1993 Chevrolet Lumina Keeps stalling

Tiny
BUFFORD
  • MEMBER
  • 1993 CHEVROLET LUMINA
  • 3.1L
  • V6
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 152,000 MILES
I've had this minivan since July 2009. The previous owner told me that when it would get down to a quarter tank of fuel, it would stall as if it were out of gas. With this in mind I just made sure to not let it get any lower than a half a tank, 3/8 at the lowest. Over the years I have changed the oil and filter regularly and replaced a few things. Water pump, EGR valve, MAP sensor, and ignition module. Gave it a tune-up about 14 months ago and over all it's been a pretty good vehicle for me, that is until recently.

Saturday 11/30/2013, it just quit on me on my way home, no warning. Wouldn't restart and the battery went dead pretty quick too. Towed it home, charged the battery and it started and ran like nothing ever happened. The following Monday, it crapped out again (again, no warning). Wouldn't restart because the battery went dead already. Looking rather old and worn, I replaced it with a new one and it was fine. 10 miles later it quit again, would turn over ok, but we couldn't hear the fuel pump when I had the key on, so I put a new fuel pump and screen in it. This time I only made it about 7 miles and it quit again. Tried a new fuel pressure regulator and it ran fine, for about 2-1/2 miles. Pushed it to the side of the road and traded places with 2 of the 3 relays behind the passenger side headlight, started right up and I made it for another mile before it died again. After I had it towed home (again), I replaced some fusible links that looked suspicious. Only 4 miles later and it quit again. Friday evening, I went out and started it and let it run, checking on it every few minutes while I was typing a note like this to another online website. About 15 minutes later, it quit, but started right back up and ran fine. I shut it off after a minute or so, it was getting dark by then, but come back out about 5 minutes later and it wouldn't start. The mechanic from the other website said it could be the ignition module or pickup coil, so Saturday I checked the pickup coil with my ohm meter, and it was ok, 734 ohms. Couldn't find any tests for the ignition module in my manual or online, so, out of desperation, replaced the ignition module anyway and it still wouldn't start. About a half hour after I was towed home (for the EIGHTH TIME in a week) it started right up and ran fine.

You can only imagine just how infuriating this past week has been for me, not to mention very stressful. I've been describing this ordeal to a buddy of mine over the phone, he's a certified mechanic and he's just a baffled as I am. I'd take it to him but with this being so prone to breaking down, I don't think I could make it there. (He's about 20 miles away) Every repair that I have made has been very temporary, and I am completely stressed out with this thing and on the verge of giving up. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Sunday, December 8th, 2013 AT 9:10 AM

8 Replies

Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
I DID NOT SEE ANYWHERE IN YOUR QUESTION ABOUT CHECKING FUEL PRESSURE OR POSTING THE NUMBERS

NOT SAYING THIS IS YOUR FIX

..............BUT THIS TOO, IS PART OF SCHEDULED MAINTAINENCE

http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_fuel-filter-purolator_5861136-p?searchTerm=fuel+filters

KEEPING UP WITH SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE WILL (SHOULD) ELIMINATE THOSE "COULD IT BE THIS OR THAT" QUESTIONS THAT ALWAYS GET SLUNG OUT THERE

IS MR. CHECK ENGINE LIGHT ON?

I'M JUST TRYING TO HELP....NOW AND IN THE FUTURE

EVER LOOK THRU THESE? MAINTENANCE, TROUBLESHOOTING, OR REPAIR?

http://www.2carpros.com/questions/2007-ford-taurus-tune-up

YOUR TURN

THE MEDIC
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Sunday, December 8th, 2013 AT 10:01 AM
Tiny
BUFFORD
  • MEMBER
Nuts, forgot to mention that, I replaced the fuel filter when I did the tune-up, and the fuel tank was clean when I had it out replacing the pump. Also, the last time that it quit on me, I tried spraying a little starting fluid in the air cleaner, but it still wouldn't start. The mechanic from the other website suspected it to be more of an ignition problem than fuel, with it quitting so abruptly.

