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starting problem for my '92


Well-known member
Nov 22, 2001
Fort Lauderdale
1992 black coupe, six speed
I am tired of being ripped off by poorly trained mechanics. Can YOU, yes you oh great Corvette enthusiasts and gear heads help?

Replacing the starter for my 6-speed '92 coupe did not solve the starting problem. Battery is OK. Sometimes get a skip while accelerating. One hard start caused a backfire (imagine my embarrassment). 44,900 miles or so - no tuneups, new coolant pump and serpentine belt and that has been it for problems. Not bad, huh? OK - the CD player went bust as did the speaker amps. But that's been it. Lifetime free oil changes so oil is well-maintained - thank you Maroone Chevrolet.

Was chipped early on with a T. Hill racing chip, opened air filter, throttle body, flow masters but that is it - otherwise bone stock.

What do you think? PS I am the original owner and about ready to put it on the block. Thanks. Helpless in Ft. Lauderdale.
Welcome To The Corvette Action Center jjones!

Ouch! I hate to see those two words next to each other; I've been battling evasive "no-start" situations for years, I just can't seem to pinpoint it. :eyerole

From the description of what you say is happening though, it sounds to me like an electrical (ignition) problem and not a starting problem -- something is either burning (burned) out, or shorting-out. :confused

Good luck. Although today may not be the day you get the most response, I guarantee that you will get a lot of response here. People are very helpful in this community of ours. :upthumbs
Thanks Ken. I have been reading some of the other Q & A's and like a hypochondriac - I think I have all the maladies. Thinking - could this be optispark problems? And just what is the function of the optispark? Sounds important! Does it just need a tuneup? I have used STP fuel injector cleaner on two occassions (1 bottle on a full tank 3X in a row as prescribed by another gear head). Does it need a new fuel filter? When it wouldn't start, it felt like it was fuel deprived and like an idiot I sat there madly pumping the gas pedal. My other two cars are carbureted and I am sooo conditioned (72 El Camino and 65 Mustang). Obviously, this didn't help.

PS I agree with "Save the Wave". I rented a PT Cruiser for my annual trek to Turkey Rod Run in Daytona and there is an obvious bond with other Cruiser owners. I noticed they flash their headlights when passing each other. And this is a relatively new car with NO history! Shame on us. :)
HI there,
I would say that maybe you have a few conditions. I am very surprized that you were not advised to replace the optispark. Backfires are usually NON existant, unless the low resolution signal drops out.
As for the starting issue, is it just that it is cranking over slower than normal, or is does it turn over fine, but it almost doesnt catch to run??
Please let us know, c4c5:hb

Don't loose the faith yet. It is hard to tell from your description what the no start problem is. I can't understand if it is not wanting to spin over when you twist the key, or if it spins over but the engine does not want to start running on its own.

C4C5specialist is the absolute expert here on these cars. I usually bumble my way through things like a bull in a china shop until I fix the problem.

However, I would guess that if it spins but won't start running on its own that you could have a number of problems.

1. Bad fuel pump or fuel pump relay
2. Bad opti spark
3. Just a bad coil wire/and or corrosion on the contacts
4. Possible anit theft system error
5. Bad fuel pressure regulartor

These are just wild guesses, but often causes of no start/poor start problems. Sometimes when they change the water pump they mess up and spill coolant all over the opti spark setting up a problem down the road. You should avoid moisture and water around that area at all times.

Yes, you have to have the optispark, it replaces the distributor as seen on older motors.

Good luck, let us know the details. C4C5 will most likely get you in the right place here.

Bad dog......

I agree with everyone else
More info is needed.

This is not an Intermittant NO crank condition correct?

No sys light or Service engine soon light?

How's the clean factor under the hood? Lot of dirt and skank? Behind the water pump ( where the dreaded Opti- Crap lurks) is there coolant or oil around there? How are the wires, look close.

You haven't done a tune up??? Shame on you.

If you did the coolant pump.. did the problem start close to that time?

Re: Bad dog......

vigman said:
You haven't done a tune up??? Shame on you.

:L C'mon Mike, take it easy on the poor guy. Give him some time, you're beginning to sound like Hib. :L

_ken :w
Ok....when did this problem start? Right about the same time or after the water pump? My water pump bit the dust, and droped enough water on the optispark to cause an occasional miss. When I took it to the dealer to have the pump replaced (extented warraties are nice), I had them check the Optispark. Sure enough, they detected a short. Both were replaced.

Mine was occasionally hard to start when the pump started leaking also. So, my money would be on the optispark. See if you can get it tested.

More details

Thanks everyone. Got some more specifics. Let me try to answer some questions:

c4c5 - It turns over but does not catch. Took three efforts today to get it started after sitting for a week.

69MyWay (and I hate to ask) - It spins over. Someone else mentioned to me about the corrosion on the contacts and since I live beachside - I thought this was a real possibility. But the mechanic didn't agree and went for the starter.

I am curious as to why you mentioned anti-theft error. The other day - and the only time this has happened, I set the alarm as usual. Moments later the alarm went off. I went out and reset it again only to have the same thing happen. I finally left the car without the alarm, forgot the incident, and have not had the problem since.

Racer78 - No I did not checkall the connections but will mention that when I take it in again. I doubt it is the starter connection since it was just replace. I tested it today and yes, it is charging properly with a full load.

vigman - This is an intermittent problem and there were no lights, sirens, bells or whistles. The car spent the first five years as a show car but I will check for any dirt accumulation. Tune up? No mechanic has thought this necessary at the current low mileage. However, if all this just requires a tune up, I will schedule one. I am just trying to avoid the usually "fishing expedition" our local mechanics are known for. The problem did not start till long after the coolant pump was replace. And I remember they cleaned the optispark cap at that time.

