03 LS 3.8 Start & Die, High Idle, Hard Starting - Chevy Impala Forums
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 07:47 AM Thread Starter
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03 LS 3.8 Start & Die, High Idle, Hard Starting

Thanks for having me, I have been surfing Forum topics but can't find my exact issue. I just bought a 2003 Impala LS 3.8 two weeks ago with 144,000 miles. I absolutely love the car! Super comfortable, powerful, great on fuel and drives like a Caddy! I thought I loved my 97 Malibu (I usually drive trucks) for a summer car, but I absolutely love my Impala. The first week/1000 miles was great. No issues, car ran great and suddenly it wouldn't start. It would fire, then die within a few seconds. I got it towed home and the following day went to try and start it, and same thing. It was acting like the Passlock issue I've had on both my 98 K1500 and my 97 Malibu, and upon getting up under the dash I found a pretty badly hacked-in Remote Starter (That I didn't know what there). I pulled it out, and put all the wiring back to stock. It seemed to start a bit better, but would still die after about 5-10 seconds. Finally I was able to get it running by playing with the gas pedal and was able to drive it a few hundred feet around the yard but it was running horribly. At this point I had the HVAC controls pulled out, as soon as I put them back in, it wouldn't start at all.

I left it overnight, the next day I came out, turned the key and it started normally, but at a bit of a high idle, after about 2 minutes it started to sputter and die. Got it running again by feathering the gas pedal and then it started to idle for about 5 minutes, but was surging between 500-2000 RPM. Has started and ran half-decent about four times since then.....I'm guessing a fuel issue but don't want to just start throwing money at it needlessly. Wondering where I should start?

I'm picking up a fuel filter for it today, but considering that I got it started with the HVAC controls pulled out and they are run from a vacuum, could my Fuel Pressure Regulator be gone? I did notice there was some fresh fuel leaking out of it slowly behind the cap where the fuel-pressure guage attaches...I haven't had a chance to check fuel pressure yet but that and a filter are my first plans of attack.

There is no CEL and it's not pulling any codes on the scanner. I'm willing to put about $800 into the car (Paid $1200 ans it's in beauty shape so it's definitely worth $2000 to me to have fixed up) but hoping it's a simple issue. Recent tuneup with wires and plugs, checked air filter and it's also just about brand new. Any help is appreciated!

Thanks!
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 07:54 AM
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Could be fuel related like you said, or a vacuum leak.
I haven't had a regulator go bad on these cars so I don't know what they do when they go bad. Sometimes it's terribly hard when no codes are present.
A tip on the fuel filter; be very careful getting the old one out, sometimes it's rusted to pot and possibly will break the main line. Don't let that happen. Depending on which climate you're in that could be a problem.


~Joe~

04 Impala LS

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
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I'm definitely hunting down any possibility of a vacuum leak as well. Any idea of what are there are for vacuum lines so I don't miss any? Yup I definitely will be careful, had quite a few ugly fuel-filter changes and I'm definitely in a climate that it can be a rusty issue! Thanks!
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevy1992 View Post
Any idea of what are there are for vacuum lines so I don't miss any?


Theres one going to the throttle body with two small lines on it. One going to the brake booster. One going to the fuel pressure regulator. I'm not sure if the earlier impalas had vacuum controlled HVAC or not, I don't believe they did but you would know since you had yours out. I think that's all the vacuum lines IIRC.
Btw, welcome to the forum!!
You said it was in great shape, if you had any pics that would be great because clean 7th Gens are hard to come by nowadays


~Joe~

04 Impala LS

LED cluster, HVAC, headlights, interior lights
Dual Stainless Xlerators
Stainless Xlerator Resonator
4 inch Stainless Tips
ZZP DP
ZZP PCM
ZZP 180 drilled t-stat
Optima Red Top battery
Tubular trailing arms
Police LCA's
Police brakes
Dorman solid sway bar
Many more mods to come!
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 08:22 AM Thread Starter
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awesome thanks for the info, I'll keep on looking! She's not perfect but for a Canadian car that's 14 years old it's pretty clean. One small dent in the passenger front fender otherwise very straight as well.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 02:08 PM
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You can check the fuel pressure regulator by pulling the vacuum line off of it. If there is fuel present in the line the fpr is bad. Also try running the car with the maf sensor unplugged and see if it prevents the stalling.. Sometimes they can fail or become dirty which will cause the car to stall.. sometimes it'll throw a code sometimes it wont.
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2004 Impala LS - Spiral Grey Metallic - Purchased at 93k miles
Features:
152k miles as of 3/2015
Engine swap 40k miles ago - Swap had 5k miles on it.
TransGo Shift Kit + Dex VI + Wix filter + New GM pan + AC Delco Gasket as of 2/2015.
New Rack and Pinion.
New Radiator (Lifetime Warranty) + Coolant flush every summer.
Firestone Lifetime Alignment.

-Mitch
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