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Chevy S10 - GMC S15 and Sonoma Starting problems



  • I have a 1997 GMC Sonoma with the 4.3L Vortec V6. Owned it for about two years with no problems (180 000kms). About 2 months ago, I went to start it in the morning to go to work and it wouldn't go. It would turn over but not start. After about half an hour of screwing around, adding starter fluid etc., it finally went. Ran rough for a few minutes, but then fine all day. Replaced all the filters that night as they were due to be changed. A few days later, same thing. No starter fluid this time, just alternated holding it floored and not, took about 10 minutes to start, ran rough for a while then fine. Replaced plugs, wires, cap and rotor. Ran fine for a week or so, then problem returned. This time I couldn't get it to go to save my life. I thought because it only happens in the morning that maybe condensation was the problem (it starts after sitting all day at work and it had rained heavily the night before). Checked all the electrical connections I could easily access and they all looked clean and dry. Plugged in the block heater and ran a hair drier on the distributor for half an hour, then it started first crank and ran great. Next time it happens I will only use the block heater and see if that works. Any ideas? It seems to me some sensor is telling it not to fire, but not sure.
  • I Have a 1999 Chevy S10 4.3 Vortec. I am having a problem starting the truck when it sits for a while. It will crank over for several minutes. Once it starts and i run it, it will start all day with no issues. It only happens when it sits over night. The fuel pump turns on and has been replaced. The plugs, wires, and cap all have been done. Tried a new battery. Had hours of diagnostics done and have gotten nowhere. I just dont get why it is only when it sits. Its driving me crazy.

    Any Ideas?
  • I have the same problem in a 98 Jimmy with 4.3 engine. I have gone thru distributor cap and rotor, plugs and wires. I now think it is the ignition switch because as I rock key in switch while turning over it starts right away but then misses for a few minutes when the accelerating until the engine is warm. Runs fine while at idle. I will be watching for any ideas fromothers.
  • i have a 1988 Chevy s10 2.8 2wd i cant get it to fire over i had done a transmission in it about 3weeks before she stopped i did cap rotor wires plugs and fuel pump and the egr but before i did that i was getting fire out the carburetor got a timing light she was dead on the money compression test all were at about 146-150 at this point i don't no what more it can be after changing everything I'm not getting fire out the carburetor its just not kicking over now the fuel is going down into the carburetor i did a o2 sensor to night and still have nothing not sure what more it can be
  • so i changed the spark plugs to what my 2 haynes books say, also with what i had found online. and from 5 different sources, the firing orders are all the same for my '85 GMC S15 Sierra Classic. i had changed spark plugs, wires, distributor cap, and rotor. and had put the new wires on in the firing order that i was repeatedly told was the right way. but now it just doesn't want to fire.

    i had sprayed some carb cleaner into the carb to clean it out while i changed oil, oil filter, air filter, rotated the tires, etc. but i think i had either sprayed too much into the barrels to give it that rough turn over sound followed by backfire, or i now have it in the wrong firing order.

    i had taken the other cap off to change it out, but it never occurred to me to note which wires were where.

    since ran like a dream before. now i need help.
  • i have an '85 GMC S15 Sierra Classic 2.8L V6 (Carb)

    *Note: this is the last place i went to find the firing order for my truck.

    link title - Engine Firing Orders: 1985

    are these right?
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    That's the order. Next time replace the wires one at a time.
    You need to get #1 cylinder on compression stroke on timing mark, then see if the rotor points to the #1 plug wire. Some one may have removed the dist and timed it out of normal sequence.
  • thanks. i was terribly tired from work 2 double shifts on daylight savings time before i started wahooing cables the other day.

    anyways, just went back out, detached the cables from the distributor, took the dist back off to verify the #1 (underneath the cap, there is 1 number that tells you which is for the #1). i also made sure the rotor was hitting the cap also. then i plugged each one in numerical sequence to the cap, to make sure that i had it right.

    after i had it all screwed down, plugged up (in my frustration yesterday, i had switched #2 and #6 on dist without verifying), i gave it a try.

    there was a spray that came from my carb. it smelt like the cleaner i had sprayed in there. i think i have flooded the carb with cleaner.

    after a few more tries and sprays, i decided to give it a rest for a few before i go back out there. because it sounds like it wants to turn, but hesitant because of the cleaner.

    i'll be back with an update on how it goes.
  • i found the problem.

    the person who worked on my timing chain in 2001 had ended up turning it out 180. so where 3 would be (on the dist) is where #6 is. and where 4 would be is where #1 is.

    i don't know quiet that much about the timing chain to do it myself, but it runs. and seems to be working in that order. it has been in that order for the last 6 years.

    when i have time and a place to put it, i will definitely look at changing it back to factory specs.

    but, that is a project for a different time.

    either way, thanks for the help. i think i have learned alot about spark plug wires and the distributor within the last couple of days.
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    Glad you got it going.
  • sbs57sbs57 Posts: 1
    I have a 94 Sonoma 4.3 Vortec V6 with the same problem.....have u solved urs yet?
  • mine is running like a dream now. the first day i drove it to work, i had smoke coming from under the truck, so i checked the plugs during my lunch. they all seemed fine, just covered in soot.

    after i had them all back in, i decided to crank it and give it a try. it fired up like a dream. and i drove it home with no flaws that afternoon. it was the greatest ride i had in a long time.

    i figured it was burning up the gunk after all the misfires and unsuccessful tries.

    but the first time i had hooked up the wires, i got alot of backfires and just wouldn't start. that was when i figured they must be turned turned out. mine was turned 180 degrees.
  • You can always return the distributor to the original position as factory, but it might have been done the way it is now to make more space for it to move for final timing.

