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View Full Version : 96 tahoe wont start after running out of gas.



Peyton
06-28-2010, 11:28 AM
My gas gauge hasn't working in about a year and i've been going off my odometer and its been working fine. 2 weeks ago i knew i was running low on gas and ended up run out on the side of the road. A friend brought me 2 gallons and my truck started right back up and i made it to a gas station fine. Haven't noticed any problems since then.

Yesterday i should of had 1/4 tank of gas in my tank according to my odometer but i guess i was wrong and ran out of gas again. I went and got 2 gallons and put it in my tank but this time my truck didn't start. I hear the started but the engine wont turn over. Any ideas what this could be? I had a new fuel pump put in it last year and i would think a new pump would last longer than a year.

1996 4 door tahoe LT, 4x4 350ci 5.7L

Rice
06-28-2010, 01:08 PM
What do you hear?
If you hear the starter clicking but the engine won't turn over, then it is electrical - Either a dead battery or similar. Nothing to do with fuel.

If the engine turns over but does not start, you can check the fuel pump first by turning everything off, then turning ignition to the ON position w/o actually turning the engine. The fuel pump should be heard working for a second or two.

In general, it is not advised to run on empty tank. Fuel pump doesn't like that very much - It likes to be cooled by the fuel. It's a GM thing...

fxdwgkd
06-28-2010, 01:53 PM
Sounds like you are saying you hear the starter spinning but the bendix is not engaging? Try to smack the starter a few times with a hammer or handle of a screw driver. See if that does not get it to engage and spin the engine over. Sounds like you need a new starter.

8lugz
06-28-2010, 02:11 PM
Do you mean the motor turns over but won't fire?

If so it may be possible that their was rust or debris in the tank,
and running it that low sucked up the crap and plugged the fuel filter.

It is also possible that you overheated the pump, but not likely if only 1 year old.

Check for the pump sound when you turn on the key as noted above.

If the motor will not turn over then as stated above, nothing to do with fuel, prob the starter.

Peyton
06-28-2010, 03:11 PM
engine is turning but wont fire.

i was driving the truck and the it just stopped in an intersection. Definitely not the starter.

fxdwgkd
06-28-2010, 08:02 PM
engine is turning but wont fire.

i was driving the truck and the it just stopped in an intersection. Definitely not the starter.

Your OP said you hear starter but engine does not turn. Odds are you picked something up from the bottom of the tank. Pull your pump and check the pick-up

Randy_W
06-29-2010, 05:03 AM
I'll bet you $10 to a donut the pump is dead, running very low/empty is a recipe for disaster on an electric fuel pump, you're lucky you got by once, let alone twice.

Peyton
06-29-2010, 06:57 AM
well i'm hoping its just a fuel filter. If its the fuel pump should i just replace it with a stock pump or upgrade?

swb lt1
06-29-2010, 07:32 AM
if it is a fuel pump, then shouldnt you have a warranty on the one you bought 1 year ago?

Peyton
06-29-2010, 01:39 PM
doubtful. i had a random shop out of town do it. I go to college 100 miles away from my home town where i normally do the work myself.

swb lt1
06-29-2010, 08:04 PM
ahh, i dont think the pumps are too much...i might have one if your interested.

86customrdeluxe
06-29-2010, 10:16 PM
running out of gas with the electronic fuel pump is nearly on par with running an engine out of oil. well maybe not that drastic, but it's basically like overheating the engine. these pumps start to overheat when you run the tank real low. i used to run the tank on the 93 z28 camaro i had years ago low, and it finally died. ironically though when the pump failed i actually had damn close to a full tank of gas in there. about a month later i was having problems with the gauges in the car, and accidentally ran out of gas. luckily i didn't destroy the new pump when that happened.

Peyton
06-30-2010, 06:56 PM
well i replaced the fuel filter and my truck didnt start. I went to advanced auto and they said they they sell just the pump for $90 and the whole assembly for $190.00

I'm assuming all i need is the pump. Will just a generic pump be fine or should i get a certain brand like AC Delco or something. I'm doing this tomorrow so i'd like an answer quick.

swb lt1
06-30-2010, 09:05 PM
regular pump will be fine, and theres no need to by the entire assembly unless your gauge doesnt work either

Steve350ci
06-30-2010, 09:33 PM
You might get a sock if it does not come with it.

