1985 GMC Safari won't start

Tiny
KWMOIR
  • MEMBER
  • 1985 GMC SAFARI
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 215,000 MILES
I recently was given an 85 Safari. It had been sitting for well over a year. At first it started with no problems. While driving on the expressway it would start shuddering and you could smell intense gas fumes. When idling at a stop sign it would start shuddering and sound like it was going to stall. Finally, when I started it, it was 'bucking', smelt of gas, and black smoke was puffing out of the exhaust. Now it won't start at all.
It has a gas smell huge as the engine turns over and floods. There is spark, all the spark plugs are new and do not smell or have gas on them. I've never run into a vehicle with a carbuerator that won't start when there's fuel and spark present. Can you give me possibilities as to what's wrong with it? As well there is a new fuel pump in it since we thought at first that could be the problem.
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Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 AT 8:23 PM

14 Replies

Tiny
RACEFAN966
  • EXPERT
Have you sprayed carb cleaner down the carb and tryed to start it? If it will start then replace the fuel filter first it is in the carb where the fuel line hooks to the carb. Let me know how it goes.
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Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 AT 8:32 PM
Tiny
KWMOIR
  • MEMBER
The carb is very clean and it has a new fuel filter - any other ideas?
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Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 AT 8:56 PM
Tiny
RACEFAN966
  • EXPERT
Have you sprayed carb cleaner in the carb to see if it will start? Lets get this done and see what this brings this will help to answer questions. See the car sat for more then a year and fuel don't like that. Do the carb cleaner test and we will go from there.
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Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008 AT 9:48 AM
Tiny
KWMOIR
  • MEMBER
We put carb cleaner in today and it didn't make a difference. The van sounds like it's almost going to start like before. We noticed the spark is orange.A friend said it's supposed to be blue? There's two wires that plug into the top of the carb, any idea what these do?
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Saturday, October 25th, 2008 AT 6:51 PM
Tiny
RACEFAN966
  • EXPERT
Sounds like the ignition module is bad so I would replace it and check the cap and rotor. As for the wires to the carb that is the throttle position sensor.
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Saturday, October 25th, 2008 AT 8:18 PM
Tiny
KWMOIR
  • MEMBER
Looking at the ignition, cap and rotors, we discovered that the ignition wire on postion 1 was corroded and frayed so it was replaced.

Before replacing the wire the van would try to start, you could see and hear the shudder and cut out. It took quite a bit of cranking to get it to shudder. Whenever it seemed like we were close the battery would die. Now after replacing the sparkplug wires, it doesn't even want to start.

Next door neighbour said that the timing could look right, but underneath the distributor the shaft could be way out of alignment. How viable is this and any other ideas
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Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 AT 7:16 PM
Tiny
RACEFAN966
  • EXPERT
Don't look into this any deeper then you have to. As for the timing thing and shaft dont go there no need to. With the corrosion you should replace the cap and the rotor and replace that ignition module in the distributor those modules go out alot I sell alot of them and you discription it just how they act. Let me know how it comes out ok.
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Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 AT 10:52 AM
Tiny
KWMOIR
  • MEMBER
Replaced the cap, rotor, and module and it's still doing the same thing. After cranking it a while it tries to start but the battery dies. We had to change the oil because there was a lot of gas in it. Maybe there's a blockage or cylenoid gone that controls where the gas goes?
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Friday, October 31st, 2008 AT 10:14 PM
Tiny
RACEFAN966
  • EXPERT
What is the fuel pressure? Secondly there is a master fuse like link behind the battery is it good?
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Saturday, November 1st, 2008 AT 12:04 AM
Tiny
KWMOIR
  • MEMBER
Fuel pressure is within specs. We changed the old pump for a new one at the start of this and made sure of the pressure then. The Master fuse link is working as well
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Saturday, November 1st, 2008 AT 7:11 PM
Tiny
RACEFAN966
  • EXPERT
Now you said you smell fuel has the carb. Been rebuilt? It sounds like it is just getting way to much fuel and the carb should be rebuilt. Your fuel pressure isn't over 7lbs is it? You said the fuel pressure is good and within specs but not what it really is. Anyway if you have spark and you are just flooding out then you need to look at that carb closely and see if it just that flooding. Are you spark plugs all wet with gas too? I know the carb looks clean on the outside but it is on the inside that counts.
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Saturday, November 1st, 2008 AT 10:05 PM
Tiny
KWMOIR
  • MEMBER
We'll check the pressure again and I'll send you the number. The thing is the spark plugs are dry, no gas smell from them, nor are they wet which is really throwing us for a loop. It does seem to be flooding because that's all you smell is gas but maybe before it even gets to the plugs? I'm not sure if it the carb has been rebuilt, maybe put another carb in see if that works?
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Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 AT 9:18 AM
Tiny
RACEFAN966
  • EXPERT
We have to missing one or the other. Either we have no spark or we have no fuel. Have you done a compression test? If so what was the compression? We will need to go back to the basics and move from there.
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Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 AT 12:07 PM
Tiny
KWMOIR
  • MEMBER
Sorry for the lateness in the reply. The van is working now.

A mechanic came over, took the spark plugs out, tried to start the engine (forces the chambers to clean themselves) and put new plugs in. Even though there was spark, it was sparking on the wrong place on the plug. The engine had flooded at some point eventhough the plugs didn't smell of gas or light when fire was put to them.

Thank you for all your help and I hope this helps others
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Monday, November 10th, 2008 AT 7:56 PM

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