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#1066543 - 05/23/20 10:49 PM Won't Start 1988SS  
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1988SS Offline
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Georgetown, TX
The car has been running nice and most recently had it out last weekend. It is a 1988 SS with 350...all the CCC etc still intact so basically stock other than the 350.

Tried to start it today and it won't fire up. Seems to be getting gas but just cranks.

I'll probably get her towed to the shop after the holiday, but was hoping you guys can give me some things to check. I'm not that savvy as a mechanic so thanks for any help.

Darron


1988 Monte Carlo SS
#1066547 - 05/24/20 01:23 AM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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86ttop Offline
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If you have an extra spark plug around, pull a plug wire and hook up the spare plug and have someone crank the engine and look for spark. Good luck!!


Leo Paugh
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#1066557 - 05/24/20 03:48 AM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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Buick Runner Offline
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Most modern mechanics are pretty clueless with working on old carbed cars. Especially CCC systems that require old outdated specialized tools and test equipment that most mechanics will not have nor would they want it. Most do not have the traing to work on carbs or CCC either. Many will just want to sell you a aftermarket carb or EFI swap because its easier and more profitable for them. Anymore, we are mainly on our on as we are being abandoned by the auto industry. Unless you got a big fat wallet for LS swapping, then suddenly the auto industry will be interested in helping you. If your car isn't OBD2, you are SOL as far as the auto industry is concerned.

Quick checks to start with: is the choke closing, does the M/C solenoid click, is there spark, are any fuses blown, is the battery fully charged, any broken vacuum hoses? An engine needs compression, correct timing, fuel, and ignition to start and run.

Last edited by Buick Runner; 05/24/20 03:55 AM.

SBC powered 1987 Regal with TES headers, ZZ4 intake, ZZ4 PROM chip, mini starter, THM2004R, 2500 stall converter, 2040 cam, CCC system, and 3.73 posi rear.

2008 ex NPS P71 Crown Victoria, cop motor, cop shocks, cop brakes, and Jmod.

Never argue with an idiot.
They will just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
#1066559 - 05/24/20 01:12 PM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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Hunter79764 Offline
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Fuel, air, spark...
Air is easy, there should be plenty of it, especially if you pull the air cleaner lid off and it still won't start.
You can see if it is s fuel issue by spraying some starting fluid into the top of the carb while trying to start. If it's getting fuel as you are thinking, them it just leaves spark.
Check for spark the way it was mentioned above, just note that you need to ground the plug threads in order to get a spark to show. You might also have a hard time seeing it in full sun.

I'm a little out of my element on your setup, but if you don't have spark and it showed up all of a sudden when everything else was working fine, I'm guessing you can get some help here narrowing it down.


Shawn

'85 MC with budget 5.3L swap, TH350 with stock 2.14 rear end
It ain't much off the line, but it's nice on the highway
#1066560 - 05/24/20 05:19 PM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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Bitflipper Offline
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Here's my guess for a sudden no-start condition without anything else changing: Ignition Module.

Go out and get yourself a cheap timing light. Mine looks like this:

Bosch-Actron Inductive Timing Light

Hook it up to the battery and spark plug wire #1. Have your spouse/friend crank the engine while you push the button on the light. If it doesn't flash - your ignition module is fried. Common problem in these cars. New ignition module:

ACDelco D1943A GM Original Equipment Ignition Control Module

There are cheaper aftermarket ones available, but personally I have had the most longevity out of the OEM ACDelco ones.

Good luck with it!


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#1066569 - 05/25/20 02:17 AM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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1988SS Offline
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Georgetown, TX
I have verified that there is no spark using an "In-line Ignition Spark Tester". Hooked it up and cranked....no flashing light.

Would the timing light be a better test?

I'm probably going to move forward with the ignition Control Module. Any advice when replacing that module?

Thanks for the replies.


1988 Monte Carlo SS
#1066571 - 05/25/20 03:46 AM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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mmc427ss Offline
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Pull the dist cap, inspect the cap and rotor contacts to insure they are good. Replace the cap/rotor if necessary and only use a quality cap with brass contacts.

