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Pickup Died - Any Ideas? #7642675
08/05/22 08:26 AM
08/05/22 08:26 AM
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 640
ND
DakotaBoy Offline OP
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DakotaBoy  Offline OP
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My wife took my '87 Chevy K10 to the lake last night to kayak with her mom. It's about a 20-25 mile drive to the lake from my house. On her drive back, around 10pm, she calls and says that the pickup died randomly going down the road. She was able to muscle it onto the side of the road (power steering lost when the motor died). She couldn't get it to start again, but it would crank.

Spark plugs and cables were replaced around 2012; same time as belts and radiator hoses. The fuel pump was replaced around 2014 or maybe 2015, when the tank was replaced. New radiator around three years ago. It's gotten a new battery within the last year or so. That's about all that I've had to do to keep her running, other than oil changes.

I didn't have time to look at it last night as I had to get up for work this morning. Thankfully, my father-in-law brought his pickup over and we were able to pull it to an approach to get it off the shoulder. What do you think caused it to die and not fire back up? Fuel filter? Distributor/cap/rotor? Where would you start troubleshooting?

Last edited by DakotaBoy; 08/05/22 08:27 AM.

"Pretty cocky for a starving pilgrim!"
"An elk don't know how many legs a horse has!"
Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: DakotaBoy] #7642681
08/05/22 08:32 AM
08/05/22 08:32 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,150
east central WI
K
k snow Offline
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k snow  Offline
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east central WI
Check for spark. If it cranks, the voltage should be okay. Cap and rotor are pretty cheap if that's it. How many miles?
Was it running okay when it died? Or was it starting to ping, knock, etc. that may indicate a worn gear on the bottom of the distributor, which would throw the timing off.

Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: DakotaBoy] #7642682
08/05/22 08:33 AM
08/05/22 08:33 AM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 1,305
Va
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bandy Offline
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Va
Fuel system is the easiest place to start then electric system pop the fuse box my have just blown a fuse.


No matter where you go there you are.
Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: DakotaBoy] #7642683
08/05/22 08:33 AM
08/05/22 08:33 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,150
east central WI
K
k snow Offline
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Posts: 4,150
east central WI
Squirt a bit of brake or carb clean into the intake, if it starts, then its a fuel issue.

Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: DakotaBoy] #7642684
08/05/22 08:34 AM
08/05/22 08:34 AM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 3,151
MN
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Donnersurvivor Offline
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Ran out of gas

Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: Donnersurvivor] #7642686
08/05/22 08:36 AM
08/05/22 08:36 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,150
east central WI
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k snow Offline
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east central WI
Originally Posted by Donnersurvivor
Ran out of gas


Definitely worth checking. I've seen that bite a few guys over the years. Don't trust the gauge.

Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: DakotaBoy] #7642689
08/05/22 08:40 AM
08/05/22 08:40 AM
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 640
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DakotaBoy Offline OP
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I filled the tank to the top before she took off, so there's no way it should have run out of gas. No leaks from the tank or fuel lines. She's got about 118,000 miles on her.

Right before it died, my wife says that it kind of lurched a little bit - like if you were to put it into a higher gear before you had gained enough speed to do so. But, she was already in 3rd gear (highest gear) and going about 55-60mph.

Last edited by DakotaBoy; 08/05/22 08:41 AM.

"Pretty cocky for a starving pilgrim!"
"An elk don't know how many legs a horse has!"
Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: DakotaBoy] #7642690
08/05/22 08:41 AM
08/05/22 08:41 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,973
Wisconsin
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Eagleye Online content
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Eagleye  Online Content
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Wisconsin
Fuel is a good place to start- In addition, I would check battery terminals and ground to alternator

Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: DakotaBoy] #7642691
08/05/22 08:41 AM
08/05/22 08:41 AM
Joined: Oct 2021
Posts: 74
Wisconsin
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Clemke Offline
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Compression

Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: DakotaBoy] #7642692
08/05/22 08:42 AM
08/05/22 08:42 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,013
Sugar Grove, WV
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JTfromWV Offline
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Sugar Grove, WV
Take a rubber mallet and a spark plug with you. Turn the key to on. Do you hear the fuel pump run? If not thump the tank with the rubber mallet. If the brushes are bad in the pump motor this might get it to start up. Usually pump motors fail while at rest, not while running. If the pump works and it doesn't start it is time to check for spark. Remove a spark plug boot and insert the plug you brought. Make sure it is grounded and have someone to crank the engine while you check to see if the plug has spark. If not inspect cap and rotor. Could potentially be the pickup coil also.

Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: DakotaBoy] #7642695
08/05/22 08:46 AM
08/05/22 08:46 AM
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Posts: 640
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DakotaBoy Offline OP
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I guess I'm not sure I could tell you what the fuel pump sounds like when it runs...I've got new plugs for it, they're actually sitting on the dash crazy Been meaning to replace them one of these days just as a good maintenance practice. I've also got a new fuel filter in the cab, for the same reason.


