No-start - 99 Chev Astro; 4.3 V-6


I have an 99 Astro Van with the 4.3 liter V-6 that my 18 year old son drives. On numerous occasions now, it has failed to start (always in my driveway). Th first 4 to 5 times, I would get home from work, try it and it would fire immediately. Then a couple of weeks ago, it would not start for 3 days of trying; cranks but will not fire. Had it towed to a local garage. When they went to bring it inside the next day, it fired immediately. Brought it home and it worked fine the rest of that day. The next morning, no fire again. Had it towed again. That day at the garage, it would not start on the lot, but they weren’t going to get to it until the following day. The following day (yesterday), it fired immediately. Every time it had failed to fire, you could smell a faint odor of gasoline near the front of the van, so (I am very naive about vehicles) I would assume that the fuel pump is working. Yesterday, they put a fuel pump on it. My son went this a.m. to pick it up and it would not start. The mechanic just says, “I don’t knowwhat to tell you…” Sounds like something electronic. Any ideas???


Smelling gas? Perhaps the engine was flooded.

However, I wouldn’t be going back to that garage any time soon.
He sure didn’t make a concentrated effort in finding the problem IMO.

When the engine is turning over is there any spark?

**Pull a plug and with the wire attached, rest it against the engine block and watch for a bright blue spark from the plugs’ electrode while someone turns the key to crank the engine over.

** When you remove the plug wire from the plug you want, firmly grab the boot, not the wire itself as you may damage the wire.
You may have to twist the boot to get it loose.

If there is an intermittent electrical fault, it MAY be a bad coil pack or an ignition system fault.


If the problem is fuel, consider the fuel pump relay. I had one fail on a 93 Chevy with the same engine. It would cause intermittent problems. I had always thought that relays just died, apparently some relays don’t like to go quietly.



It’s at a dealership now. A new coil pack didn’t do it either. The machanic said he put a spark tester on it while cranking during one of the no-start sessions. It shows a strong spark. Of course, it started when the wrecker came to transfer it to the dealership. If the dealership says they can’t find it when it is starting, it’s going to the junkyard. And, they will have made a Ford man out of a 54 year old life-long GMC man. Three tows in the last 3 weeks is a bit much to swallow.