Darty03
06-30-2010, 09:50 PM
I would make sure that is the problem first by forcing the fuel pump to run. There should be a fuel pump relay you can jumper across to force it to run. I dont know where it is on your truck, but it should be under the hood with all the other relays. You said your gas gauge didnt work so replace the whole assembly if it is the pump. It should come with the sending unit, fuel pump, sock, and some fuel hose.

Peyton
07-01-2010, 12:10 AM
alright, as far as the gauge goes I'm not sure. It worked fine until the mechanic last year replaced the fuel pump. The gauge still moves around randomly but its not accurate at all. I would think that if it was broken it would always have the same reading. Could it be that the mechanic just installed it all wrong? I want to do everything right the first time, but i dont have a ton of money to spend.

Randy_W
07-01-2010, 05:40 AM
Pull it out, check everything, test the gauge by moving the float with it connected and grounded, then replace what's needed. As for brand, if you don't want to do this again next year, get an AC/Delphi.

CKTA
07-01-2010, 05:54 AM
The guage is most likely off because he bent the floater when taking out/putting in the new pump.

Peyton
07-01-2010, 05:34 PM
installed a new pump and assembly today along with a new relay and a new fuel filter yesterday. Everything works. Good fuel pressure in the engine bay but the truck still wont turn over... I tried spraying starter fluid in the air intake and that got it to almost turn over. Anyone have any ideas?

swb lt1
07-01-2010, 09:34 PM
check for spark...good spark.

Steve350ci
07-01-2010, 11:04 PM
Is there fuel spraying from the injectors when you turn the key on? You should get a squirt when you turn the key to the run position without cranking. Also have someone crank it a couple of times and see if the injector is spraying.

Steve350ci
07-01-2010, 11:07 PM
Sorry I just assumed that it had a TBI System. What fuel system does it have?

Peyton
07-02-2010, 08:02 AM
i believe its fuel injected

swb lt1
07-02-2010, 01:06 PM
he was asking if it was vortec or tbi

Peyton
07-02-2010, 11:14 PM
its a vortec, i thought tbi was pre 95 vehicles only.

swb lt1
07-03-2010, 07:23 AM
yes...95 was the last year of the tbi. Does it have spark? Good spark?

Red Bull
07-03-2010, 08:24 AM
im bettin its the ignition coil

Peyton
07-03-2010, 10:29 AM
it doesnt sound like its sparking. whats the easiest way to check?

Rice
07-03-2010, 10:58 AM
pull one of the ign. wires off the plug and put it close to metal part, block, etc... and have someone crank. Ware gloves.

Steve350ci
07-03-2010, 05:21 PM
Not trying to be a smarta$$ but you wear leather gloves the person cranking does not have to.

swb lt1
07-03-2010, 07:54 PM
pull the wire off of the distibutor cap that goes to the ignition coil, stick a screwdriver in the wire going to the igntion coil and hold it about an inch way from something metal, a ground of some sort...have someone crank the engine while doing this. you will see the spark if there is one.

Peyton
07-05-2010, 02:28 PM
if i did it right there is no spark. what do i need to do to fix the problem?

Rice
07-05-2010, 04:23 PM
Well, you are one step closer to the solution.
Start tracing the spark from the coil to distributor (if you have one)
Also see if the coil has power coming to it before assuming a bad coil.

8lugz
07-06-2010, 12:05 PM
I think it is possible you have a bad crank angle sensor.

Chevy_Guy6809
07-06-2010, 12:50 PM
if i did it right there is no spark. what do i need to do to fix the problem?

my guess is ignition coil....had the same problem on my truck.

Peyton
07-06-2010, 01:30 PM
not the ignition coil, not the ignition module. replaced both and it still wont start / spark. any other ideas?

scoyt
07-06-2010, 03:17 PM
Hook an old spark plug up to a plug wire. Put the plug on the exhaust manifold. Crank the motor, while watching the plug for a spark. What happens?

8lugz
07-06-2010, 03:27 PM
If the CAS is bad the computer won't send a signal to the coil.
Me thinks

Peyton
07-06-2010, 03:48 PM
what is the CAS?

99chevy7.4L
07-06-2010, 04:55 PM
Crankshaft Position sensor.

onyxblue97
07-06-2010, 08:52 PM
Check the distributor.....particularly the cap & rotor......even if you replaced it not to long ago......some of these available at the part stores are junk i got mine at Car Quest it was car quest brand.....it lasted not even 15000 miles I drive alot it didnt make it 5 months..as soon as I replaced it it cranked right up !!

