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GMC Safari/Chevy Astro Starting/Stalling/Idling Problems



  • schooterschooter Posts: 5
    I'll have to admit I have dragged my feet on fixing the problem. However after reading some of the forums I really am convinced it is a fuel pump ( ethanol ) issue. From my understanding ethanol is hard on the older and a lot of aftermarket pumps. If this is the problem I would suggest finding out what pumps are "ethanol proof" before making a purchase.

    I'll be sure to post it, whenever I am able to get around to fixing the problem.
    If you beat me to the draw, Please fill me in. Thanks!!!
  • waterski1waterski1 Posts: 5
    I'll try to remember to let you know. I'm new to this site. Also, for my vehicle, it seems tohappen right after I fill up with gas at Sheetz. I know I have a hole near the top of the gas tank but not sure y that would make a difference! Also, when the problem starts - if I put the lights on or even blow the horn - it almost shuts the car down. But the whole time the fuel pressure is up and there's plenty of spark.
  • kerijokerijo Posts: 2
    I'm having the exact same problem with my van, also a 2003 Astro. Did you ever figure it out?? Does seem to be better when I add fuel injector cleaner, maybe clogged injectors? The problem always comes back and is worse this time around. I'm right around 123K miles now. Any advice is greatly appreciated:)

    Also...I have a "clunk" as I make left turns. Tie rod end? Ball joints were replaced a few years back under a recall. Any ideas on this??
  • waterski1waterski1 Posts: 5
    Well, I'm not a mechanic, but here's a few thoughts from my 1995 Safari w. 226k on it and a 02 Astro w. 127k on it. No, I haven't fixed the problem and the other guy i was talking w. didnt either. I've also done the dry gas idea and that helped one time or so i thought. Since its only when i fill it up or close to full, being there's a hole in the top of the tank, it seems that has something to do with it! My mechanic friend is gonna try the fuel pump and see if that helps. I've changed it 100k ago and don't feel like doing it again!!

    As for the clunking, it sure sounds to me like the transfer case. If its a repeated clunking, like a machine gun rate, then its probably the transfer case which is behind the transmission and sends the power to the AWD front and rear. I guess if ur's isnt an AWD, then thats not the problem either!! Also, if its a one time clunk on a turn that may be something else.

    Any thoughts??
  • kerijokerijo Posts: 2
    Nope, no machine gun noises. Just a simple clunk or 2 coming from the right front as I make a left turn. I can turn right all I want...guess I'll just drive in circles!! And no, mine isn't AWD. It used to only clunk once in a while, now it's with every left turn.

    Now, let's all pray that there are no fuel pump issues, please! I have no time for that!!!!

    Fingers crossed..
  • pwr2020pwr2020 Posts: 7
    I am thinking you might have a bad ground. Electronics (like your fuel gauge) can be funny like that when they have bad or inconsistent grounding and the silly things like surging, and sputtering can be a sign of a bad ground circuit as well. Luckily the electrical grounds are tied and you should be able to find the strap in the engine compartment behind the EGR valve.

