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Chevy Express/GMC Savana Starting/Stalling Problems



  • lmfhlmfh Posts: 3
    Whoa,new info on the web,involving lots of detective work!

  • uncleduncled Posts: 2
    Here's my solution, but first a little background: 2000 Chevy express 3500 w/5.7. Problem first presented on cool, damp morning. Engine started normally and I drove about 2 miles (engine was still cold at this point) then lost all engine power. Coasted to a stop to find engine was still running at a VERY poor idle & exhaust had strong sulfur smell. After idling for about 10 minutes it cleared up, ran normally again and was good the rest of the day. Next morning (again cool & damp) would not start at all. That afternoon started normally. The next day no start at all.

    I replaced the cap & rotor and with the doghouse still removed I cranked the engine but it still would not start. However, now I could see the high voltage leak from the coil tower to the body and frame of the coil: sometimes jumping an air gap of an inch or more. Although you couldn't see it, there must have been a crack in the insulation or plastic housing of the coil.

    So the rest of the story is rather than the voltage getting to the plugs, the high humidity was creating a much shorter pathway to ground. A new coil fixed my problem. Oh, and my parts guy told me he sells A LOT of those.
  • Hi, I too have a van that does the same thing yours does, sometimes it just turns over but won't start. If we let it sit for 24hrs it would usually start up again. Except for this last time when we tried to start it after it sat for a while it would crank but not start!!! ugh!! we have taken it in and they cannot reproduce the problem, so of course have no idea what the heck is happening. So if you or anyone has had an answer to this problem I would to hear about it. Thanks
  • uncleduncled Posts: 2
    Like I said, replacing the ignition coil solved my problem. Its insulation must have been compromised and in cool, damp conditions you could literally watch the high voltage discharge jump directly to ground, which made it kind of tough for any spark to get to the plugs. Your mechanic may not have been able to reproduce your symptoms if the windy ride on a tow truck or sitting in a warm dry repair shop dried out your engine compartment.
  • I had the same on my 2001 savana slt.after many trips I was told by my mechanic the 5.7 have a newly redesind rotor cap with more ventilation (moisture escape ).That solved the miss and sputtering on damp days.I also fixed the running motor that would just quit on me.back roads or hiways .they changed the throtle body. Both expensive labor charges but it's been running like a slt should. (radumas45)
  • I am learning that the computer box corrodes and gets moisture in it. I think this is what happened to me.... My gauges and trans we're acting up. I pulled the box and it had a hole in it W/ moisture inside it. I just swapped it out...
  • ahoronahoron Posts: 30
    2000 savana 5.7l had in the shop for tires. Shop said hard start is due to corroded ecm or fuel pump. I replaced the fuel pump twice already It takes about 30 seconds to start but doesn't happen all the time. I replaced the fuel pump twice already. Is it worth $100 to change the ecm?just looking for some advice or recommendations thanks
  • Have you ever resolved your starting issues? We have a 2002 Chevy Savana Van that won't start once or twice a day. Van is in great shape but is our work vehicle. If we follow you instructions above it starts every time. However we cannot wait 20 minutes everytime it won't start between jobs. Can't get it to do it when we take it in to GMC. We are exasperated and running out of money trying to resolve. Please share if you have fixed yours.
  • lmfhlmfh Posts: 3
    Sorry speedzone3, but we have not even tried to fix it. We understand the PassLock system is messed up somewhere along the line, but to check everything in the system at a dealership would cost way too much time and money for us too. This article explains the problem and all the points where it could go wrong and it made my brain hurt to think of the possibilities for loss of contact, corrosion, etc.
    We use our van as a family vehicle and a Scout Troop vehicle and have just gotten used to the idea that we go turn the dumb van on 15 minutes ahead of time. We have 156,000 miles on it and like most Savana vans, it's still going strong except for that stupid PassLock security system issue. Hope you find a solution to your problem since it's your livelihood on the line. Good Luck.
  • You mentioned an article that explains the problems and points. Is this anything you can email or fax? Please email if possible.
  • my company van would not start. few minutes later van started. took to nearest garage and noticed SECURITY light was on dash. garage owner said key and/or key ignition cylinder is worn so computer thinks i'm trying to steal van so computer cuts off fuel injectors. went to dealership but their computers were down so i could not get new key. took a chance with backup key. later that evening van would not start AT ALL and i was stranded. got tow back to house. later installed NEW ignition key cylinder AND NEW key cut from van VIN code from dealership. turned key to run position and let sit for at least 20 minutes so computer could re-calibrate to new key/cylinder. van starts up and runs fine. hope that helps!
  • i have a 1996 chevy exspress van.i have had a hard start problem for over a year and a half..last summer,a gm dealer tried to pull that crap.about it being the fuel pump.i did not go along with that.found out that my battery post.was shorting.cleaned and reinstalled.but now right after,the summer draught.when it started raining,my van started the deal.when it gets does not want to start.well i park now where the front,end is on dry ground,it started today in the rain.the crank trigger is up front.on the crank shaft.the wires are good on mind.but what else could it be.a sensor.some where.there are wheel sensors,transmission speed sensor..park the front on dry ground,no grass.
  • I have a '99 Savana 4.3 with a fuel pump that works intermittently. When it works, it pumps like a fire truck, but most of the time it's dead. My fuel gauge corresponds to the fuel pump. If my gauge is working, so does the fuel pump. If the gauge doesn't come off "E", the fuel pump doesn't work. Generally, after sitting, the gauge/pump combo is more likely to work. I would like to condemn the in-tank fuel pump/gauge assembly and replace it, but I can't because it could be something farther up the electrical chain and $300 is too-expensive of a trouble shoot. Any ideas?
  • 1320jon1320jon Posts: 18
    motown, your problem almost certainly is in the tank. The only common between is the ground. You may not even need a new assembly. If you do, the pump should be about 100$, and the fp sending unit is probably good. You would more then likely accidentally fix the bad ground by replacing the pump. The pumps are pretty easy to do once the tank is almost out of fuel. The assembly unbolts from the top with 8 mm nuts and a few fuel lines and vents, and a return.

