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Minivan cranks over/wont start


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dorr totten
New User

Apr 25, 2017, 12:12 PM

Post #1 of 9 (926 views)
  post locked   Minivan cranks over/wont start  

Hello,
I have a 1999 Oldsmobile Silhouette Minivan/184,000 miles/ 3400 V-6 motor
IN November 2016, It was progressively getting a little harder to start each time until it stranded me. Friend ASE mechanic replaced corroded ignition coils. Ran good. January 2017 a head gasket leak developed. To my knowledge, head not warped, did a liquid gasket fix (Blue Devil brand) , did properly and it did work. I did not have $1500 for the standard replace of gasket. Did experience what I think was a vapor lock after and it wouldn't crank until following day. Did oil change first, and it did start rough after that but smoothed out over time. March 2017, stranded me again. Same friend replaced ignition module and a camshaft sensor, ran OK until a few days later, he looked at it and didn't know yet what it was yet and had to go out of town so I took it to the small used car dealer where I bought it. They replaced the filament sensors in the air intake that work with the fuel lean mix(forget what they are called) and the additional camshaft sensors. Same thing happened a some days later. Took it back and a specialists diagnostics mechanic went there and found only that the new module had no electrical feed out on the load side. Replaced with a second hand module that was known to be in working condition and it started fine when I picked it up. Still not as nicely as before NOV 2017 though. The next day it wouldn't start. Every time getting stranded, it cranked over but didn't start. What is worse, tow it to the dealer and they start it it right up. They had to go back repeatedly until they catch it not wanting to start like happened to me. After the last time of picking it up from the dealer, on day 3, I returned to where the car stranded me again the prior day and it started up. Got home, turned it for 10 minutes and went to restart-NOPE! I had to replace the starter which died (confirmed via test), alternator outputting 14volt, but have NOT replaced spark plug/wires/rotor/ or cap as of yet. All the fuses checked out fine at the dealer. ANY IDEAS???


kev2
Veteran
kev2 profile image

Apr 25, 2017, 12:26 PM

Post #2 of 9 (922 views)
  post locked   Re: Minivan cranks over/wont start  

it seams a lot of people are working on this vehicle, and some questionable events, filament sensor, electrical feed - second hand module all raise a red flag.
We will dismiss the head gasket in a bottle, lets just say not a preferred repair.
You have not mentioned any scans or codes - which is first step, next would be fuel pressure with a gauge - then the no start basics, is there spark, injector pulse, compression and good vacuum that information will determine a starting place.


(This post was edited by kev2 on Apr 25, 2017, 12:30 PM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Apr 25, 2017, 1:02 PM

Post #3 of 9 (909 views)
  post locked   Re: Minivan cranks over/wont start  

Let me clear up a couple things.

First, there is not such thing as a vapor leak on a fuel injected car so you had some other issue.
Second, there is no such thing as "Mechanic in a can" so your engine still has a blown head gasket and all you did is buy a little time that should have been spent replacing the car before it dies for good.
You're trying to use bubble gum and that just isn't going to work. You are just throwing money away at this point because you have a blown head gasket that has not been repaired.



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Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Apr 25, 2017, 2:02 PM

Post #4 of 9 (902 views)
  post locked   Re: Minivan cranks over/wont start  

I agree with HT. If this did indeed have a head gasket issue or even lower intake gaskets going, those need to be repaired correctly first. I really don't see blue devil stopping an intake manifold gasket leak.

To be honest the U vans are pieces of junk. They had nothing but issues with the coolant systems in those vans. Crap design.





