Stopped running and won't start

60

Asked by Jul 26, 2014 at 12:00 PM about the 1985 Chevrolet C/K 10

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

was running and shut off and now it will turn over but not start. I have replaced the Coil, Int
Module, Pickup coil. Basiclie  rebuilt the Distributor.   still not running.
It is an 84 chevy c-10 305

36 Answers

64,465

Did you check for fuel?

9 of 9 people found this helpful.
60

replaced the in line filter and backed off on the fuel line and we have fuel. I even tried to place fuel in the carb.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.
64,465

Check fire at plug,if you have it,check fuel pressure,if you have fuel pressure at carb,then you may need to make sure you are incorrect timing.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
900

This is actually a common problem in 70s and 80s C10s and no one ever get's the right answer. If no one has re-wired this truck in the past then turn your key to the run position and check to see if your turn signals and back up lights are working. IF NOT, then you also do not have 12 volts feeding the coil on top of the distributor. The C10s use electrical contacts mounted on the steering column and mechanically controlled by the key with a push rod. This is called an "Ignition Starter Switch" in the parts list (part numbers vary depending on "tilt" and "column shift" options. NAPA #ECH KS7066 for example is for a non- tilt application) The contact that feeds 12 volts to the coil get's it's voltage straight from the 12v lug on the starter solenoid. It makes contact with the switch output in both the start (pin B1 to I1) and run position (pin B2 to I1) one or both (B1 and/or B2) can be bad inside the switch. The output (pin I1) then goes to the coil, and also to the back up and turn light fuses - ONLY! The rest of the fuse box is fed by two other contacts in this switch (in the second connector - red #14 wires) from direct wires to the + lug on the solenoid, so all other systems will work properly) One further possible complication that makes it harder to detect if you are working alone is that you will have voltage to the coil, back up and turn lights in the run position but not in the start position. This is still a bad switch and it needs to be replaced. At $11 to $13 don't try to pull it apart and fix it - just replace it with a new one. The professional way to test is to use a volt meter and test for 12 volts on the pink wire (looks like pinkish purple to me) at the connector to the switch. Test both the "run" and "start" positions. No 12 volts in either or both positions = replace with a new switch.

36 of 36 people found this helpful.
60

mail me a copy

4 of 4 people found this helpful.
50

I bet it's the electronic spark control (ESP) up underneath the dash above the glove box. You will see a silver box with a plug in.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
900

Eric: I know it sounds ridiculous - "...if the back-up lights don't work the engine wont start" but it's absolutely true if the engine is wired according to factory specs. The ESC only controls the advance and the engine can run with the ESC completely failed - not very efficiently, mind you, but it will run. It's kind of like disconnecting the vacuum hose to an older distributor, the engine runs, but with no control over the advance. But its a really simple matter of looking at the wiring diagram and you see that the voltage for the back-up lights and the ignition coil voltage come from the same connection in the key switch. The way this switch is built, it doesn't slowly go bad - it will fail with one key turn. Pull an old one apart and you will see why. The other test I didn't mention is to use a volt meter at the coil itself, but if there is no voltage here, the only thing in the path to the battery is the ignition switch, a terminal connection mounted on the firewall and a fusible link at the starter solenoid/battery connection.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Sounds like the same problem i have. Nothing is wrong with your ignotion if you turn the key and the engine turns. But exactly what happens? When you turn the key does the engine turn slowly and drain the battery? If so the fix could be as simple as shimming the starter or just replacing the battery cables to the starter and ground.

20

I have some what of a similar issue but can't figure out what is going on.. I have a 1984 c10 with a 85-86 Trans am 305 motor that was running ok this morning, well tell me why when I go try to turn it back on few hours later starter starts making grinding noise and is unable to turn the engine just my luck so I go to the auto parts store pick up a new starter slap it in and go to turn the ignition and NOTHING happens ... All the power inside the cab is out radio, power windows , brake lights , no lights on the dash not even a click when I turn the key but when I turn on the light switch my headlamps and back running lights turn on ? I checked battery has 12v , checked fuses they are ok, checked the starter if I had maybe connected the wrong wires plus used a driver on the power leads on start to see if it turned which did so moved on to the rest of the wiring checking for loose grounds or bunt wires and I'm unable to find anything .. I'm out of ideas if anyone here could help me please , I was wondering if maybe there's a main power relay and where is it located ?...

