Problems with Chevy Blazer

Ok - long story short - my truck hasn't been right since I moved from Colorado to Florida four years ago. (1999 Chevy Blazer LS, 4 door,
4WD, 4.3L V-6 Vortec, fully loaded)
Problem 1: The check engine light will not go off. When we hook it up to a computer, it says "Random Cylinder Misfire" After a tune-up, the light goes off, then comes back on and stays on. Occassionally it will turn off for a while, but then comes back on. Interesting side note - if I drive it back up to Colorado and stay at an altitude of 4000 ft or higher, the light goes off and stays off and I have no trouble. Not sure what that is all about. I do know that all the gas in Colorado contains Ethanol, the gas here doesn't. This is a minor problem that would be nice to fix, but not a big deal. By the way, I had the dealership at one point change out the sensor for that and it still comes on.
Problem 2: Last year I got stuck in front of a huge mud puddle on the dirt road in front of my house after a very severe and very heavy rain. I ended up with water in the engine and blew an intake valve. My dad tore it apart and fixed that, but ever since then, it hasn't been quite right. At times it seems to vapor lock, and it has slowly been losing all of it's "balls" so to speak - It used to jump right up there, now it takes me MINUTES to get up to 70mph on the highway. The other day it started losing power and refused to do anything when I hit the gas, so I pulled over. It had coolant. It had gas. Oil was a bit low, but it smelled "burned" if that makes sense. I left it for a few hours, went back, put some oil in it, at which point the burning smell went away, and nursed it home. My wife said she saw "several" puffs of smoke come from out of the tailpipe on the interstate that day from the vehicle behind me she was in.
Occasionally if I am driving when it is cool out during the night or cool during what passes for winter here in Florida, it runs great. Lots of get up and go, no hesitation, etc. Sometimes I'll hit the gas and the engine and the tach revs up, but I get NO increase in speed at all. It felt a little bit like the tranny was slipping, so I put some stuff in it to fix that and supposedly plug up any leaks, and it has quit slipping like that on me.
I took it to the mechanic, and he ran a compression check on it, which turned out ok, then hooked it up to the computer. He called to tell me I need a "massive tune-up" - plugs, wires, PCV valve, fuel filter, roter and cap, etc. We just did all this about 18 months ago when part of the fuel injection system died, and I don't even have 93,000 miles on the truck yet! It isn't due for it's first tune up until 100,000 miles, and here I am on my second one. So WTF? This makes NO sense to me at all, and frankly, I'm really very disappointed. I have owned Chevys my whole life, and I have never had this much trouble from a car.
Anyway, I hope that is enough for you folks to give me an idea of what the problem is and why it keeps recurring. I don't want to do it, I truly don't, but unless Chevy starts to offer a TRUE 100,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty like some of the foreign cars do, I am going to have to buy one of those. I want my Blazer. I love my Blazer when she is running right. More importantly, she is PAID OFF! Thanks in advance.
James (Oh, and for the record, I am not in a position to take on another car payment, no matter how small, for at least another year or two)
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Check the fuel pressure. Check the exhaust for a clog.
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a couple of things, it runs better in colorado. quite likely its cooler in colorado. it runs better in florida on a cool day. the thermostat when it gets older no longer opens at 195 degrees it opens at a higher temperature. put in a new thermostat and you should notice your blazer running cooler and better.
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After almost $500, the problem has been fixed for now. It is running well - better than it was after I had it repaird when the engine blew after being stuck in the mud puddle.
However, the longer term question remains, and I'll re-state it quickly. The plugs, wires and distributer cap were all fried. Completely. The throttle body needed cleaning, the fuel filter was clogged and the PCV needed to be replaced. They also did an overdue oil change. (They checked some other things I asked them to look at - compression test, fuel pressure, checked the EGR valve to see if it was clogged/dirty, checked the thermometer, and checked out the tranny - all were fine)
What I am not getting is WHY are plugs and wires (and the distributer) failing after such a short time? I have now had two tune ups on this truck and it has just under 93,000 miles. There is a larger problem here - something is wrong with the engine or the computer that is frying parts, and I'm getting a bit fed up with it. I don't want to have it back in the garage in another year or two with the same problem again. I'm going ot save up just in case, but still.....
I love Chevy. I would like very much to own Chevy's my whole life. But until they can build a reliable engine AND offer true bumper-to-bumper 100,000 mile warranties like some of the foreign auto makers, I may very well be driving a Japanese or German car soon.
Any ideas are much appreciated.
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Redneckbikerjedi wrote:

4.3's have a big problem with aftermarket distributor caps.
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This sounds like you haven't been doing regular cleaning and proper maintenance.

Wait a minute? You're doing a tuneup every thirty thousand miles and considering this excessive? That's not a problem, that's just normal preventative maintenance that you should be doing before you notice any problem.
Parts fail, they get old. Things like the cap and rotor are wear items that are designed to be replaced regularly.

