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2000 Chevy Astro won't start

I replaced the intake manifold gaskets on my 2000 Chevy Astro after it developed a bad coolant leak. Put it all back together and it ran better than it had in ages.

Over the next couple of starts it had more and more trouble turning over. Now it cranks but don’t get any fuel into the engine. I plugged in a fuel pressure gauge and get no pressure on the return line when I turn the key. I heard the pump come on but wasn’t getting any change. I then turned it a couple more times and the needle slowly moved up. Once I got up to 40 PSI the engine started. It then ran just great until I shut it off again. I can repeat this process of turning the key on and off for about 5 minutes and after the pressure slowly builds it will start and run. Once running it doesn’t show any of the classic symptoms of a failing pump like loss of power or surging.

I suspected it was clogged lines. I replaced the fuel filter, the old one was fine but left the new one on since why not.

Not sure what else to try so hoping someone here can give me some ideas.


What does the pressure gauge read once the engine is turned off?


that’s FAR too low . . . it should be around 60psi

I see a fuel pump assembly in your future

It gets up to 50 after it starts but no higher.

It makes sense to first do a fuel pressure hold test and to verify the fuel pressure regulator’s not leaking, but I concur w/db4690 above, most likely a fuel pump problem. There’s a test called “dead heading” that might be worth doing too, which tests the fuel pump itself.

My Astro van acted like that before I replaced the fuel pump. I cut a hole in the floor pan above the fuel pump to remove it.Didn’t have to drop the tank.

If it’s any consolation . . .

Among all of our fleet’s vehicles, the astro fuel tank is among the easiest to drop, if you have access to a hoist

That said, one of my former colleagues had a hard time seating the square cut fuel tank sender seal properly. He managed to botch it a few times, which resulted in evap leak codes