Astro won't start or very hard to sta...

Astro won't start or very hard to start when damp or rain.

Posted in the Chevrolet Astro* Forum

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Naperville, IL

#1 Aug 24, 2007
2000 astro, Hard starting or wont start when wet, once started its fine.
I replaced the cap, rotor, gas filter, next rain was hard to start but did after about 10 tries.
I then replaced the spark plug wires (79.00) so the better OEM type. We had a big storm come through van was still hard to start. I paid a shop to diagnois and fix ,they did the cap rotor and gas filter cost me 200.00 and didnt fix the problem, I bought and installed the new plug wires getting tired of wasting money and parts chasing, what do I look for now? totally disgusted here. Thanks

Richmond, VA

#2 Sep 3, 2007
Hard starts in damp conditions are usually caused by weak ignition componants. You have already replaced most of the ignition system and the problem is still there. I would suspect a bad coil at this point. Check for telltale white dust or black carbon tracking on or neat the coil.

United States

#3 May 22, 2008
I have the same problem with my '99. I have replaced all external ignition components including coil. I keep getting carbon tracking on the cao and rotor. Moisture is the issue. I know that there is a venting problem known in the cap. I am now down to replacing the crank sensor and or distributor. Any thoughts before I spend another $500 on this thing?

United States

#4 May 22, 2008
I have a 2000 astro cargo van. 4.3 v6. The ignition system has always been very sensitive to moisture. I have replaced the cap and rotor with so-called OEM quality parts from places like orielly's and auto zone only to have starting issues within a few days depending on the wheather. The only time I have reasonable results is when I get the parts from the GM dealership. They cost more but they might make it a whole year or so. THe ignition system in these vans are very high voltage and for some reason can be very picky about what what parts you use. I have read about the venting issue but I cant find the vents they claim have to be opened up to prevent premature failure of the cap and rotor. I just keep replaceing them. Good luck!


#5 May 24, 2008
Experiencing same problem on sloping driveway with passenger side lower than drivers side. Turned van around with passenger side uphill and started good after rainstorm. Suspect problem may be related to weather stripping, etc. However, this wet weather problem has only recently developed. My van is a '95 with over 250,000 mi.

Brookfield, WI

#6 Oct 25, 2008

Baie-comeau, Canada

#7 Nov 2, 2008
hi everybody! i solve all the troubles on my van.
i sold it!!(seriously)

look for a faulty coil. mine passed out in a rainy day.
also check if the mainwire (betwen the coil and distributor cap do not enter in contact whit the metal bracket near the distributor. i read on some van this wire came in contact whit metal pieces and create electric arc that causes misfire to the system. i dont think G.M. make a recall on this fact.
also on the same article i read it whas preferred to run the van whit the fuel tank at the half or more. the reason invoqued is the fuel pump have tendency to overheat (???!!!) and the fuel contribuated to cool the pump

in my case i never replace this expencive piece (fuel pump) but i observe when i drove the van whit very low fuel tank the motor have missing cycle (feel like i hit a road hole or missfiring spark plugs). i took gas full and it stop the symtoms.

so this theory may be serious!!

good luck guys!!!

(i change the van for a brand new 07 dodge ram
5.7 liter and know what? not so very more fuel consuption betwen this two model)

Los Angeles, CA

#8 Nov 5, 2008
guys...there is a sensor on the wheel drive it's used for staring on spanish we call pastilla de encendido... (electronic ignicion i thing it's the name)it's a litle hard to work on it for the space(it's very reduced) but it works on my astro 93

New Orleans, LA

#9 Nov 16, 2008
one time i was driving in a rain storm the astro van quit running. I sat on the side of the road for 30 min or so and was able to start it. I took it to my shop and started looking at it. The air filter was wet. Apparently the air filter got wet and boged down the engine.

Hartford, KS

#10 Nov 17, 2008
WD40 will displace moisture and prevent corrosion.

United States

#11 Nov 18, 2008
My 99 Astro van has been blowing 40 amp fuse for the starter. Replaced starter but still blowing the 40 amp. fuse.

Burlington, WI

#12 Dec 14, 2008
Annually, about the same time each year, when our weather goes from "anything" to wet (this year from freezing snow to wet), our 2001 Astrovan refuses to start. It knocks, back-fires, etc., as if the timing has changed. This year, not even starting fluid helped - it only caused flames. Fuel tank is 50% full. Annually, once it DOES start, it runs as if the timing has slipped then - no reference time frame since it varies - it magically runs smoothly for the next 12 months. Although we get temperature and humidity changes year-round (some as extreme as the -6F to +40F that preceded this occurrence), this only happens once each year in the late fall, early winter. For that reason, I discount Any ideas WHY?

