Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Chevy Express/GMC Savana Starting/Stalling Problems



  • 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.
  • just acquired a 5.7 savana when it was last driven it ran/worked perfect, accept when in drive it would stall. R,L,1,2,3 work perfect why would this be. since then it has ben sitting for a year, now a no start condition has developed. i have spark and new plugs
  • Hi igsg8tor - did you resolve this problem? I recently purchased an 06 Savana with 30K miles that seems to be experiencing this same problem. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • hay buffer change your hightence wire
  • toribiotoribio Posts: 2
    Where able to fix this problem? I'm looking at buying a 2002 Chevy Explorer van with the same engine as your's and I thought it might help me to know what your problem was and how to fix it. Let me know please.
  • toribiotoribio Posts: 2
    Where you able to fix this problem? I'm looking at buying a 2002 Chevy Explorer van with the same engine as your's and I thought it might help me to know what your problem was and how to fix it. Let me know please.
  • van3500van3500 Posts: 9
    From Van3500, my problem was traced to a loose ground wire for the on-board computer. The ground connection was at the thermostat housing. I had worked on the engine replacing the intake manifold gaskets as I had a coolant leak.

    The coolant leak was slow with no visible signs. I purchased an oil analysis kit from NAPA and the report indicated high coolant levels and contamination of the oil.
  • Just an update for information that may be useful. I replaced the fuel pump myself with a new e-Bay pump ($100) and it was an easy job. The hardest part would have been the long fuel-tank hanger-strap bolts, but I used an air-impact to run them out and back in when I was done. After I was done, the van still wouldn't start, and to make things worse, the old fuel pump ran on the bench with 12v.
    Having lost faith in my own ability and after reading about the hundreds of things that could be wrong, I just let the van sit and waited until I had $1000's to take it to a repair shop. Been down that road before. When they know you tried and failed to fix it yourself, you sense the red dot on your forehead.
    A year-and-a-half later, armed with lots of bend-over $ and a wife who wanted her car back, I finally had the van towed to the nearest repair shop. Happy ending! My fuel pump job was good but somehow I managed to blow one of the ecm fuses after I put it in. Since I had carefully checked all the fuses before, I didn't bother to check them again. Like Willie Nelson, I'm "On The Road Again."
  • donzi428donzi428 Posts: 5
    OK I also am new here but I found this site after searching with Google for someone to help. I have one of those hot off the presses was new 1996 Express van that wont start , after spending so much money changing this and changing that. Believe it or not it has sat in the driveway for 3 years now . Looks great is so clean people do not believe its a 96.

    So the story goes just the same as many others, I took the van in for a tune up , it was running fine just wanted the full tune up and of course the intake manifold gasket needed to also be changed. Every thing that could be done was done and the first day out with it going out of town even , it backfired badly. I pulled over to see if I could see anything because then it was running very ruff. Well I got back in and kept going. The entire trip was bad for that Van , had problems starting the whole week but I had to drive it as I was out of town. As soon as I got it back I took it to the mechanice that did the tune up. He looked at it and stated that now I had to buy a new computer ! it was expensive so I had to save for it while the van sat at the mechanices for 2 months ! He changed the computer and drilled holes in the very bottom of the computer deck (?) and said it should be fine.
    Well its not fine at all. It startes only after I try about 5 or 6 times then it starts as the key is coming back from the start position. After its started and ran into town and its hot then it wont start again till its cooled down.
    He says he doesnt know what it is and now here again it sits .....for years ! really years. I guess its saving on the milage, but I still put plates and insurance on it and I am tired of looking at it in the driveway. I cant sell it because it wont start like a normal car.
    So I have paid for a complete tune up to include distributor cap and rotor, plugs wires filters of all kinds and hoses too,then the Manifold gasket, and to top it off a brand new expensive radiator ! I have no idea what else to do as everything has now been replaced.....someone please help me.

    :( Donzi 428
  • van3500van3500 Posts: 9
    Sorry to hear about your problem with the van.

