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Old 06-18-2008, 09:30 PM
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TPI fans, I need help with my 87 C4

I've searched high and low and I've tried several remedies that I've found to fix the problem but nothings worked so far. Please help if you've got an idea.

87 corvette w/ 149k miles.

The car ran fine up until a few days ago but was a little hard to crank in cold weather, sometimes needing a jump start. The car has a new battery and alternator. When I first try to crank the car after it has been sitting I turn the key to on and hear the fuel pump priming for two seconds and then shut off. The first time I try to crank it it will start for maybe 2 or 3 seconds then die. After that the only thing I get from the motor is rolling over but no crank, not even a sputter. If I let it sit for 15 or 30 minutes it will crank for another 2 or 3 seconds and die just as before. I replaced the fuel pump relay and nothing changed. I did replace the filter less than 500 miles ago. I can also smell unburnt fuel in the exhaust pipe after turning it over for a while. I've got air, spark, fuel and compression but no go. Wondering If I've got a leaky injector or two thats letting fuel into a few cylinders and giving me the initial crank. When I turn the key to on the SES light comes on but does not flash, however, the security light is flashing, including while I'm trying to crank the car. I know its the correct key, but I'm beginning to think it has something to do with the vats. Does anyone have any ideas, and if it does sound like the vats, how do I bypass it to rule out the problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated, it's a cool night and I'd like to try to get it running if possible. Thanks, Brian

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Last edited by DaSouthWon; 06-18-2008 at 10:35 PM. Reason: additional info
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Old 06-18-2008, 10:59 PM
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To test the VATS/Ignition switch, or your battery cables, hook up a remote starter button to the starter, and turn the ignition on to the run position. If it cranks and starts it is a problem with the VATS, or the electrical portion of your ignition switch. If not, it is a problem with your battery cables.
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Old 06-18-2008, 11:40 PM
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If I'm not mistaken vats works by not allowing the injectors to fire when the ecu does not get the correct resistance load from the chip in the key. Will The ecu allow the fuel pump to run if I bypass the ignition switch?

Last edited by DaSouthWon; 06-18-2008 at 11:45 PM. Reason: correction
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Old 06-19-2008, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaSouthWon
87 corvette w/ 149k miles.

The car ran fine up until a few days ago but was a little hard to crank in cold weather, sometimes needing a jump start. The car has a new battery and alternator. When I first try to crank the car after it has been sitting I turn the key to on and hear the fuel pump priming for two seconds and then shut off. The first time I try to crank it it will start for maybe 2 or 3 seconds then die. After that the only thing I get from the motor is rolling over but no crank, not even a sputter. If I let it sit for 15 or 30 minutes it will crank for another 2 or 3 seconds and die just as before. I replaced the fuel pump relay and nothing changed. I did replace the filter less than 500 miles ago. I can also smell unburnt fuel in the exhaust pipe after turning it over for a while. I've got air, spark, fuel and compression but no go. Wondering If I've got a leaky injector or two thats letting fuel into a few cylinders and giving me the initial crank. When I turn the key to on the SES light comes on but does not flash, however, the security light is flashing, including while I'm trying to crank the car. running if possible. Thanks, Brian
Hard cranking in cold weather, sometimes needing a jump start. Makes me think you have a Voltage problem, as in battery cables. If you have a drop in voltage from the electrical portion of the ignition switch, it can cause the VATS, etc. to act up also.

The factory, side post, battery cable ends could look clean where they connect to the battery. I have seen many that have had corrosion wicking down the wire inside of the cable insulation, that you cannot see without stripping back the insulation.

Today, I just finished a ignition switch replacement(electrical portion) in a 89 Camaro RS with the VATS system. The old switch was worn out, and it was causing no starts, and running problems.

I am leaning more towards it's your battery cables that are your problem.
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Old 06-19-2008, 12:52 AM
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Even when it doesn't crank when being boosted? I'm really not trying to argue with your response, more trying to learn why? It turns over and did crank fine even with out being boosted since it has been warm. This problem appeared about a week ago and I have been unable to get it to crank since. Could it possibly be a ground problem? The gauge cluster lights just went out and both turn indicator lamps as well as the high beam indicator lamp stay on at all times. I believe this is a ground issue from what I've read.

Regardless, the car has no problem turning over, it just won't crank. Shouldn't the alternator kick in with enough juice when it cranks to keep things going? I mean when it cranks for just a few seconds like it's doing now. Like I said, not trying to argue, just understand.

I've got the battery on a charger overnight just to keep from cooking an alternator if I am eventually able to get it to crank. Thanks so much for your help.
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Old 06-19-2008, 01:18 AM
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Double check your battery connections. They will loosen up all by themselves, especially if the cables are old. The cable ends get worn down by corrosion and cleaning, to where they don't "bite" into the battery good enough, to make a solid connection.

