1996 Chevy Astro Car Shuts Down

Tiny
AUTUMWIND
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 CHEVROLET ASTRO
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 180,000 MILES
Hi this is the first time I post a question, but I have been reading your answers for over a year.

I am having trouble with my 1996 Chevy Astro, for the past month or so. I stalled on me a couple of times at first I feel like the motor pulls and that is the warning so I try get out of the freeway or move to the side lane. Then it just shuts down, most of th time it does it when I am not pressing the accelerator. It usually starts up right away but twice it just stopped working completely. One more thing the module does not work when it stops working. My mechanic tried checking the codes and it shuts down his machine. He checked the fuel pressure and the spark and he said both are fine. When he checked the spark (thats what he calls it) the car started right way. And the module started workign again.

Do you think this is electrical?
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Tuesday, October 14th, 2008 AT 1:25 PM

2 Replies

Tiny
TECHMAN1
  • MEMBER
Yes I think it is electrical. Astro's have tremendously high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plugs. This high voltage will eventually "find" a path to ground. Have you ever had your cowling off? It is the engine cover underneath the drink holders. There are 2 #27 torx bits on each side under side caps and 2 13millimeter nuts on the floor. Then you can pull out the glovebox/drink holder assy enough to unplug the cigarette lighter power plug. Then you just have 2 large flatblade screwdriver bolts on the top of the cowling on each side.

Anyway, the ignition coil wire to the top of the distributor cap often "leans" against a steel engine crossmember. It eventually "punches through" the high voltage and your high voltage does not get to the spark plugs. I had been stranded by this problem several times. I now route the coil wire away from anything metal between the ignition coil and the distributor cap. I also wrap the coil wire with 3/8 inch plastic spiral band and cover that with half inch split loom. If you don't know what spiral band or split loom is, ask any electronic supply store.

Astro's EAT ignition connection components. I replace my spark plugs (ONLY Autolite Double Platinum), ignition wires, distributor cap (no cheap brands like Valuecraft or Duralast, only TRW, Sorensen or quality name brand), distributor rotor every year or 2. I have had to drive my Astro's 50,000 a year for 12 years to do service work.

Where your coil wire leans against a steel crossmember, you will be able to see tiny pin holes where the high voltage "punched through".

Good Luck,

Ken
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Thursday, October 16th, 2008 AT 9:04 PM
Tiny
BACON
  • MEMBER
I am having what sounds like the same problem as the first guy with my Astro stalling and running rough. It seemed to start out only doing this on rainy days then got progressivly worse. About 4 or so years ago it did this and I found that the coil wire was arcing out against the transmission fluid dip stick tube. Replaced the wire and wrapped it in split loom. That took care of the problem. It has now started again over the last 2 or 3 months and stalled out on me a number of times last friday. I spent a few hours this weekend replacing spark plugs, wires, air filter, cap, rotor, and fuel filter. Guess what, still doing the exact same thing. I'm pretty sure it's the cheap ignition wires because I can hear the distinct ticking sound of high voltage arc. The dealer wants about $150.00 for the OEM wires. Summit has a high performance set for about $105.00. I just found an OEM set for $87.00 at Considering the OEM set lasted about 11 or so years, I think I'll play it safe and go with the OEM although the Summit wires (40 ohms per foot!) Sound like excellent wires. Good luck if you decide to do this job yourself. The only way to get to the plugs is through the wheel wells. Have a door trim puller handy so you don't shred your wheel well skirts. You still have to take the "dog house" cover out to get to the ignition wires though. Not fun. Hope the new wires do the trick.
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Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 AT 7:48 PM

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