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I have a 2000 Impala with a 3.4L engine that will not crank. It has a new starter and a new battery. Here are the specifics:

Several weeks ago, I drove the car to the local Wally Mart and back home. As it has done for the fourteen years since I got the car, it started fine when I left home and again when I left the store. There were no problems driving home or when I parked the car.

A couple of days later I went out to start the car and it would not crank. It sounded like the battery was almost dead and the starter would attempt to turn over for only about two seconds. And that was it. No clicking, no other sounds, nothing. The time display on the radio and all of the lights on the dash, except the check engine light, dimmed completely whenever I tried to start the car. Even though the battery was just over a year old I put my charger on it. And it didn’t take long to show a full charge. But it didn’t make any difference. It still sounded like the battery was almost dead.

Next I replaced the starter. And again, it didn’t make any difference. It still sounded like a dead battery. Having the old starter out of the car, I then checked it with booster cables and a screwdriver. It worked like a new one.

So I put the charger on the battery again. It charged for a while and then showed an F03 error (indicating the battery plates were sulfated or there was an open cell). After two de-sulfate cycles and continuous F03 errors, I replaced the battery with a new one that was fully charged. And same as before, it still sounded like the battery was almost dead.

I have cleaned and re-cleaned the cable ends on the battery terminals and the starter. All connections are tight. Except for the negative cable ground, I can’t find any worn or grounded wires. Yet the negative cables at the battery terminals get very warm after only one or two attempts to start the car. The positive cables at the battery terminals get hot, a lot hotter than the negative cables. And I have noticed a small spark whenever I reconnect the positive cable but I attribute this to the Passlock and Theftlock systems.

Except for the new starter and the new battery I’m right back where I started; the battery sounds like it’s almost dead and the starter attempts to turn over for only about two seconds.

Anyone have any ideas or suggestions? I have read everything from one end of the internet to the other. My head is hurting and my eyes are bleeding. And I still can’t find a solution.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
 

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I have a 2000 Impala with a 3.4L engine that will not crank. It has a new starter and a new battery. Here are the specifics:

Several weeks ago, I drove the car to the local Wally Mart and back home. As it has done for the fourteen years since I got the car, it started fine when I left home and again when I left the store. There were no problems driving home or when I parked the car.

A couple of days later I went out to start the car and it would not crank. It sounded like the battery was almost dead and the starter would attempt to turn over for only about two seconds. And that was it. No clicking, no other sounds, nothing. The time display on the radio and all of the lights on the dash, except the check engine light, dimmed completely whenever I tried to start the car. Even though the battery was just over a year old I put my charger on it. And it didn’t take long to show a full charge. But it didn’t make any difference. It still sounded like the battery was almost dead.

Next I replaced the starter. And again, it didn’t make any difference. It still sounded like a dead battery. Having the old starter out of the car, I then checked it with booster cables and a screwdriver. It worked like a new one.

So I put the charger on the battery again. It charged for a while and then showed an F03 error (indicating the battery plates were sulfated or there was an open cell). After two de-sulfate cycles and continuous F03 errors, I replaced the battery with a new one that was fully charged. And same as before, it still sounded like the battery was almost dead.

I have cleaned and re-cleaned the cable ends on the battery terminals and the starter. All connections are tight. Except for the negative cable ground, I can’t find any worn or grounded wires. Yet the negative cables at the battery terminals get very warm after only one or two attempts to start the car. The positive cables at the battery terminals get hot, a lot hotter than the negative cables. And I have noticed a small spark whenever I reconnect the positive cable but I attribute this to the Passlock and Theftlock systems.

Except for the new starter and the new battery I’m right back where I started; the battery sounds like it’s almost dead and the starter attempts to turn over for only about two seconds.

Anyone have any ideas or suggestions? I have read everything from one end of the internet to the other. My head is hurting and my eyes are bleeding. And I still can’t find a solution.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
You have a new starter, and a new battery. And you're getting signal to the starter.

So I would inspect the battery cables again, at the battery, and at the others ends: at the block, starter, etc. The terminals may be clean, but some of the connections to the wires are crimped, and those crimps can corrode and build up resistance. So inspect the crimp connections and make sure there's not a bunch of crud built up inside them. You may have to peel back some of the insulation to get a good look. Get some Scotch33+ tape to cover them back up.

HTH.
Doug

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I think Doug has a good starting place. If the wires and all connections seem good, it might point to bigger problems. First thing I would do is take off the serpentine belt and try to start the engine. If it cranks fine, you have a seized pulley/accessory. If it doesn't make a difference, I would try to put a wrench on the crank pulley bolt and see if you can turn the engine over by hand. If it is extremely difficult, you may have a partially seized engine. I would remove the spark plugs and attempt to crank it over again. The engine should crank over freely. If you see coolant or fluids come out when cranking without the spark plugs, it might be something like a head gasket causing coolant to leak into your cylinders are hydro locking it. If nothing comes out and it is still difficult to turn over, you may be looking at a much more serious issue that would require full engine disassembly.

Let us know what you find.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys. I checked the replacement bolt-on terminal on the positive cables again. The cable going to the starter had a little corrosion under the insulation. So I went ahead and replaced both positive cables. Same result as before. Nothing.

Then I checked the battery with the charger… full charge. And I used a booster cable to connect the negative battery terminal to the engine block. Yep. No change.

Next I took off the serpentine belt. YES!!! The engine started.

When I checked each pulley and accessory I found that the AC compressor was locked up. The AC hasn’t worked in years and I haven’t had it repaired because the repair would cost more than the car is worth. I just didn’t think a non-working compressor could keep the engine from starting. Now, as soon as I can get past this latest issue, the car will be up for sale.

Thanks again.
 

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Nice. Glad it wasn't anything more serious. I have had a truck struggle to start from a seized alternator. If the belt is in good shape and properly tensioned, a seized accessory can put a heck of a load on a starter.

On a separate note, I would say it is pretty rare for the a/c to be the issue. It would mean either you clutch itself seized (I have never seen that), or is somehow stuck on, with a seized compressor. I would try disconnecting the power going to the clutch (either pull the relay or the connector right on the clutch) and see if it spins freely then. I suppose the clutch itself may be seized, but if not, this might get you up and going again without needing to replace anything immediately.
 
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