Without a VOM to test the pickup coil and ignition coil you are kinda stuck throwing parts at the ignition. There are other possible failures that will cause no spark but module failure is common.

A small tube of heat sink grease should come with the new module. Wipe the old off and smear an even coat across the modules metal surface. This grease is for heat transfer off the module. Important.
Bob

#1066573 - 05/25/20 07:20 AM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: Bitflipper]  
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jmireles Offline
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Originally Posted by Bitflipper


There are cheaper aftermarket ones available, but personally I have had the most longevity out of the OEM ACDelco ones.



Absolutely right! In the mid 90's I replaced the ignition module 3 times in two years. I kept buying a Wells brand module. The last time the module died I bought an AC Delco unit and no more problems.


-'87 Monte SS LS 2/4L65e Quick Perf. 9" w/disk brakes
-'89 Iroc Z28 Stock 5.7 Edelb. TES headers, Borla Exhaust90K
-'77 Trans Am 468(Stroked) Doug's Headers Flowmaster catback
B & M shift Kit 400 Turbo trans. Edel brock Performer
RPM Intake Sean Murphy built Rochester Carb. Restored
in '08. 3K
#1066574 - 05/25/20 03:36 PM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: mmc427ss]  
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1988SS Offline
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Georgetown, TX
Originally Posted by mmc427ss
Without a VOM to test the pickup coil and ignition coil you are kinda stuck throwing parts at the ignition. There are other possible failures that will cause no spark but module failure is common.


I do have a multimeter. Can you tell me how to test the coil(s)? Sorry for asking specifics but I'm a bit limited when it comes to ignition stuff.

Thanks everyone for the replies and support. I'm learning a little bit and hopefully I can get her running again.


1988 Monte Carlo SS
#1066576 - 05/25/20 05:03 PM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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Buick Runner Offline
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First test between the batt and tach terminals, the ohm reading should be beween 0 and 1 ohm. Next check the batt and the carbon pickup terminals which should be between 6k to 30k ohms. However, home coil tests are not conclusive and a failing coil can still pass them.


SBC powered 1987 Regal with TES headers, ZZ4 intake, ZZ4 PROM chip, mini starter, THM2004R, 2500 stall converter, 2040 cam, CCC system, and 3.73 posi rear.

2008 ex NPS P71 Crown Victoria, cop motor, cop shocks, cop brakes, and Jmod.

Never argue with an idiot.
They will just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
#1066577 - 05/25/20 05:18 PM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: Buick Runner]  
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1988SS Offline
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Georgetown, TX
Originally Posted by Buick Runner
First test between the batt and tach terminals, the ohm reading should be beween 0 and 1 ohm. Next check the batt and the carbon pickup terminals which should be between 6k to 30k ohms. However, home coil tests are not conclusive and a failing coil can still pass them.


Thanks! I have the Service Manual and its looks like it has some instructions for coil testing.

Is it common for a coil to go bad? It's 30+ years old so I guess anything is possible.


1988 Monte Carlo SS
#1066578 - 05/25/20 05:29 PM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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Bitflipper Offline
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Anything is possible, but chances are much higher that your ignition module failed rather than the coil.


[Linked Image]
#1066579 - 05/25/20 07:06 PM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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tomh115 Offline
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Had the same problem. My distributor died (beyond cap replacement). Had a local guy replace it along with all the other electric parts at once to remove the next failure. Good luck


[Linked Image]
1987 Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe
Objects in mirror are losing
https://www.flickr.com/gp/34317731@N08/3xk4xk
#1066582 - 05/26/20 12:42 AM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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86ttop Offline
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Brooksville, Fl
At 30 years old and possibly coil shorted internally, it'd be the best idea to replace the coil as well, good luck with your car!!


