Car Dies – Have to Wait to Restart

car dies - have to wait to restartI have a Chevrolet Astro Van All Wheel Drive V6. For over a year now as I am driving the engine would quit, while pulling over to the side of the road, I would try to restart and it would always restart but now when the engine quits it will not restart for two hours later.

This could happen after driving only ten minutes to one hour. I have had three different mechanics look at it. They cannot find the problem. The fuel pump has been replaced three times, fuel filter replaced, much of the wiring has been repaired or replaced, battery was replaced, starter and alternator replaced.

I feel that the mechanics are guessing as to what is wrong. I have spent so much in repairs and the problem still has not been fixed. The van is still in great condition with low miles to just junk but that is what I am about to do if it cannot be repaired.

Please help, I am very discouraged. I feel it is in the electrical system.

Thanks for your help.


Hey Robert,

I feel your pain man. Intermittent dying problems can be a real pain to diagnose and repair. You really need to narrow down this issue to a lack of fuel pressure or lack of spark problem though. Next time this happens I would listen for the fuel pump “whine” for 2 seconds when you turn the ignition key to the ON position.

If you do not hear that electric fuel pump whine from the fuel tank you might have a bad pump or no power going to the pump. Sometimes you can get someone to bang on the bottom of the fuel tank with your fist or a rubber hammer AS you crank the engine over.

This can kick start a weakened internal electric fuel pump. These in take electric fuel pumps can overheat and fail to operate again until they cool down. Three fuel pumps replaced in a few years would make me suspect installation of cheap brand of fuel pump, too much battery voltage to the pump for some reason or a problem with the installation of the fuel pump inside the fuel tank that is damaging the fuel pump. I have also seen a rare instance where the fuel tank itself was defect and caused the pump to move around inside the tank and basically destroy itself.

Since you are going to drop the fuel tank to replace the pump, I would take a flashlight and look inside carefully to make sure the fuel tank is in good shape and there are no pieces floating around at the bottom or the part of the tank which holds the pump is not damaged.

If you hear the whine, I would then check for spark at the spark plugs. If no spark, check the ignition coil, distributor cap (if you have a distributor), and ignition rotor and ignition module and pick up coil inside the distributor.

An ignition module can overheat and fail to produce spark until it cools down again. You can sometimes take some cold water and run it over the module to cool it down where it will restart again.

Please share this with your friends,
Austin Davis

16 Comments on "Car Dies – Have to Wait to Restart"

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  1. Taqrin says:

    check the wire harness behind the battery. there is a large connector there that may have one wire that has over heated and melted the plastic.

    After having intermittent starting and replacing numerus engine parts, I tracked down an over heated connection in this plug that melted the plastic to the point the plastic got in between the pin and socket, thus breaking the connection not allowing the engine to start.

    I removed the wires from the plastic connector and replaced the ends with aftermarket connectors so this one wire is no longer part of that main connector, yet it’s well secured and taped as not to short out.

    I’m not sure why this one wire overheated, but once it was repaired, I’ve never had a starting problem.

  2. david says:

    I’ve changed a bad starter, put in a new battery, and changed alternator on 95 Astro. van still won’t start. It was running fine then just cut off while driving before all of that. Im stuck and need some direction as to what to do next. please save me from this nightmare

    • By Austin Davis says:

      If the engine will crank over but not start I would. E suspect of a bad fuel pump….no fuel or not enough fuel going to the engine. Common failure item. Sometimes banging on the bottom of the fuel tank while someone cranks the engine over can kick start the pump.

      If the engine will not crank over at all, then you don’t have battery power to the starter or a ground wire problem at the battery is loose or corroded, clean and tighten those battery bolts real good.

  3. Richard Smith says:

    How difficult is it ti change plug wires and distributor cap on a 1995 Commercial Astro-Van. I was told it is quite difficult for a novice mechanic.

  4. Jenna says:

    I have a 95 Astro Van it turns over but won’t start I had been having problems starting it for awhile now but now it won’t start at all I can hear the fuel pump go on so I don’t think its that. It sounds like it wants to start but it just won’t almost like its not getting gas can anyone maybe help figure this out

    • Austin says:

      These vehicles are suspect to fuel pump failure, even though you can hear the pump does not mean its pumping enough fuel to start the engine. Sometimes banging on the bottom of the fuel tank with your fist or small block of wood AS someone cranks the engine over will kick start a weak fuel pump. Besides having fuel pressure and volume at the engine you also need spark and compression. Each spark plug should have spark going to it, I would first start by checking the inside of the distributor cap, ignition coil and spark plug wires. If you have spark and fuel pressure, then check for proper compression at each cylinder using a compression gauge. You could have a blown headgasket or the timing chain could have broken or jumped……BUT you should hear a difference in the sound of the engine as it spins over if that was the case, it will spin over much easier than before if there is no compression.

  5. Teddy says:

    I have an 89 chevy astro van. I took the gas tank off to put a new fuel pump in. The bolts on the straps holding the tank in place is what I am having a problem with. I started taking the bolts off the straps on the drivers side first. They would not come completely out of the chassis. So, I went to the passnger side and those two bolts came all the way out and went back in with ease. However, the two on the drivers side now will not tighten or come out (they just hang there loose). The chassis is tube like and so you can’t see what’s going on inside there where the bolt is going into. If no one has an answer, I am going to cut 1 1/2 inch holes in the side of the chassis so I can see what’s up inside there. Teddy

    • Austin says:

      There should be a nut either welded into the frame or attached to the frame that I can recall. I would suspect the nut is just spinning around on the end of the bolt. Maybe you could get a screw driver in there to hold the nut in place long enough to get it to grip on the frame?

  6. James says:

    1995 astro van 4.3 will only start with starter fluid. Once started runs like a top. Fuel works, sending unit works, can’t figure it out?

    • Austin says:

      More than likely a weak fuel pump, bad fuel pressure regulator or leaking injector. Have the fuel pressure tested at the engine with a manual fuel pressure gauge. Also try banging on the bottom of the fuel tank with a block of wood or rubber hammer AS someone cranks engine over. If it starts you have a weak fuel pump.

  7. Zahid Kahrim says:

    All you people with problems stalling after 2 or so minutes ,well you are in luck because I have the answers. It will all be free If you call me between 11 am and 6 pm any day. OK. I too had that problems and I repaired them all in one day.

  8. sandra says:

    I had replaced 3 fuel pumps on my 1994 astro van. I had the fuel sending unit replaced a while back and so far no more problems.I am fortunate my brother-in-law works on autos. He was the one that told me to it was the fuel sending unit. I took it to him after having the fuel pump replaced 3 times in three years by an auto repair shop at around $450 to $500 dollars each time to replace the fuel pumps. I was also told by an towe truck driver that he got a lot of calls about the chevy asto and safari vans because the fuel pumps always seems to go out.

  9. kevin says:

    95astro shutoff while i was driving it i tryed cranking it backup and didnt have no spark

  10. robert says:

    have the injectors checked

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