1997 Chevy Silverado Won't Start

Tiny
SPIFFYDUDE16
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 CHEVROLET SILVERADO
  • V8
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 135,000 MILES
I have a 1997 Chevy Silverado with a Vortec 350. The truck has 135,000 miles on it, but has never given me any problem. Until now. I change the oil every 2,500 miles, keep the ignition system updated (plugs, distributor cap, rotor, etc.) But all of a sudden my truck won't start. The fuel pump kicks on when the key is turned on, I've cleaned those pesky battery terminals that later model Chevrolets have, and I've removed the spark plugs to test for fire and it seems to be firing alright. Before I saw it was firing, I had the ignition control module tested, and it was fine. I've double-checked the timing, and it hasn't jumped time. A buddy of mine had the bright idea to spray ether into the throttle while I cranked it. Still didn't start, so I know it can't be a fuel problem. Not only did it not start, it didn't even try to fire. If it's not a fuel problem, and the motor is cranking and the ignition is firing, I'm assuming it's something electronical somewhere that is over my old-school head. I plugged a diagnostic unit into the truck just to make sure, and it showed no codes; however I realize any codes would have been erased when I cleaned the battery terminals. Yet, I'm not sure it would have given a code anyways, as the check engine light never came on. My best assumption is that a sensor somewhere is not referencing and is telling the engine not to start, though it has all the necessary components to do so. I never ever take a vehicle to a "professional", as I won't let the truck defeat me! Besides, half or better of the "mechanics" out there are just guys like me intending to make some money off cheating people who have a bad $3.00 thermostat or so forth. Anyways away from that tangent. Is there someone who has a better understanding of the electrical system than I do who realizes what's wrong here? One more thing. The truck didn't start one day about a month ago. I came back about a week later and it started fine, over and over. Then about two days later I went back to start it, and it hasn't fired even a little. The first time I tried to crank it and it wouldn't start, it would putter a little bit every few seconds, which initiated our whole 'jumped time' theory, but now it does nothing and is in time. I don't if that information helps, but this whole situation has me bumfuzzled. I was told it could be the cam or crank or both position sensors, but I have no way of knowing for sure. I may replace those both ($100.00) and still have an engine that doesn't start. Thanks for reading this.
Cody

P.S. Temperature also has no effect on the engine starting, as this was another failed theory of mine. I tried to start it on a warm day, with a jumped battery. And nothing?
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Tuesday, December 18th, 2007 AT 6:19 AM

5 Replies

Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Hi there,

Back to basics. You need spark, fuel, air & compression. You say you have spark, wher did you check for spark? At the coil like most people? Did you check for spark at the plug leads, there maybe a problem with the rotor, carbon brush cap. Fuel? Do you have fuel pressure? Is there injection pulse? (Check with a noid light) air should not be a problem, even if a MAF, MAP or density sensor is acting up it will still coff and splutter. Check that plugs are not fouled up as they will not fire in that condition. Have a look at these and report back.

Mark (mhpautos)
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Wednesday, December 19th, 2007 AT 2:30 AM
Tiny
SPIFFYDUDE16
  • MEMBER
Alright, this is really funky. To answer your question, I checked for spark at the plug itself. I ended up replacing the spark plugs, as they were wet, so it definitely isn't a fuel problem. After I replaced the plugs, the truck started right up and ran fine. For a few days. After about 4 days of running fine, I went outside to start my truck, and nothing again. It can't be wet plugs this time, because I didn't keep turning it over and over like in the past. What's causing it to stop starting to begin with? I'm thinking there's a moisture problem underneath the distributor cap maybe?
Thanks,
Cody
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Monday, December 31st, 2007 AT 10:02 AM
Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Check for spark at the coil, and if no spark check coil voltage is available.

Mark (mhpautos)
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Monday, December 31st, 2007 AT 1:52 PM
Tiny
LOKEY
  • MEMBER
Spiffydude. Did you ever get your problem solved?

Today I'm having the same issue with my 97 Chevy 1500. So far, I have only changed the batt, and spark plugs. First problem I have ever had in over 2 years of ownership.

Thanks,
Curtis
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Monday, January 14th, 2008 AT 9:15 PM
Tiny
FRED NICHOLS
  • MEMBER
I have a 1997 Tahoe with 5.7 vortec. About one week after I got it after a rain, the Tahoe would not start. During dry weather it would start fine but not after a rain. I checked fuel pressure, it was 62 lbs, so I new it wasn't the pump. I then changed the coil, and the crankshaft sensor, still had same problem.I then decided to change the camshaft sensor, it is attached to the distributor under the distributor cap. While removing the attaching screws one of them snapped into, thus ruining the distributor. The screws are installed with lock tight on the threads. I then went to Auto Zone and purchased a duralast distributor, came home and pulled the old one. That is when I noticed the housing was plastic. The camshaft sensor showed swighn of something rubbing on it also. I installed the new distributor and the Tahoe fired up, and ran great. It has been in the engine for about a month and the Tahoe starts like it is supposed to.
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Sunday, February 14th, 2016 AT 7:38 PM

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