89 Chevy S-10 pickup, engine trouble



My 89 Chevy S-10 (4,3 V6) died on me while driving down the road, twice. After the first time, I changed the cap, rotor, and plugs and it fired right up. I drove it another 50 miles then it died on me again: same symptoms (sputter, sputter, dead). Now, the engine cranks but won’t turn over. I have replaced the Cap, rotor, wires, plugs, and distributor, fuel filter, O2 sensor all with no luck. The fuel pump works and fuel sprays out the throttle body and I get a spark from the wires when cranking the engine. I am at a loss as I have both fuel and fire but no running engine. What should I test next? Thanks for any suggestions.


You may have fuel but is it within specs? You need to get a pressure gauge on it to verify if it’s a fuel pressure issue or not.


Fuel pumps are not go/no-go. Fuel pumps can be weak or even intermittent. Compression problems you would have likely noticed. I wonder if you have a problem with the ignition switch or something along that line?


Are you sure that the distributor is in time? And after nearly 20 years the timing chain could have jumped a link,


You should test drive something newer. It’s time to move on.


I have seen this exact problem on a Chevy Blazer with the same engine. The final cure was to replace the ignition module. We also chased the ignition system because sometime the spark was there and other times it wasn’t.

Hope that helps. Let us know what the outcome is. TNX


Hello there,
Sorry it to so long to get back to you. It turns out the truck engine has very low compression. Not exactly sure where the leak is coming from but that’s what is causing the problem. The ignition module, fuel pump, etc all checked out fine. I won’t be able to work on the engine for awhile so for now I’m looking at getting another vehicle
Thanks again, have a great day.


Exactly how has it been determined this engine has very low compression and who determined it? What are the compression readings on all of the cylinders?

Low compression is not going to be off again/on again thing so just offhand, this sounds a bit strange.
Low compression could be caused by a very rich fuel mixture (say a fuel pressure regulator that is flat gone) which could then wash the cylinder walls down with gasoline. If this were the case then the engine oil should have a gasoline smell to it.


How in the world did you get your GM product to last more then 5 years anyway? I’m about ready to pay someone to steal my '03. It sounds like this was a problem that gradualy got worse. There is nothing shameful in having to go back and check your work. All those wires that run into the distributor (Except the plug wires, being careful have someone crank the engine and give all those wires a good shake. If it tries to start then somewhere around the cap you’ve accidently pinched the wires and created a partial short. If that doesn’t work then check your ignition switch, not the key cylinder in the column - they are two different things. The switch that actually does the work is under the dash board somewhere around the steering column and looks similar to a thick wireing harness junction. Have you replaced or tested the coil pack in the distributor?