    I would start with the basics:

    Do you have fuel pressure? The electric fuel pump needs to supply between 55 and 62 PSI. depending on the size engine you have,

    Do you have spark? You can purchase, a spark plug tester with a spring clip that will hold the tester on the metal part of the engine so you don't get shocked. You should have good spark.

    Do you have an OBDII tester. Some of the better ones will help with codes that the computer may be showing. I have an AUTOTAP OBDII tester. It works with a laptop and provides a lot of information.

    If the engine while cranking sounds like it wants to start it could be the crank position sensor.

    Several people have listed problems with the ignition switch and the security light in previous articles listed here in the forum.

    I changed the intake manifold gasket on my 5.7, V8, 2002 van and had a loose ground that I did not tighten completely. The gauges and warning lights did not work, engine would start and run when there was a good ground and when the ground ws lost the computer would just shut down, no codes.
  • donzi428donzi428 Posts: 5
    thanks ! I am going to print this and take it to the machanic. I think he's at his witts end with my van , he doesnt even want to talk about it anymore ....can't say I blame him but this has gone on way too long.....years and years.
    I will let you know, but I thought it funny that my van also had to have the intake manifold gasket replaced, so maybe just maybe thats it also. ;)
  • dgastonedgastone Posts: 1
    6.5TD-215K ml. For about last 16mos dash security light comes on intermitantly Just recently seems to come on more often and stays on longer. Sometimes, for better part of the day. So far, no starting or drivability problems. But it has me looking over my shoulder waiting for the shoe to fall. After reading a few elated posts, I think my 1st move is to get a new ignition key. Any other suggestions appreciated. FYI-just replaced crank shaft pulley @209K. If you haven't replaced yours, do it before the clanking starts. $125.00 cheap insurance.
  • chevy1500sccachevy1500scca Posts: 1
    edited June 2010
    I think it may be a fuel filter problem will replace this weekend, but if you shoot carb cleaner in air intake it starts and keeps running, but will not start without a shot, sometimes will start if you turn off and back on immediately.

    Hoping it is not the fuel filter, car seems to run OK once it has started.

    Any advise
  • donzi428donzi428 Posts: 5
    took the 1996 express van back to the mechanic and we put the computer that reads codes on it. It only said egr as a code.
    This van starts when cold but not on the first crank, maybe the second or third and only if the engine is cold. When driven it runs great no problems at all ....goes down the road very good even . But if I stop to shop and come back out it will not start till its cold again , then it will start everytime (cold).
    He checked alot of things and said the fuel pump relay is not being activated when the key is turned on. The fuel pump runs thou. This van has had so many new parts added to it I am sick of throwing money at it and its not the problem.
    What does anybody think of the fuel pressure regulator leaking ? like the vacumn hose attached maybe has a leaky diaphram ? or the fuel injector leaking ?

    I need serious help with this so any and all thoughts are asked for ! Thanks in advance.... :)
  • van3500van3500 Posts: 9
    The ERG is for the exhaust gas recirculation. There are a couple of sensors that can be monitored. The EGR valve may be hanging up. I read through some of the diagnostic information I have and the engine temperature sensor works with the EGR and O2 sensors.

    When the van does start does it idle down nice or do you have to play with the throttle to keep it running?

    I have OBDII software from Autotap. It came with a trouble shooting guide and information on the sensors. They provided a link to a web site that may be able to help.

    There may be a fee for their service I do not know.

    Good luck!
  • donzi428donzi428 Posts: 5
    van3500 thanks tons for even replying with some great info, to answer your question ,when running the van idles down nicely and does run funny. I never have to play with the throttle.

    It starts after several cranks when cold but will not start when hot till it cools off for about an hour, then starts on the second or third key turn.

    What do you think about something like vapor lock ?
    or even internal fuel leak ?

