1997 Chevy Astro Won't start after replacing starter

Tiny
NUWUFOREVER
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  • 1997 CHEVROLET ASTRO
Engine Mechanical problem
1997 Chevy Astro 6 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 324k miles

1997 Chevy Astro, with a 4.3L and 324k on it. I know it's high mileage, but it's a wheelchair van and my only option right now.
The starter on this van was already going out. It would engage and crank the engine about 1 out of every 10 turns of the key, on average. The rest of the time, just spinning freely.

So, the other day my wife ran completely out of fuel. She put some in (not sure how much). Then tryed to start the car, but now the starter is grinding very badly. So she has it towed home to me.

The tow truck driver tells me he saw a bolt under the van when he pulled it up onto his truck, and it's probably a starter mounting bolt, hence the starter grinding. After he leaves, I crawl under and sure enough, one of the mounting bolts has broken off. So I reach up and wiggle the starter to see how loose it was. Barely moved at all, but enough to cause a spark as the lead touched something.

So I replace the starter with a used one from a junkyard, but I break off the smallest of three posts on the solenoid (it was rusty, I swear). So I switch solenoids with the starter I just took off. All seemed well until when I reattach the negative battery cable, the starter motor kicks in. Oops! I crossed the wires. So I uncross them, and bolt it back together.

The new (to me) starter works great, it turns the engine over with no problems every time I turn the key. However, the van won't start. I put a gallon of gas in it, but still doesn't fire up. So I put four more gallons in it. Still nothing.

I sprayed some starter fluid into the intake. I know I'm not supposed to, but I wanted to know if it would fire, before replacing the fuel filter. It did, so I changed the fuel filter.

Still doesn't start. That's about where my experience ends, so. What should I try next? Did I do something when I crossed the wires?
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Monday, November 30th, 2009 AT 11:56 AM

9 Replies

Tiny
MICKEY-D
  • MEMBER
Recheck all your wires to the starter. You may have left off a small wire to the solenoid which allows current to the ignition circuit. Also, trace back the thinner of the two red cables from the starter to the battery, you may have burnt a fusible link which powers the ignition, dash etc.
Mickey-d
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Monday, November 30th, 2009 AT 8:19 PM
Tiny
MICKEY-D
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I forgot the most likely culprit! Check for a blown ignition fuse.
Mickey-d
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Monday, November 30th, 2009 AT 8:22 PM
Tiny
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But if I was able to get it to fire up using starter fluid, how could it be that the ignition is not getting current?
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Monday, November 30th, 2009 AT 11:13 PM
Tiny
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Also I pulled off one of the plug wires and it has a spark.

Another thing.I pulled the doghouse today and pushed the needle on the shraeder valve for fuel pressure, and fuel squirted out. I don't have a pressure guage, so I don't know what the psi is, but it seems like if I'm getting a squirt, that the engine would run after starting with starter fluid.

I just don't see how it could be a starter wiring problem if I'm getting a spark.

Thank you so much for your reply btw. Your help will be much appreciated!
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Monday, November 30th, 2009 AT 11:23 PM
Tiny
DEADWOOD777
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I am having the same no-start problem as you, minus the starter issue. Mine actually starts for about 2 seconds and dies. I also ran out of gas and added 4.5 gallons from a gas can. Still acting as though it's a fuel starvation problem. I'll let you know if I solve the problem and would appreciate it if you would do the same. Thanks...

Brian
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Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 AT 11:49 AM
Tiny
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Will do.

My bro-in-law who is a mechanic, says it's possible (tho very unlikely) that rust or sediment made it through the fuel filter all the way to clog the injectors, after running out of fuel.

Hoping I don't have to take apart the fuel injection system.
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Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 AT 5:46 PM
Tiny
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So today I rented a fuel pressure guage from autozone, hooked it up, and guess what?

The needle didn't move. Not even a smidge.

So I crawled under the van and detached the fuel line from the "in" on the fuel filter and turned on the ignition. I heard the pump hum for a couple of seconds, and a little fuel squirted out. I'm not really sure how much to look for. The fuel pressure guage manual says my van should be 60-66 psi. The amount that came out just doesn't seem like that much. If I think about it like a tire pumped up to 60 psi, it was not even a fraction of that kind of pressure.

So.

Is it safe to say that either the line is clogged, or the pump is faulty? I would think more likely the line is clogged because I can hear the pump hum every time I turn the ignition on. Well, not every time, but every "first" time after leaving it sit for a while. Or every time after I turn the engine over.
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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 AT 8:42 PM
Tiny
DEADWOOD777
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I'm curious what the fuel pressure is with a fresh filter.
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Monday, December 14th, 2009 AT 4:19 PM
Tiny
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Okay, it turned out to be the fuel pump. Even though it hummed every time. It just wasn't pumping hardly anything. It also turned out I had a full tank of gas when I went to drop the fuel tank. That sucked. But I'm still alive after taking a gas bath!
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Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 AT 1:56 PM

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