    Hope this helps
  • Exactly where is the fuel pressure regulator located ( and the pulsator valve )? Is there any way to check them? I see a few items that may be one or the other, I just don't feel its necessary to tear into something thats not connected to the problem. Thanks for your help!
  • My van runs good and starts like a new one. But when i go to step on the gas it stalls back like its so hungry it hasnt had gas in three months. I just got it and have already put almost 400 into it just to get it to pass smog. Not looking for a cheap fix want a perm one. Please help. hoping i need to replace fuel filter has new pump. new cap rotor and wires new cat converter, new air intake sensor and new wires. as you can guess mech told me egr needs replacing and quoted me 400 more to fix it. maybe one of you had same problem and was fixed and silly enough easy as pie to do yourself.
  • I had a similar problem. Turns out it wasn't a bad fuel pump but rather a fuel pump that was not properly installed. The bracket holding these fuel pumps ( and the rubber insert) are extremely flexible and can be bent into a position that does not allow the proper amount of fuel to flow thus causing the engine to starve for fuel. I found the problem first by checking my fuel pressure. It only had about 52 pounds, which some say is alright. ( I found 60 is more like it, which I now have ) However when the pump built this pressure it immediatly lost all pressure in a few seconds. ( supposed to hold for at least 2 minutes ) This led me to check the fuel pump which after I straightened things up it ran like a top.
  • i have a 1999 chevy astro van 4.3 engine all wheel drive i replaced fuel pump and replaced fuel filter and presser regulator. and peplced ingition control module. when car is idled runs good but when put in drive and given gas it stalls out if anyone has a idea of what the problem can be and u please help me out. thanks :confuse:
  • i have a 1989 astro 4.3 which was starting great and running great but recently it has been hard to start it cranks great but will not start if i spray start fluid in air intake it starts great and will run great untill i have to switch off then next time i go to start it is the same any ideas?
    some one said it may be vapor locked? but did not know how to fix it.
    regards paul
  • Sorry we're still at a loss. Can't figure out anything with my 95. My problem wasnt starting it was with keeping it running as you accelerate. not sure what to tell you.

  • Long story short. Trouble started after a very slight roll over. Wouldn't run in the rain. Progressed to very hard to start. Ran fine if you could get it started. Now won't fire at all. Family's favorite vehicle. Owned since new. 2000 GMC Safari 133,000 miles. New coil, new distributor, new ground wire to coil. New wires and plugs. Fuel pressure 50 psi. Tapping the key when starting used to help start it. Fully charged battery (keeping a charger on it) or jumping seemed to help. New battery didn't make any difference. Any ides? Thanks
  • hi i traced the problem to the fuel pump relay where it is fitted it gets wet when it rains i fitted a new relay and now no problems also nice and cheep to fix $10 from western auto.

    regards paul
  • Thanks paul,
    I'll ask my mechanic to check that. Its been sitting for about 4 mos.
  • I know exactly what you mean. Needing a fuel pump for my 94 Astrovan I checked with the parts dept at a local Chevrolet dealership. They wanted almost $1000.00 for a new pump. I laughed, hung up and called Autozone, where I bought a new pump (including all necessary gaskets, etc.) for just over $80.00 including the sales tax. In short, if you call around and check the prices at Autozone, Checker Auto, Pep Boys, Napa, etc. you'll likely save some money.

  • Charlie, you stated... "called Autozone, where I bought a new pump (including all necessary gaskets, etc.) for just over $80.00 including the sales tax" Did you mean $280.00? I just checked AutoZone's website. They want just over $280.00 for a 97 Astro fuel pump assembly.

  • same problem i's the distributor cap under the bell housing...The slightest dampness will not start....take a hair dryer to will kick right over....the bummer is you got to take the bell housing off
  • yeahi have a 94 astro 4.3l i just went to autozone and picked up the pump with the gaskets for $54.00 and a new fuel pump strainer for $10.99 so i have no idea what your talking about steve.
  • Chevyman, I was just wondering if the guy made a typo is all. Thats great that you guys can buy a $280.00 fuel pump assembly for $54.00 or $80.00. Here's the link to the Autozone page,
    Must be that the 97 model year pump is just more expensive...
  • I've had the same prob w/ my Astro not starting. replaced the coil. took it to shop. Shop told me it was low pressure from fuel pump. They got it running but said it ran very rough. Was advised (strongly) not to use aftermarket pump. found Delphi (OEM) fuel pumps from 200 to 465 bucks. Long story short, I replaced fuel pump and and filter and it isn't the problem. Checked fuses and they're ok. Replaced plugs, wires, cap and rotor last spring. will turn over fine and after about 3-5 seconds it kind of hangs up (bogs, burps, but not cough).

    Any other ideas? thanks.
  • I poured a little gas down the throttle body (I'm no Norman Einstein) and it still didn't even try to start, even though when I opened the butterfly with the pedal I got a cool blueish orange flame. Obviously I have fire! I'm beginning to think it may be a cam or crank position sensor? If it jumped time or broke the timing belt, what would be the symptom? I really don't want to drag it back to the shop, but we need it back running asap.

