Waaay off topic: A Question for Chevy mechanics.

10 replies to this topic
  • tk421

Posted December 17, 2002 - 09:16 AM


Well, my wife’s ’91 Lumina APV minivan did a strange one yesterday. She drove it to her sister’s, went to leave and it wouldn’t start. Gas tanks full, engine turns over just great, but doesn’t even try to start.

My guess would be to throw a new cap, rotor, and pickup coil on it.

Would appreciate any other thoughts.

  • Pozi

Posted December 17, 2002 - 09:52 AM


My guess would be to throw a new cap, rotor, and pickup coil on it.

Although this might be a good idea to do a light tune-up on the van depending on when it was done last it might not be necessary. Before you replace stuff you don't or might not have to I would suggest finding out what is causing it not to start. Begin by checking to see if it is a spark and/or fuel delivery problem.

And one word of advice: If you do have to replace spark plugs DO NOT use Autolite brand plugs. I just did a head gasket, valve job on a Ford Escort what started out as a "lite tune-up" and 3 of the 4 Autolite plugs either stripped or snapped off while taking them out. :)

  • John_Lorenz

Posted December 17, 2002 - 10:42 AM


Sell it and get a Ford :)

  • rpadgett2

Posted December 17, 2002 - 11:36 AM


When you first turn the key on listen for the fuel pump to start. It should run for about 3 to 4 seconds. You may be able to hear it. If not get a fuel pressure gauge and hook it up to the fuel rail and see if you have pressure with the key on.
Good Luck


  • whywudyer

Posted December 17, 2002 - 11:34 PM


Pozi, Sorry, but it probably has nothing to do with the plugs themselves. Old problem that comes from the steel plug being threaded into an aluminium head. Just like our bikes. Best way aroung it is to put a small amount of anti seize compound on the thread of the plug, but be careful to place it only on the thread. Then screw her in!!!! Easy to remove later, and no seizure or thread damage. if you don't have anti seize, a good teflon or high melt grease will do........

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  • edareus

Posted December 18, 2002 - 04:12 AM


Did your wife pull into a driveway with a steep curb? I know this sounds weird but it happened to a friend of mine when he pulled his Ford van into my driveway. It did the same thing. There is a bump switch that kills the fuel pump in case of an accident on Fords. His reset was just inside the front door under the dash. I have seen them in trucks of certain cars too. I don't know if Chevy has these or not but we scratched our heads trying to figure that one out. I believe it was mentioned in the owners manual that he happened to still have in the glove box. I would look into this.

Good luck,


  • tk421

Posted December 18, 2002 - 08:39 AM


I know of the switch you refer to on the Fords, My F150 did exactly that. The reset switch ended up being on the passenger side down behind the kick panel. It took a long time to figure that out! A mechanic at a Ford dealership new right away to check for that, he was right!
Getting back to my wife’s Chevy, it’s parked level. I’m not aware of any reset switch on the APV minivans, so you think there is one?

I’m on 12-hour days this week, so it’s making it tough to get over and work on it. Plus it’s outside in the wind, which doesn’t help. I think I’ll bring a can of carb cleaner to spray down in the intake. If there is spark it should at least try to run right? That would eliminate that variable.

WA-HOO! If it’s not the ignition that means it would be the fuel pump. Oh great, does that mean it’s in the gas tank like my Ford truck? ;)I would assume the fuel pump has a fuse, maybe check that first?

  • Chaindrive

Posted December 18, 2002 - 10:24 AM


tk; check for spark at the plug(s) first. One should tell the story. If no spark (and that is my guess): 1> if you are lucky, a wire in your ignition has come loose somewhere. 2> More likely, the ignition module or computer died.
These seldom give any kind of warning and they either work or don't.

Check the ignition system wires carefully and be sure as possible since nobody will let you return electrical components.

BTW, you don't have to pull a plug, just disconnect the plug wire and reconnect it to any good spark plug you have handy--even a WR's. You are just looking for spark. A good maxim to remember is: 90% of all carb problems are actually ignition problems. I realize you have FI, but it still holds true. Check ignition function first. And be careful when you hold the plug to ground while somebody cranks the key; modern ignitions can BITE ! :D I use insulated pliers or uneducated "volunteers" :)

If you DO have spark, then you have fuel pump problems, or possibly a frozen fuel line/clogged filter, and, YES, the pump is inside the gas tank...

With our wierdly warm weather, I don't think freezing is it. I have also experienced problems with modern 'closed system' tank venting. If you hear a big "whoosh" when you remove the fuel cap, you're on to something. If no air can enter the tank, eventually no fuel can get out.

These are just my recommended procedures and best WAG's (wild ass guess). Good luck. Ignition...

  • rpadgett2

Posted December 18, 2002 - 03:28 PM


You will have a relay under the hood for the fuel pump. I'm not familiar with your car, but most have a fuse box under the hood for all the big fuses. Look there as well. My brother in law had a thunderbird that would not start because of a master fuse under the hood.


  • tk421

Posted December 19, 2002 - 08:36 AM


Tried a few tests after work last night. Brought an old CR8E to check for spark, carb cleaner, a new cap, rotor and some tools.

Installed the new cap and rotor, then tried to start. Cranked and cranked as before, but nothing. Took the air cleaner off and shot some carb cleaner down in the throttle body, tried to start. Instantly sputtered then died, OK. Must be a fuel problem.

Checked the fuses. There was a fuse for the fuel pump, but it was good.

I can hear a faint “click” when I turn the ignition “ON” but no electronic pump noise.

I called the Chevrolet Dealership to pick it up, I’m afraid it’s a crapped out fuel pump. The tank is almost full, making it that much more difficult to replace the fuel pump.

I suppose the relay that energizes the pump could also be bad, DC circuits tend to burn up contacts.

If the fuel pump itself were bad, you would think the fuse would be blown.

Oh well… Thanks TT’ers for your thoughts! :)

  • Burnrider

Posted December 19, 2002 - 10:20 AM


I replaced the fuel pump in my '89 Chevy Truck. It was one of the last years the pump was separate from the fuel sending gauge. It costed $45.00. I drove it until the fuel was down to 5 gallons and dropped the tank. I took the pump to the dealer and he brought out the part I then matched. I installed the pump in the fuel sending unit and dropped the unit in the tank with a new 'O' ring seal twisting the 1/4 turn sheetmetal nut.

1) The dealer said newer units are $450.00 because they come complete with a fuel sending unit.
2) The fuel pump will not last as long if you run the tank next to empty. Gasoline is a cooling medium for the always running little pump.

Disconnect the battery. Using a floorjack saves some heart & backache. I did not need to jack the truck any higher- just that much higher to replace the tank unless you pump out all the fuel. I put it back (35 gal tank) with the 5 gallons of gas. I've had worse auto repair. Not a bad job if you can get the fuel down to safely pull the tank without pulling your back:jawdrop:


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