Engine will not start

Tiny
CCUPDAVE
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 CHEVROLET ASTRO
  • 216 MILES
Van ran good and strong, except for some cold mornings it would take two or three times to start and then one cold morning it would not start. It cranked over and sputtered a few times and ran the battery down. I charged the battery later that day and refused to start even with starting fluid. So I checked the fuel pressure and found it at 45 psi and so I replaced the pump. And now the fuel pressure is 60 psi and drops to 56 psi and holds for over fifteen minutes.
I checked for spark and it was good and checked for injector pulse it was good. But it still would not start so I replaced all the ignition parts including the crankshaft and camshaft sensors nothing worked, no fuses blown, no PTC codes. I even get live data on the scanner. I also checked all the voltage pin outs form the PCM to sensors and grounds. When that all checked out okay I went to the distributor and checked timing with number one at TDC, then did a compression test all checked out good. Then I pulled the distributor and checked for play and gear for damage, it was fine, had some wear. The only thing I can think of is the PCM so I replaced that. I know what you are thinking CKS or bad wiring connections nope all look real good. I have replaced three of them thinking I got a bad one.

I was told there has to be a bad ground or broken wire some where but I cannot find one, hopefully you can steer me in the right direction.
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Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 AT 10:44 PM

112 Replies

Tiny
CADIEMAN
  • MEMBER
Are you sure before you pulled the distributor the rotor was pointing to the number one wire on the cap? You maybe 180 out and may need to put it in on exhaust stoke. I just hold my finger in the plug hole, bump the starter until you feel compression then turn it to TDC. Then install the distributor with the rotor pointing to the number one wire. Recheck all your work some things not right.
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Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 AT 11:24 PM
Tiny
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Thanks for the reply Cadieman.
Yes Ia m 100% sure; it was very hard just to find TDC. I had to use an inspection mirror and a light to reflect the light. The first time it was 180 out when I had it to TDC so I had to crank it around again I seen the cap design ,
So you know this motor does not back fire, it just does the same thing. It will sputter like it wants to start one time then crank and crank, as soon as you let off the key it sputters again and runs backward one or two revolutions. I know that is what it is doing because I see it on the live scanner data it showed up as -1 on the scanner. The scanner showed about 165 rpm while cranking the motor.
Remember this ran good, no warning signs except for re circulation's of the key to get the fuel pressure up enough to start it on cold mornings, but the fuel pump has been replaced and works good, hold good pressure even while cranking, over 60 psi on crank. The leak down test was good too, never dropped below 56 psi with new fuel pump even after thirty minutes.
Regarding distributor I did not pull the distributor until the last resort anyway. But systems are the same nothing has changed except when I accidentally crossed two wires and caused a back fire when I put the wires back on.
I have been working on this for a month on and off when I could not find anything wrong I put the new flashed PCM in it, I got the VATS back right too.
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Thursday, February 16th, 2012 AT 2:22 AM
Tiny
CCUPDAVE
  • MEMBER
So what happen to this has nothing to do with what I did.
It has to be something that happens to these Astro's.
It is very hard to go over this wiring as it is a van everything is tight and there are tons of wires on the OBD II system cannot wait for the OBD III. LOL
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Thursday, February 16th, 2012 AT 2:33 AM
Tiny
CADIEMAN
  • MEMBER
This has to be a timing issue. Go to the parts store get a diagram of the cap and where number wire goes in the cap and make sure the wire is in the right hole. Then get the firing order and recheck them also.
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Thursday, February 16th, 2012 AT 3:56 AM
Tiny
CCUPDAVE
  • MEMBER
Thanks for hanging with me on this.
Yes, this is definitely a timing issue I agree but why? The CKS is what sends the timing signal to the PCM, the PCM sends the signal to the ICM, the ICM sends the signal to the coil and the spark is sent to the distributor etc. I know it seems like a possible firing order issue, but how if it was running fine? I did not change the distributor cap until late in the game well after the fuel pump. This had the timing issue before the cap. It cannot hurt to check again I guess, I have already check most of the ignition system two or three times.

I do have the manual for this; it is a Haynes, not a service manual.
From what I have read I see two PCM system grounds one, black/white and one, tan/white. Now I have check the black/white ground and it is fine at the PCM but have not found the other yet. From what I understand the PCM grounds play a major roll here. Is it possible the ground is bad for the ICM and get spark?
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Thursday, February 16th, 2012 AT 5:18 AM
Tiny
CCUPDAVE
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Okay, I just did some more checks today, firing order that check out fine, the numbers were on the cap too. Other PCM ground checked out good to the PCM also "the tan/white stripe" located at thermostat housing. I also took another look at the ICM wires too.
I am back to thinking bad new part CKS; I did do some ohms checks on the old one and three other new ones. All the crankshaft sensors read the same, 500 ohms at the signal and ground pins on the sensor off vehicle. The specifications should be 800 to 1200 ohms.
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Thursday, February 16th, 2012 AT 8:41 PM
Tiny
CADIEMAN
  • MEMBER
Put number one cylinder on compression stroke TDC then remove the cap is the rotor is pointing to the number one wire on the cap?
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Friday, February 17th, 2012 AT 12:00 AM
Tiny
CCUPDAVE
  • MEMBER
I did that already and it was lined up right, remember when I pulled the distributor and check it for possible damage it was 180 degrees out first time and I had to turn the motor over one more time, this was done before I pulled the distributor out. It was pointing to the right mark on the cap, there is also a mark on the distributor housing with this it makes it almost fool proof. I can take pictures. If you want to see, but Iam sure it is right, like the firing order. So you know I seen the cap design and I know how it works it points at about one o clock on number two for number one on the distributor at TDC looking from the back of the motor.
It almost has to be a defective new crankshaft sensor I used cheep eBay after market ones. I ordered another one this time it is an AC/Delco from Rockauto; Advance AP here does not have the AC/Delco in stock just the cheep after market one.
Do you think I should rule this out first?
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Friday, February 17th, 2012 AT 1:12 AM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
What liter engine is this? I hope its the 4.3L

Fuel system-Is it a TBI or the CPI Spider Unit?

