2001 Chevy Malibu not starting

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  #1  
Old 06-18-07, 08:50 PM
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2001 Chevy Malibu not starting

Just purchased this car used with 185,000 miles on it. We drove it to the store and came out and it would not start. It would just crack. First I thought the gas gauge may be off we were simply out of gas. Adding gas did not help. Next I thought maybe the something electrical, I have had the altenator cause things not to spark on another car I had, but the altneator checked out to be good.

Now I think is might be the fuel pump. I can hear the pump run a little bit once the key is turned on and I know it builds some pressure because after the key is turned on I am able to get fuel coming out of the fuel rail relieve valve. Don't know though if there is enough pressure to keep things going there. The fuel does squirt out about 3 to 4 inches. Don't want to spend the money on the fuel pump and invest the time to change it and then be setting in the same spot.

Other things I have considered are ignition. I checked to see the if I was getting spark on all 6 cylinders. I did this with a timing light. All 6 had some spark.

Not sure what to check next. Would like a way to confirm it is the fuel pump before I get into changing it. Could it be the main computer? Would the fuel filter cause something like this? Would like help to figure out what is going wrong.

thanks in advance.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-19-07, 07:58 AM
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The only reliable way to check the pump is with a pressure guage. If you're getting spark, the other two basic requirements to run are fuel and compression. Fuel filter would be on the list of possible causes. You can try changing it (probably needs it anyway) either before or after checking pressure, but the pressure check is what you really need to start troubleshooting.
 
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Old 06-19-07, 08:41 PM
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As the owner of a 2001 Malibu with 170,000 mi. I have experienced the same problem twice.
In my first case it was my fuel filter.....had to be towed to the dealership from the store parking lot......it gave me no warnings.
The second time it happened it was the "Passlock" antitheft system, easy to fix. If the "Theft System" light is ON it is locked out. To reset just turn the key to the On postition and let it sit for 10 minutes or until the "Theft System" light goes out.
It could also be the fuel pump since these cars are notorious for pumps failing at about 80 to 90,000 miles.
Oh and the fuel gauges are also notoriously off on these cars only it's not the gauge it's the sending unit it shows you have about a 1/4 tank of gas when your realy OUT of gas. Ran out of gas on the highway twice........some fun!
Finaly replaced the pump and sender for about $ 300.00 in parts doing it myself.
(easy repair)

Hope this helps.
Keep us posted and let us know what you find.
 
  #4  
Old 06-19-07, 09:47 PM
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I would like to thank the folks who replied to my plea for help. I did get a pressure gauge and the fuel pressure was as spec. It was the theft system. I let it reset for as suggested and it now starts.

Are there any other little things you have experienced with your Malibu. I purchased this car for my teenaged daughter to drive so I want to be as sure as possible things are working correctly. Any idea what caused the theft system activate?

The money and aggravation your suggestions saved me are many. Thanks so much.
 
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Old 06-21-07, 02:50 PM
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Glad to help.

As a father of three girls I can appreciate your concern although my oldest won't be driving for another 4 years.....whewwwww!

This is a great car for any teenager.
I assume being it has 180,000 mi on it that the intake gasket was replaced.
Again these cars are known to leak antifreeze out of the intake plenum it's a $ 1,000 job or about $ 200.00 yourself.
Also the batteries are small and last about 3 years max, they to fail without warning, one minute it starts up great the next time it just makes the gauges and speedometer freek out and no start.
So if your not sure about the battery it might be cheap insurance to start with a fresh one.

If you don't smell anti freeze then the intake gasket most likely was allready done.
And watch out for that flakey gas gauge.
I've had my Malibu since new and had lots of nussance problems but nothing major. Gets 30 mpg highway and rides decent.
Hope to get over 300,000 miles out of it.
Best wishes.
 
  #6  
Old 06-21-07, 02:55 PM
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Sometimes the ignition switch has a bad day and can trigger it or someone fiddling with the electrical system in any way.
 
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Old 06-21-07, 08:09 PM
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Oh yeah, check the brake lights from time to time, they frequently burn out.
 
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Old 07-04-07, 10:34 AM
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Thanks for info

THanks for all the input. I will keep an eye on those things. I did replace the battery as it was the OEM. It was a road car for a salesman. The theft system stopped me from starting the car again today. Do you have any idea what might set it off or how to bypass the theft sytem to prevent this from happening.

Again I really appriecate your time and input, I to hope to get 300,000K from this car.
 
  #9  
Old 07-06-07, 07:15 AM
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More Info

Through looking into this further and other internet searches I learned this is a very common thing with this GM platform. One of the local dealers told me he deals with one of these a week. He says he replaces the key cyclinder and a senors attached to that to fix this issue, but admitted over time it will happen again. Rough estimate for this service is $500 to $600.

In the attached links are forums which have proven ways to bypass the theft system - Estimated cost of $10 - $20.

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.autos.chevrolet.malibu/browse_thread/thread/1977988fdf0a82b6/55fcea95f1b82338%2355fcea95f1b82338

http://www.car-forums.com/s9/t1545.html

I have not done this yet but plan to in the next couple of weeks. Thanks to all who posted. It helped.
 
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