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Ignition Problem??


Tim Sherwood's Avatar
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09-01-03, 08:45 PM   #1  
Tim Sherwood
Ignition Problem??

I own a 1998 Chevy Malibu, and I have some sort of electrical problem. At times, when I try to start the car, when I turn the ignition to the "on" position, I hear the fuel pump engage, but the dash lights (idiot Lights) do not always come on. Also the fuel gauge won't go up and the car will not start.If you wait several minutes the gauges and lights work, and then the car will start. But, some times while driving, the motor shuts off and the accessories remin working( radio, wipers, etc. Is this an electrical short somewhere, or is the ignition in need of replacing??? Help, I am desperate. My youngest daughter takes this car to school.

 
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09-02-03, 06:43 AM   #2  
Joe_F
What happens if you try to crank the engine over when no idiot lights come on?

How old is the battery? Are the connections clean and tight?

 
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09-02-03, 07:51 AM   #3  
Tim Sherwood
The battery is 2 years old. The connections are clean and tight.When no idiot lights come on, the car will not start, it will crank, but not start. It was put on a computer, and no codes showed up, so I believe it is not a computer problem. Also sometimes when it starts, the motor races for a few seconds, and then shuts down. Other times it's fine. Sometimes it will even shut down on the expressway @ 60 mph, and then it will turn on again. I am stumpped.

 
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09-02-03, 07:53 AM   #4  
Joe_F
First thing I would do is see if there is a computer upgrade for it (called flashing). It may solve some of the problems.

That would be my first step. Never know what GM has updated .

 
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09-02-03, 10:06 AM   #5  
Tim Sherwood
Where would I check for a computer upgrade? I just wonder if it is something simply like a loose wire on the starter or something? But I'm not sure that would cause the problems that I am having.
A friend of mine has a repair shop, and he put his computer on it, and no error codes show up. Thanks for your help.

 
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09-02-03, 10:25 AM   #6  
Joe_F
A flash uprgrade can be done by a dealer or any good shop. A shop should be able to advise if there is an upgrade to the computer.

Have you checked the alternator output? A bad alternator will do some screwy things like that.

 
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09-02-03, 11:43 AM   #7  
Tim Sherwood
No, I haven't checked the alternater output. I will do that. I will also check on the flash upgrade. Once again, thanks for all your help.

 
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09-02-03, 03:18 PM   #8  
Eproms can be checked for updates online @ http://calid.gm.com/vci/ All you need is the VIN #

Your problem sounds like an ignition switch problem . Is there 10 lbs of keys on the ring? This wipes out the contacts in the switch. Try ot giggle the key next time it wont start and see if the gauges work

 
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09-02-03, 03:53 PM   #9  
Tim Sherwood
I thought about the ignition switch, but I think the damage has already been done. Giggling the keys has no real effect, but this morning, I moved the tilt wheel down hard and then it worked. Thanks for your help. I do appreciate it.

 
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09-02-03, 09:51 PM   #10  
mike from nj
i was thinking ignition switch too, like already stated, they really don't like all the heavy key chain stuff. there's usually more than one contact inside the ignition switch and maybe one isn't contacting fully

no codes doesn't mean nothing is wrong, it means the computer hasn't detected anything yet that 'will affect emissions'. anyway, it sounds like you have a power supply problem and the computer will never detect that. i think you already figured something out by tilting the column though, see where that gets you.

 
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09-03-03, 06:33 PM   #11  
I'm jumping on the band wagon with the ignition switch.. The newer GM's changed up the switch, and the electrical part is right under the key tumbler..(inside the column covers) I've run across a few late 90's models that'll do what you're describing..No "idiot lights" no start.. I don't have a wiring diagram, but it's not hard to check out, once you get the cover's off...A test light, a diagram, and probe the switch's "output" wires while the key is in the start position (and when the car isn't starting...)

 
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