I agree with you it sounds like a ground connection. To check the negative cable for a good ground at the engine, take a jumper cable hooked to the battery(negative) and connect the other end to the engine. Also, if it has a 10 gauge wire attached at the battery end, make sure it is clean and hooked to a good ground near the battery. This is your main body ground.
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Old 06-19-2008, 02:17 AM
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I just scanned for codes, and got a 32, which is the EGR valve. I guess that could equate to a huge vacuum leak. But I think I should be able to keep it running by giving it gas, but it dies. Would this keep it from restarting?

I am gonna dig into the cables tomorrow, Probably just replage them since they are 20+ years old. Probably replace the egr (major headache) and see what happens.
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Old 06-19-2008, 11:39 AM
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went and bought a Fuel pressure gauge and it doesn't fit and has no adapters, gonna head back to autozone to see if they have the right fitting. Did check a few things, pulled vacuum line off of regulator and got no fuel spitting through so I think its ok. Checked all injectors for resistance and none were below 16 ohms, I did however find one injector unplugged but still no start.
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Old 06-19-2008, 12:08 PM
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Your symptoms are a classic vats problem. Either you key is no good, if you have another one try it,your ignition switch is no good (most likely) or the ECM is no good(least likely).

The reason it wont re-start at all until you wait is there is a time out on the vats system. Once it thinks an unauthorized key was used it shuts everything down for 10 minutes.

I just did one (ignition switch ) 2 weeks ago. You can eliminate it if you find the 2 small wires that come down from the switch and out of the bottom of the column, read the resistance value of your key and add a suitable resistor to across the wires to eliminate the key read. Usually they are 2 small white wires.

Chet
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Old 06-19-2008, 12:59 PM
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The engine is turning over so I have ruled out the vats. Vats not only shuts down the injectors but also interrupts power to the starter solenoid. Gonna check my cold start injector to see if its stuck open
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Old 06-19-2008, 02:51 PM
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got the correct fitting for the fuel pressure gauge, I have 0 pounds of fuel pressure. Seems like that may be a small problem. Through the filler neck I go.
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Old 06-19-2008, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaSouthWon
I've searched high and low and I've tried several remedies that I've found to fix the problem but nothings worked so far. Please help if you've got an idea.

87 corvette w/ 149k miles.

The car ran fine up until a few days ago but was a little hard to crank in cold weather, sometimes needing a jump start. The car has a new battery and alternator. When I first try to crank the car after it has been sitting I turn the key to on and hear the fuel pump priming for two seconds and then shut off. The first time I try to crank it it will start for maybe 2 or 3 seconds then die. After that the only thing I get from the motor is rolling over but no crank, not even a sputter. If I let it sit for 15 or 30 minutes it will crank for another 2 or 3 seconds and die just as before. I replaced the fuel pump relay and nothing changed. I did replace the filter less than 500 miles ago. I can also smell unburnt fuel in the exhaust pipe after turning it over for a while. I've got air, spark, fuel and compression but no go. Wondering If I've got a leaky injector or two thats letting fuel into a few cylinders and giving me the initial crank. When I turn the key to on the SES light comes on but does not flash, however, the security light is flashing, including while I'm trying to crank the car. I know its the correct key, but I'm beginning to think it has something to do with the vats. Does anyone have any ideas, and if it does sound like the vats, how do I bypass it to rule out the problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated, it's a cool night and I'd like to try to get it running if possible. Thanks, Brian
There's two fuel pump relay sequences, one switches on as soon as the key is engaged to the start position, it holds the pump on for about 30-40 seconds. If the engine starts then another circuit keeps the relay latched or it may use two different relays connecting the pump to the run relay and dropping the primer relay out. If the engine doesn't start in the alloted time, the primer sequence shuts off stopping the pump. But that should come back immediately after cycling the key from start to off and back to start.

Bogie
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:17 PM
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I replaced the relay thats between the booster and wiper motor, is there another relay. What I cant figure out is why I can smell fuel and I get the initial crank for a second or 2. If I have no fuel pressure at all, which is whats being indicated by the gauge, why does it give me a short burst whenI first try to crank it after I let it sit for a while?


I'm gonna replace the pump in the next few days.
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Old 06-19-2008, 11:08 PM
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There is only one relay for the fuel pump. There are 2 fuses for the relay. In the convenience center there is a 4 fuse holder, it is the bottom #4 5 amp fuse,this also sends power to the oil pressure sender. In the main fuse box (passenger side inside) fuse #24, bottom row, #4 left to right, is a 10 amp fuse.

Hope this helps.

Stephen
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