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My van keeps dying!


Question Posted Monday April 11 2011, 3:26 pm

I have a 1987 Chevy G20 with a 4 barrel 400. It just started dying when i start to come to a stop or slow down to turn. It will not usually restart for about 30 to 40 minutes after it dies, just keeps cranking! I have changed the fuel filter. I NEED HELP PLEASE!!! I have 4 children that ride in this van and dont want something to happen because I break down in an intersection or major road! PLEASE HELP!!

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Want to answer more questions in the Technology category?
Maybe give some free advice about: Cars?


Napalm350z answered Wednesday May 18 2011, 1:15 pm:
A couple of years ago, I bought a 1991 GMC sonoma. It's basically the exact same vehicle. The guy I bought it from let it sit up for about five years because he was having the same problem where it would drive for a little while and then not start up again for a while. I though to myself, no problem, it's not doing this to me. Well i got overconfident and drove it down the highway and sure enough, it died on me and would not start back. I pulled into a service station where some smart alec mechanics said it was the fuel pump and they would gladly replace it for 400+ dollars.. I was like HECK NO MAN. I got my grandfather to pick me up and take me back to the truck and start it up about an hour later.

sorry about all that backstory. It wound up being the distributor for me. It was corroded completely beyond use. I would consider the distributor to be a prime suspect, but I can't diagnose your vehicle. If you or someone you know is mechanically inclined, you *could* take the distributor cap off and see if there is any corrosion. It's very likely that there will be. Also, I would go ahead and replace the ignition coil whether the distributor is bad or not. It's a common maintenance item on those older Chevrolets.

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DangerNerd answered Wednesday April 13 2011, 4:36 am:
Hi there,

The three most obvious causes for the situation you describe are either a problem with the float valve in the carb, vapor lock trouble or an intermittent fuel pump.

I would lean heavily toward the float from your description. I have had that experience, where it floods whenever you come to a stop.

Fortunately carb rebuilds aren't that bad. If you are pretty handy, you can do it yourself, but if the concept or messing with throttle linkage and vacuum lines scares you, best to leave it to a pro.

Some places will sell you one that has been rebuilt, and take your old one in to rebuild for the next person. Shops like these can have you in and out very shortly.

Failing that, I would look toward the fuel pump. There are some important details missing for any further help we might be able to give. As an example: Does it only do this after so many miles, or does it only do it when it is fully warmed up? Is it worse going up or down a steep grade?

Anywho, whatever the case, you may need to have it checked out by a pro.

One more thing, as I recalled an oddity of Holley carburetors: There is a tiny extra fuel filter inside the nut that couples the fuel line to the carb. I doubt that is what it is from your description, but just as a note for the future, there is, or there should be, one right there also.

Good luck and I hope whatever is wrong turns out to be the cheapest of the options. :-)

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DuhxxNina answered Tuesday April 12 2011, 5:39 pm:
hey okay well for starter's you might just need to get your car in for a check up. A new battery could help because the car is over 20 years old. Check your altinator and spark plugs. If the altinator is not working correctly it can cause your car to break down when slowing down because as you hit the break your altinator starts to use less electricity so it may just stop. And spark plugs , if one snapped or something the energy is not going through. hope i helpedd.

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