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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

My truck didn't start last night, and it's my daily driver so I was hoping you might be able to help me diagnose and fix it.
I'm not a mechanic at all, just do basics like change my alternator and other bolt-on stuff.

It's a 96 hardbody, with the 4-cylinder engine.

When I go to start, it makes the "na-na-na-na-na" noise and sounds fine, but it just doesn't "catch".

What precipitated the not-starting was that it died during idle and I couldn't get it re-started.

It was running _really_ rough, chugging along in neutral. When I gave it some gas, the roughness evened out a bit and it ran better. But when I got out of the car and left it on and in neutral, it was rough again and died.


The running rough has happened a couple times in the past few weeks. I thought it was related to the temperature changes now that spring is almost here in Wyoming.

It seemed to happen after the truck sat for a couple days.

As I'd start it, it would run rough, I'd give it gas, and it'd be very rough, chugging and stuttering almost like it was getting irregular amounts of gas.
This would continue as I'd get up to speed, continue into 2nd gear, and eventually as I drove along and it would even out it ran fine. Then it would run fine and start fine for days.
Then a week or so later it'd do the chugging thing.

So last night it finally won't start at all.

Here's some things we did for diagnosis last night:

- pulled the air filter housing off the throttle body off and made sure nothing was clogging it
- pulled the fuel line off the fuel rail, turned the key and got fuel squirting out. We felt this showed the pump and filter were ok.
- pulled a spark plug out, put it back in the wire and arc'ed it with the key turning. We felt this showed the battery, coil, dist, etc were ok.


So we've checked air, fuel, and spark, and still no go. :(

What else easy can it be other than getting it towed somewhere? If there's any questions you can think of I'll be happy to answer.
I'm going to post this on the forums, and wait a bit to see what kind of responses I get, then go back out there today with my friends car and work on it some more.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The CEL isn't currently on. Can I pull codes w/o the light being on?

On another forum someone suggested a vacuum leak, but I'm not sure how to test for one without being able to start the engine.
 

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Sticky: How To Check Your ECU Error Codes, 87-95 HB pickups
88pathoffroad .Check this out at the very top of the forum!!!! ( IT may not work since it's a 1996!!!)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
UPDATE:

Went back to the truck last night. Tried to start it just for the heck of it. Almost caught a couple times, lots of coughing and shuddering, chugging noises out of the exhaust pipe. Finally it actually starts! I kept the RPM's high and it was running, if I let the RPM's drop it would start to chug again and almost die, til I gave it more gas.
Put it in gear and did a few circles around the yard, it was tricky to keep it from dying between 1st and Neutral.
I needed my friend to keep it running so I could drive the other car out (the truck is on a ranch down a muddy washed-out road and I needed to drive both vehicles out) -- I climbed out and had my hand on the gas pedal, keeping it revved, by friends gets in and puts her foot on the pedal and it dies. Bad coincidence. Couldn't get it started again.
I bought a new cap and rotor today and will be going back to install them tomorrow.

I bought a code reader --- I was unable to get it to talk to my truck!
I plugged it in to my friend's car and it connected fine, but when I plugged it in to my truck it acted like it didn't detect any signal. Did it right -- plug the unit in, turn the key to On. No dice. So I'm not sure what, if any, codes I'm throwing.
 

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it could be a clog in ur exhaust yes you have spark air fuel everything need for the engine to run but if you dont have the exhaust leaving the truck then you get to much back pressure and it holds the exhaust valves open and kills the motor or you might have jumped time a lil bit
 

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Discussion Starter #10
oops, forgot to post that I got it working!

Replaced the cap, rotor and wires and it's running great! Wires I only swapped because I broke one pulling it off the plug, so I think it was the cap/rotor combo that did it.
It was due anyway so win-win. :)
 
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