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Old 03-24-2011, 11:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Car starting problems

I have a 2002 Impala 3.4L. 170k. I've been having this starting issue for a few weeks now. I turn the key lights come on, radio on, hear the fuel pump on, no cranking., no click, no start. This happens sometimes, other times I turn key and hear the single click on the starter. And very few times it starts right up. Now I've read that this is a common problem with this vehicle but I didn't really find the correct solution. I've heard it could be a passlock, starter, battery, terminal connection, fuses, fuel pump.

I've never had this problem with any car before when it happened I figured my starter went out and I replaced that. Started up the first few times then back to same no start problem. Then checked out the battery, turns out the cell was bad, stupid me. Replaced the battery and cleaned the terminals. Car starts strong like 10 times. Thought I had it fixed. Next morning I get in, no start, no click from the starter, just lights, radio, fuel pump.

Come back today the car starts great 8 out of 10 times. The other two just hear the single click from the starter.

Now I'm working 12 hour days and have hardly anytime to research online, but when I come home I try to read up on the forums as much as I can and so far the best solution seems to be related to the passlock system? and theres a bypass to do it? Can someone please point me in the right direction and show me how to do it or show me the link for it. Thank you.

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Old 03-24-2011, 11:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Do you have any problems with the dash lights flickering, doorlocks, passlock, etc.?

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Old 03-24-2011, 11:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mike27 View Post
I have a 2002 Impala 3.4L. 170k. I've been having this starting issue for a few weeks now. I turn the key lights come on, radio on, hear the fuel pump on, no cranking., no click, no start. This happens sometimes, other times I turn key and hear the single click on the starter. And very few times it starts right up. Now I've read that this is a common problem with this vehicle but I didn't really find the correct solution. I've heard it could be a passlock, starter, battery, terminal connection, fuses, fuel pump.

I've never had this problem with any car before when it happened I figured my starter went out and I replaced that. Started up the first few times then back to same no start problem. Then checked out the battery, turns out the cell was bad, stupid me. Replaced the battery and cleaned the terminals. Car starts strong like 10 times. Thought I had it fixed. Next morning I get in, no start, no click from the starter, just lights, radio, fuel pump.

Come back today the car starts great 8 out of 10 times. The other two just hear the single click from the starter.

Now I'm working 12 hour days and have hardly anytime to research online, but when I come home I try to read up on the forums as much as I can and so far the best solution seems to be related to the passlock system? and theres a bypass to do it? Can someone please point me in the right direction and show me how to do it or show me the link for it. Thank you.
Check ur air filter and fuel filter, I change the fuel filter anyways its cheap and easy. You should still hear it click when u try it but it could be the the starter relay thats what I heard clicking in my explorer and found out it was the starter even when I replace the relay. On passlock if it still says security when ur car is running u have to take it to the dealer but this should not be the problem. I am pretty sure u have a bad starter relay. When u bought the starter did it come with the solenoid switch that is on top of the starter? It might be that too if it didn't come with the starter. But if u did I fix the relay.

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Old 03-25-2011, 09:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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tmusquiez- no flickering, no security light on, no problems with door locks. just the starter issue. one minute it'll start right up and drive fine, the other it will not make a sound, and the other you hear the starter single click as if the battery is not giving it enough juice. but its a brand new battery with higher cranking amps.

01impala317- changed out the fuel filter recently, no leaks. why check the air filter? Although sometime when I keep the key in the "ON" position, I hear the throttle body making a click noise every few seconds, is this normal? I don't get the security display when driving, when trying to start it, it shows battery and security displays alternating. When I installed the starter It was the whole assembly so yeah I believe it came with the solinoid switch. The assembly I got looks just like the one I took off the car. Is the relay where the fuses are located? I haven't checked the relay, how do I check it? Or should I just replace it regardless?

Thanks for the responses guys, seems like I'm getting closer and closer to solving this problem. I would hate for this car to go to waste and sell it, I got it up to 35 mpgs and it rides super smooth.

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Old 03-25-2011, 11:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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tmusquiez- no flickering, no security light on, no problems with door locks. just the starter issue. one minute it'll start right up and drive fine, the other it will not make a sound, and the other you hear the starter single click as if the battery is not giving it enough juice. but its a brand new battery with higher cranking amps.