Is it giving you any of these codes for the CPS P0335-P0340?

Have you ever checked the condition of the reluctor ring on the crankshaft condition/clearances between the sensor and ring which is normaly about.050 If okay back probe the CPS while cranking it over and check for available alternating voltage/AC 20mVolts

I have replaced ignition parts-what are they-coil, distributor pick-up coil, ICM?

Let me know.
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Friday, February 17th, 2012 AT 7:49 AM
Tiny
CCUPDAVE
  • MEMBER
Okay, slow down. This is the 4.3 liter with the spider injection system. If you read over some of the posting information you will see where I am at.
I never checked the reluctor ring condition as it is behind the timing cover, and I did not check the AC voltage on the crankshaft sensor yet, I have to get a little help there on cranking the motor. But could that ring really all of a sodden cause a no start condition?
Keep in mind this ran good one day and would not start the next.
Previous maintenance 4,000 miles wires and plugs "good stuff" 1,200 miles later lower intake gaskets and three oil changes. Like I said ran strong and idled okay, it is a 4.3 they all have a little vibration.
I have done all the work on this and I was in the repair business for over twenty years from back in the 1980's. Yea, I am old man. Lol
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Friday, February 17th, 2012 AT 4:37 PM
Tiny
CCUPDAVE
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ICM = Ignition control module, CKS = Crankshaft sensor, CMS = Camshaft sensor. So we are on the same boat.
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Friday, February 17th, 2012 AT 4:46 PM
Tiny
CCUPDAVE
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Oh and by the way, the only DTC code was P1351, which I did not get until I put a cheap eBay ICM in it, it had to be bad. That code checked out as high voltage coil.
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Friday, February 17th, 2012 AT 4:52 PM
Tiny
CCUPDAVE
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Sorry to keep posting like this but I am trying to answer all your questions.
So far I have replaced three CKS cheap ones should have an AC/Delco one today to try; two ICM's one cheap one and one used, and last one CMS cheap one; Distributor cap and rotor good ones; three coils, one cheap one and two used, I put my old one back on; new fuel pump cheap one; oh and a used flashed to VIN PCM, VATS or Security reprogrammed fine.
Tests I have done so far: Compression, injector pulse, fuel pressure with leak down tests; spark tests at all points; distributor pulled and checked gear and shaft for wear; wire voltage tests from PCM pin-outs; Scanner tests with live data all testable non-run seam fine, no DTC codes.
This motor is getting everything it needs to run except for spark timing.
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Friday, February 17th, 2012 AT 5:28 PM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
Test the resistances of the distributor pick-up coil and check it for short to ground. Let me know. Just trying to assist as requested. We got a long way to go to nail this culprit.
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Friday, February 17th, 2012 AT 11:20 PM
Tiny
CCUPDAVE
  • MEMBER
You are right on the long way it has been for ever it seems.
So you know this does not have a pickup coil or ignition module in the distributor, it has the cam sensor in the distributor and for what I have read about it would not stop it from starting. It was replaced anyway just to rule out, just throwing money away.
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Friday, February 17th, 2012 AT 11:38 PM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
The spark was good if any ignition component is defective I do not think you will get a spark.

The fuel pressure should be 60-66 psi, you had 60 psi and drops to 56 psi.

Check the fuel filter for blockage if okay investigate the nut kit and the fuel pressure regulator for leakage.
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Saturday, February 18th, 2012 AT 12:26 AM
Tiny
CCUPDAVE
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No, I did the research on this it is right in the ball park. GM's MPI or Multi Port Injection uses that higher pressure I think it is 60 to 68 psi, this is the SPI or Sequential Port Injection and should be 55 to 60 psi. I replaced this fuel filter six months ago and I checked it when I just replaced the fuel pump.
Now "the reluctor ring" you talked about maybe the timing trouble. Is that what it is called? If it gets down to that I will send it out. I do not have the $100.00 spanner wrench needed to pull the clutch fan off the water pump. That ring is behind the timing cover, not easy to get to. And I do not see how you would check the gap on it as it is sealed behind the cover. You would have to go by scope readings and put the spacer(s) in as needed.
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Saturday, February 18th, 2012 AT 1:23 AM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
I do not think I can continue to assist Mit1 . Com is misleading me on the 4.3 liter configurations. Good luck.
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Saturday, February 18th, 2012 AT 1:42 AM
Tiny
CCUPDAVE
  • MEMBER
Thanks for you time, if you get some information you think will help please drop me a line.
Remember this is a 1998 Astro van 4.3 liter W vin code.
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Saturday, February 18th, 2012 AT 1:57 AM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
No problem, I will check my associates what is with this problem it has me puzzled. Honestly I am shooting in the dark on the fuel system.

Check the coolant temperature sensor-hot and cold and see if it is within specs, also clean out the idle air control and see what happens.

** Van ran good and strong, except for some cold mornings it would take two or three times to start and then one cold morning it would not start. It cranked over and sputtered a few times and ran the battery down. I charged the battery later that day and refused to start even with starting fluid.**
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Saturday, February 18th, 2012 AT 2:36 AM

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