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
900

David, There should be a terminal block on the firewall just left of the break assist vacuum bell. Make sure the fusible link that is supposed to be there isn't blown. Sometimes people will remove the link and connect a heavy wire or metal bar across the two lugs. In either case, make sure all the wires connected to this two lug terminal have a good, tight and clean connection. 12 volts comes from your key switch through the fuse labeled "Ignition" to this terminal to supply power to most other systems under the hood. Sometimes people will use this terminal for power to add-on devices and it can become overloaded with bare wires and corroded connectors and sometimes you find the nut holding everything together has vibrated loose.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
900

I forgot to mention that this terminal block connects your key switch to the starter solenoid. A flakey connection at the connector can reduce the voltage to the solenoid causing it to "chatter" or grind as you say. A really bad or carbonized or corroded connector at the terminal will cause everything, including interior and dash lights, radio, etc to go dead - but you can crank the car by jumping the starter solenoid + terminal all day long. The motor won't start because there is no power to the distributor but you can happily crank your engine until your battery gives out.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
30

Anyone know why every morning or every day when I start my 84 C10 that it will fire right up with minimal hesitation, but if I were to run to the gas station shut her down to go inside and get something to drink, come back out go to start her up again, it just cranks and cranks and cranks wont fire, until probably a good 45seconds to a whole minute? Could that be the ignition switch or the coil? or like you were saying before with the break lights?

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
900

Bryan, two separate things come to mind that can cause what you describe. 1. a weak and / or leaky fuel pump. If your truck sits unused for several days, does it take a little cranking before it finally fires up? A leaky fuel pump will drain the line up to the carb, but about 15 seconds of cranking will fill the line again. 2. A sticking mechanical choke or a bad electric choke. Try; when you return to your truck from the Quicky Mart, put the accelerator slowly all the way to the floor, let your foot up slowly and then crank the engine. This does two things, it squirts a few drops of gas into the carb and also allows the choke to reset. The fix for #1 is to check the fuel pump and lines up to the carb for wetness or obvious leaks and replace what ever is leaking. Fixing a sticking choke can be as simple as cleaning it with spray carb cleaner or replacing the choke, which although not as simple as cleaning, is not really that complicated. My guess is the choke is sticking (and possibly combined with a low speed idle screw that is set too low).

30

Thank you Capt Kelly, I went ahead and purchased an Electronic Spark control Module as thats what I read solved the issue in a different forum with the same exact issue. We will go from there I really appreciate the info.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
900

... could very well be the problem. The module is nothing but a MOS- FET transistor and can become flakey if it gets overheated too often. Be sure when you replace it that you give the metal plate on the bottom a liberal coat of fresh lithium (white) grease. Sometimes guys will try to scrape the grease off the old module and apply it to the new one. As a former electronic tech I strongly recommend you do not do this. Sometimes the new module will come with a small bladder of white grease, but if it doesn't pick up a tube of it from Radio Shack, AVEC (or similar electronics store) or I think NAPA has it for a little higher price - just make sure you put on the grease or your problems will return soon.

900

P.S. The electronics stores refer to this grease as "heat-sink compound" and there are two variations. The higher priced stuff ($30 to $40 for a very small tube) is gray and a bit of over-kill in this case, in my opinion, but it's up to you. I've never had problems with the white grease as long as it's applied generously.

10

I also have a no spark issue that I can't solve, i replaced the distributor, checked the turn signals and have them and my reverse lights, my engine does turn over but won't start,any ideas as to why this could be?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
900

Lacey, when you say you replaced the distributor does that mean the entire assembly - drive shaft and all, or just the rotor or maybe just the distributor cap. If this is an H.E.I. system then the coil is most likely to be located on top of the distributor cap. Most caps do not come out of the box with a coil installed and you must transfer it from the old cap or buy a new one to mount on the new cap. If you did transfer the coil then it could be bad. Other parts of the distributor that can cause loss of spark are the spark control module under the rotor, the capacitor connected to the module, a broken (shattered) pulse ring (little metal, star shaped ring in the bottom of the distributor housing), a bad plastic connector supplying +12v and ground to the coil, or simply a broken wire or loosing electrical connector anywhere between the distributor and the ignition switch.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
10

How do I test the capacitor that's connected to the ignition module? Because I replaced the rotor, coil, cap, ignition module, and went through and checked wires, grounds, and everything else that I could follow on it

900

Test the capacitor with an ohm meter across the two (disconnected) wires coming out of the capacitor - it should read like an open circuit or very (very) high resistance. A good capacitor will actually read a low initial resistance that increases to infinite resistance in a few seconds. Think of it like a rapid charging battery - that's basically what a capacitor is. Truthfully it's not that expensive and doesn't hurt to replace it "just because". The cap is what discharges through the coil and creates the high voltage necessary to generate the spark. The module works like a switch to allow this to happen. The pulse ring and magnetic pick-up (in the base of the distributor- replacing the old point contact system of older distributors) is what operates the module (switch) at timed intervals.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
900

(continued) if the capacitor has only one wire then the cap body is the ground.