Look for worn contacts/ burnt contacts...mine were charred and had a whitish dust all over.
and check the wires for any obvious cracks or so....if your spark plugs are old take a look at those to...start w the basics......Good luck ...let us know!

Peyton
07-06-2010, 10:53 PM
Spark plugs look fine. i put a new cap and rotor in it today and it still didn't start. There is a spark going into the distributor but there is nothing coming out of it, so I'm assuming i need a whole new distributor. Would i be fine going to a junk yard and getting a distributor and putting the new cap and rotor on in or should i get a brand new one. Obviously a new one would be better but i don't have a ton to spend.

Peyton
07-06-2010, 10:54 PM
also, is there any way to test the distributor once i taken it out of my truck to make sure that's the problem?

Peyton
07-07-2010, 06:45 AM
before i went out and bought a new distributor i figured i would test the spark plug wire as a last resort. I was told that the best way to test the wire is to set a voltometer to 20k ohms and when i touch each end of the spark plug wire i should get a reading between 6.00 - 9.00. I tested ALL my wires and got between 1.00 and 2.00. does this mean that ALL my spark plug wires just went bad? I don't see how they could all go bad at once, but i did put headers on my truck a few months ago and i was told there's a possibility they could burn up all my spark plug wires or something like that.

Steve350ci
07-07-2010, 07:04 AM
Check out this post he had a very similar problem and just got his running. 2005 Chevy Express 1500 Won't start!!!!

Peyton
07-07-2010, 08:51 AM
Check out this post he had a very similar problem and just got his running. 2005 Chevy Express 1500 Won't start!!!!

yeah i had been watching that. I already tried that though and it didnt work for me.

so far i have replaced the...

Fuel Pump / Assembly
Fuel Filter
Distributor Rotor / Cap
Tested the Ignition Module (Works)
Tested the Ignition Coil (Works)

only thing that is different is his spark plugs wire were at 6ohms and mine were at 1-2ohms

I'll try hooking up a spark plug directly to the distributor and see what happens

Rice
07-07-2010, 10:50 AM
Looks like you are doing a regular tune-up (except for fuel pump).
Just get the new wires. They're cheap and a good idea to change once in a while any way.
I would also wrap the headers.

onyxblue97
07-07-2010, 11:12 AM
Peyton I see youve replaced just about everything! The only thing you've not replaced is tha hall effect sensor ..or sometimes called an ignition pickup sensor, it sits inside the distributor.
It provides the ecu with information about rpm for timing control and the injector syncronizing signal.


You'll be able to see it once you remove the rotor it sits on thesid underneath the rotor........

YOu should see if autozone or advance can rent you a code scanner to see what codes you get

As to the ohms or resistance of the spark plug cables ..I was a bit desperate so I was checking everything I could think of....I saw online som sites said that 6 ohms is what you need
but I picked up a set of Duralast wires from Autozone that wen tested were at 1.5 and 2.7 ohms...depending oon the length.(i returned these since I did not need them)....... the old cabl0es that were already installed are about 5 months old and those were showing 6 ohms.... I don't know too much about this just wanted to share that with you so you don't spend to much time worrying about the cables.


Let us know how it goes.

Peyton
07-07-2010, 01:05 PM
i replaced the entire distributor including that sensor. As soon as i finished putting it in my battery died so I'll fine out later when a friend comes over to jump it if it works or not.

onyxblue97
07-07-2010, 01:20 PM
ok ... good Luck ....

Peyton
07-07-2010, 06:32 PM
new distributor didn't fix the problem, it still wont start. i have no idea what to do now.

Steve350ci
07-07-2010, 07:33 PM
Did you check the timing it may have jumped time.

Darty03
07-07-2010, 07:51 PM
Have you looked into the crank position sensor (also called crank angle sensor)? Three people have suggested it so far.

XLR8N
07-07-2010, 07:55 PM
Holy Cow you have wasted some money man.

You should have checked your fuel pressure first of all to see if you needed a new pump or not.

If your wires are not melted than they should be good. Besides the fact of the being old.

It is still turning over but not starting? Did you install the Distributor correctly? You bought a brand new distributor correct?

Do you have a CEL on?

What brand parts are you buying?

Peyton
07-07-2010, 10:58 PM
i didnt need a new fuel pump but the assembly was broken and my gas gauge didn't work. now it works. so even though the fuel pump wasnt my problem it needed to be replaced any way.

yes, its still turning but not starting. As far as i know i installed the distributor correctly, i marked it and put the new one in in the exact same position the old one came out. I dont know what you mean by CEL on. I've been buying AC Delco everything.

