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Won't start - '97 Suburban 5.7 Vortec

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by CAVANALK5, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. CAVANALK5

    CAVANALK5 1/2 ton status

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    No luck using Search....

    '97 Suburban 4x4 5.7L Vortec (stock)
    -------------------------------------
    Topped off with coolant the other day and filled the overflow. Overfilled the overflow. I was headed home so I just figured I would siphon or syringe the overflow once I was home. Let it run a little while as outside temp was in 30's F. Got in drove about 2.5 miles up a bumpy county road. It died in motion at about 30mph. Rolled as far as I could. Would not start. Shade tree mechanic happened to stop. Tried jumping as I had cranked it for a bit. Used his meter and said battery was gradually losing voltage. Fuel gauge was around 1/8 tank and had noticed it recently varying more on inclines, declines, etc. Put a few gallons gas in with no luck. Ended up pulling it home. Left it for thr night as I felt like crap.

    Yesterday: charged up battery. No luck. Tried identical battery out of another truck. No go. Had spare fuel filter so i changed it. Tapped around on Fuel Pump Relay. Fuel Pump is cycling with key. Sounds strong. Outdoor temp about 50F. It cranks fine just doesn't start. Checked for codes with Hypertech. No DTCs.

    Dr. put me off work for medical reasons. Company is being a$$es on my pay. So I really don't have the money to do anything. Much less throw hopeful parts at this thing. Also can't work on it for too long so I don't get sicker before surgery...

    Any ideas? The cheaper the better. Any thinking it had to do with coolant. It was the only change before breakdown.

    Googling hasn't gotten me anywhere as of yet.
    Many thanks in advance.

    EDIT: Contrary to my sig there was only stock program in computer...
     
  2. JUNIOR-K5

    JUNIOR-K5 1/2 ton status

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    Do you have a spark also can be neutral switch
     
  3. Safari-K5

    Safari-K5 Registered Member

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    My dad had a 95 Tahoe non vortech but im sure it shares many of the same components.

    First off, if you ever manage to kill the engine from lack of fuel it takes nearly 1/2 tank or more to re prime that pump. had this happen to my father and it wouldn't pick back up untill the tank was nearly full. it works fine at low levels but once it pulls air its a pain in the butt.

    second is the coil. its a cheap item to replace and we have had to put 5 of them on the tahoe its good to have a spare with these motors as they will go out and leave you stranded. you dont even have to mount it just stick the spare coil on there and see if it fires.
     
  4. George_Pimpdaddy

    George_Pimpdaddy 1/2 ton status

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    I'd look for spark while someone tries to start it. ruling that out see if its getting fuel as if it did run out of gas it could just need to prime itself more.
     
  5. CAVANALK5

    CAVANALK5 1/2 ton status

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    I've never really been into one of these, so please forgive my ignorance. I hate paying mechanics so I'm one of those who Googles like crazy and tries to fix what I can myself...

    I jumpered the fuel pump relay to see if that could be...it ran the pump while I cranked. Cranked on it here and there fr a little while til I could tell I bogged the battery down. Had it on the charger so I tried it in "Start" mode.

    Was alone so I didn't have anyone to crank.

    Best way to check for spark? Also can I jumper the starter relay to crank while I'm underhood?

    I'll keep the 'cheap' coil in mind. Unfortunately nothing's cheap right now, so please take no offense to that. Seems like Murphy's Law loves automobiles lol.

    Is there any trick to getting I primed? Just crank on it or should I jumper the pump relay for a while and let the pump run without cranking?

    As a K5er I'm somewhat hesitant to add fuel to a 'drop-2-change-pump' tank, so I'll check for spark first.

    Should I be able to see actual fuel spray?

    --Thanks again for the replies guys.
     
  6. Rebil79

    Rebil79 Registered Member

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    I have a 97 also that will not start. First off, just cause the fuel pump is on dosent mean that couldnt be your problem. My pump was on but did not have the correct pressure. I beleive they are supposed to be around 55 mine was only at 30, with a pressure tester. Mine is coming up with two codes now, one crank sensor (already replace last winter) and a cam senesor. Gotta do more testing this weekend, Im thinking its my ecm.
    Mine truck did not just die, it was a gradual thing where it would take a long time to start, but when it did it would run fine. Just kept getting worse, untill now it wont start, well rarely it will but will only run for 5 seconds or so.

    Rebil
     
  7. CAVANALK5

    CAVANALK5 1/2 ton status

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    Rebil-
    Thinking back on mine, it always started very quickly and easily before this...

    I'm gonna see if I can get ahold of a pressure tester.
     
  8. Fordum

    Fordum 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    OK, first, either do it in bright sunlight, or get a good light, and just do an underhood inspection. Shake wires, follow hoses and harnesses and look at the distributor and all electrical parts really hard.

    It costs nothing, and since it occurred on a bumpy road, you just might see something that has come loose.
    I assume this is TBI, if so, you can see the spray when you take the breather cover off.
    But, you should smell gas if its spraying and not cranking. Just get a bright light and watch under the injectors when someone cranks for a second or two.

    Don't get you face too close in case if flashes back, and if you see spray, stop and put the cover back on.

    If you see spray, after you put the cover back on, pull off one of the sparkplug wires from its plug, slide a screwdriver up inside, and place it on the block where the metal part is not touching any part of the car, but is close to a grounded part.
    Like an 1/8 of an inch or less.
    Crank the engine, and you should see a nice blue spark within a second or so.

