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Crank/no start- HELP!!!!!


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19 replies to this topic

#1 SLCGL87

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 07:15 PM

Just joined USMB after finding it a couple weeks ago. And, what great timing for the discovery....
I have aquired a '87 GL 5spd D/R wagon recently, with a cherry body and decent interior (that's what drew me to it-gotta love those southwest cars). The guy I bought it from said that he had bought it at an auction, and had intended to repair it and resell it. Needless to say, the "repair it" part did not happen-he just re-sold it-to me. Supposedly, it had ended up at the auction after being abandoned at a local shop by its previous owners because they did not want to pay the repairs charge. The guy who bought it at auction brought it to a shop, where they supposedly said something about a blown head gasket. I figured, sure, I'll get it home, put the plugs back in, start her up, and figure out what's the issue, and how bad it is.
Well, the long and short of it is she turns over like a charm, but absolutely no combustion. Not even a cough. So, I check the spark-at the coil, at the distributor, at the plugs. There's a spark. Check the fuel at the filter, then at the throttle body inlet-fuel comes out strong. Mess around with the distributor-nothing.
Three things of interest:
1. The car has been sitting for a while on a full tank of gas: any chance the gas has lost any combustive power, so is not able to explode (highly unlikely in my mind, but let me know what you think)
2. When the key is in the "on" position, there is a brrrrrrr sound (I believe it is the fuel pump initializing) that happens every 3 to 4 seconds (in my '92 Loyale, this only happens once, when I first turn the key to "On"
3. I removed the aftermarket cruise control, and cut some wires that had been going to the cruise control; I figured there wouldn't be a problem, as the device those cut wires went to is not installed anymore. Am I wrong, and might there be a ground problem?

Like I said, I'm new, but I would appreciate any and all help. Thanks!

#2 NorthWet

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 07:35 PM

Check to see if the distributor rotor turns when the engine is cranked. If not, you most likely have a broken timing belt. (No big deal).

If you have any doubts about whether or not if is getting fuel, try spraying a little carb cleaner into the intake tract. The cleaner is combustible enough to replace the need for fuel for a moment.

#3 SLCGL87

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 07:50 PM

Check to see if the distributor rotor turns when the engine is cranked. If not, you most likely have a broken timing belt. (No big deal).

If you have any doubts about whether or not if is getting fuel, try spraying a little carb cleaner into the intake tract. The cleaner is combustible enough to replace the need for fuel for a moment.



Ah, forgot to put that in the posting. I checked both of the timing belts, and they are not broken, and I didn't notice any oil on either one.
I'll try the carb cleaner trick and see what happens.

#4 SLCGL87

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 07:56 PM

Nope, carb cleaner didn't work. What else should I try?

#5 ()__1337_CRAYOLA__()>

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 08:35 PM

go buy some starter fluid and spray that into the intake if it doesnt start its a spark or timing problem and if it does start then you got a fuel problem....

just my $.02 Good Luck...:headbang:

#6 Numbchux

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 02:21 AM

the cam timing could be set wrong. specifically on the drivers side (drives the distributer). pull the timing belt covers off (if you haven't already), there's a little mark on either of the cam sprockets, they should be 180 degress offset from one another. if the driver's side one is set 180 degress from where it should be (i.e. the same direction as the passenger) it will spark on the wrong stroke....could result in the symptoms you describe...

#7 hooziewhatsit

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 05:13 PM

Ah, forgot to put that in the posting. I checked both of the timing belts, and they are not broken, and I didn't notice any oil on either one.


How did you check this?

I ask because the belts can strip some teeth off. Therefore, they don't work, but they still feel like they're there through the check holes in the cover.

The only way to be completely sure, like Chux mentioned, is to take the covers off, and verify the cams are 180* from each other. Also make sure that the rotor spins when you crank it.

#8 SLCGL87

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 10:05 PM

Thanks for the help so far. Here's where I am at currently, after trying the things that were suggested (Northwet and Crayola, I tried your ideas, too):
I checked the timing belts by taking off the covers. The cams are indeed 180 degrees from each other (the marks are). The distributor spins like a charm. It's getting spark to all cylinders, as well as fuel to the throttle body. I am running out of ideas. What do you think about the possible head gasket/overheating history I mentioned, and what about the fuel pump that seems to keep initializing? How about possible electronic control issues? Might something be amiss in the electronic control module?

#9 daeron

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 01:44 AM

I cannot recall who it was, but one of the very experienced users of the board posted recently as to how the spark plugs can be arranged in any number of ways, from a point fixed on the car.. meaning, basically, that you should verify your spark timing with a timing light if you can. To do this, you need to connect a pair of green plastic plugs under the hood, just in front of the driver's side of the windshield. The timing should be i think -30*tdc, but there are much more thorough write-ups on checking the timing in the USRM.. click the lick up at the extreme top right corner of the page. that would be the next step.

and get rid of old gas. now. it turns into varnish. any fuel left sitting for six months or more without additive to prolong its "Shelf-life" needs to be discarded, or run in an old lawnmower.... it most definitely does lose potency , and becomes doubleplus-ungood.

#10 Loony

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 01:55 AM

only takes three things to make a motor run

spark-you verified
fuel-you verified
compression ????????

do a compression test

#11 misledxcracker

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 08:45 AM

For one, get rid of that gas! Replace the fuel filter, too.

