Why is my Camaro not starting?

Tiny
SINGER_180
  • MEMBER
  • 1987 CHEVROLET CAMARO
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 72 MILES
I bought a 1987 Camaro (2.8L V6) that wasn't running. I'm a highschool student and want to fix up my first car. The previous owners told me that it was the fuel pump that went out on it. So I bought a brand new fuel pump and popped it in. Still nothing. The car does crank and want to start everytime I try to start her. I checked the spark plugs and it's getting spark, will even fire with some starting fluid into the throttle body (though once all of the starting fluid is burned up it's dead again). I checked all of the fuses in the fuse box and nothing was burnt out. I pulled the distributor cap off to get to the ignition module and I had it tested at O'Rielly. They said that it passed every test and was fine. I'm convinced it is a fuel problem but I don't know where the problem is. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Oh and the wiring is really messed up on this car too (if that effects anything).
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Thursday, December 23rd, 2010 AT 4:22 AM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You have all the clues already. It has spark, so you're done wasting your time in that circuit. The next thing is to check for voltage to the fuel pump. Check for it while a helper is cranking the engine. If you don't find around 12 volts during cranking, trace that circuit back to the fuel pump relay. (Check if the relay is turning on during cranking).

Caradiodoc
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Thursday, December 23rd, 2010 AT 9:22 AM
Tiny
SINGER_180
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How do I check the voltage of the fuel pump? (Sorry I'm still really new to all of this)
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Thursday, December 23rd, 2010 AT 4:11 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The tool for the job is either a test light or an inexpensive digital voltmeter. Don't go nuts on the voltmeter. They're like cars and they have a purpose. A car is supposed to move you from where you are to where you'd rather be. People today aren't satisfied unless there are 12 different places they can hang a soda can, she's 2 degrees warmer over there than he is over here, the power window rolls all the way down without you holding the switch the entire time, and doors lock automatically, (because I guess we're too stupid to push a switch)!

The same is true with digital voltmeters. You don't need to buy all of those features you're never going to use. Sears, Radio Shack, and Walmart have nice selections for around 20 bucks. If you have a Harbor Freight Tools store nearby, they have a perfectly fine one for around 8 bucks and it goes on sale quite often for $2.99. It is just as accurate as the more expensive models and will do everything you need it to do.

If you've never used a voltmeter before, I can walk you through the steps. Basically you use it on the 20 volt scale which means it will read any voltage between 0 and 20 volts, and between 0 and minus 20 volts if you turn the probes around.

For what you need right now, a test light will work fine. You'll need to figure out from a service manual wiring diagram, (or ask a GM mechanic), the color of the wire that feeds voltage to the electric fuel pump. Back-probe with the test light into the fuel pump connector on that feed wire, then have a helper crank the engine while you watch for the test light to light up.

My understanding is GM has copied Chrysler's very effective system for turning on fuel pumps on newer cars, but yours might run off an oil pressure switch on the engine. Either way, what I think you should see, is the test light will light for about one second after turning on the ignition switch, then go off until you start cranking the engine.

If you get no voltage at the pump during engine cranking, next you look for a fuel pump relay and must determine if it is turning on. An easy way to do that is to pop its cover off and watch the movable contact to see if it moves when a helper cranks the engine. Once you know that, we can figure out where to go next.

Caradiodoc
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Thursday, December 23rd, 2010 AT 9:52 PM

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