    Odds are one or the other is not going to be there. Either spray or spark.

    Let us know which it is.
     
  9. Rebil79

    Rebil79 Registered Member

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    Its not TBI. Vortec.
    But something else I thought of is that the bushing in the distributor can go on these. See if there is any play in it.
    Its not really a good idea to do this but you can take off the air intake tube over the intake (where the carb would be) and pour in a little gas and try to start it. If it starts for a second or two you have spark. Thats a easy way to check, but not the best way.

    Rebil
     
  10. 63chevyll

    63chevyll 1/2 ton status

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    I'm.with the check fuel pressure test. The vortec. Engines are picky on pressure and volume
     
  11. Mikey von

    Mikey von 1/2 ton status

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    I have a '99 5.7L Vortec Suburban, so mine may be a little different. I have dealt with these problems with some easy fixes;

    fuel pump (it cycled but did not provide enough pressure),

    fuel pump relay suffered intermittent failure,

    and the pass-lock security issues (which made me think it was fuel pump and relay again).

    Does your truck have a "security" light in the dash?
     
  12. supersize75k5

    supersize75k5 OrganDonorRacing.com

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    he really needs to check for spark, if he has it he can rule out the crank position sensor. If not.. id start there.

    If you have spark, get a fuel pressure tester.






    Also these years, at least in my case liked to corrode in the wire between the battery and starter.
     
  13. CAVANALK5

    CAVANALK5 1/2 ton status

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    Thank you guys for the replies. I'm sorry but I haven't been able to work on it lately. Been too sick to get out much. Having surgery Monday so hopefully I'll get a chance to play with it in a couple weeks.

    Any thoughts on Harbor Freight pressure testers? Or anyone rent-a-tool'd one from AutoZone?

    Supersize75k5: Would corrosion between battery and starter allow good cranking?

    Mikey Von: no security light. I don't believe my year has any security other than TheftLock on the stereo.
     
  14. Cornfield creations

    Cornfield creations 1/2 ton status

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    Since it ran fine, and suddenly died while going over bumps, I would check the spark as mentioned previously. The l31 eats plug wires and coil wires like crazy. Could be a bad coil wire. Otherwise make sure the FP has enough pressure.

    Also a side note, on newer vehicles ( I call this newer), don't use the "start" feature on chargers. They are known for spiking voltage and will blow control modules. Anything over 16 volts is bad. Safely charge the battery, or use a jumper box, or jumper from another car.
     
  15. CAVANALK5

    CAVANALK5 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks for the tip. Something about the start feature doesn't feel right. I've always used it sparingly if at all. Just the noise itself seems unstable...
     
  16. CAVANALK5

    CAVANALK5 1/2 ton status

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    Using these how-to articles:

    http://troubleshootmyvehicle.com/index_gm_4.3L_5.0L_5.7L/index_of_articles_2.php*
    [This guy's site seems like a great how-to site. Very informative and thorough]

    -AND-

    http://www.chevytalk.org/fusionbb/showtopic.php?tid/253427

    [Also very informative; I've seen several of his posts through my Googling.]

    ------------------------

    So over time, I checked for spark with an in-line tester between the plug and wire. No spark.*

    Replaced the Ignition Control Module (ICM)--and well, the Pick-up Coil inadvertently because I read the TBI-truck instructions instead of Vortec like a Dum-dum. Zip-tied the distributor cap back down tight. No spark.*

    Went ahead and tested fuel pressure. 60 psi at key-on. Had previosly poured some down the throttle body. No start.*

    Replaced the Ignition Coil. No spark.*

    Replaced the Crankshaft Position Sensor. No spark.*

    Also removed distributor cap and used a wire brush on the contacts to remove all corrosion. Reinstalled and zip-tied tight. Reason for zip-tying being screw holes are stripped and broken.*

    I've had this thing on the battery charger trickling the whole time.*Also tried a known-good battery from another truck. PS it's a PITA to get a battery in and out of an '04 Suburban!

    Any ideas? I feel fuel pump is cycling fine, so I think I can rule fuel issues out. I think this is a spark issue.*

    I guess my next actions are new cap, rotor, and wires. I'm thinking, though, even if these items were questionable, should it start but just run crappy?

    Thanks again to all!
     
  17. Pinsco63

    Pinsco63 Registered Member

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    Does this motor get a signal from oil pressure switch to give spark? Could be a bad pressure switch and ecm thinks motor has no oil pressure = no spark
     
  18. CAVANALK5

    CAVANALK5 1/2 ton status

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    I really don't know... Anybody else know?
     
  19. lovebomb_69

    lovebomb_69 Registered Member

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    Have u changed the distributor cap and plugs? i had a 97 that would run fine then around new yrs it every yr it wouldn't start acted like it jumped time. come to.find out it was a cracked cap and plugs. sold it after three winters of that lol
     
  20. kauzenkaos

    kauzenkaos 1/2 ton status

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    Id check the pink wire at the coil for key on power ive seen a few of those broken right before the connector. You have to make sure to check it at the termial and make sure you flex the wires around because the wire snaps inside the insulation. I didnt see if you posted where you checked for spark at but sometimes the coil wire will rub through and ground out stoping the spark from getting to the distributor so make sure you check for spark right out of the coil.
     

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