Poor old Chevy doesn't want to start:(

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by Zombee, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. Zombee

    Zombee Junior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 9

    My plow truck, which has worked it's a$$ off this season got stuck for the first time in my driveway. I live on a class VI road, so if I want in or out, I have to plow the whole thing myself. I finally went out and got the truck unstuck, but when I started it up, it stalled after idling for a few minutes. I started it back up, and it ran for about ten seconds before dying. After a day of sitting, it won't start at all.
    I worked on it today, it's getting fuel to the TBI, and it's getting spark. Just no ignition. Any thoughts? The truck is an '87 Chevy 3/4 ton, has less than 100k on it, and the motor is the 350 TBI.
  2. sechracer

    sechracer Senior Member
    Messages: 476

    Weak spark, check your coil. May be enough to see it but that thing should snap like crazy if you unplug the coil wire from it and hold a screw driver about 3 inches above it.
  3. OP

    Zombee Junior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 9

    Tried a different coil and got the same issue.
  4. Sydenstricker Landscaping

    Sydenstricker Landscaping PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,880

    Ok, so it is getting spark from the coil, then correct?? Sounds like the black box in the distributor is junk or the pick up coil inside the distributor is bad. Getting spark to the top is one thing, but out to the plugs is another. Maybe have a hairline crack in the cap? Rotor burned? Very simple things to check before tearing into the distributor
  5. jbrow1

    jbrow1 Member
    Messages: 79

    Sounds like a fuel problem to me. Empty gas tank, clogged or wet fuel filter, bad fuel pump..
  6. OP

    Zombee Junior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 9

    Getting fuel ok. I think the cap and rotor will be the next thing I check, as suggested. They were replaced in the fall, but that truck has been a hard worker, so never know, and I have to excercise all possibilities.
  7. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,755

    It's getting fuel to the TB but is it spraying it out of the injectors while cranking?

    If so then your ignition module, distributor and pick up coil are working correctly.

    If you have spark at the coil lead and fuel out of the injectors then change the cap & rotor. Seen this many times on the TBI equipped trucks. Runs fine, turn it off and let it set and then wont start. If they have fuel out the injectors and spark at the coil lead, replacing the cap & rotor fixes them every time.

    Not that uncommon on the Vortec equipped V6 & V8's as well.
  8. DJ Contracting

    DJ Contracting PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,436

    I have seen bad coil wires do this what you could do is take a bottle of water (spray bottle that is) and spray a mist on the wires and see if you can see any sparks jumping oh you'll need two people, let us know what you found out.
  9. OP

    Zombee Junior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 9

    Ok, this is what I did. I replaced the cap and rotor. That didn't do the trick, although it made it sound more promising as it turned over. Then I pulled the fuel filter, and replaced it. Hopped in the truck, turned the key and it started. Then it died. Then it started again, ran for about 15 seconds and died. Starts each time, just won't stay running now. I'm thinking water in the gas is the issue at this point. The new cap and rotor would have given me a better chance of ignition, which is why I could hear it start to fire. Fuel filter was probably saturated with water, so it was diluting the gas. Now I just have to dry the fuel in the tank out.
    I'll keep you guys posted, and thanks for the advice thus far.
  10. snowcan

    snowcan Member
    Messages: 52

    Yo Zombie, the distributor shaft in those years has a habit of failing and causes the symptom you are describing, dealer only, I think about $70.00. While you are there you should do the module and pick-up coil as well, make sure you use the di-electric grease that comes with the module. When you have the distributor out, the magnet will feel weak when you turn the shaft, then you'll know the shaft needs replacement. Maybe check the fuel pressure before you do this???...good luck
  11. ticki2

    ticki2 Senior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 175

    Even though it is getting fuel I would check the fuel pressure , it may be enough to idle but die when trying to accellerate . Had that problem before and it was weak fuel pump.
  12. Drottlawn

    Drottlawn Senior Member
    Messages: 366

    Ignition module or weak fuel pressure. The module can be tested at any auto parts store. Check fuel pressure.