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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro Starting/Stalling/Idling Problems

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  • GuildmanGuildman Posts: 6
    Stalled once yesterday after decelerating from about 45mph,but I will say my normal idle is much better than before fuel treatment.Here's a link & info on Gm tcc solenoid replacement.He talks about checking engine problems and the tcc linkage first,before doing the solenoid replace.I'm pretty sure mine needs the solenoid -there's GM tsb's on it apparently.
    http://autorepair.about.com/cs/doityourself/l/aa011703b.htm
    Let me know if you manage the repair-its past the mess level I want to deal with.">link title
  • I had a 94 astro, bought new. It had the central port fuel injector. First thing I noticed was that it had a misfire once in a while and took longer than normal to start. This went on for quite a while and I thought I'd get around to tuning it up. Then one day I about ran the battery down trying to get it started. I drove home, parked it and was going to do a tune up, but then it wouldn't start at all. The only thing I could find wrong was fuel pressure. If I remember the manual called for give or take 54lbs. pressure. My reading was 48-50. I thought surely that wouldn't keep it from starting - but it did. New fuel pump and drove it many thousands of miles more. My brother had a no start in his '99 and it was a dist. cap. I also had a 99 that Ibought new. At 24,000 miles it developed a mis-fire. I can't remember the code (p301 maybe) - random intermittant misfire and it acted just like a plug wire was bad. Took it to the dealer they did an injector clean -twice, a top engine clean and a new fuel pump but they never fixed it. I took it back again and they washed their hands of it - GM was no help and they wonder why I never bought another GM product? After driving it another 125,000 miles with this stupid problem I never did get it figured out exactly. Sometimes it was worse (terrible) than others and sometimes drove perfectly. In later years it would always show up on damp, rainy / cold mornings. I'm sure it was a secondary ignition problem but I'd replaced wires, plugs cap, rotor, module, coil and EGR valve. I'm sure it is something simple that is apparently common and it really pisses me off that GM wasn't interested in finding out what the problem was. I came to the conclusion that the "flat" dist. cap is poorly engineered and even a new one might not work. I tried original equipment, aftermarket and a JEGS cap with bronze contacts, but nothing worked. I was at the parts counter at the Chevy garage once and the guy in front of me was trying to buy a cap for his Astro. Parts guy says that's funny we're out of stock - we've already sold three this week. I also had a similar problem on my Suburban - one time a bad misfire (so bad I thought the timing belt had jumped a tooth) and the other a no start. It ran perfectly when it was pulled into the garage but wouldn't start next morning. I'd had a friend with the same problem in a half ton Chevy pickup so I knew to replace the cap and the problem dissapeared. Hope that gives some insight
  • My Papa Smurf (Astro Van) was backfiring, staling at start up & stops, and had a squeak up in the engine. Then he just lost power, went into limp mode, wont accelerate more than 15-20mph in drive, no more backfire, not much squeak, and now when he stales I smell gas; like its flooding while driving!...He leaks tranny fluid....hmmmm? Any suggestions on where to start on this project?
  • wildfire2wildfire2 Posts: 1
    One time ours did this - was a bad ignition coil.
  • My 2000 Astro has a wierd problem I have not seen here. It will start right up, even in sub freezing weather, but only if I start it every day. Let it sit for a day and it is difficult or won't start and then it chugs and spits for the first few miles. It doesn't seem to be a fuel delivery problem because it won't even start using ether starting fluid.
  • I"ve wrestled with this problem for about a year now. I've replaced the plugs, wires, tps sensor,
    distributor cap, rotor, distributor gear, and fuel pump. I bought the fuel pump online and it turned out to be a piece of crap. Too bad I threw the old one out it turns out there was nothing wrong with it. I had the hesitation problem which the distributor gear fixed. When I removed the distributor to change the gear i marked it so as to not mess up the timing but when i went to put it back in I noticed the marks I made wouldn't line up. I suppose that worn gear threw the timing slightly off because now it runs fine when it starts. Now as for the not starting in humid or rainy weather problem the trick is to remove the distributor cap and cover the screws holding the rotor down with some silicone. After doing the latest round of troubleshooting i noticed spark from the coil wire but no spark out of the cap to the plugs. I removed the cap again and i noticed some arc marks on the screws holding the rotor down so i screwed it down tightly and topped off the screws with some silicone. It's been raining for a few days here in San Diego and i have not had that problem again. In short new distributor gear equals no hesitation, more power and better gas mileage. Silicone on rotor screws equals starts. Hope this helps you.
  • what cap gas cap distriburator cap?
  • I posted my fix for the no start problem on my van about ten days ago and even though it's been raining a bit down here i haven't had a problem since. i believe that in rainy/humid weather there is a build up of humidity in the distributor cap. This causes the spark to take the easier path to ground through the rotor screws. This is why the problem always seems to be fixed after replacing the cap and/or rotor only to return again. With the distributor cap removed locate the two screws holding the rotor down. Apply enough silicone to the screw heads to thoroughly cover them. Give it time to dry. It shouldn't take long. Now reinstall the distributor cap and wires. I hope this works for you. Please post if it does. Thanks.
  • it was the ignition coil, the van ran fine after the installation. I sold the van earlier this year , she didn't owe me a dime and served me well.