Leo Paugh
It's not an attitude, it's just the way I am.
POW*MIA
You are not forgotten
If things improve with age, I must be approaching magnificent. thumbs
#1066589 - 05/26/20 06:00 PM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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Hunter79764 Offline
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I was going to mention a module, but wasn't sure if the later ones were still as common of a failure as the earlier ones. It looked like the one for an 88 is quite a bit different than what I remembered seeing on the older stuff, but I haven't had a distributor in 10 years now, so I'm out of my comfort zone. I know that my dad and grandpa both carried a spare module in the glovebox of whatever they drove until they got to the EFI age. They fail without warning and will strand you wherever you are, but typically don't cost much and aren't hard to change. If you're digging in, a coil is probably cheap insurance too.


Shawn

'85 MC with budget 5.3L swap, TH350 with stock 2.14 rear end
It ain't much off the line, but it's nice on the highway
#1066595 - 05/26/20 10:22 PM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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AkronAero Offline
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Good time for a full replacement of the basic parts. Saves in diagnostics, although you may want to swap out one piece at a time beginning with the ignition module, jsut to see what you learn. A few quality parts and you are good for another 20 years. Let us know.
Gordon

#1066718 - 06/06/20 10:16 PM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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1988SS Offline
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Georgetown, TX
I've replaced the coil and ignition module. Still just cranks....no spark. Any other suggestions or anything else to check before I have it towed to a shop?


1988 Monte Carlo SS
#1066768 - 06/11/20 07:18 AM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: mmc427ss]  
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Honolulu
Originally Posted by mmc427ss
Pull the dist cap, inspect the cap and rotor contacts to insure they are good. Replace the cap/rotor if necessary and only use a quality cap with brass contacts.

Without a VOM to test the pickup coil and ignition coil you are kinda stuck throwing parts at the ignition. There are other possible failures that will cause no spark but module failure is common.

A small tube of heat sink grease should come with the new module. Wipe the old off and smear an even coat across the modules metal surface. This grease is for heat transfer off the module. Important.
Bob


Another thing to check is the rotor button on the bottom of the cap. Make sure it's there and it springs back when pressed. I've had bnib that the button when pressed did not spring back. Never had a pickup coil go bad on me but been told by a GM service tech sometimes they change out the whole distributor for a no spark condition.

Last edited by stew'86MCSS396; 06/11/20 08:35 AM.
#1066777 - 06/12/20 02:12 AM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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Rick's MonteSS Offline
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Ontario
Did you remove the cap and check to see if the rotor turns when you crank the engine.
Could be a bad gear on the distributor or timing gears gone.

#1066781 - 06/12/20 03:31 PM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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Buick Runner Offline
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Dharma station 1 the Hydra
Did you check the fuses?


SBC powered 1987 Regal with TES headers, ZZ4 intake, ZZ4 PROM chip, mini starter, THM2004R, 2500 stall converter, 2040 cam, CCC system, and 3.73 posi rear.

2008 ex NPS P71 Crown Victoria, cop motor, cop shocks, cop brakes, and Jmod.

Never argue with an idiot.
They will just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
#1066786 - 06/13/20 01:07 AM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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86ttop Offline
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The ignition coil cannot be tested cold, you need to take it into a place that can hook it up to a testing machine, let it come up to operating temp, then perform the test, anything other than that is invalid as far as testing the coil, Good luck!!


Leo Paugh
It's not an attitude, it's just the way I am.
POW*MIA
You are not forgotten
If things improve with age, I must be approaching magnificent. thumbs
#1066788 - 06/13/20 01:48 AM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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1988SS Offline
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1988SS  Offline
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Georgetown, TX
Thanks everyone....

Looks like it might be the pickup coil. stay tuned and I'll report back on that


1988 Monte Carlo SS
#1066886 - 06/18/20 01:08 AM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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1988SS Offline
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Georgetown, TX
Pick-up coil was the issue.

Thanks for everyone's feedback

Last edited by 1988SS; 06/18/20 01:09 AM.

1988 Monte Carlo SS
#1066889 - 06/18/20 02:46 AM Re: Won't Start 1988SS [Re: 1988SS]  
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86ttop Offline
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thumbs Thanks for posting back with the fix!!


Leo Paugh
It's not an attitude, it's just the way I am.
POW*MIA
You are not forgotten
If things improve with age, I must be approaching magnificent. thumbs

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