1997 Chevy Silverado Electrical?

chevrolet
silverado1500

#1

OK. I have a very interesting issue here. (that really means I have do idea what the Heck is going on). I got this truck from my step father, drove it from mississippi to washington (state) with minor problems. It’s been sitting in my driveway for the last 6 months and I probably drive it once a week. I loaned it to my sister-in-law and she drove it for a couple of days with no problems. She went out one morning to take it and it wouldn’t start, just cranked it for a few minutes and gave up. To make a long storey even longer, I though it was fuel so I checked the pump, changed the filter, drained some fuel thinking water might have gotten in, … to no success. I then started looking at electrical. Spark was getting to at least one plug. Pulled the distributor cap and cleaned it all up, replaced all the plug wires, and then tried starting it with the same results. (Oh, by the way, no check engine light so I assume no codes).
This goes on for a couple of weeks as it’s in the driveway and I only pop the hood when it’s not raining (we live just outside of Seattle). The other day I have the hood open, my wife decides to check on me since she thinks I’m talking to God and is wondering why I would use that kind of language when address a diety. I ask her to jump in and crank it while I pull a plug wire to see if I’m getting spark…again. Low and behold, the truck starts right up. I jump in to see if it’s throwing a code and nothing. The thing is running great. I did notice thaat there is a ticking coming from the engine compartment and I realize the plug wire is still disconnected so I turn it off (with much hesitation) connect the wire, go back inside to start it and the thing won’t start. I’m a private pilot and they say, if you’re flying along and you do something and the engine stops, undo what you just did. So, I go back out, unplug the spark plug wire, and the thing starts right up. So, I start thinking, try another plug wire. I reconnect it, try another, and it won’t start. So, what I figure is that it will only run when the second to the front cylinder plug wire on the drivers side on the engine is disconnected. Any help or even a nudge in the right direction would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance


#2

The first thing I’d do is buy a new set of spark plug wires. The truck just got moved to a state with very wet weather that can cause arcing in old spark plug wires and cause no-start or rough running.

(By the way, the plug wires will absorb humidity from rain whether or not the hood is popped, so keeping the hood closed during rain won’t keep old plug wires from arcing).

Then I’d verify the firing order, because I wonder if maybe you got some plug wires swapped when you pulled the distributor cap.

With new plug wires installed in correct order, then I would proceed with further troubleshooting if that doesn’t solve the problem…starting with pulling and inspecting the spark plugs.


#3

While I was at it, I would change the coil.


#4

& check w/a dvm to make sure that the spark plug itself isn’t shorted out to ground.


#5

I think you should replace the distributor cap. There may be an internal short sending all the coil output through that one plug. Unplug the cable, and spark output returns to normal for the other 7 cylinders. If you do a full job, cap, rotor, wires, and plugs, that should eliminate 90% of the potential causes. On a 17 year old truck, it’s probably well past due.


#6

After looking at some data for your truck I have to agree with @BustedKnuckles advice. It seems that about the only way for the trouble to occur the way you describe it is to have a bridged circuit, via the cap, for all the cylinders to cylinder 3, which is the second from the front number 1 cylinder. This would be very unusual to happen.


#7

Heet, let it sit a couple of hour, battery charger or jumper cables, after a couple of ours of cranking no longer than ten seconds at a time every 20 min it will probably start after a couple of hours, based on personal experience, no codes I assume, no explanation after examination by my mech, and been fine since oct, hope it works.


#8

Working with your hands in the area of the distributor caused the truck to start. It is likely that there is a bad connection and you bumped it into working again momentarily. Examine all wiring and connectors, especially those at the coil.