    thanks for the helpful information, I really appreciated the input,

    B,
  • I bough an 89 astro van from a friend back in august. Its a 6 cylinder and it was sitting in his yard for about 2 years. I replaced the battery and altenator and off i went. In october the van wouldnt start for like 20 mins, would turn over with the starter but that was it. Then the problem got worse. Instead of just not starting now it will cut off mid drive suddenly with no warning whether im accelerating or not. I get no sputtering or anything. The only reason i know its off is when i push the gas pedal and get nothing hahaha. This is really scary when your doing 40 miles per hour!!!! And then i cant get it to start again for a while and even if i do get it started it can do it all over again right away or wait a month to happen again.
    Ive replaced the plugs, wires, altenator, battery, entire distributor spindle (cap, module, rotor)
    I know he replaced the fuel pump and egr valve before he parked in his yard 2 years ago, and he also had a bunch of other work done. A buddy of mine is trying to trouble shoot and said that maybe the TCC sensor or something can be making this happen.

    Any ideas are greatly appreciated :D
  • OK, This may be a long shot but my 94 would die suddenly or not even start. Upon investigating I also had no headlights and heard no fuel pump start up noise when I turned the key. Turns out part of my fuse panel was not getting juice. Why? Because on the astro behind the battery is a main wire plug connector that goes bad and can send juice through 1,2,or3 of the 4 wires. I found which one, hot wired it and I'm good to go. Just a possibility for you maybe.
    Ted
  • 94 awd astro. Makes a noise in tranny like something rubbing on flywheel. Nothing, all seems clear. Tranny dies a year later and the noise is right there from the beginning even with a different tranny. Mechanic baffled. Any suggestions? Thank you.
  • OK I have a 2000 GMC Safari Van and I am having problems, Recently had problems with starting so we changed the fuel pump but it only ran for about 14 days, now it won't start again, Any suggestions? Desperate to get this fixed.
  • This has been a problem for me now for over 4 years. I have been told that it is a problem with distributor placement and overheating causes small cracks in the cap and that it means replacing every year?Mechanic Friend just told me that it is probably the wrong distributor and he will check the model in my van (he is a GMC mechanic) -In the meantime I will try your fix-thanks
  • MY ASTRO WONT START CRANKS OVER ,REPLACED IGNITION COIL,DIST CAP AND ROTOR,WIRES AND PLUGS I HAVE A VIDEO ON YOUTUBE SWIFTONE559 IS MY CHANNEL ANYONE PLZ HELP
  • Hi I need your help experts of Gmc's. I have a *94 gmc safari sl 4.3 v6 mini van. Only 71k + miles by the way ill sell it for 1,500 as is. It's having acceleration problems. Basically it all started when someone changed my water pump. I know it has nothing to do with it but recently someone told me there is a sensor behind it that regulates all sensors and if dirty can lag acceleration. Anyhow here's the issue when the car accelerates from 0 to 40 or more it lags and is no accelerating properly. I have to keep pushing the pedal tapping it faster and faster to accelerate it. This comes and goes meaning sometimes it is normal but more often than not its lagging. When i turn off the car quick and turn it on it goes away but the acceleration is hardly the same as it used to be anyways and accelerates slower than normal. Once in a blue moon it goes back to normal the way it used to be. Someone told me because when i turn it off and turn it on and it accelerates almost normal to normal sometimes that it has to do with the oxygen. Now im not a car expert but here's what ive tried and figured it could be been trying for months now. Had the fuel filter changed not it, had the fuel pressure checked not it, Fuel pump not it, catalytic not it. The mechanic who changed the pump said it was something oxygen related now how would he know that? I think he sabotaged it to get more money from me i haven't spoken to him since he disappeared. I think its either the throttle body part or whole thing spiders ect. Or its a bad wire somewhere its a pain to find i hope not. Or its the o2 sensor let me explain. I had a diagnostic with an obd1 sensor. The corporate office from GMC after many calls and hit a wall with an evil woman who thinks i wont find the upper vp's numbers i will eventually or if someone has it they are located in Detroit michigan has impeeded my progress for answers but according to them and others it doesn't have many sensors. Doesn't have a map sensor but im not sure about that. The obd1 test from someone who had the old red machine obd1 where years before 96 car parts compatible from 91 to 94 only i believe that's what corporate said not anything after 95. Anyhow the obd1 test said it was either the catalytic, fuel filter, or o2 sensor. So far the only thing i haven't changed or checked is the o2 sensor will do that this week finally been busy doing other things. someone told me on rare occasions the o2 sensor rd cause acceleration problems. several mechanics said no but we will see. At this point any suggestions would help. Oh yes an my other theory is that its the computer. I had it changed a year prior after a questionable mechanic shop told me i needed it after battery died. Found out later after battery died how cheap and easy it is to change only 100 bucks or less and its plug and play. Was charged 400 bucks. Went back for warranty the guy said he lost my records. Will consult lawyer i think that's illegal he must pay but anways don't worry ill rate him badly on Angies list and every other mechanic who hasn't found the problem! Anyhelp would be greatly appreciated. Im going to try to post this in as many sites as possible. Ill keep you guys updated on my o2 sensor change. Don't want to spend too much money on this otherwise i would have changed all my theories already. wb asap and please logical helpful replies and if you don't really know don't answer its already confusing enough.
  • I had severe driveability problems with my '95 Safari (245,000 mi.) and replaced the intake air temp sensor, a split elbow at PCV valve, the EGR valve due to a completely open feedback loop coil, and a canister purge solenoid that leaked vacuum. I had a big improvement with the first, small improvements with the other three. The nagging problem that wouldn't go away was the lack of power at high speeds, slight roughness at all speeds, and exhaust manifolds that glowed orange hot when driven at night w/engine cover off.