01impala317- changed out the fuel filter recently, no leaks. why check the air filter? Although sometime when I keep the key in the "ON" position, I hear the throttle body making a click noise every few seconds, is this normal? I don't get the security display when driving, when trying to start it, it shows battery and security displays alternating. When I installed the starter It was the whole assembly so yeah I believe it came with the solinoid switch. The assembly I got looks just like the one I took off the car. Is the relay where the fuses are located? I haven't checked the relay, how do I check it? Or should I just replace it regardless?

Thanks for the responses guys, seems like I'm getting closer and closer to solving this problem. I would hate for this car to go to waste and sell it, I got it up to 35 mpgs and it rides super smooth.
Idk about the throttle body not the right guy on that. Autozone said one of the causes could be a clog air filter, just something easy to check u know. The starter relay which I finally found is in ur top fuse box under the hood on the left side when u open it its on the top right. On the box it should say CRANK RLY. Which is weird cause I am use to it being a part that is attach to the side of the firewall "explorer".
I would keep the impala, I spent around 800 altogether fixing my old explorer till it died and I only had it for around 9 months. And explorers are prone to problems, the impala I haven't heard anything as bad as the explorer. Its just the technology and engine being sideways that ticks me off. My mother had a 05 impala I believe and she didn't have alot of problems she could of kept it running good by changing fluids and so on.
The relay around here is 8.99 to 10.99 not a big deal on price. If its not the relay I am not sure what to look next maybe the wires from the starter to the battery might be a bad wire. Here is a way to test the starter and the starter relay. Automotive Questions and Answers -

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Old 03-26-2011, 05:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Sounds like it could be either ignition switch or a starter. (could be a lot more, but thats what I would look at first if your battery is holding the correct amount of power)

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Old 03-26-2011, 09:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Sounds like it could be either ignition switch or a starter. (could be a lot more, but thats what I would look at first if your battery is holding the correct amount of power)
He has change the starter and the battery, it might be the wires that connect to the starter never know.

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Old 03-28-2011, 09:59 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Any luck?

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Old 03-28-2011, 01:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Sorry so late to respond. Work is crazy. I haven't done anything different yet. I will change the relay asap, and if that doesn't work, ill replace the nuetral switch. Can the relay just be intermintenly working like that or does it just go out? This problem seems like it would be an easy fix but its obviously not. I replaced the key ignition cylinder about 8 months ago, I have two sets of keys now, one for the door and one to start the car, sometimes I accedentally use the door key to start the car. for the keys look identical. Just a side note

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Old 03-28-2011, 01:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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He has change the starter and the battery, it might be the wires that connect to the starter never know.
Yeah..it's also possible that the starter installed is bad. If the car is not starting, have someone try to start it while you either a..hit the starter with a hammer lightly, or b..rock the car back and forth.

If that gets it to start then its a bad starter. Since you just replaced the battery as well..it's probably more of an ignition switch problem.

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Old 03-28-2011, 05:55 PM   #11 (permalink)
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So the starter could be bad, even if its brand new?

The more and more I think about the more it seems like its not reading the key, something associated with the ignition system. I did replace the key ignition cylinder recently. Its just sometime I try to start it, no noise, not even the click from the starter, you can hear the fuel pump turn on, other times, just a single click, and sometimes the car starts.

Instead of just replacing the relay, how can I check it? Resistance?

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Old 03-28-2011, 08:26 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Update: The car started up 18 times in a row with no hesitation, then 2 times it made a single click noise from the starter then it started up a bunch more after that. hmmm...I'm going to drive it again but I'm worried that I may be stranded.

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Old 03-28-2011, 08:33 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Yeah..it's also possible that the starter installed is bad. If the car is not starting, have someone try to start it while you either a..hit the starter with a hammer lightly, or b..rock the car back and forth.

If that gets it to start then its a bad starter. Since you just replaced the battery as well..it's probably more of an ignition switch problem.
OMG I hate hitting the starter with a hammer well I use a long a*s drill bit.

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Old 03-28-2011, 08:38 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Update: The car started up 18 times in a row with no hesitation, then 2 times it made a single click noise from the starter then it started up a bunch more after that. hmmm...I'm going to drive it again but I'm worried that I may be stranded.
Hmm 18 idk my explorer would start like 6 times then stop, drive stop start right up stop wont start so on. Heres the link for the relay test Automotive Questions and Answers -#
It might be a ignition problem but thats out of my field. But let me look around and see what I can find for u.

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Old 03-28-2011, 10:00 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I can almost guarantee its something with the ignition switch. Could be a wire shorting out every once in a while. I would try pulling it out and inspect the wiring to the ignition switch.

It is possible for a new starter to be bad, unlikely, but def possible..I bet your prob is ign switch related though.

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