If the fuel pump is buzzing every few seconds like that, its most likely that the diagnostic connectors are plugged in. Check those, if plugged into each other, unplug 'em. They're green one-wire connectors, under the driver's side dash. Try starting the car now. Oddly, my 86 didnt start when they were plugged in...

Actually... find the connectors, and if they're connected, cool, if not, connect them, and check the ECU codes. If, for example, the crank angle sensor was shot in the disty... the car wouldnt start. There's a writeup on how to check the codes... I totally forgot the exacts on how to do it..... but then if the ECU's telling you something's broken that would cause the car not to start... there it is.

Um... well if none of that works, I'll try to think of more stuff...

#12 NorthWet

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 11:34 AM

only takes three things to make a motor run

spark-you verified
fuel-you verified
compression ????????

do a compression test

Correction: Spark at the right time. This has not been verified. The distributor may have been removed and reinserted incorrectly, the spark plug wires may have been mixed up at either the dist. cap or at the plugs.

It needs to be determined that the disty rotor is pointing at the #1 plug wire while the #1 cylinder is at/before TDC.

#13 hooziewhatsit

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 01:00 PM

It needs to be determined that the disty rotor is pointing at the #1 plug wire while the #1 cylinder is at/before TDC.


To do this, crank the engine over by hand until the passenger side cam dot is pointing North-West (or 10:30 on a clock). There, the #1 cylinder should be at TDC, and the rotor should pointing to the #1 spark plug.

And I agree with the old gas comments. It's probably bad by now. Easiest way I've found to empty the tank....
unhook the fuel line under the hood, after the fuel filter. Put a longer hose on the fuel filter, then run that line into a gas can. Connect the green test connectors, turn the key to 'on' (not start), and let the fuel pump pulse the gas out of the tank. Not the quickest method, but keeps you from having to undo plumbing at the pump, and finding a way to jump power to the pump.

#14 Loony

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 05:05 PM

Correction: Spark at the right time. This has not been verified. The distributor may have been removed and reinserted incorrectly, the spark plug wires may have been mixed up at either the dist. cap or at the plugs.

It needs to be determined that the disty rotor is pointing at the #1 plug wire while the #1 cylinder is at/before TDC.


Yes but this would leave other symtoms like popping through the carb and tryying to start sounds to me it is only cranking from what he says and if the head gasket is bad enough it could be the cause of little or no compression

#15 keltik

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 05:19 PM

+1 for compression test. If you've got compression do you really have a good spark? A nice fat bright one?

So theres no CEL or codes?

#16 misledxcracker

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 06:16 PM

to drain the gas... i usually just plug in the diagnostic connectors, disconnect the line from the fuel filter, and use a long hose to transfer the gas from the line to a gas can on the floor... turn the key to the ON position, and let the pump work it's magic. but it has to be watched closely... because the fuel pump pumping after all the fuel is out, can make the fuel pump really mad! once its done, turn the car off, and there it is.

i second the disty idea... and checking codes. :)

#17 SLCGL87

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 10:30 PM

Ok, so here's what I've checked today, and what I'm gonna check tommorow:

Checked the codes; all I got was the vehicle identification (code 6 in the Haynes manual) MT, California car. I checked this by leaving the green one-wire connecters in front of the driver's side window, putting the key in the "on" position, and reading the blinks on the ECU.
The book reccomended disconnecting the diag. wires under the dash as well. I checked the codes with both the diag. wires under the dash plugged together (pink 4-pins and white 4-pins), as well as not plugged together (and the green and white one-pins connecters plugged in to each for both attempts)
Needless to say, for all combinations, the code was the vehicle ID code-code 6. (By the way, I looked at my '92 Loyale, and the white ones are unplugged too. Should both green [I]and[I] white be unplugged after checking the codes?)
So, unless I am doing something wrong, nothing seems to be coming up in the codes.

-To reaffirm Loony, yes, all it does is crank. No popping, coughing, backfiring-nada-even with highly flammable carb cleaner sprayed in.
-To answer Keltik, yes, I have a pretty solid blue spark.
-For the TDC and distributor position, when the pass, side cam gear mark (the little pinprick hole) is at approx. 10:30, the distributor rotor is pointing at at plug wire 1. (thanks for the walkthrough, hooziewhatsit)
-The plug wires do go to their respective cylinders in the order of 1324 (starting at 1 on the distributor, I followed each of them back).

So....
Tommorow I will drain out the gas, and check the compression on all cylinders, as well as pick up a fuel filter and some fresh gasoline. If you have any comments on the above, let me know.
I really appreciate everybody's help!:)

#18 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 11:07 PM

I wouldn't drain the gas, or bother with the filter. Just check your compression first. Harbor Freight sells testers for about $10

GD

#19 SLCGL87

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 04:07 PM

So, here's the results for the compression test:
#1: 45 psi
#2: 0 (that's right, 0, zip, nada) psi
#3: 80 psi
#4: 60 psi
I am assuming that these are very bad, bad enough to make the engine not start.
So, methinks that I will begin searching for a rebuilt/used engine that has better numbers.
Anybody got any suggestions? I've checked with CCR, but want to look around more at all the options I have.
Thanks again for all your help.

#20 Numbchux

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 10:53 PM

head gaskets....not a terribly difficult project, not terribly expensive either.




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