    You just line it up on number one on compression and pull out distributor and put it where you want it.
    It has to engage into the oil pump drive as well and cam gear at the same time and thats the tricky part to get it lined up where you want it to face.

    Have a tool on the crank to move it a little to make it settle in.

    Glad you figured it out..
  • i have had problems lately and it only happens on about every 15 starts.. i turn the key and it makes a sucking noise and tries to start and then i stop and try it again and it starts fine. i just cleaned my plugs and got a new air filter and checked for any loose wires. any suggestions??
  • I have a 96 automatic 4.3 litre Sonoma with about 139K miles. It has been running good. A few days ago it stalled while idoling, restarted fine without incident. I drove it a few miles, running fine, then I shut it off for about 5 minutes and it would not start. The fuel pump does not go on when the ignition is on. The idiot lights do not illuminate in the dash either. It will crank over but does not fire. Does anyone have any suggestions??

  • I got the same prob, sonoma 01 sls 2x4 won't turn on, no fuel pump noises when ignition on @ first it just came back on by itself the next day, then just yesterday it quit on me again with the same issues but this time the fuel pump noises never came back I did get an ECM diagnosis trouble code of p1416 wich has to do with air pumps still doin research I'll keep u posted - please do the same for me thnx
  • something shuts off all electricals. It will start with a jump. Seems to reload (lights flashing on instrument panel). During jump, acts like low battery, but battery checks out. it's a 2002 S10 v6 that runs like a watch except sometimes. Any info prognosis or advice?
  • now what do I do, wait for an answer or check back in a few days?
  • have you gotten an answer? Mine is 2002, so maybe wouldn't be relevant
  • try the injectors
  • try replacing the intake [carb]
  • Chevy s10 1996 here and a very similar problem. Pepboys charged me $160 to tell me that something was wrong, but they didn't know what it was. Thats what I told them when I walked in there and then they charged me for it? LOL

    Bought it in September when it was still mostly warm. The rain doesn't seem to cause it to not start, but as soon as it got cold it started having issues. Its automatic and I'm more used to driving manual, but once its started at least I know that it need more gas to keep it started. It shimmies and shakes until I get it moving, then maybe 100yards later it evens out. Three seperate mechanics think I'm nuts cause it always starts when they try it. Automatic is started just by turning the key right? I shouldn't have to pump the gas to get it started right?
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    I have read of similar problems. It was cause by carbon collecting on the intake valves and absorbing the fuel on cold start, sorta like no choke.
    I thought I would throw this out for you to mull over.
  • I mention this to my mechanic and then I also mention that on the way home today I slowed down to make a turn and though I had lights I had suddenly lost all other power and the engine had stopped. No warnings, like sputtering, or misfiring sounds, just suddenly wasn't there.

    From that he was now pretty sure it was the trucks computer, and when I told him that the first time we did a engine diagnostic the fuse that let the computers talk was missing, he became certain that it was the computer. I had bought the truck used and we now figure that the dealer or prior own just fudged things to make it sell able. And since the seller did some work on it before I took it home, we think it was him because apparently some of the issues Ive had were noticeable to anyone that knew what an engine was supposed to be like. er that meant not me.

    I'll let you know how the computer change goes. =)
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    Well on the power loss. That truck is known for ignition switch failure, not the key one but the electrical switch at the lower column.
  • 1999 Chevy S-10 PU 4.3 ltr. engine, won't start when wet, once it dries out and the weather clears it will start. We've replaced cap, rotor, plugs, fuel pump and fuel injectors. Check engine code of P0300 (random misfire). Can anyone help this is getting very frustrating!
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    How about the ignition wires, not mentioned.
  • Hi I'm new to this forum and have a real mystery here. I own a 2003 S10 pickup bought new.It has 27000 miles. Three times in past 2 weeks I experienced a no start that seemed all the world like a low battery. Had truck towed home and replaced battery,still would not start. It sounded more like older GM cars that had jumped timing. Let it sit overnight and it fired up in morning. Took it to a very reputable garage in my area,they could replicate problem or suggest any fix.Took it home and drove for a week,and it happened again.Truck had been driven about half an hr and parked. About 1 hr later it would not start,same as before slow hard cranking, volt meter shows better than 12 volts,Let it sit for 5 hrs and fired right up.Been driving it for a week now,and it did it again.Did notice a small drain on battery when hooking up neg batt cable dont know if some drain is normal or not. Anyone got a suggestion
  • I have a 2000 s 10 zr2 with 129000. If the truck has sat for more than 24 hours in the cold it wont start. It turns over fine, it has fuel pressure, i can smell unburned fuel from the exhaust pipe. I'll try to start it for a few days with no luck. Then it will fire right up on the first try some three days later with no effort other than turning the key. If i drive it every day it is perfectly fine. After i get it started it is fine. The cap, wires and plugs and about 2 years old.
  • I have a 1998 Chevy S-10. I killed it and went to restart it. I turned on my key and it would not turn over. My dash instrument lights will not come on, nor will my fuel pump engage. My headlights and dome light as well as radio and horn will function. I put a brand new battery on it and still nothing. Any help will be appreciated.
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