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Old 05-29-2007, 12:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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350 shuts off, won't restart

2wd, 86ish Chev 1/2 ton, manual tranny, carbed, factory HEI.

Driving down the road, truck will shut off. May restart in 5 minutes, 5 hours, or 2 days. You never know. There is no rhyme or reason to it. I have noticed that if I watch the battery voltage guage (I know, not accurate at all), I can get an idea wether or not it will start. If the guage shows right even or above the first line over the red mark, it will start. If it's even a little bit lower than that line, it won't start at all.

I added a bunch of water to the battery, ran the truck for awhile on the way home (first happened 70 miles out of town), and it shut off again 20 miles from home. Swapped out the battery for a new, known good, battery and it's done it to me here in town.

I need to get this figured out because this truck will by my driver, when I pull my current driver apart, to fix my trail rig. I can't afford to start throwing parts at it. So far people have suggested battery (eliminated that), starter solenoid, ign module, and ignition switch. Are any of these more likely than the other? I've never seen an ignition module fail intermittently.
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Last edited by FYRMAN; 05-29-2007 at 12:15 AM.
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Old 05-29-2007, 12:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
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have the alt. tested? ha weird never heard of that happening.
edit: just thinking that maybe the alt isnt producing enough voltage to supply the motor. then starts drawing from the battery till she quits. how long does it normally run before shutting off?

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Old 05-29-2007, 12:27 AM   #3 (permalink)
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have you checked the fuel pump? made sure the needles and seats in the carb arent stuck? starving the motor for fuel.
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Old 05-29-2007, 12:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Im thinking alt too
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Old 05-29-2007, 12:59 AM   #5 (permalink)
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i will bet its the ignition module in the distributer
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Old 05-29-2007, 01:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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instead of guessing at this lets take a logical approach! next time it shuts off on you test for spark! if no spark continue checking ignition system. if spark is ok then check for fuel, check charging system. diagnose the issue at hand think to the basics you need air,compression,fuel and spark to run figure out which one is causing the problem then find whats causing that system too fail intermittently!post the info of what system you find and we can bounce you some ideas to check out to narrow the problem.
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Old 05-29-2007, 01:34 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Sorry, should have mentioned. Truck does run rich. First time it happened, I was lugging it up some hills and thought the plugs got too wet to fire. But all of them at once? Truck just quit? I ruled that out. What I failed to mention in the first post is that there doesn't seem to be any spark when it dies. Tried a little starting fluid when it died in town and it did not even try to fire. After sitting for awhile starts right up. I think it is voltage, but I can't put my finger on it.

Newer alt on it, but that doesn't mean squat. Thought low voltage was shutting down the ign module, but to fire up after sitting for an unspecified amount of time? Lights do not go dim, radio plays fine, wipers move just as fast, so I don't think it's pulling the battery down. When the truck won't fire, the motor spins just fine.

I want to point my finger at the ign module, but I've never seen or heard of one going intermittently.


I'd love to diagnose this the right way, but I'm usually too far away from tools when it dies, or the fawker fires up when I do get back to the truck with tools.
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Old 05-29-2007, 01:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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nothing is impossible though. have the ignition module tested. and fix the rich condition. and did you pull the plugs to see if they were fouled or just assumed they werent? pull them. then you KNOW they arent. you cant really assume anything when your diagnosing something and dont know whats going wrong.
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Old 05-29-2007, 12:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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replace the distributer
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Old 05-29-2007, 01:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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yes its possible for the ign. module to fail intermittently from heat when you get the replacement module it will have a packet in the box of a white grease like compound this is a thick film heat isolator that helps the module cool down make sure you spread that on real good double check your batt lead to the distributor make sure you get battery voltage and higher w/running anything less can cause issues
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Old 05-29-2007, 08:35 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I had this exact problem years ago on my 350 with factory Hei Ignition. After several tows to the mechanic and replacing an assortment of parts... it turned out to be a bad ignition coil that I ended up replacing myself. Didn't want to hand over any more hard earned money to the stupid mechanic so he could keep guessing.
The coil would overheat on the highway and the thing would just die without any warning. Would not start until it cooled off or it was just 'good and ready' to start - give that fix a try. Coil doesn't cost all that much to replace anyway.

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Old 05-29-2007, 10:53 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbeast View Post
I had this exact problem years ago on my 350 with factory Hei Ignition. After several tows to the mechanic and replacing an assortment of parts... it turned out to be a bad ignition coil that I ended up replacing myself. Didn't want to hand over any more hard earned money to the stupid mechanic so he could keep guessing.
The coil would overheat on the highway and the thing would just die without any warning. Would not start until it cooled off or it was just 'good and ready' to start - give that fix a try. Coil doesn't cost all that much to replace anyway.
This is the direction that I am leaning. Gonna try the coil and ign module.

Did you happen to ohm the coil? Was there anything that you found that pointed to the coil? Or did you just happen to get lucky and swap that out and it fixed it?
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:15 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I too have had a coil act like this. Don't waste money on the ign module if only the coil is bad. Like you said: Ign modules don't fail intermittently. If yours does, it's the first one I've ever seen. Coils are cheap. Then again, everything on a 350 is cheap!
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