1995 Lumina van 3.1L, 109,000mi. starts every time 1st thing in the morning;
battery voltage here shows 14V or so. Drive >15-20mi., stop, and engine cranks
over but won't start. Will start with a jump, or over time, as if engine
temperature plays more critical role than normal.
Battery voltage drops over time when driving, and dips sharply whenever brakes
applied, power windows operated, side gate operated, headlights turned on.
Stalling seems eminent when quick gas given then let off.
Coolant temperature gauge doesn't work; intermittent dramatic fluctuations of
speedometer occurs; gas gauge also displays dips, then rises.
Battery replaced. Was told pick-up coil needs replacing for $300, but
distributor had been replaced in Mov. 2002. I'm convinced it is more basic than
that. Any comments?
Have the alternator checked for out put under load, check all the cable
morning; battery voltage here shows 14V or so. Drive >15-20mi., stop, and
engine cranks over but won't start. Will start with a jump, or over time,
as if engine temperature plays more critical role than normal.
brakes applied, power windows operated, side gate operated, headlights
turned on. Stalling seems eminent when quick gas given then let off.
of speedometer occurs; gas gauge also displays dips, then rises.
distributor had been replaced in Mov. 2002. I'm convinced it is more basic
than that. Any comments?
Yes, I did in fact test the alternator and it checked out ok. I'm not sure of
the grounds, however; I believe one or more of them is problematic. When I
received this car from my pops, the battery's negative side post consisted of a
heavy guage cable going to the starter (-) terminal and a smaller gauge wire
going to the wall of the fender. This smaller wire and two other wires coming
from the firewall were all attached to the fender by a screw. Another "ground"
wire of medium gauge was mounted on the engine block itself and routed to the
heavy gauge negative cable previously described; it was just spliced into the
I replaced this negative cable some time ago but I'm wasn't sure what to do with
the smaller wire; nor was I certain how I should route and secure the two wires
from the firewall and the one from the engine block. I surmise that this is
when and where the problem started. Can anyone tell me the proper configuration
pertaining to this area of the ground connections? Do I need to maintain the
Thanks for your responses.
By all means change the ground setup. I like to run a Ford starter cable
engine block to the frame rail. I also recommend running a 10 guage jumper
frame rail to radiator support, and another from frame rail to firewall.
Connect the negative battery cable directly to the block. Remove
alternator, clean brackets of paint where bracket fastens to block, and
where alternator fastens to bracket. Replace bolts with stainless steel
ones. My 81 El Camino used to eat alternators, improving the ground stopped
Thanks for the input. I will get started on the improvements to grounds.
Unsure of the reference to "frame rail" and would appreciate more specification.
The symptoms now include no cranking, then cranking, then starting with
increased frequency; additionally, the last 2 nights I've noticed that starting
the car is more difficult when rainy or during especially cold weather (cold for
San Diego CA conditions, <55-60F). Thanks for the heads-up on the starter issue.
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