    Replacing the distributor with a $100 rebuilt unit from Advance Auto Parts has it running like it has never run for me. Other symptoms: Slight side to side movement of the distributor shaft, a corresponding wear mark in the cap that is 2-1/2 times the diameter of the contact on the rotor. A vibrating oil pressue needle.

    This thing now performs well under all conditions and has never before been this smooth.
  • I should add that the giveaway that it was a timing issue was hooking up a timing light (even though the computer sets the timing automatically) and noticing that the timing jumped around constantly.
  • lmmaralmmara Posts: 6
    Hi,

    I have been having the exact same problem with my '00 Safari. Have you ever resolved this issue? If so how?

    Thank you,
    Leo
  • alberta4alberta4 Posts: 4
    My mechanic sucked. It was the spark plug wires. once they were changed no problem. A good test to see if this is the problem is to take the van to a car wash and spray the wires. If this makes the problem worse, you know you need new wires.
  • bwgmcvanbwgmcvan Posts: 10
    Same here,
    It was the wires & distributor - ran great after that although I sold the van 1-1/2 years ago but she served me well...

    B,
  • Our 2000 GMC Safari SLE misfires off idle when the engine is cold and has just been started. It starts fine and idles with no skip as long as the throttle pedal isn't pressed. The skipping continues until the van is completely warmed up. It then runs absolutely fine, for the rest of the day, as long as the engine is not allowed to cool off thoroughly.
  • I have 230,000 miles on him . He's been a great van for the ten years I've had him . Two weeks

    ago I went to get gas and he wouldn't start . A friend helped us get him home . We changed the

    pick-up coil and the ignition coil , because there was no spark . We now have spark but he will

    only start with starter fluid . When he is running ,runs great . Please help this is our only

    transportation .
  • lmmaralmmara Posts: 6
    edited October 2013
    I don't have a good explanation for why these steps worked but they did. I replaced the distributor cap and rotor. I put a bottle of fuel injector cleaner in the tank. Walla our van runs well. I'm not sure how it will do in the long run but for now the problems we had are gone.

    Thank you to all here for your suggestions.
  • 04 Safari, runs when cool, once the temp goes above about 83 during the day and in traffic - it starts to sputter and then slowly quits, - turn key off, wait about 20 to 30 seconds - turn on and wait to hear pump come on, engine starts and runs about 30 seconds and same thing again, repeat start up in traffic , it will do this about 4 to 5 times then goes back to running.

    only happens in traffic and middle of day, at might it can be 85 and runs with no problem. have plenty of gas, new fuel filter and nothing on the dash - no codes. ?

    thanks
  • timmahhtimmahh Posts: 1
    edited November 2013
    and starts and runs fine when its over 45.