"Pretty cocky for a starving pilgrim!"
"An elk don't know how many legs a horse has!"
Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: DakotaBoy] #7642696
08/05/22 08:50 AM
08/05/22 08:50 AM
Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 4,608
Indiana
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Providence Farm Online content
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My luck if you just topped off the fuel tank it would be the fuel pump if it's in the tank. It could be a lot of things but sound like when my fuel pump went out on my excursion except we were 130miles from home.

Could be the alternator having gone out too and died once the battery ran out of juice.

Last edited by Providence Farm; 08/05/22 08:53 AM.
Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: DakotaBoy] #7642699
08/05/22 08:51 AM
08/05/22 08:51 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,150
east central WI
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k snow Offline
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east central WI
More often than not, I have seen fuel pumps (in tank) fail when the tank is filled. Sometimes I think it is the cold gas hitting a hot pump and it shocks it. Always sucks dropping a full tank. Look into lifting the bed if it is the pump, many times that is easier.

Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: k snow] #7642700
08/05/22 08:56 AM
08/05/22 08:56 AM
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 640
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DakotaBoy Offline OP
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Originally Posted by k snow
More often than not, I have seen fuel pumps (in tank) fail when the tank is filled. Sometimes I think it is the cold gas hitting a hot pump and it shocks it. Always sucks dropping a full tank. Look into lifting the bed if it is the pump, many times that is easier.

Your observation is interesting. It was about 102°F here yesterday, and the pickup sat in the driveway all day, heating up. Wouldn't the pump likely fail right there at the gas station then? Rather than driving another 30+ miles before giving up the ghost? When I replaced the tank and fuel pump last time, I just dropped the tank out from the bottom. Seemed to work ok. The pump is inside the tank in my case.

Last edited by DakotaBoy; 08/05/22 08:57 AM.

"Pretty cocky for a starving pilgrim!"
"An elk don't know how many legs a horse has!"
Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: DakotaBoy] #7642703
08/05/22 08:57 AM
08/05/22 08:57 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 661
Wisconsin
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teal Offline
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My bet is timing belt…had this happen to a 1991 ford escort.

Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: DakotaBoy] #7642705
08/05/22 08:58 AM
08/05/22 08:58 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,150
east central WI
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k snow Offline
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east central WI
Originally Posted by DakotaBoy
Originally Posted by k snow
More often than not, I have seen fuel pumps (in tank) fail when the tank is filled. Sometimes I think it is the cold gas hitting a hot pump and it shocks it. Always sucks dropping a full tank. Look into lifting the bed if it is the pump, many times that is easier.

Your observation is interesting. It was about 102°F here yesterday, and the pickup sat in the driveway all day, heating up. Wouldn't the pump likely fail right there at the gas station then? Rather than driving another 30+ miles before giving up the ghost? When I replaced the tank and fuel pump last time, I just dropped the tank out from the bottom. Seemed to work ok. The pump is inside the tank in my case.


My pump died when it was -15 in February, so who knows some times.

Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: DakotaBoy] #7642707
08/05/22 08:59 AM
08/05/22 08:59 AM
Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 4,608
Indiana
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Providence Farm Online content
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Indiana
Turn the key on you should hear the pump kick on if not it's out. Easy to check.

Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: DakotaBoy] #7642709
08/05/22 09:01 AM
08/05/22 09:01 AM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 5,316
SW PA
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white marlin Offline
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SW PA
well, considering it's 35 years old...I'd say "old age".



Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: DakotaBoy] #7642712
08/05/22 09:03 AM
08/05/22 09:03 AM
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Posts: 122
MN
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MnJag Offline
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Like said above check for spark to determine if it is fuel or spark issue. If fuel my guess is fuel pump. If no spark it could be the crank sensor. I had one go bad on a 98 k1500 truck was running fine then just died. If no spark be careful not to crank it over too much or it will get really flooded.

Re: Pickup Died - Any Ideas? [Re: Providence Farm] #7642726
08/05/22 09:22 AM
08/05/22 09:22 AM
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 640
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DakotaBoy Offline OP
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DakotaBoy  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Providence Farm
My luck if you just topped off the fuel tank it would be the fuel pump if it's in the tank. It could be a lot of things but sound like when my fuel pump went out on my excursion except we were 130miles from home.

Could be the alternator having gone out too and died once the battery ran out of juice.

The battery isn't out of juice. Wife left the headlights on while it was parked on the side of the road. Took about 30 minutes last night until I was able to get out to the pickup last night. When I got there, there was plenty of juice in the battery to crank over.


"Pretty cocky for a starving pilgrim!"
"An elk don't know how many legs a horse has!"
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