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Old 01-19-2019, 06:19 PM   #1
96CamaroSS
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96 Camaro SS Cranks but won't start

Hello guys/ gals,

My brother just decided to get his 96 SS out of a 8 year slumber (yes I know 8 years without starting it I even gave him crap about it). The car only has 16K on it and we can not get it to start. There is strong spark coming from the coil but if I take the #1 plug wire off it will fire once in a while and it's weak. Car will not start with starting fluid. So far we have checked the ICM, Coil (tried ones from a running car) and changed the Optispark with a new one (old one looked fine). Also swapped out the PCM from another running car. We still can not get spark. This is day #3 on this car and I'm out of ideas. Anyone shed some light on my problem?
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Old 01-19-2019, 10:17 PM   #2
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Re: 96 Camaro SS Cranks but won't start

Well, the fact that you are getting a strong spark out of the coil means:

1. coil module is ok

2. getting a signal from the optispark to the PCM

3. you are getting a control signal to the coil module from the PCM......

So, exactly where are you checking the spark? Right out of the coil end, or out of the end of the wire that is going to the distributor?

When you changed the optispark, did you reuse the cap, or use the one that came with the new optispark? What about the rotor? Reused or new?

Are you absolutely sure it was installed correctly?

If a new cap and rotor was installed, and the distributor was installed correctly, I would be leaning towards ignition wires......

I hated Optispark.....at 100K, that was tuneup time, if it even lasted that long.....someone comes in for a tuneup with his Firebird, and you better have a pillow to throw under his head when he passes out after you tell him how much it will cost.......cap, rotor, plugs, wires, w/p, coolant, air and fuel filters, pcv(?)......then there is the labor time for those plugs.......the labor time for those wires.....we always RECOMMENDED w/p replacement if it was never replaced.....last thing you want is coolant coming out of that weep hole in the pump and taking out your Optispark.......
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Old 01-20-2019, 05:12 PM   #3
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Re: 96 Camaro SS Cranks but won't start

We are checking for spark at the plug wire on #1 cyl. This is about my 5th optispark I've done so I know its installed correctly and it is a complete new unit. (aftermarket) It's acting the same way before I changed the optispark out.
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Old 01-20-2019, 06:43 PM   #4
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Re: 96 Camaro SS Cranks but won't start

Obviously, you installed a new coil wire, right? And other ignition wires? I know they're a real hassle to get at in the factory looms hugging the block, but you could temporarily route them randomly to test fire it.
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Old 01-20-2019, 10:21 PM   #5
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Re: 96 Camaro SS Cranks but won't start

What I meant was, you said you had a strong spark from the coil....was this strong spark noticed right out of the coil with a test wire and spark tester, or was the strong spark coming from the spark tester installed at the end of the wire that goes into the distributor? This is the first place you should be checking for spark.....

If you have a strong spark out of the coil, and a weak one from one of the ignition wires, then it's either the cap, rotor or wires.....you say it's a new cap and rotor, and installed correctly, so that leads me to the ignition wires....

Like Blue suggests, get a good test wire and attach it to the distributor at #1, and attach your spark tester to the end of it to see if you have a strong spark(should be the same as out of the coil).....
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Old 01-21-2019, 04:21 PM   #6
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Re: 96 Camaro SS Cranks but won't start

Nice sharp blue spark, not lazy orange. Lol
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Old 02-22-2019, 09:02 AM   #7
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Re: 96 Camaro SS Cranks but won't start

the PCM wiring can be the problem . opti creates a good spark and you do have the correct fuel pressure then it is a PCM issue wiring rodents etc...

I have a 1996 Impala for 23 yrs .. do all the work ..
16K miles on it ? was this in a living room or in a barn for 8 yrs ?
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Old 03-20-2019, 07:49 PM   #8
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Re: 96 Camaro SS Cranks but won't start

Update: Sorry it's taken so long. After messing around with the car we also determined that the "new" distributor was bad giving us weak to no spark. So after putting the original distributor in and replacing the injectors with reman ones I'm happy to say that the car starts and runs. I appreciate all the info and help everyone has given.
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Old 03-21-2019, 05:19 PM   #9
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Re: 96 Camaro SS Cranks but won't start

Quote:
Originally Posted by 96CamaroSS View Post
Update: Sorry it's taken so long. After messing around with the car we also determined that the "new" distributor was bad giving us weak to no spark. So after putting the original distributor in and replacing the injectors with reman ones I'm happy to say that the car starts and runs. I appreciate all the info and help everyone has given.
when I do the water pump I take the opti out and clean up the interior and check for any bearing issues. also the venting harness requires testing and that can also cause the opti to fail because of arcing gases not being sucked out threw the venting harness..

I put the opti on connect it then plug in the scan tool.. water pump off. then start the engine and check for codes takes 10 sec ... then if all is good I put the water pump on and complete the job...

what opti manufacturer did you use ? many have had new opti not work and did pay $300 for these distributors. before I install opti I do a pressure test to be sure the seals are good.. also make sure the rotor screws are with med blue loctite as these screws will loosen if not properly secured with thread loc..

thanks for the results.
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