Chevy's first entry into the minivan class, offered in All Wheel Drive to add to its versatility. Platform: M-Body
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I have a 1999 Astro Van and nearly everytime it rains or sometimes when I wash it, it will not start. I've change the distributor cap and rotor, spark plugs and cables and even the fuel pump with no success. I have no issues at all in dry weather. Any ideas?
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New to the forum. I have a 99 as well wit the same issue. Really getting me mad too. Stalling on the highway twice really has me to the point of buying Japanese. Sorry, but I have tried everything. I even used marine rtv all over the distributor and wire connections. Also sprayed coil (Had to change twice in 6 months)with inslator spray. Summer has been very dry here so timewill tell. For the record my dad had a 97 and finally gave up trying to correct same issue. Too much time, frustration and money. Hope someone has a solution and post it, soon. I really like my ASTRO for everything from carrying family, boat, trailer, etc. but if it is not resolved its going before someone gets hurt.
Yes I have had it at the mechanics (friends) and they have not resolved the issue either. Taht was the second coil that they found, I found the first bad one.
I'm pretty sure I fix the issue. I used Mairne RTV Silicone 5200 and ran it around the distributor cap to housing. This is not sealed and water can get in! I also placed rtv on the connections for the Coil. One last thing I did was to spray polyurethane on the coil. I believe the issue really is moisture getting into distributor. I went through torrential rains which had me at the edge of my seat for 2 hours and all was well. Even cold damp days it starts right up without stuttering. Interesting, I forgot about that happening on cool to cold mornings before
I had this exact problem with my 98 Astro Van, for a number of years. When it was very damp outside (lots of dew or condensation) the Van wouldn't start. When it was dry, it would start well. --> Eventually I found the problem. The ignition coil was defective, i.e. it had a crack in the coil case. When it was damp out, the coil case would become wet, and the electricity would short (arc) to the coil frame. Hence, no electricity would flow into the distributor, or plugs, etc... When it is dry, it is harder for it to short to ground, so the cracked coil will work (somewhat). To check for this, try the following when it won't start. Lift your engine cover off and locate the coil. Make sure the wire (coil to the distributor) is firmly connected at both ends. Turn the key and watch the coil. If you see blue-white electrical arcing, you have a bad coil. I changed mine over a year ago, I have never had this problem since. Note: For this specific problem, change your coil before you spend money on plugs, wires, etc...
We are having the exact same problem with 98 Chevy Astro - Have purchased a new Ignition Coil and now cannot get the old coil out - 2 bolts are out but bracket won't budge. Did you ever find the trick to getting it out?
Ignition coil solved the problem. There are 3 nuts holding the coil mount down, 1 towards the rear and 2 toward the front, one on top of the other. The first nut holds the throttle cable bracket; the second holds the actual coil bracket. You will need a drill out 2 rivets to remove the original coil and the new one will come with the appropriate hardware to install. It took less than 1 hour to replace.
1999 Astro had always started on first crank. My problem started in Jan '09. One wet morning it wouldn't start. It fired/misfired a few times but no start. Didn't have time to fool with it for a couple days. Weather changed to cold and dry. Started like a champ. Next wet weather the same thing happened.
Put it in the shop for a tune-up including cap and rotor. It always started after that but a new problem showed up a couple of weeks later. During damp weather the engine would miss, usually at about 2,000-2,500 rpm. Sometimes minor - sometimes it would barely run. Back to the shop for cap & rotor. Ran OK (a miss every now and then) for a few weeks then started missing more frequently. Back to the shop. This went on for a year. Eventually replaced coil, MAFS, plug wires, and about 5 cap & rotors. Each time it was worked on it would run OK for a little while then start missing badly again.
There were times when the van ran perfectly. When humidity was down in the 20% range it ran like a champ. Also, if I drove it and got the engine hot, then parked it for an hour, it would run great.
Several weeks ago I had some work done on another vehicle at a different shop. I was very impressed with the young shop foreman/mechanic and talked to him about the van. He said bring it in and he would fix it, period.
And he did.
Took him the van during wet weather. On the scope the coil was strong. He put each plug lead on the scope. At idle it was fine. At about 2,000 rpm one plug would totally lose fire and the adjacent plug get both pulses. The cap and rotor were new and looked fine. He uses a diagnostic service who provided the answer. Crappy aftermarket parts!
The root of the problem is in the "crossfire" type cap - in some aftermarket caps "the conductive bands are routed too close to the plug wire towers". This results in arcing within the plastic of the distributor cap. The aftermarket caps I'd received were close to working OK. Adding damp conditions put them in failure mode.
The solution? An OE cap and rotor. From the moment the OE cap went on the Astro has run perfectly! Starts up at a tap of the key and not one single miss. Rain or shine, not a problem.
I've read on other forums where the problem was solved with a complete new OE distributor. I'm betting that just the OE cap would have had the same results.
It would crank until the cows came home and not start if left out in the rain. Found one of the distributor cap hold down screws was corroded to the point of breaking the threaded hole in the PLASTIC distributor housing and not sealing between cap and housing - $$$ later for a distributor, new cap, things were good for a couple of months. Came back again - this time put plug wires on, helped but did not cure it. As we were at around 150K miles, I changed plugs , 2nd time I think in 150 K miles. As much as I don't like Champion plugs, I couldn't get the AC's so put the Champions in - now have 167K on it and it starts anywhere, anytime.
Thanks, bobinmo. Pulled off the cap and rotor on my '99 and sure enough there was moisture under the rotor. Replaced with quality parts and now runs like new again. I wonder why the factory didn't install an oring in the cap to prevent this?