occur on carburated vehicles and went away when fuel injection came along.
 
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Old 06-27-06, 02:15 PM
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Then I should give you my car and tell you hot start it on a really hot day, It will sputter and misfire and you have to give it gas for about 15sec and then it will go away and run fine, but it only happens on really hot days. Also the fuel rail pressure thing I was talking about is also on my car.

And if you don't give it full throttle while starting when really hot it will catch and misfire like crazy then die out.

So by going full throttle I am getting the bubbles out. This is also a low impedance injector car.
 
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Old 06-27-06, 02:20 PM
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that isnt right you should probably have that looked at know any good mechanics.
 
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Old 06-27-06, 02:26 PM
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ok smart alleck considering this is a known problem and they even one time had something they called a black orsomething else box that plugged in between the ecu and computer to fake the outputs of the motor when starting to prevent this problem.

I think I will keep my car away from you.
 
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Old 06-27-06, 02:29 PM
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And excess carbon build on valves will screw you on start ups to.
 
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Old 06-27-06, 02:32 PM
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Now I remember it was called a kludge box.

Anyways time to stop stealing this thread.

We both say he doesn't have vapor lock. That is usually only seen on hot start ups.
 
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Old 02-04-07, 08:29 AM
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problem resolved???

Was this pproblem ever resolved?
 
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