Could some one explain what i need to do to check the Crank angle sensor / where it is. I googled it and read something about needing to get a OBD II reader. I kinda ignored checking the CAS originally because i didnt think it would affect the spark, that i am still not getting.

XLR8N
07-08-2010, 06:24 AM
CEL - Check Engine Light
SES - Service Engine Soon


I believe the crank sensor is above the starter? I may be wrong.

bossier62guy
07-08-2010, 07:03 AM
Lower RH front portion of the Engine block, near the crankshaft. Shouldn't a bad crank sensor throw a code?

Peyton
07-08-2010, 09:01 AM
i found the sensor if its the one in the front / center / underneath the engine. It was plugged in and appeared fine. the SES / CEL lights are not on but i dont normally see them until the engine starts.

Peyton
07-08-2010, 10:12 AM
no auto stores around me rent OBD II reads so i gotta buy one. Should i get the standard one or the Plus?

hourang
07-08-2010, 10:29 AM
i know this sounds dumb but when i worked at a chevy dealer as a porter, i had a tahoe that ran out of gas. i ran over and added 2 gallons and could not get it to start. so a tech came over to check it out and later on i found out that it started right up after adding more gas. he said something like 2 gallons was not enough. could try adding more gas unless you have already.

8lugz
07-08-2010, 10:32 AM
Yep, but if the distributor is getting a signal from the computer your CAS is prob OK.

Rice
07-08-2010, 10:37 AM
You think that it might be time to admit your defeat and take it to a mechanic?
'A man has got to know his limitations'...

If you're not ready yet, can you just re-trace the spark issue?
1 - Your coil gets power and produces spark (Y/N)
2 - Your distributor gets spark from the coil and ALL plug wires have spark (Y/N)

Peyton
07-08-2010, 11:29 AM
i've tried to quit and take it to a mechanic a few times but he is swamped with work. I'm taking it in Saturday if it isn't fixed by then.

theres a sparking coming off the coil but no spark coming out of the distributor. I replaced the entire distributor and there was still no spark coming from it. Maybe the coil isn't sending a strong enough spark?

Rice
07-08-2010, 11:43 AM
OK.

A distributor is not very complicated.
The only thing that can stop the spark from coming through is the wrong timing of the spark, i.e. if fires when the contact point on the rotor does not match up with the contact on the cap.
See this link: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/ignition-system4.htm.

A question to those who know: What can cause the distributor to not fire?
I am assuming that the cap and rotor are new or in proper working condition...

XLR8N
07-08-2010, 12:56 PM
pick up coil. . .

XLR8N
07-08-2010, 01:06 PM
Didn't you already check the coil?

In order of things I would check if it were a electric issue

Starter & battery (easy to test)
spark plugs
wires
cap & rotor
coil
Distributor pick up coil



Are your plugs gapped correctly? Correct spark plugs?

Peyton
07-08-2010, 03:12 PM
starter and battery work fine.

i checked (tested) the coil and there was a spark coming out, whether or not its a spark that's strong enough i don't know. My buddy is coming over later to make sure theres .70 - 1.2 ohms of resistance in the ignition coil. HOPEFULLY that's my problem and everything will start right up. Originally i bought a new coil and hooked it and it didn't work but that was before i replaced my rotor and cap.

The ignition module was actually tested by 2 people at advanced so I'm positive that's good.

All of my spark plug wires including the one from the coil to the distributor have roughly 1-2 ohms of resistance. The recommended resistance it 6-10 depending on the length. so all of them "work" just not as well as they should be working, the manager at advance said theres no way 8 spark plug wires went bad and they would only cause a misfire. I also tried putting a spark plug right up against the distributor and it didnt spark so i dont think its the cables although i plan on replacing them soon anyway.

as for that spark plugs, they should be gaped properly. i had it done at a shop where people know what they are doing. I took 2 out and they were both in good condition, no corrosion or anything. They've been in the truck for about a year and worked fine, i assume they are the right spark plugs.

only thing that makes sense at this point is that the coiling isn't putting out enough of a spark and i need a new one OR i put the distributor in wrong which i really dont think i did. If i did put it in wrong i think i would still be able to see a spark it just wouldn't start due to a timing issue. I am currently getting no spark.


feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on any of this, I'm basing all of this off logic, not experience.