    Any suggestions? :sick:
  • It's ALIVE!!!! Yes it's running. Even though I had replaced the distributor cap and rotor last spring, they had gone bad. Look for a green powder inside the cap. It's corrosion. Two of the cylinders were not getting fire at all, and instead the cap was "shorting out" sending a spark to 2 cylinders at the same time causing it to cough. Anyway, it's all fixed now AND I have a nice new fuel pump.
    Looks like my link on post #121 changed. Can't edit the link so here's the new one.
  • Shadetree, just curious if you used an OEM or aftermarket cap and rotor?
  • An aftermarket cap and rotor. A mechanic told me next time go ahead and spend the money on an OEM. They're more expensive but the first one lasted 120k. NAPA warrantied the one that went bad recently, which was great, but what a headache!
  • keicokeico Posts: 4
    Ok here is what I have.

    1999 Chevy Astro Van 4.3L

    When I purchased this vehicle 1 year ago it always started up on the first crank. Didn't make a difference whether it was cold or hot.

    I noticed that once this winter started (I live in Florida) and the weather was a little colder. It started to become just a little hard to start.

    It would take two cranks, then three, four.

    Finally i hit it with some car cleaner and it fired up.

    I have been doing this for quite some time. Hit it with some carb cleaner and it fires up.

    Note once it is started it runs great. No hesitation, vibration, nothing it runs great.

    Now I have read that you need at least 65 PSI fuel pressure for this van to start, and no I have not run a fuel pressure test yet. ( I will definitely do this weekend).

    I guess i should also mention that whether the engine is cold or hot i still have to hit it with some carb cleaner.

    I also read that it could be the ECT sensor (coolant temp sensor). It said that if this sensor does not tell the ECM the engine is cold it won't pulse the injectors to start.

    Now as of late I have had to give it more than normal squirt of carb cleaner to get it going.

    Now my question is what do you think it could be.

    Something inside me just can't believe it is the fuel pump. I say this because once it starts it runs great.

    Either way I am not sure what it is.

    Also I need some advice on changing the fuel filter.

    In anticipation of having to do some work I did purchase a fuel filter and a rebuild kit for the fuel pump. (Much cheaper than buying a new fuel pump from Advance auto or Autozone)

    While I started to change the fuel filter I noticed that the fuel lines were bolted into the fuel filter very tight.

    So tight it seems to me that I would break the fuel line before it gave.

    I was wondering if anyone has had this problem also. I really want to change this filter but don't want to damage the fuel line trying to get the old filter out.

    Anyway I hope someone can really help me.
  • My 2 cents...
    I have a 97 Astro. My fuel pressure was around 57 or so while the engine was running. It would drop off to zero immediately after turning off the key. According to the book, the fuel pressure should drop off slowly after turning off the ignition. I decided to replace the fuel pressure regulator. I guess I had a 50/50 shot. That seemed to take care of both the fuel pressure, now 63 PSI, and the pressure dropping off slowly when shutting off the ignition. The pressure dropping immediately doesn't create any issues as far as engine starting or performance. I think more than anything it's an indication that there's an issue with the fuel system. As far as replacing the fuel filter, are you using two wrenches to loosen the nut? You should have one wrench on the fuel filter nut, and one on the line nut. Hold the fuel filter nut in place while loosening the line nut. Make sure you relieve the fuel pressure before you do this or be ready for a bit of a high pressure blast of fuel when the nut cracks loose. One more thing, Autozone has a tool rental program that allows you to basically purchase the tool and return it for a full refund within 90 days. I'm "renting' a code reader at the moment. Even if you don't have any codes, if you rent one of the better code readers you will be able to see the results of the output of most of the engine sensors including the O2 sensors. It might be worth a shot. Steve
  • How many miles do you have on it? I'd be curious to know what the results after you check the fuel pressure. If it checks fine, I agree w/ Kieco as far as changing the regulator, much cheaper and it has to be easier.
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