Question about 1991 Pontiac Firebird

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I have a 1991 pontiac firebird it was running fine i shut it off and now it wont start i have done everything i can think of but i cant figure it out im a pretty good mechanic i have been working on this car for a long time but im stumped on this one can anyone help me plz

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  • workerwalter Mar 14, 2011

    That might be a hard question, so you might need to post what size motor, wheather it is getting spark at the plug wires, and if it is getting spark, did you try and prime it in some way to see if it will try to run.

  • wshearman1 Mar 14, 2011

    i can here the fuel pump running and the key does have a chip in it its a 3.1 liter motor

  • ragdoll95963
    ragdoll95963 Oct 26, 2012

    same as mine more than likley the two wires in the colum that go to the security system have broke. The whole colum has to be pulled and broke down to get to them

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Does your ignition key have a small black chip in the key with a little metal contact on it? if it does and your no start is due to lack of fuel the factory security (V.A.T.S.) may have failed. does the fuel pump run at all when you turn the key on if your key does not have the chip in it? do you have spark at the plugs?

Posted on Mar 14, 2011

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  • Matt Morgan Mar 14, 2011

    chevy usually cuts the fuel if the V.A.T.S. fails, i have seen some where the spark is also cut. you need to check for spark at the plugs and work backward from there if there is no spark

  • wshearman1 Mar 14, 2011

    i have spark at the plugs how hoes this vats come in to play please explain more car was running fine untill i shut it off today check everything i can think of

  • Matt Morgan Mar 14, 2011

    V.A.T.S. (vehicle anti theft system) uses a resistor chip built into the key to send a "code" to the ECM allowing either the fuel pump to run or the coil pack to become energized, sometimes both. when you turn the key to "start" the computer looks for the proper resistance that it was matched to during vehicle assembly. there were many different computers that each had thier own "resistance code" and they were then matched to the appropriate key that had that resistor chip in it. so in effect the computer and key are a matched set. if you replace the key, you have to replace it with one that has the same resistor value built in. same goes for the ecm, if you replace that you would need to have the key with the proper resistance that the ecm looks for. all that being said, if the computer doesnt like what it sees for the key, it wont let the car start.

  • Matt Morgan Mar 14, 2011

    9 times out of 10 the V.A.T.S. cuts the fuel to render the vehicle un driveable to a thief. the instances i saw with the ignition were on a little bit newer of a vehicle and may not strictly apply to you, but it is still worth looking into. just bear in mind that if you have no spark, eliminate all other posibilities before condemning the vats as it would be quite involved and pricy to have to swap out a computer and key set, not saying it cant be done, but i would explore all other options first.

  • wshearman1 Mar 14, 2011

    i have fire coming to the plugs ive check everything i can think of somebody told me that might be the crank sensor is tha possible i cant figur out whats wrong the car was running one minute i shut it off for about 3 hours then tried to start it and it wont start

  • wshearman1 Mar 14, 2011

    i bought a dionostic tool to check the codes and when i hooked it up it only flashed one then twice i looked in book and it said code twelve but dionostic code reader said that it didnt deteck anything what does that mean i spent a lot of money on this thing what do the flashes mean how do i diognos the probleem can anyone help me

  • Matt Morgan Mar 14, 2011

    is there fuel getting to the engine as well? i know you said you can hear the pump, but is there fuel at the injectors? also is the check engine light on? even though it is a 1991, it still has on board diagnostics (obd 1) and you could pull up the codes to narrow down your search.

  • wshearman1 Mar 14, 2011

    yes there is fuel getting to the injector i checked the perge vale to see and 5there was presure and yes thecheck engine light is on how do i pull the codes to narrow search on codews

  • Matt Morgan Mar 14, 2011

    code 12 just tells you that you reached the par of the computer where codes would be stored. so it woild flash a code 12 then pause, anything other than 12 that flashes would be a trouble code. since yours didnt have anything other than 12, i am going to say that it isnt a problem that obd would look for.

