Help! No Spark, No Fuel, No Start... Bad ECM?

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Help! No Spark, No Fuel, No Start... Bad ECM?

Postby kevins08 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:43 pm

Driving down the road (in town, 45mph, about 5 mins from leaving my house with a cold engine) the other day, the Trooper just died without warning. No sputtering, just all of a sudden, engine off. Pulled to a side street, tried to start a few times to no avail. First thought is possibly the fuel pump. Pulled the air cleaner, and inspected the injectors, seemed a bit drier than id expect having just been running, but hard to say for sure and i was alone, so had I no one to watch while i attempted to start it. I tried out some starting fluid and nothing at all. Wants to crank, but no reaction from the motor beyond the starter. Figuring it must be spark related and already late to my destination, I got a ride and left the Trooper where it was for 2 days.

Towed the Trooper home and checked for spark. Null.

So today on my lunch break, I pulled apart the distributor to get to the Ignition control module for testing according to the haynes manual only to not find my voltmeter anywhere. Most parts places have a tester anyway, so i called around town to see had a new module in case it was bad and went to the only place in town with one in stock....and their testing machine is down. Perfect. Bought the new one anyway on hope and figuring it'll be nice to have a back up anyway even if it is not the current problem. After getting the new one installed and everything back together.....still no start!!

At this point, my father is with me and is watching the engine while i attempt to turn it over. We have no action or moisture at the injectors while cranking. Tried a few times and still dry. We tried starting fluid again and once again have no change in behavior.

It's dark and cold with no garage, so we called it for the night. We're gonna go do a bit more testing and looking in the daylight, but currently it appears I have neither spark or fuel getting to the cylinders. Any body have any ideas? Suggestions on what to test next or what might be going on? At this point we're both thinking maybe a bad computer since there appears to be neither the spark or fuel. Any input? Am i missing something? Doubt its relevant, but i did just have a new trans/tcase installed by a shop a few weeks before this happened. Since then I drove it from Laramie, WY to Lincoln, NE and a few times around town as well with no problems. Thanks in advance for any help! would love to get this all sorted asap!

Thanks, Kevin
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Re: Help! No Spark, No Fuel, No Start... Bad ECM?

Postby geoffinbc » Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:00 am

Is this a 2.8L? Check the connectors at the coil and the coil itself. There is a splice inside the coil that actually connects those 2 plugs.
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Re: Help! No Spark, No Fuel, No Start... Bad ECM?

Postby DSUZU » Thu Nov 24, 2016 9:49 am

geoffinbc wrote:Is this a 2.8L?

as Geoff says, it's always best to mention your vehicle and engine. If you have a 3.2, one possibility is a bad crank position sensor. It's rare for an ECM to go out, snesors on the other hand do often fail. Do a google search for a troubleshooting chart on your vehicle. Dennis
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Re: Help! No Spark, No Fuel, No Start... Bad ECM?

Postby kevins08 » Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:50 pm

Yes, the 2.8! 5 speed. Can't believe I didn't mention that.

Thanks, Kevin
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Re: Help! No Spark, No Fuel, No Start... Bad ECM?

Postby kevins08 » Thu Nov 24, 2016 7:38 pm

I'll look into the coil, that was next on the list anyway. I have the checklist in the Haynes manual, is there more than just that.

The coil would affect the spark, but not fuel correct? What would explain having neither fuel or spark though?

Thanks, Kevin.
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Re: Help! No Spark, No Fuel, No Start... Bad ECM?

Postby gwana66 » Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:28 am

Do you get fuel pump prime when you first turn the key? If you do, then I'd be replacing the pickup coil in the distributor. It's basically GM's version of a crank/cam sensor in the 2.8. It's under the rotor - you have to pull the distributor to get it off. The ECM won't trigger fuel or spark if it doesn't know the engine is turning. It gets that signal from the pickup coil.
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Re: Help! No Spark, No Fuel, No Start... Bad ECM?

Postby kg4miq » Fri Nov 25, 2016 10:56 am

I've had to replace the ECM in a couple of my 2.8L Troopers. Sometimes these go bad because a wiring harness has shorted out against the engine. ECMs can be picked up at most junkyards or pull-a-part yards for around $50, give or take. If you need one, let me know - I have an extra. The ECM from an early 90s GM with the 2.8L will work, as well as some 3.1L vehicles (Lumina APV minivan, for instance). Search the forum here to see which numbers to get - I think '7727 comes to mind. Ed Mc would know; might search his posts.
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Re: Help! No Spark, No Fuel, No Start... Bad ECM?

Postby kevins08 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:49 am

well, replaced the distributor today and still dont have spark or fuel. Feel good about replacing the dist anyway for peace of mind, but would really like to get back on the road!