Peyton
07-08-2010, 03:12 PM
starter and battery work fine.

i checked (tested) the coil and there was a spark coming out, whether or not its a spark that's strong enough i don't know. My buddy is coming over later to make sure theres .70 - 1.2 ohms of resistance in the ignition coil. HOPEFULLY that's my problem and everything will start right up. Originally i bought a new coil and hooked it and it didn't work but that was before i replaced my rotor and cap.

The ignition module was actually tested by 2 people at advanced so I'm positive that's good.

All of my spark plug wires including the one from the coil to the distributor have roughly 1-2 ohms of resistance. The recommended resistance it 6-10 depending on the length. so all of them "work" just not as well as they should be working, the manager at advance said theres no way 8 spark plug wires went bad and they would only cause a misfire. I also tried putting a spark plug right up against the distributor and it didnt spark so i dont think its the cables although i plan on replacing them soon anyway.

as for that spark plugs, they should be gaped properly. i had it done at a shop where people know what they are doing. I took 2 out and they were both in good condition, no corrosion or anything. They've been in the truck for about a year and worked fine, i assume they are the right spark plugs.

only thing that makes sense at this point is that the coiling isn't putting out enough of a spark and i need a new one OR i put the distributor in wrong which i really dont think i did. If i did put it in wrong i think i would still be able to see a spark it just wouldn't start due to a timing issue. I am currently getting no spark.


feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on any of this, I'm basing all of this off logic, not experience.

onyxblue97
07-08-2010, 04:10 PM
Hey I'm sorry you've had to go thru this all....I'm stumped...did you ever check the crank position sensor?


I am not sure how to check it...how much gas is in it now? did you ever check the fuel pressure?

I am thinking about timing ...but ..i don't see how that copuld have changed.

If you spray starter fluid in the intake path will it start?

sorry just a few last thoughts.....let us know...

Peyton
07-08-2010, 05:03 PM
haha, tried started fluid but theres not spark. so nothing happened. I haven't tested the fuel psi but when i hit the fuel pressure valve fuel EXPLODES out of it, definitely enough fuel pressure.

i looked at the crank position sensor and its plugged in and secure. Don't know what else to test. I went out and bought a OBD II Plus code scanner and cant get anything to show up. My budy should be here any minutes to help me do some electrical tests

Steve350ci
07-08-2010, 06:17 PM
Check the connection on the ign mod just to ensure that the wires are in good condition. Also put #1 cylinder at TDC (the mark on the balancer and check to feel the piston in #1. then pull the cap and see if it is at #1 on the cap 5 o'clock. I don't know if that would keep it from sparking though. Check to make sure the rotor bug is not cracked also, they can crack and lose contact when installing them.

Peyton
07-08-2010, 08:14 PM
FOUND THE PROBLEM!

no power going to the ignition coil or module. Tested all the sensors and plugs and got 12 volts on everything but the ignition coil and module plugs. Its going to an electrical shop tomorrow. that has to be the problem. I had an ignition wire burn up last year that caused the truck to not even turn so another burned up ignition related wire makes sense.

onyxblue97
07-08-2010, 08:51 PM
Awesome Let us know what and where the problem was!

YOu had an Ignition wire burn up last year? what sort you mean a spark plug cable or something in the harness?

8lugz
07-08-2010, 08:51 PM
YAY!
:sorry:

Peyton
07-08-2010, 08:54 PM
wiring harness, a wire in in the steering column connected the the key ignition burned up.

XLR8N
07-08-2010, 08:58 PM
Dang.

Steve350ci
07-08-2010, 10:18 PM
Glad you finally found it. Let us know how it turns out.

Peyton
07-09-2010, 11:07 PM
The bolt on my steering column worn a hole through my wiring harness and caused my ECM to short out. This makes since because my truck would only die when i made left turns. Here's a picture of the wiring harness taped up and the bolt on the steering shaft. Truck is running fine again but i'm getting a bunch of codes now, guess i didn't put everything back together right. I'll make a new thread for those problems...haha.

http://i31.tinypic.com/2rr0606.jpg

onyxblue97
07-10-2010, 08:48 AM
Did you have to replace the ecm?

Peyton
07-10-2010, 11:00 AM
nope

onyxblue97
07-10-2010, 04:17 PM
Sweeeeet!...any fuses get burned?

Peyton
07-11-2010, 01:46 PM
ecm fuse. dont know how i originally missed that.