    As for the other problems in this thread, I noticed that in the later models, like 04 and up there is a water/splash/drip cover over the pcm. My 03 doesnt have it, but I live in the desert so it has not been a problem. It might just be missing it, as mine was used and was in a front end accident before I got it.

    For everyone in moist climates, its probably a good idea to remove grounds every now and then and wire brush the contact area then put back together.
  • igsg8torigsg8tor Posts: 1
    OK I'm new here so bare with me he as I describe my dilemma to you all!

    I have had this ongoing problem with my Van for about a year it runs fine when cold but after it runs for about 5 to 10 min's and you shut it off it will not restart. I have had many people try and figure it out and have spent many hours working on there suggestions, and spent to much money on things that didn't work.
    So far I have changed the fuel pump and filter, change the Ignition Control Module and Camshaft Position Sensor, and removed the (2) Catalytic Converters to check for blockage and still the same thing! I have now turned to you all for help I hope someone has had this problem fixed.

    you can start it when hot if you step on gas pedal but it will stall out when you let up on it, on another note when it runs the speed o is very erratic (but I think that is a sensor) and not what is causing the not starting when hot problem.
  • Hi, I have the same problem. Can start if giving it lot's of gas, then let off it dies.
    Had the speedo jumping around just the other day too.

    Did you figure out what the problem was?
  • Van died on the road, had it towed to garage, $500 later with new distributor (top bearing was worn) rotor and cap it ran fine. Drove home, 4 miles. An hour later engine would not start, no spark, I have a spark tester. Spark came back engine started, drove to job site, shut off and engine would not restart, no spark, later engine started. Drove home.

    Saturday, engine started and ran fine for short trips. Sunday I used "Auto-tap" OBDII tester, no codes, replaced the crank position sensor, monitored engine. Restarted engine approximately 10 to 15 times with no problem. Monitored with Auto-tap, no codes, tracked ignition voltage, 14 volts steady, drove around the block, flogged it ran fine. Sunday evening, drove 0.2 miles, died, no spark, no gauges, no idiot lights, only light on dash is "ABS" light. Will check for bad fuse. Fuse is good.

    Monday, plugged in Auto-tap, gauges and warning lights functioned and engine started. Removed gauge fuse, engine will start and shuts down in about 3 seconds. Will now look for a loose wire, call my GM dealer and see if there are any service bulletins for this problem.
  • Monday afternoon: At the Chevy dealer's I talked to the service writer, he asked a mechanic to talk to me, his thoughts, loose wire or bad connector. Especially after the engine stopped there were no codes. The event causing the problem happened and simulated the key being turned off. He recommended checking each wire, looking for a loose connection.

    I talked to a friend that works at a truck garage. When I mentioned plugging the OBDII tester in and the warning / status lights came on he said I had a bad ground. I found a loose ground wire at the thermostat housing, Tightened the ground and the van is running fine. I will monitor for a few days until my confidence in the van returns.

    I hope this helps others.
  • Hello,

    I have a 2002 Chevy Express 3500 with 56,000 miles. Last December out of the blue it would not start after a trip to the store. After many tries we got it to barely start and it sputtered and clanked the entire way home. The dealer couldn't get to it for a few days and we were able to drive it but the engine would only turn over when it was cold. Once it got heated up you had to wait a couple hours before starting it again. The dealer claimed it was the starter and battery and strangely enough after those were replaced it seemed to run fine.

    Fast forward to last month. We purchased a minivan and have only been driving the Express maybe once a week and only into town and back (3 miles maybe). It hasn't had a full tank of gas since the beginning of October and has been sitting on a quarter tank for about 6 weeks now.

    Today I went to start it and it gave me a bit of trouble but once it got started it ran fine and I figured it was due to the low amount of gas and the fact that it just sits around so much. I made it to the store (9 miles away) just fine but when I got back out it wouldn't start for anything. After a million tries and having it barely catch just to stall it stayed running but was clanking and could barely go over 10 miles an hour. I made it to a gas station and after adding $20 worth of gas it started better but still kept acting like it wanting to stall. There was also a banging sound coming from the exhast.

    I called my father-in-law and he started it and let it run for awhile. He managed to drive it home just fine, he said at first it wanted to stall but then ran perfectly after about a mile or so. Now the SES light is on which is the first time I've ever seen it on this van.

    Any thoughts/ideas? I'm not sure how it ran for nearly a year before acting up again.
  • Update:

    I started the van up that night and it started just fine. We let it sit for two days while we were out of town and when we got home it started just fine. I drove it into town and back yesterday and NO problems whatsoever. I don't get it, I think the van is just possessed or something. The SES light was a misfire (P0300) and did not come back on once it was reset.
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