  • wshearman1 Mar 14, 2011

    what else could it be the only thing that i havent checked the spark plugs to see if they might be fouled out because they are so hard to get to but thats the only thing i havent checked yet i did check to see if i was getting fire to the plugs from the coil and distrbuter i have done just about everything i can think of i cant figure it out i even checked the voltage on each fuel injector and they all read 13.1 volts thats what they call for

  • Matt Morgan Mar 14, 2011

    you have fuel and spark, the only other thing you need is air.....does the engine even try to fire at all? is the intake plugged? air filter good, plumbing to the intake ect?

  • wshearman1 Mar 14, 2011

    yes the engine turns over but wont start everything seems to be fine now the car was low on fuel and it was bogging but i put more fuel in it and it would't start is there a way to reprime the system maybe it was so low that it dried out the system because it is fuel injected or maybe some bad gas i check fuel filter and it wasn;t block at all and fuel looked and smelled fine i didnt see any water on top

  • Matt Morgan Mar 14, 2011

    i believe that engine has coil packs, you will need to verify spark at the plug on each plug. i know they are a major pain to get to, but it has to be verified. you said you had spark at the plugs, did you pull the plugs out and test them that way or did you test between the plug and plug wire....

  • wshearman1 Mar 14, 2011

    i stuck a screwdriver in to the spark plug end and had someone start the car to see if i had a spark

  • Matt Morgan Mar 14, 2011

    the only way to re prime the system is to keep cycleing the key on and off listening to the fuel pump each time...turn it on, let pump run til it shuts off, turn off ignition repeat until when you turn key on pump does not cycle (whole line and fuel rail up to pressure)
    then try to start.

  • Matt Morgan Mar 14, 2011

    need to pull plug out and test for spark in the plug...possibly fouled out plugs, or defective plugs. all you verified was coil to plug wire. thats not verifying the spark gets into the engine where its needed.

  • wshearman1 Mar 14, 2011

    i will try that but i dont think thats the problem i think *** mutch as its going to **** im going to have to pull the plugs and check them out what did you think about how i used a screwdriver to check for spark

  • Matt Morgan Mar 14, 2011

    as i said screwdriver was ok to test coil and wire function, but in effective for the plugs themselves.

  • wshearman1 Mar 14, 2011

    i here you i wasnt driving the car everyday i was just starting it up everyday just to keep things working im trying to understand what could have happen to it after i shut it off it was starting up everyday

  • Matt Morgan Mar 14, 2011

    and for good measure i would replace all the sparkplugs with good quality ones for 2 reasons. 1 you know they are new and will have spark...2 theyre a pain in the @#! to get to and since youre going thru the trouble of pulling out may as well not have to do the job again for a long time.

  • wshearman1 Mar 14, 2011

    i here what your saying i need to pull plugs and check to see if plug is fireing while it is in the plug wire man that sucks its a real pain in the *** to get them plugs out but i will do whatever i have to get this car running i have already spent alot of money trying to figure out this problem and i cant spend anymor thank u for all your help i really apreciate your time

  • Matt Morgan Mar 14, 2011

    well there is part of the problem... the engine was not "driven" only allowed to idle which can seriously load up the spark plugs with deposits that would normally get burned off during driving.

  • wshearman1 Mar 14, 2011

    ha /ha i here you so thats what im going to do first thing tom if that dont work i will lookforward to talking to u again

  • Matt Morgan Mar 14, 2011

    Glad i could help and hope its just the spark plugs for you.. please leave me some feedback and if you have anymore problems just come back to this page and add them and ill respond as soon as i can.

  • wshearman1 Mar 14, 2011

    could that cause the car to just not start ?i guess so if it was just buildig deposits because it wasnt being driven you are right that would cause the car to just stop starting if the plugs are burned or fouled out im going to pull those damb things out and check them out

  • wshearman1 Mar 14, 2011

    i gave some feed back and i will check those plugs and let you know how i made out thanx for all your help it has been a pleasure talking to u i will get back to you can you send me your emai so i can chat with you again if i need to

  • Matt Morgan Mar 24, 2011

    did those plugs do the trick?

  •  donald sextoniv
    donald sextoniv Mar 26, 2013

    i have a 1991 firebird and the tbi is not sraying fuel it wont idle less u punch the gas petal. idk what it is it has spark and the fuel pump is working. i had no key but it has the chip one and i took it out and need to know how to bypass the vats

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