    Picked up this van earlier this year from people I knew. no major issues and was ran last winter by previous owner. approx 185K on her. Is a Debut Conversion Van, Door tag says Built in '99. May be a 98.
    I picked up a coolant temp sensor to change out for it (no pigtail version) and i noticed mine is a bit different as it only has one wire and lead on it with a single wire, and the one I got to replace it has the same connector shape but has 2 pins on it... So that will be taken back and replaced with the correct unit.

    Issue started to occur a few months back on the first of a few cold days here in the Mitten State. Would not start in am, then started early pm no issues. seemingly ok afterwards. Then a month later it happened again. same deal, except it started an just shortly afterwards, hr or 2 max, then seemingly ok. the next week, it did it again, and that is when I noted the Below 45ish*F pattern emerging.

    So long as it was warm outside, basically at least say 45*F outside, it starts and runs just fine with zero notable quirks or issues. but once it was about 40* and Lower outside, then it would do its thing. Once or Twice, I do seem to recall an ever so slight hesitation/miss in the course of normal driving. But it was so minor, I doubt most people would have noted it.

    Starts up great. Runs about 2 to 3 seconds, then shuts down as if you turned the ignition off. Ether sprayed through the intake will keep it running when this issue is happening. had it running a Minute or so today on spraying ether, hoping to create enough heat to warm it up and get it running so I can drive it over to the Mechanics place, so he can freeze his [non-permissible content removed] and beat up his hands, while I freeze my [non-permissible content removed] and go to work outside and make some money to pay him. lol

    Overall though, it is the same issue until it gets over that low 40ish hump. When it's warm outside, it starts and runs just fine.

    Check Engine Light has came on and went off, but I haven't a code reader, nor have I taken it by to have it looked at, now its below 40* all the time, and I would like to get this resolved.

    I have replaced:
    Cap,Rotor,Coil,Wires, and picked up new plugs, but have not replaced them yet, as it seems an unlikely culprit.
    Considering multiple plugs would have to fail simultaneously to happen, and all because of the colder outside temps, which just seems to be a very low probability. It has been a few years since the previous owner did a Tune Up as he can Recall, (maybe 4 or 5), SO these things were replaced just out of good maintenance principles.

    So, got plugs, just have not changed them out yet. Also swapped out the Intake Air Temp Sensor that just slips into the air intake duct between the air cleaner and the intake to no avail.

    Fuel pump gives me just a smige over 60lbs of pressure when its turned on, and runs steady at 56 to 58lbs when it starts and runs in the warmer temps. Fuel pump seems to be ok.

    Dist Shaft is Solid, zero Play laterally, and no play in rotation.

    Warming the Coolant Temp Sensor and Distributor with hair dryer did not "FOOL" the sensors into starting and Running.

    When it starts then stalls and starts and runs, the only other difference I can note besides the below 45*F Temps, is that it stalls, and refused to run. It is almost as if it is being purposely shut down by a sensor. Had one guy who is a mechanic to get the Coolant Sensor and replace it, as it is probably reading its too cold outside to run and the computer is then shutting the motor down, making the decision the engine block may be frozen solid as its faulting out reading its 40 below outside, along that nature.

    Any help would be appreciated.
  • Ok, Ive read a few and scanned a few, most of you seem to have over 200k miles, think about this, as the "poppets" age they develop a type of resin inside the tubes and the actual poppet valve that hardens the plastic parts, requiring greater effort by the fuel pump causing premature failure of pumps, one after another with a "fresh" pump fixing the problem for a few days/weeks. ignition parts are usually pretty solid unless installed improperly (against metal of any type for the wires) fuel delivery is buried and hard to get to, most people dont use fuel injector cleaner every 20k adding to the problem. If all ignition checks good, It's like;y the spider injector assembly inside the intake at fault, while cleaners do clean metal injectors well in most cases, most have a hard time softening 200k mile fuel lined brittle plastic. New spider has fixed many of these problems all but one time I have replaced one. 9 replaced, one wasn't the spider, I was young and didn't care and I don't know what wound up fixing that one.

  • Ok I don't know if this will help anyone but it seems the same as many of the posts. I have a 1997 Astro that started to be a bad at starting in the morning or cutting out on starting. Coil was changed but no result. Had the battery checked and was not 100% so changed it. the fault still remained. Then on advise of a friend I put a voltage meter across the battery and cranked the engine. To my surprise the voltage dropped from 12 volts to between 9.6 and 10.2 volts. It turned out that the starter was drawing too much load due to tight bearings. On changing the starter all the faults went and the van runs fine. My friend told me that the starter can seem to be ok and spin normally but it draws a high load that starves other things of voltage, EG coil, fuel pump, ecu ect. So if you have this sort of issue check the voltage drop when cranking the engine.The voltage should not drop by any more than 0.5 to 1 volt
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