The connections and wires at the ignition coil all look good. Swapped fuel pump and electric window relays and both are good as well. We essentially have a new pickup coil, cap, rotor, and ICM with the new distributor, so at this point, can we make the assumption the ECM is the only possible culprit? most likely anyway?

Let me know if anyone has any more ideas!

Thanks, Kevin
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Re: Help! No Spark, No Fuel, No Start... Bad ECM?

Postby gwana66 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:10 am

When you first turn the key to run - before engaging the starter - does the fuel pump run for about 3 seconds? Does the Check Engine light come on during the bulb test with the other dash lights?

If the answer to either of those 2 questions is no, then the ECM is suspect. Either the box itself or it's not getting power. There is a fuse for it.
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Re: Help! No Spark, No Fuel, No Start... Bad ECM?

Postby kevins08 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:54 pm

Just wanted to update this for anyone that might look here in the future. The distributor is not spinning, so it appears i have snapped my timing chain. I haven't torn into it yet, so possibly a cam gear or something too but i wouldn't count on it. Not what i wanted to hear, but I'm sure its the original and she's well past due for a new one anyway.

Tempted to just pursue the 3.4 swap at this point instead of putting yet more work into the old stuff. We'll see what happens.
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Re: Help! No Spark, No Fuel, No Start... Bad ECM?

Postby Ed Mc. » Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:43 pm

Your culprit is the timing damper. The chain rides on the damper which has rubber "shoes" bonded to the metal. Heat and age cause these shoes to deteriorate and eventually the chain will be metal-on-metal with the damper and sooner or later it's gonna break.

I got my '90 LS that way, and I had planned on doing the 3.4 swap. But I replaced the timing set after I got it home, because my driveway is on a hill and there was no way to get it in the garage without it running. The 2.8 is supposed to be an interference engine, but I didn't find that to be case with that particular 2.8. It ran OK but there was some white smoke, so I think it either had a blown head gasket or cracked head. At any rate, that wasn't the timing chain's fault!

I have a writeup for the repair, send me a P.M. with your email address and I'll forward the file to you.

Unless you're going to do a 3.4 swap, that's a different set of files! Let me know if you need that info.

If you find the engine is toast, you could always do a "3.2" Stroker rebuild. Pretty close in displacement to a 3.4 and you wouldn't have to drill holes in the block to relocate the starter, since it's already in the right spot! The only different parts you'd need are 3.1 iron-head pistons in the correct oversize for the bored-out block, and a 3.1/3100/3.4/3400 crankshaft.

The 2.8 and 3.1 blocks have the same bore size and use the same iron-heads as the 3.4. But the increase in stroke makes a huge difference in performance. And the added displacement gets you closer to 3.4 size. Which, at 207 c.i., is actually a 3.39L.

Add a performance cam (Comp Cams), Comp Cams Magnum 1.6:1 roller-tipped rockers, bored-out intake to fit GM 4.3 TBI, and performance exhaust, she'll run real hard. Just another option to consider.

Rockauto timing cover gasket set: http://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/isuz ... t+set,5484

Timing damper: http://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/isuz ... amper,5740

Timing set: http://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/isuz ... g+set,5756 Cloyes and Sealed Power are name brands I would trust.

HTH & G'luck with the repairs............ed
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Re: Help! No Spark, No Fuel, No Start... Bad ECM?

Postby kevins08 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:22 pm

Thanks Ed! I am going forward with the timing chain replacement. Got some coyes parts in today, install tomorrow!

I've already gotten the swap files from you, Ed, but would be interested in that timing chain right up for another source! I'll PM you my email.

Thanks again for all the advice everybody, I'll report back tomorrow when the ol gal is (hopefully) back on the road.

Thanks, Kevin
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Re: Help! No Spark, No Fuel, No Start... Bad ECM?

Postby kevins08 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:08 am

I got the new timing chain in this weekend, as per Ed's step by step. Replaced the waterpump, radiator hoses, and thermostat while i was in there. Started right up first try after i got it all back together. All is well again! Thanks for all the help everyone.
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Re: Help! No Spark, No Fuel, No Start... Bad ECM?

Postby Ed Mc. » Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:10 am

kevins08 wrote:I got the new timing chain in this weekend, as per Ed's step by step. Replaced the waterpump, radiator hoses, and thermostat while i was in there. Started right up first try after i got it all back together. All is well again! Thanks for all the help everyone.


Sweet! Excellent Job! Glad it all worked out.

Now you'll have more time to save for a 3.4 or a "3.2 Stroker" rebuild!! :twisted:
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