If you don't do proper maintenance, NO car will be reliable. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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Scott Dorsey wrote:

I nhis defense, the manufacturers themselves do not generally recommend tuneups at 30K miles (not sure about Chevy, as the newest one I've had to mess with is my dad's '73 Custom-10...) and are doing everything they can to stretch service intervals for bragging rights on the showroom floor. That's not to say that blindly following their recommendations is a Good Idea...
I'd ask the OP what brand plugs and wires he is using, there is a noticeable difference in quality between "good" and "bad..."
nate
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replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
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Nate Nagel wrote:

The manufacturers don't recommend sucking muddy water into the engine either. He said in his first post that it hasn't been running right since he did that last year. In defense of the mechanic who worked on it, starting with a tune-up was probably just the first step in straightening out whatever was wrong with it.
-jim
-
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Back up a minute.
I have done two tune-ups in a 17,000 mile period. Not even close to 30,000. Next, the owner's manual and the dealership both say that my Blazer doesn't even need it's FIRST tune-up until 100,000 miles, and I have just under 93,000 right now.
I may occasionally get late on an oil change by a thousand miles or so, but I am doing maintainence. I use fuel injector cleaner every three tanks. I change the air filters, etc. I have been taking care of this truck.
The problem is NOT that I am having to do normal work on it, the problem is that the truck has now burned up two sets of plugs and wire and the distributor cap at 76,000 and again at 93,000. That is NOT normal, I don't care what you say. They are not wearing out, they are literally burning up and failing completely.

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"Redneckbikerjedi" wrote: (Chevy Blazer)
The problem is that the truck has burned up two sets of plugs and wire and the distributor cap. They are not wearing out, but literally burning up and failing completely. _________________________________________
Could there be an ignition bypass resistor that has been shorted or miswired so that unlimited primary current is applied to the coil during running?
Rodan.
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Great idea - I'll definately have that checked out. Thanks for the tip!

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No, no resistor. GM hasn't used a ballast resistor since 1974.
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Back up a minute.
I have done two tune-ups in a 17,000 mile period. Not even close to 30,000. Next, the owner's manual and the dealership both say that my Blazer doesn't even need it's FIRST tune-up until 100,000 miles, and I have just under 93,000 right now.
I may occasionally get late on an oil change by a thousand miles or so, but I am doing maintainence. I use fuel injector cleaner every three tanks. I change the air filters, etc. I have been taking care of this truck.
The problem is NOT that I am having to do normal work on it, the problem is that the truck has now burned up two sets of plugs and wire and the distributor cap at 76,000 and again at 93,000. That is NOT normal, I don't care what you say. They are not wearing out, they are literally burning up and failing completely.

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In article

The "problem" is that no one has yet to diagnose the real problem with this truck. You say the tune up helps for a short while; that indicates that it merely masks the real problem short term. You also mention that the truck runs better in Colorado... The only thing different between Colorado and Florida is air density. You either have a BARO error, an Air Mass error or a problem with your injectors delivering the correct amount of fuel.
A lean running engine puts an enormous strain on ignition parts, firing voltages go sky high, ignition parts wear out faster. Move the truck up 5000 feet in altitude and voila', it's not lean anymore.
You need someone who can read and analyze serial data from a scan tool, correctly calculate volumetric efficiency and compare it to what the engine is actually operating at.
Lastly, use ONLY Delco ignition parts, cap, rotor, plugs. Anything else will fail in a few weeks. (seriously)
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Not sure if I mentioned this already, but ALL the gas in Colorado has Ethanol in it. There is no such animal here in Florida. (At least not where I leave or around here) I'm wondering if that might help - is there an Ethanol additive I can buy to test it out?

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In article

To test -what- out?
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Redneckbikerjedi wrote:

Find gas ANYWHERE in the US that doesn't have at least 10% Ethanol in it. I have yet to find any. Been that way for a LONG time.
--
Steve W.
Near Cooperstown, New York
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Let me qualify that statement. All the gas in Colorado had Ehtanol on it, and it was literally plasted everywhere - on pumps, in the store, etc. You couldn't miss it. I have no livied in Florida since about 2003, and I have year to hear or read that work anyplace in this state, and I've ben everywhere here except south of Orlando. So that is about 2/3rrds of the state and I have not seen or heard of it.
Maybe Florida does have it, but isn't required to tell you. that would seem strange thos.

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Back up a minute.
I have done two tune-ups in a 17,000 mile period. Not even close to 30,000. Next, the owner's manual and the dealership both say that my Blazer doesn't even need it's FIRST tune-up until 100,000 miles, and I have just under 93,000 right now.
I may occasionally get late on an oil change by a thousand miles or so, but I am doing maintainence. I use fuel injector cleaner every three tanks. I change the air filters, etc. I have been taking care of this truck.
The problem is NOT that I am having to do normal work on it, the problem is that the truck has now burned up two sets of plugs and wire and the distributor cap at 76,000 and again at 93,000. That is NOT normal, I don't care what you say. They are not wearing out, they are literally burning up and failing completely.

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