OK so here are some additonal problems which may be related. Intermittently - I get a severe stall out as I sshift from first to second. I also occasionally experience this in other gears when I am forced to "lug". For example, I was in third gear but backed off the accelerator as I was going over some railroad tracks. When I went to accelerate, I got two long shuddering stalls and then the system took. I have completely stalled out in first, though.

So if this helps, let me know or if you can think of some other questions as well.

Thanks so much for being there!

And Ken - if you are reading this, I have frequently been told I "have a pair" but assure you this is truly metaphorical. I enjoy being a member of the kinder, gentler gender. Right up until the time I drop you on your head!
HI there,
Replace the optispark, plain and simple, heres why. You can clean off a cap, you can even clean off the internals of the cap, however, you can NOT clean the optical sensors within the unit.
On top of that, the coolant contamination will burn out the rear bearings of the optispark unit. If they found residue inside, the sensors are most likely toast.
The backfire clue you gave earlier is another clue. Another point is that these units do NOT have positive ventilation.
If you would like, I can refer you to someone north of your location, however, it is still about 3 hours out, in Sanford.
He is the best that I know in the south east.
Please email me for further information.
Besttoyou, c4c5:hb
Opticrap strikes again

I agree with c4c5,
As far as the alarm goes...In my 88 if I use the key and dont turn it back to the 12:00 position the alarm false triggers ( I can remove the key anywhere between 10 o clock to 2 o clock positions)

There is a switch on the back of the lock mechanism.

These days I use the alarm ( aftermarket viper ) to lock & unlock the doors... but everytime I let the car wash guys have it( at work )... they lock the car manually and off the alarm goes.

The Plan

OK - I will give the optispark a try. I have a couple of resources left and I am curious to see what the dealership would charge for the repair. Would you also consider this time for a tune up? Also, c4c5, who is the Sanford mechanic? I just spent the past week only 20 minutes from there. I know R. Calloway has an authorized shop in the Melbourne area but I don't think that is who you have in mind! Eckler's is there as well.

Do you think the Optispark is causing the stalling as well? I am wondering if that could be what is causing my CD player to constantly eject the CD's. I guess I couldn't be that lucky!

Vigman - I will keep your locking system technique in mind if I encounter the same problem again. Thanks and happy motoring. The weather here is just getting "Corvette good"!
Hi there, J,
The place is Corvette Clinic, and the owner is Chris Petris. By far, the best man I know of in that area. He has taught me alot about different issues and a very nice man in general.
He does tech advising for Corvette Fever.
You may also ask him about the modified Optispark for your vehicle. He has a way to put positive ventilation into a first design unit.
I have used them, with excellent results.
He can diagnose effectively, and will not BS you.
Please keep us posted on your results, c4c5:hb
CD & Optispark

Two different problems.

Yeah tune her up... were talking plugs & filters here not a big investment, even if you do need wires. The more you do under the hood ( usually ) the better.

Low miles don't always mean there is no need to tune it up. Time alone will break things down, so not a bad thing to do at this point.

The reason I mentioned the alarm system is it can do some strange things. However, it tends to stop the starter from even turning rather than turning but not starting.

Good luck. C4C5 has you going in the right direction now.

If you get a chance, tell us more about the car's show career. You mentioned something about it having been a show car for the last number of years. Any awards?

There have been many awards won by this car but nothing major. At one time I was president of the Ft. Lauderdale Corvette Club. From that experience, I learned to avoid clubs and shows!!! You talk about politics.... There were plenty of good times. We traveled around to the shows in the Keys, Cypress Gardens, Ecklers, Carlisle, the Corvette Musuem, Bloomington, etc. But show winning wise, it can't hold a candle to the Mustang. Sorry to say. I drove that car twice on the Hot Rod Power Tours. There were a few hi-tech Vettes but mostly the older classics. Can you say Chevelle? Tons.

The manual says the plugs are good for 100,000 - or perhaps I misread it. What makes this Vette unique is its sound. The exhaust rap off is beyond description and for most - belief. It sounds like a Vette should sound. Haven't heard anything similar anywhere in the State of Florida!

Thanks for your help and I am looking forward to kissing alot of cold hard cash goodbye!
92 starting problems

Finally got around to getting the Vette to the really good mechanic after my chats with you on Thanksgiving Day etc. Diagnosis/analysis - corroded distributor wire - and nothing more. As you knew, new starter was a waste of time and money. However, I did opt to have all the ignition wires replaced at this time believing that here, oceanside, one corroded wire is indicative of another. There is the possibility that when the coolant pump was replaced, the wire was not correctly replaced in the distributor accelerating the corrosion for that particular wire. And with nearly ten years on the original set I thought it was a timely. And taking your good advise, I did elect to go forward with its very first tuneup. Although even the mechanic agreed it really didn't need it! Thanks!
Ok - I've been driving it for several days and it rides like a new car. Thanks to Carlos at Cam Automotive in Fort Lauderdale for those looking in this area of the country. Also found...former good-intentioned boyfriend had installed a wrong set of Bosch plugs. About half the required length although they would have been perfect for his '85. Sparked in the threads for years and caused much carbon build-up plus he failed to use anti-seize. And like I always told him, size does matters!:
Oh no, not this argument again

Better for you that it was too short than too long. You could have some real damage done that way. (what a strange conversation this thread turned out to be)
Thanks for making me this laugh on this rather blah Christmas Eve - the highlight of which was oiling my K&N filter! Please - no lube jokes!!!!:

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