10

I have a 84 c10 with a 305 and I'm not getting any spark. Replaced the entire distributor, no power going to it during cranking. I checked the ignition switch and that's giving me power.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I have a 79 c10 it won't start at l All I have rebuilt distributor put new timing chain and gears set timing got a new ignition switch and still won't start any ideas on why it wont

900

@Pgiparadox: You need to check the wire coming from (i1) while you are cranking the engine. While NOT cranking 12v is supplied from contact B1. While cranking 12v comes from contact B2. I have had this exact same problem. I kept reading voltage with the key in the "run" position and thought the problem HAD to be in the distributor. After replacing nearly every replaceable part in the ignition system for about $200 I finally pulled that dang $12 switch off the steering column and tested the contacts with a continuity tester. Sure enough, the little steel roller/contact inside the switch had jumped it's track for contact B2 (no 12v while cranking). As I said earlier, attempting to repair this switch is really not worth the $12 it cost to replace it with a new, reliable one. @Lance: Question; are you sure you are getting fuel to the carb - try setting your choke to max by hand, pour about 1/8 cup of 92 octane gas directly into the throat of the carburetor, and crank the engine without stepping on the gas peddle. If it turns over, even if only for a few seconds, then you have a fuel problem, especially if you can repeat this procedure over and over but the engine just never stays running. Occasionally if the nozzle inside the venture is mildly clogged, doing this a few times and slightly pumping the gas peddle when the engine turns over MAY clear it. If you have fuel visibly squirting into the carb, check for a blown or overheated fusible link attached to a two lug connector on the firewall (driver side but near the middle of the firewall) even if the link is no longer there make sure the wires connected there are tight and clean. Try advancing the distributor timing about 5 to 10 degrees. Don't keep it that way if the engine runs (you loose power if too far advanced) but now you can adjust your timing and idle speed settings properly. Other than that - I would probably recheck the timing marks on the chain gears, set everything to cylinder #1 TDC, remove the #1 plug and with a screwdriver gently feel the piston head and make sure it is at the top of the cylinder and then make sure the rotor is pointing at the #1 plug wire contact (within a few degrees). The older style distributors can be mistakenly installed 180° out.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

What switch are you talking about? captPKelly

900

Read the forth entry in this thread. That switch is mounted half way down your steering column ... may be blue ... may be black. You said you replaced your ignition switch and that's what this switch is called. If this is what you replaced I don't think that is your problem. If you mean you replaced the key assembly then the ignition switch might be the problem. ... but I still suspect out of whack timing is the culprit in your case.

900

P.S. going back out to sea tonight for several months. Good luck and I hope everyone is able to sort out their problems.

30

Thanks so I have concluded that my truck has been converted to the HEI and thus doesnt have a electronic spark control module, I bought a new cap, rotor, button, ignition coil, and ignition control module, took it for a test drive, it died... put the old rotor, and ignition control module back on she runs again... I'm guessing its the control module that causes my truck to not want to fire after it warms up, and the new part was bad from the get go...Thanks for your help

ok, I had the same issue of my 79 C10 JUST TURNING OFF. I did notice the voltage gauge would go to zero when it turned off. It would instantly restart. I changed the ignition switch attached to the column underneath the dash and so far so good.ran it to a couple car shows last weekend without any issues. Easy repair of about 20 bucks and 30 minutes.

I also have a 85 c10 with the 5.0 305 an motor turns over but won't start checked fuel an starter I replaced coil an tested the number 1 plug no spark to it took cap off distr an bumped it an the distributor is not turning to create a spark pulled it out to put a new one in an it had metal shavings in the oil . Is this my crank or cam causing the problem??

Time in chain

hey guys, question quick. I have a 85 K5, 305 that was recently rebuilt. Since the rebuilt the truck was been started every morning and running in idle for 25 mins a day, it recently sat for 5 days without starting ( family vacation), so yesterday the truck decided to quietly shut off. I attempted to restart, and does turn. I can basically sit there its chatter the attempt to start with no turn over. Like if its fuel starving .... so could I be looking at choke issue, Ignition Starter Switch, I do have 12v at the distro cap, fuel line is good at the inline filter... any assistance would be helpful? Thanks Joe

I have a 70 Nova with this same issue....starting, shutting off after a bit. Won't re-Fire. I tried starting it today, won't fire over. This thing is driving me bonkers.

86 chevy c10,No power except exterior lights. ohm tested , ground tested everything . put in a dist. coil and all (H.E.I) after i put the dist. in thats when it all died. I ohm tested the switch and i got good readings and spark .I had to run a test lead from my nag. post to get it . all fuses are good . re wired afew years ago to factory specs.starter, battery, alt.and , dist. .test good.

35

I have a '75 C10 that I drive daily, well the other day while driving home, it just died, and I have ZERO power. Battery reads 13v, so it is fine... I checked all the fuses and relays that I can find, nothing. Any ideas?

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
20

ok guys i have a 85 c10 305 also have a problem as well.... i was driving down the highway about 70 mph and it just shuts down. tried to start just cranked and back fired a couple times. i've since checked the distributor everything is fine cap and rotor so everything is fine there. never pulled distributor out so as to not loose time. but took timing cover off and noticed that it had jumped time. replace the timing set and set everything correctly, put everything back together. also checked spark yes has good spark and fuel still no start acts like it wants to sometimes but also has backfired a few times..... any ideas?

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