    Hasn't anybody had this happen and figured it out yet ... :confuse:
  • cfd428cfd428 Posts: 9
    2000 express 1500....... the other day smoke came from my better halfs fan switch got a switch put it in soon as it was turned on started to smoke shut it right off ..... so since i had also picked up a blower resister after she told me that the fan didnt work on HI and screwed up sometimes at other speed settings thats common of a bad resistor put it in problem solved for 2 days any way today smoke again from the switch anyone have any info i will start looking for bad connections at the blower motor and so on thanks
  • scjh_1scjh_1 Posts: 2
    Hello all. I am new but have also suffered with a "different running" 99 Savana 5.7L Vortex conversion Van. It was purchased as a project van because it would run sometimes and sometimes not. It turned out to be the fuel pump, or so I thought. It has 180K on it and the pump was replaced once in that time. I have what most may call an "extensive" background in anything that runs. Past experiences have taught me that the only good fuel pump is from the OEM. So i replaced it and was ok, or so I thought. Van would run good and then not restart when cut off and restarted. I had voltage and no pump pressure. After unsuccessfully trying to find issue i sent it to local dealer. Here comes the punch line. They replaced the wiring connector down at the front of the fuel tank belly pan. WHY? Because in my diagnostic steps I found out to get the van to restart I needed to unplug that connector and plug it back in and the vn would crank. The dealer found that the connector was heated up in one spot and melted. The wire in that area would loose contact when it got hot and top the pump from running. haven't had THAT problem since the connector was replaced.
  • scjh_1scjh_1 Posts: 2
    I see the last entry was a while ago but maybe I can help someone who is searching this thread.

    I took a trip with my van after replacing radiator, ECM fuel pump and tuning it up. It ran fine on the trip but once home i seemed to get rough and have a miss. Based on past history with the 5.7L Vortex I went after the intake gaskets. Found out they were already replaced. Problem seemed to still be there. Gave up and took it to the dealer and they gave me heart failure with their "quote". I did replace the crank sensor.( If this is done and the bushing in the timing cover comes out with the bolt try gluing it back in there with silicone. Worked for me).

    Fast forward a year and I find out part of my problem. Had both Cats removed for"inspection" and was surprised when there was not one ounce of catalyst in either one. Muffler appears good and van does have great power. I can only guess when the Cats failed they were plugging up the exhaust and causing the van to chug and die out. Could be the reason for the noise in the exhaust.

    hope this helps somebody save their nerves.
  • donzi428donzi428 Posts: 5
    I will LOVE you for a long time( I can say that I am a woman) if you just figured out what is wrong with my 96 Chevy Express van with the vortec 350 (5.7 l) I have had the same issue and have replaced so many parts its not even remotely funny. My van will start cold but will never restart if its hot. I have had it to 4! count them 4 mechnics now and no one can figure it out but say replace this and replace that. We replace parts and it still wont start when its hot. Otherwise the van runs awesome and looks awesome but wont restart if its hot. Wait an hour and a half and then it will restart.
    I hope this wasnt a expensive part as it will be the very next thing that I replace.
    Oh , mine will start right away if you take off the air filter and box and spray carb cleaner into it for 3 seconds then put it back together and it starts ever time.

    I am so tired of this problem, I hope this is the part it needs to fix it , THANK you scjh 1 !!!! I will let you know ! ;)
  • sphere1sphere1 Posts: 1
    03 savana , new to me for 5 mos. Replaced AC condenser coil ( it was MIA from schlock wreck repair and resell lot) belt on Comp. Idler at comp. recharged the AC and held! All set right? Nope..still need upper and lower fan shroud to use AC below about 40 MPH for air flow to keep the HI pressure side low enough to not hurt the system I was told. Shopping for them now ( about 106 from dealer).

    But the rub is now, my fan (on high) will run fine for a few mins, then seem to fade out, then back OK again...I tried the manly fix or smackin the joy. Fiddlin with the knob from MAX to AC ,no real diff. Going from HI to next down and BACK does seem to kicjk it back up again in less time then NOT fiddling with it.

    I think I see the resister on the blower housing, and checked the plug, all loks peachy keen and probably new being as it was a wreck.

    I DO have a vacuume leak somewhere, gotta pull the file cabinet and get the dog house out to search, can't hear it fron under the hood..maybe that is dinking with the system?

Sign In or Register to comment.