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dorr totten
New User

Apr 25, 2017, 9:52 PM

Post #5 of 9 (884 views)
  post locked   Re: Minivan cranks over/wont start  

Hi,
I wanted to thank all of you for answering. By vapor lock, I was trying to refer to coolant still in the piston after finishing with adding temporary gasket repair, creating a suction effect that would stop pistons from rotating/cranking. I also forgot that 3 vacuum leaks were found and fixed, not that it solved the problem. At this point, it doesn't sound like the head gasket is related, nor does it sound like there is any good remedy either. It has fuel pressure, spark, fuses good, etc,,- so replacing the head gasket is probably a moot point and not worth it with these phantom electrical issues. I am hearing "Piece of crap, get rid of it".
I am able now to buy a different used van. I cant do a new vehicle right now, and I use minivans for work purposes, so I wondered if you wouldn't mind sharing your opinion on what mini van seems to rise to the top. I just don't want to go from one lousy performer to another. I will probably end up having to buy something with 100,000 plus miles due to economics. Again, thank you for your time!


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Apr 26, 2017, 5:27 AM

Post #6 of 9 (867 views)
  post locked   Re: Minivan cranks over/wont start  

That would be a "Hydro-lock", not a vapor lock. Vapor lock is a fuel boiling in the line issue that only applied to older cars. It would take a lot of coolant in the cylinder to hydro-lock and that would prevent the engine from cranking. Removing the spark plug on the offending cylinder would quickly resolve that. That would also indicate that your repair attempt totally failed so I doubt that is the issue.

We aren't really saying the van is junk. What we are saying is that unless you are prepared to repair the head gasket properly, you shouldn't be looking at any other issues. That is first priority.
As far as new vans go, Toyota is the leader by far. In a good priced van, Grand Caravan/ Town and Country have been very popular for years.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



dorr totten
New User

Apr 26, 2017, 1:07 PM

Post #7 of 9 (851 views)
  post locked   Re: Minivan cranks over/wont start  

Hello,
I cant help but wonder with trying to fix the no start in my Olds Silhouette, if something wasn't missed? I don't know. It boils down to missing spark or fuel and a good deal of money has been spent each time. It took time to build up my repair fund and that is gone now. If I could have dependably run the van another few weeks on the the temporary gasket, I would have been in the clear to get the head gasket replaced.
It looks like I can get into another car with no out of pocket money so that is why I am inclined to abandon it, accrue additional loan debt and roll the dice on potential repair issues in another used car. Thank you for vehicle recommendations because that can help in guiding my search toward vans that have proven track records.

Much appreciated - Dorr Totten


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Apr 26, 2017, 1:10 PM

Post #8 of 9 (849 views)
  post locked   Re: Minivan cranks over/wont start  

You're welcome

I'll close this now as finished.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 20, 2017, 5:07 PM

Post #9 of 9 (736 views)
  post locked   Re: Minivan cranks over/wont start  

POSTED BY DORR TOTTEN IN ANOTHER THREAD

Hello,
I had posted before but the old thread is now closed. I wanted top report back. I have a 99 Oldsmobile Silhouette with the 3.4 L motor 187K miles. I noticed it was becoming more difficult to start each time, but it would. Then as time went on, there were some times when it would start but once I shut it off, then it would only turn over and not start again until after after sitting for a day or two. Toward the end and without fail, every time I started it and ran it a while, as soon as I shut it off, it would only turn over but not start for the rest of the day and for the next 2-3 days. After allowing the van to sit a few days again and with a cold engine, quite a few times I could shut it off right away and get it to restart, although it would restart a little rough. If I waited to shut it off after the engine was warmed up a little, then it would do the no start and would only crank over for the next 2-3 days. If I dared to venture out anywhere, I just couldn't shut my car off. Even the rough running, it never stalled out on me.

Between the 3 different mechanics, I had the following replaced:
-Ignition coils
-Ignition Module
-Crankshaft sensor
-Cam sensors
-MAF sensors
-fixed 3 vacuum leaks
-Starter
-Plugs and wires

One more try: I decided on another local mechanic and told him all. This shop was even more expensive so upfront I explained in a nice way that I did not want someone who is computer smart but experience dumb. They had such a guy. Like the others, they had difficulty getting the problem to replicate but once they did they got it.

DIAGNOSIS: BAD WIRING FROM CRANKSHAFT SENSOR TO IGNITION MODULE

They ran new wires and problem solved. It would also help explain why other parts were going bad during the process. Just wanted to share ; hopefully it helps others.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.







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