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Won't Start

12-13-2005, 11:00 PM
New to the forum and need your help. I have a 92 Lumina APV 3.1. Parked the van outside because I was getting ready to sell it. We had a cold snap come through and I was unable to do anything with the car. I sat for at least a week in 10 to -10 degrees. This last Saturday I was able to go out to try to get it started. It popped over and then died. I tryed to restart it and it would not. I have checked for spark and there is spark. I have checked for fuel and the there is definitly fuel as the plug is soaked. I am at wits end as I said I need to sell. It was running great before I parked it. I have moved it into the garage to get out of the cold. And if I don't get this fixed I will be out in the cold. Trying my luck here because I am cheap and don't really have a way to get it to a mech. Any help will be appreciated.

12-14-2005, 12:35 AM
Well if there is spark and fuel to all cylinders then I think that just leaves timing. But if it was running great when you parked it then it doesn't seem reasonable to have a timing issue. How certain are you that ALL cylinders have fuel and spark? Is this throttle body injection? If so, pull the air cleaner and watch for fuel squirting from the injectors while someone cranks the engine.

12-14-2005, 10:00 AM
I have not checked all off the cylinders for spark and fuel but I assumed that because I was getting fuel and spark to one cylinder that I was getting it to all of the others. It is throtle body injected so I will watch. What will this tell me if there is fuel squirting when cranking and it still doen't want to start? If it is the timing how hard is it to change myself?

Thanks for your help.

12-14-2005, 10:11 AM
Need to start with a dry set of plugs before anything else...if they get wet fouled with fuel because of cold, they'll sometimes never work right again...At those kind of temps plugs will wet-foul instantly if it doesn't get totally "lit" the first time you crank it.

You could try propping the throttle wide open (key off, of course) to let it air out the intake and cylinders, sometimes that'll do it. Give it a few hours sitting like that then try it again.

12-14-2005, 10:45 AM
What will this tell me if there is fuel squirting when cranking and it still doen't want to start? If it is the timing how hard is it to change myself?

Thanks for your help.

This will tell you that you should be getting fuel to the cylinders and you can at least elliminate a fuel issue. jeffcoslacker has good points too, you should pull and inspect the plugs that are easily accessible, then gently clean the electrodes with fine grit sand paper if necessary. Be careful not to change the gap.

12-16-2005, 07:01 PM
I've just spent the last week looking for the cause for my '90 APV (3.1 TBI) not starting. And it's warm here in Florida, in the 70s. It just died, and showed a code 43. Checked every sensor, timing, spark, fuel, vacuum lines, etc. Replaced coil, plugs, cap, rotor, fuel filter, checked and cleaned EGR, pulled TB and checked it. Compression is 120-135 on all cylinders. The TBIs are spraying way too much fuel into the engine ... flooding it.

(This happened when we first got the van back in Dec 89. We hadn't yet learned to NOT touch the gas pedal before cranking. Had to have it towed to a dealer where the mechanic had to pull the plugs and dry out the engine to get it started.)

Finally, yesterday, I gave up. I had AAA tow it to a shop, where today the mechanic confirmed all my tests. Nothing wrong, except too much fuel being poured into the engine. Fuel pressure, he says, is normal. He's perplexed as to the cause.

Only other clues: over the last couple of years, the engine has slowly increased "rattling" while running, sound noticed mostly from inside the van, where it's relatively quiet. Rattling worse when cold. And the engine hasn't really had full power since it was rebuilt about 8 years at 287k miles. (Currently 423K miles.)

The point? With spark, air, and fuel, it won't start if there's TOO MUCH fuel.

12-16-2005, 09:06 PM
Thanks for al of the advise from everyone. I did the one thing that I thought I would never do. I held the gas peddel to the floor as I was cranking it. Obviouslly I wasn't getting enough fuel to cylinders and everytime I stopped cranking it just sucked air down the line.

I hope that you can fix what your problem. I read somewhere here that you may want to replace your pressure regulator.

Thanks again for all off the help. I will become a user of this forum from this point forward.

02-10-2006, 08:25 PM
I finally discovered the problemS with my '90 3.1L that wouldn't start... After a month of work on it, the shop replaced the electronic computer module (which was causing the flooding), the timing sprockets and chain (which had jumped eight teeth on the sprocket), and the distributor (which I'm told had a bad circuit inside it ... don't know what it could be). It's now running better than it has in years! Today, it turned over 424000 miles! Botteman

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