How to Troubleshoot No Start in a 2001 Chevy Astro Vanby Lee Sallings
The three most common causes of a no-start condition in your 2001 Chevy Astro van are starting/charging system failure, ignition system failure and fuel system failure. Diagnosing a no-start condition uses a process of eliminating the possible culprits to pinpoint the cause. Use a series of simple tests to diagnose these problems quickly and accurately.
Check the battery voltage at the battery with the digital volt/ohm meter. Set the meter to "Volts D/C" and touch the black meter lead to the negative battery post and the red meter lead to the positive post. A fully charged battery will measure 12.7 volts or more. A measurement of 12.5 volts is considered discharged, and the battery should be charged before any further testing. Any measurement below 11 volts indicates a severely discharged battery--the battery is most likely damaged and should be replaced. If the battery measures above 12.7 volts, proceed to the next step.
Check the starter for battery voltage by touching the red (positive) meter lead to the battery cable terminal on the back of the starter and the black (negative) lead to the chassis. The voltage reading should be approximately the same as the measurement at the battery. If the reading is lower than battery voltage, check for bad connections at the cables on the battery and the starter or ground cable. Check for ignition switch signal at the purple wire on the back of the starter. When the key is turned to the "Start" position this wire should measure battery voltage. If the reading is less than battery voltage, or zero volts, check the fusible links (orange wires) on the back of the starter. If the fusible links are intact and not burned or broken, replace the ignition switch. If battery voltage is present at the purple wire, and the starter doesn't turn, replace the starter. If the voltage measurements at the starter are correct, and the starter cranks the engine over when the key is turned to the start position, proceed to the next step.
Remove the air duct attached to the throttle body, and spray a liberal amount of the carburetor spray into the throttle body. Replace the hose, and try to start the engine. If the engine starts, the fuel pump is not supplying fuel or the ignition module is not pulsing the injectors. Check the fuel pump fuse located in the under-hood fuse block. If it is good, check for power at the fuel pump electrical connector located near the rear of the fuel tank on the driver's side of the van. In the Chevy Astro van, power is supplied to the fuel pump by the the gray wire on the electrical connector when the engine is being cranked. If power is supplied, hitting the fuel tank with the flat side of a hammer while someone else is turning the ignition key to start will sometimes bump the fuel pump enough to allow it to start. If the fuel pump checks good, proceed to the next step.
Check for spark. Disconnect the coil wire at the ignition coil, and try to start the engine. If no spark occurs, replace the coil and ignition module. If a strong spark occurs, plug the wire back in, and remove a spark plug wire from a spark plug and repeat the test. If a spark is not present, replace the spark plug wires, and distributor cap and rotor.
Things You'll Need
- Carburetor cleaner spray
- Digital volt/ohm meter
Lee Sallings is a freelance writer from Fort Worth, Texas. Specializing in website content and design for the automobile enthusiast, he also has many years of experience in the auto repair industry. He has written Web content for eHow, and designed the DIY-Auto-Repair.com website. He began his writing career developing and teaching automotive technical training programs.