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Strange power loss - S10
06-19-2015, 10:03 AM (This post was last modified: 06-19-2015 10:04 AM by tnhbass.)
Post: #1
Strange power loss - S10
1991 Chevy S10 2.8 V6 206,000

Let's take this to square one, because I'm completely baffled on how to explain what the problem is.

I was driving home one day from work, I stopped by the corner store and jumped back in my truck to turn it over again. Nothing except accessories. I thought this was odd because my battery is/was less than a year old or near the point. I asked the clerk if he could give me a jump and the truck took it right off the bat, no hesitation. I drove it home, began to investigate and the truck ended up turning right over. A few weeks passed never happened again, I didn't pack a lunch for work so I jumped in the truck and it didn't turn over. I was pissed, I thought it was just a fluke it happened that one time.

Now mind you, before that I had a remanufactured starter that I had replaced 4 or 5 times because they're pieces of S$%T but on a lifetime warranty. I thought it might have to do with the starter so the next day at work I had the maintenance technician who specializes in electrical engineering test all my wires on break and he said they were perfect, no problems.

Nothing happened for 4-6 weeks so I thought well to hell with it, it just happens from time to time and takes a jump. It did it again at my buddy's house right before we were going to get oil to do oil changes on our vehicles. Now by the time he got his car over to jump mine, mine kicked right back up again, in about 10 minutes. So we got the diagnostic testing at one of those chain auto part stores and they said Battery, Starter, and Alternator were fine.

This has now become an everyday thing, I'm missing work today because this is the only time I can reschedule and work on the truck. First thing I'm going to do is put in a new starter that is not remanufactured and move on from there.

Any ideas or thoughts would be appreciated.. Thanks for your help
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06-19-2015, 01:11 PM
Post: #2
RE: Strange power loss - S10
Have you checked the coolant yet? The 2.8 was famous for a leak at the intake gasket and if it goes into the cylinder there may be intermittent starting issues.
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06-19-2015, 01:20 PM (This post was last modified: 06-19-2015 01:48 PM by tnhbass.)
Post: #3
RE: Strange power loss - S10
I typically check the coolant once a week, it's full and 95% sure it's not leaking but I'm going to take another look to be sure. I actually just did most of my gaskets, manifold intake, valve cover gaskets, new thermostat and thermostat gasket plus all new hoses. It is interesting that you say that about the coolant, because it typically acts up in long rides, I typically drive routes that are constant redlights stop and go city traffic in Daytona Beach. I'm not using Dexcool in there, I'm not sure if that would make a difference? I'm about to take the battery down to the autozone or whatever is near by to see if they can test for any defects because it's still under warranty. After that I'm going to look into putting a new starter relay in and getting another starter as well. While I'm at it I'll give the pressure and look closely at that intake gasket.

So I found a minor leak on the lower radiator hose, it goes up in a U-shape and it looks like there's a small leak coming from that, also it looks like a gasket right above it had recently been replaced by the previous owner. Here's some pictures, maybe you can make out the pictures they're poor quality and I don't have ramps at the moment.


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06-19-2015, 06:41 PM
Post: #4
RE: Strange power loss - S10
Will have to post some suggestions later. This new lap top keeps throwing me off when I hit 3 paragraphs and I have already tried to post 3 times! (arg!)
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06-19-2015, 11:44 PM
Post: #5
RE: Strange power loss - S10
I would check into the alt going bad. I once had an old's 88 that did the same thing couldn't figure out what was wrong so out of a hunch I removed the alt took it to the local parts store and it turned out that the alt was running at 12.1 amps not the 13 amps not the necessary 13 amps. Turned out that I couldn't run the car and radio and heater at the same time.
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06-20-2015, 12:00 AM (This post was last modified: 06-20-2015 12:02 AM by Rupe.)
Post: #6
RE: Strange power loss - S10
OK, I fired up the 8 year old desk top so now I can post what I wanted to say before. (darned new-fangled lap top!)

The pix are about useless due to the glare. What I have done when forced to use a cell phone cam is get a drop light or good flashlight then skip using the cam's flash. Close the hood or block any light from the rear because the automatic functions of the cam make the part we're trying to see too dark due to the extra light. (yeah, I used to be a photo bug)

That said, you really need to do your testing WHEN THE PROBLEM HAPPENS so you get a good diagnosis. Anything intermittent will have you pulling your hair or throwing parts at it waiting to get the right fix.

Suggestions for when it happens...
Try shifting gears to see if it will start in neutral (auto trany has a neutral safety switch)
Try banging on the steering column to see if possibly the ignition switch is faulty.
Bang on the starter to see if it's got a sticky solenoid or stuck brushes
Carry a test light or meter so you can dig deeper when the problem comes up. I can give you some pointers if interested.

BTW, I would agree on the (possibly) crappy replacement parts but after several tries it's probabaly something else. (been there, done that recently) I have also never seen a bad start relay in a GM vehicle of that vintage, and I have a fleet of them. If you want to try another relay look at the AC relay. There are several of the same part numbers in the relay center so you could swap them.

Let us know how you make out.
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06-20-2015, 12:01 AM
Post: #7
RE: Strange power loss - S10
I would check into the alt going bad. I once had an old's 88 that did the same thing couldn't figure out what was wrong so out of a hunch I removed the alt took it to the local parts store and it turned out that the alt was running at 12.1 amps not the 13 amps not the necessary 13 amps. Turned out that I couldn't run the car and radio and heater at the same time.
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06-23-2015, 09:13 PM
Post: #8
RE: Strange power loss - S10
Any progress to report?
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07-23-2017, 03:39 AM
Post: #9
RE: Strange power loss - S10
(06-23-2015 09:13 PM)Rupe Wrote:  Any progress to report?

I'd like to get an update too as I have the same issue right now with power loss.
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07-23-2017, 11:30 PM
Post: #10
RE: Strange power loss - S10
This thread is 2 years old so if you have an issue then you should probably start a fresh topic.
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