Livonia, MI

#13 Feb 19, 2009
Hey guys. I've had this very same annoying problem: Every time it was wet, damp, foggy, or we have a big thaw (anytime there was moisture in the air), my 2000 Astro would not start. It would turn over perfectly but just never fire. My thought was that the moisture from the air was shorting out the nessesary spark to ignite the engine. So, I replaced the cap and roter with absolutely no effect. I replaced the ignition coil wire with noe effect. The problem was in the coil itself. The engine would not fire, so I unhooked the 2 wires from the old coil and plugged them into the new coil, and fire in the hole. Change your ignition coil. It's not the easiest thing in the world to replace only because of the tight space that it rests in, but once you do, you'll have yourself a working van again.

Verbank, NY

#14 Apr 13, 2009
i have same problem astro van 2000..i replaced fuel pump twice,sparkling plugs, wires etc..cost me 1000 dollar..and happens again..real issue is ford, gmc and chrysler is piece of junk..just pieece of junk..! i had ford transit in turkey which made in ford factory in turkey, i made 500.000 km and never and ever went to service for broken parts and it was turbo diesel..why american based otomative giants let the american public drive those junkies i dont understand..

Far Rockaway, NY

#15 May 12, 2009

Olive Hill, KY

#16 Sep 18, 2009
I bought a use 2004 AWD astro van,have had it for 2 months. The only problem with stating : when turning the key some times nothing happens it's like it' not connected, and you can try for several times, and nothing happens at the next try it turns over and starts as if there was nothing wrong.----I have been told on the transmition there is a nutral switch, if bad it might not know it is set in park. I just ordered one I'll see soon if that was it.

Mcdonough, GA

#17 Sep 26, 2009
2003 2WD 4.3L Astro Van 131,000 miles. It has been running badly on and off for about 6 months. The
'Check Engine Soon' lamp came on when it really got irritating with a code of 'Mass Air Flow Sensor' something or another. Finally replaced that puppy and cleared the 'Check Engine Soon' lamp, but lamp came back on after about 30 miles. It runs very well - once it gets warmed-up. A little miss firing first thing in the mornings while it is damp or almost continuously while extra damp, foggy or raining. Apparently, the Mass Air Flow Sensor problem code had masked the ignition trouble code of 'Miss-firing on Multiple Cylinders' that it has now and was a coincidental that they both went shabby at or about the same time. I say that Chris has it right about the coil. Have replaced the plugs and plug wires, but not the coil itself. Will do that next.
anti astro

Cicero, NY

#18 Sep 29, 2009
yeah folks, my astro quits in the rain every time...... tired of changing coil, wires, blah blah blah....... cannot count the times i have been stranded..... gotta luv this van

United States

#19 Oct 8, 2009
my daughter has a 2000 astro van. It is awful. she says it has no power. Just can't seem to get it running. she just got it from one of those tote to note shops here about two months ago. has had no problems. now suddenly she has this happen. what is wrong? what can she do?

Gainesville, GA

#20 Oct 16, 2009
Still struggling with my Astro.(See my post of Saturday, September 26 2009.)

Also a comment to tabbybo. Those 'Mass Air Flow Sensors' are problematic. Mine was intermittent over a period of almost 7 months. Sometimes all ok, sometimes awful. Replacing that took care of most rough running. Also, the Astro gearing, transmission and computer programming for fuel economy does make it feel as it has a lack of power right off of the lot. If started from a dead stop, flooring a good one will get it to 65 mph surprisingly quick.

Have not replaced the coil as yet. Replaced the rotor cap and #4 and #5 plugs just 'one more time'. This is getting strange. Now it runs great, yet back wards from what it was doing previously and seems impervious to the effects of rain, humidity, etc. Now, it runs a bit rough after it fully comes to temperature - but the "Check Engine Soon" lamp came on once again after replacing the rotor cap and two plugs. Don't know what it occurred for.

Tired of screwing around with it, I have ordered an OBDII diagnostic tool interface that is due to arrive tomorrow that will capture EVERYTHING in real time to my laptop computer.

Not giving up!(got a new coil, just have not replaced it as yet)

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