Thanks for your input though, I hope these additional details will help. Thank you again.
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Sunday, December 8th, 2013 AT 10:43 AM
Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
It's about time to stop throwing parts at it and do some testing. It should have been a tip that the guy online didn't know what he was talking about when he suggested replacing a pick up coil on an engine that doesn't even have a distributor.

All "crank, no start" conditions are approached in the same way. Every engine requires certain functions to be able to run. Some of these functions rely on specific components to work and some components are part of more than one function so it is important to see the whole picture to be able to conclude anything about what may have failed. Also, these functions can ONLY be tested during the failure. Any other time and they will simply test good because the problem isn't present at the moment.
If you approach this in any other way, you are merely guessing and that only serves to replace unnecessary parts and wastes money.

Every engine requires spark, fuel and compression to run. That's what we have to look for.

These are the basics that need to be tested and will give us the info required to isolate a cause.

1) Test for spark at the plug end of the wire using a spark tester. If none found, check for power supply on the + terminal of the coil with the key on.

2) Test for injector pulse using a small bulb called a noid light. If none found, check for power supply at one side of the injector with the key on.

3) Use a fuel pressure gauge to test for correct fuel pressure, also noticing if the pressure holds when key is shut off.

Once you have determined which of these functions has dropped out,
you will know which system is having the problem.
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Sunday, December 8th, 2013 AT 11:29 AM
Tiny
FN
  • MEMBER
I have similar / same problem with my 1992 Chev Lumina APV 3.1 L Throttle Body Injection MiniVan. It is truly frustrating since it runs like there is no problem and then you can crank the heck out of it with no start. Then it MAY start at some point and everything is fine again, until the next episode where it is like someone turned off the key. This is why I agree that it is an electrical issue of some sort. At times it will start and immediately die. I have held the pedal down 1/3 way and started like this. Revs up on start and then dies with no stumble no cough no anything. If it were fuel related it wouldn't start so nice and run so well albeit rather briefly. When I shut off the fuel valve on my motorcycle it will actually run faster just before it stumbles and dies.

So it seems the ASE fellow has the right approach to at least isolate or eliminate which system. IF one can monitor spark plug firing exactly when it dies. If you could somehow monitor the fuel coming out of the Throttle Body Injector at the same time. Seems to be one or the other. My guess is that something is interrupting the electrical on signal to the TBI.

BY THE WAY, got this off of another website:
CHEVROLET LUMINA APV 1992 technical service bulletin was issued Apr 01, 1997. CHEVROLET LUMINA APV 1992 had a failed FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:DELIVERY:FUEL PUMP. ENGINE HARD TO START (REPLACE FUEL PUMP PULSATOR).

I don't know what a pulsator is but "sounds" like it may control the TBI and I think I may need one. Bought the rig used and it may never have been replaced.

By the way if you ever or have already solved this please let me know, Thanks!
--fn
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Sunday, February 2nd, 2014 AT 2:48 PM
Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
This question belongs to someone else. Please start a new question of your own.
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Sunday, February 2nd, 2014 AT 2:54 PM
Tiny
FN
  • MEMBER
Well. The way they worded it, the pulsator sounds like it controls the fuel pump. So much for writing while not thinking or not having enough info.

My guess is that there is a Chevy or multi car mechanic that knows EXACTLY what this is and that the fix is simple. Just finding that person who has solved it before is the dilemma.
--fn
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Sunday, February 2nd, 2014 AT 2:59 PM
Tiny
FN
  • MEMBER
Obviously you didn't read. I didn't have a question. And if I would have it would have been the SAME question. Just trying to get down to the bottom of the same problem. No need to ask the SAME question of my own IS THERE?
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Sunday, February 2nd, 2014 AT 3:02 PM
Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
Yes, there is.
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Sunday, February 2nd, 2014 AT 3:04 PM

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