This story now has an ending.
This summer, besides doing the windows
on my sons trailer, I also went to Ontario to try to fix the van. I had a plan. I was sure that since every other part of the ignition system had been changed, except for the spark plugs, and the spark plug wires, it must be ether a connector problem, wiring, or grounding. So with the factory service manual, and a spare set of connectors for the computer, (Vehicle Control Module, (VCM))
I booked two weeks of vacation and I set out for Ontario. I flew into Toronto. I was greeted by Roy and Carole Ann in TO. They are the greatest folks. They have been holding onto three spare tire covers for me. I spent some time with them before Roy gave me a ride to the Greyhound station. The bus leaves Toronto 12:30 am. At 8:30 am I was in Espanola, where I met up with my dad and his wife.
I immediately started disassembling the van. First I removed the computer, and tested every pin on the connectors. They were all good. This was a great disappointment to me. I was sure that was the problem. Oh well. Onto the grounds. With the help of the service manual, I located all the grounds, they were all in good shape. I tried to wiggle the wires into every connector that is associated with the ignition system in an attempt to get it to fail. No luck. I pulled apart the dash in the hope that something would jump out at me. Nope. OK, I give up!
My sister said that she had a mechanic that she trusted. JK Automotive in Kagawang. Joe Moor is his name. He can be reached at (705)-282-2277, (CARS). So, I drove the van there. It was almost an hour away, so I was taking a risk. Just to point that out, I went over a bump in the road, and the engine died. I coasted for about 5 seconds and went over another bump.... engine is back. I made it to Joe and told him that the entire ignition system had been changed, so lets look elsewhere. Luckily, the van died for him. He said that was good, because it is difficult to fix it if it is not broken. For the next three days I waited, calling often. It never ran more then 1 hour while it idled in his parking lot. Since the gas was now more then a year old, I was kinda surprised it ran at all. The big difference between him and McQuaries is that he took the time to test it. They just changed parts and told me to come and get it.
He tried changing the crank sensor, that was not it. He rewired the ignition system, in case some wires had been damaged. No luck. He was getting quite frustrated. He has a guy that is an electrical
consultant for GM. His guy said it was either the computer, or the ignition control module. I had to get back to Calgary. I told him that I would try to locate the parts online and have them sent to him. Then it was back to Calgary on the bus. 40 hours later I was in Calgary. 40 hours on the bus is not fun.
I had earlier located a computer on ebay. They program it to the serial number of the van. $70 US. Came to $135 CDN with shipping and exchange. It took me ~1hr to remove, and re-install the computer. Some background, McQuarries charged me for 4 hours, and like $500 for the computer. Since this was not a part available from GM, the computer they sold me was also an aftermarket unit. I also located an Ignition Control Module (ICM) for $10, including delivery. That is not a typo, TEN DOLLARS. The ignition control module is right under the inside engine cover of the van, easy to change. McQuarries charged me $600 including labor for that. Joe tells me he gets the part for $50. They also changed the rotor and cap, another ~$600.
The new ICM didn't fix it, but the new computer did. That was it. The first part that McQuarries put in was defective, (and over priced). The rotor, cap and ICM were never the problem. Joe charged me less then $600. I am sure he spent more time on it then that, as well as the new crank sensor. I should mention that when I brought it in, he was swamped, yet he found time between jobs to work on my van. A good mechanic. I would recommend him to anyone.
I book another week of vacation, good thing I get four weeks vacation. So, it was back on the bus for me. I met a great guy named Dick on the bus. The trip goes a lot faster when the conversation is interesting. But 40 hours is still a long time. I got to Espanola and was met by my dad and his wife again. Deja vu. I hooked up the trailer, and then spent the night at my dad's.
I left Calgary on Saturday morning. Two days on the bus, and a day at dad's. It was Tuesday morning when I left, and Sunday I was to be on a plane for Pittsburgh. I had another class to attend. Not much time. I pushed hard. The van ran flawlessly. The drive through northern Ontario in the fall
was beautiful. I actually got to Calgary on Thursday. Lots of time to recover. I am posting this from Pittsburgh.
Kind of an anticlimactic end, but I am fine with that.