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Chevrolet TrailBlazer Start Stall and Idle Problems

I have a 2002 Chevy Trailblazer LT, love it….well…. we are not getting along right now….The problem is that when I turn the key to the on position, you can hear everything power up (fuel pump etc), all needles in the correct position….go to turn it over….hear the click of the starter, but won’t turn over…change battery, changed starter relay, removed remote starter, had the front wiring harness replaced…no permanent solution.

The funny thing is if you giggle the key or move the steering wheel up and down….hold one foot out the window (just joking, haven’t tried that) you can get it to start… you can leave for x number mins and it will start….work fine for a week, month or so but continues to happen….I’ve tried boost it, different keys, spinning the new relay switch around….

My question is has anyone found a solution to this problem?


  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    "if you giggle the key", are you sure that it's not just a bad ignition switch?
  • can anyone tell me how to get to the spark plugs in a 2003 trailblazer v6 & one other problem which has not affected the running of this vehicle is the rpm gauge & the battery gauge.the rpm hand will be at 8000rpm at idle & battery hand will be as far in the red as it can go.i can disconnect battery cables & hands will work fine for awhile & then screw up again.this has been doing this for about 4 months.vehicle runs good as though gauges were working correctly.i know i probably need this fixed but i know its going to cost an arm & leg just for the dealer ship to look at it & its not causing a problem.
  • jworkmanjworkman Posts: 27
    You need a new instrument cluster. The repair will be between 300-500 dollars at most dealerships, and you will probably have to wait at least overnight for the part to come in.
  • I am having the same problem with my 2002 would not start for 2 days.the day after that it started all day.the next day nothing and since nothing.have had the battery replaced,the alternator checked out and the starter all good.replaced the starter relay.for the day it started,you could jiggle the starter relay and it would start.but now nothing.i am looking for advice.please anyone with advice please respond.
  • Try hitting the solenoid with a broom handle while someone is turning the key over... My starter checked out fine, until you try starting it... I change my battery, ign switch etc etc... Finally just decide to hit it and it turns over... (You can see it one the driver's side, so you don't have to crawl underneath...BTW you don't have to hit the solenoid very hard)

    Changed the solenoid and haven't had any more problems...hope this helps. Please let me know!
  • I've been having an intermittent problem (you know, the one's that never happen for the service dept) with my 04 Trailblazer.

    Every now and then, when you go to start the TB, all of the gauges go crazy and dash lights are flickering. You can hear the various relays chattering. Sometimes, it will hit the starter briefly. If you turn the key off and on a few times, it will eventually start like normal.

    It has stalled on me a couple times on the road. When it does, the gauges are doing the same thing. Bouncing all around, lights and relays chattering. Turn it off, try to turn it back on a few times, eventually it starts.

    I've considered trying to replace the ignition switch, thinking that there may be a bad connection. I'm hesitant to just start replacing things - it's an expensive way to troubleshoot.

    Right now, it happens about every other day.

    Any thoughts, other than get something other than a Chevy?
  • You have a bad ignition switch. I'm surprised the dealership hasn't tuned into it, because you're having classic symptoms of a failing ignition switch. Had the same problems with gauges going crazy, wouldn't start, etc, etc. Eventually it will fail totally, so it replaced ASAP. Ignition switch is about $50, should be an hour labor at most dealerships ~ $150 total.

    Edit: They can be hard to diagnose if you/they can't catch the failure. About the only way is to replace the ignition switch to be sure. The contacts go bad in them over time, generally due to the accessories being on at the time of starting the vehicle. GM is aware of the problem, and has an updated ignition switch.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    GM also has TSB's out concerning the weight that people have hanging on their keys. This can cause premature failure since having a lot of weight causes the lock cylinder to ride crooked in the ignition switch.
  • Thanks - In the thousands of other sites where people post their car problems, no one ever seemed to provide enough description of the problems they were having to know if the problems were the same. All the others said "Car would not start - replaced ignition switch".

    I think I will see if I can get the dealer to go ahead and replace it.

    So glad I traded in my Toyota Tundra for this Chevy. ;-/

    I put 150k miles and 7 years on the Tundra - had the brakes worked on at 120k. That's it. Never had it to a repair shop or dealer to fix anything.
  • I had the same thing happen to my TB at the gas station. Gauges and relays going crazy. Turned out that the positive battery terminal had gotten so hot that it melted the metal connector inside. Replaced the bolt inside the battery terminal and haven't had a problem since. So check your battery connections, especially the part that goes directly into the battery. Silly, huh but it's worth a try and could save you some money.
  • Doug I have this same problem in an 04 trailblazer ext.. They already changed my ignition switch it didn't fix the problem.. It happens intermittently for me though. Like once a week and the last time it took 5 times to start it.. I hope yours is the ignition, but it wasn't mine. We changed it 3 weeks ago and it happened to my husband today. Ours only occurs when starting it whether hot or cold, not while running already.
  • Sometimes, I wonder if it isn't the Starter, but often the problem begins before I have turned the key all the way to engage the starter.

    I suppose I could have a couple problems...
  • Check your battery connections and replace or clean them. I bet this solves your problem.
  • I am taking it back to the dealer tomorrow, hoping they figure out what is wrong.. Luckily I stil have warranty..
  • I just dropped mine off at the dealer this afternoon.

    I was able to get the problem to occur for the tech. He almost instantly said he thought it was a bad connection or bad neutral switch in the gear selector column.

    I should know tomorrow. I'll post an update, hopefully to say that it was just that simple.
  • I picked it up from the dealer Friday. They replaced the ignition switch.

    So far, it is running fine. The intermittent problem was becoming a persistent problem shortly before I took it to the dealer. It actually shut off on me on the freeway going to the dealer to drop it off. It was also getting to where 3/4 of the time, trying to start it would foul up.

    From everyone elses' descriptions, it sounds to me like any bad electrical connection in the chain from the battery, through the ignition, to the starter will cause the symptoms described.

    Some of you said that you replaced the ignition switch but the problem came back - I'll cross my fingers, and will repost should the problem come back.
  • Well I too got mine back.. They had to replace the PCM.. I guess it finally did it for the tech and it also registered a code for wires.. Well I guess the two codes I was got have only appreared in 8 trailblazers EVER made! None of them know exactly what the issue is lol.. sooo each one replaced either the battery, PCM, ignition swith, and like 2 other things.. Since we have already done the switch they went ahead and replaced the PCM I really hope this fixes it! I am 3 months pregnant and have a 7 month old, the last thing I need is to be stranded in Indiana in the snow because of this! I hope your problem is fixed Doug!
  • Hi-
    First, let me say I know nothing about cars and am a woman, but I am looking for advice as my my Trailblazer is parked in front of my house, and I am home with 4 children. My husband says this will cost $300-400, which we can't do right now, but I am not sure what is wrong. (our warranty is expired, of course!).
    Monday after ball practice, I got in the car and when I started it, the lights flickered and wouldn't start. So, one of the parents jumped it and got it started. After getting it home, it won't start again. My neighbor used his battery charger to charge, and it did, but still wouldn't start. The lights are all bright and the radio and such all work, but it still won't start. Both my husband and the neighbor have said the starter, but after reading some of other posts, I am seeing other related issues.
    Can anyone give some advice? Help!
  • It really does sound like the started but I think the starter can be tested before you go buy one.. I would have your hubby or someone take out the starter and take it to get tested before you go and have it replaced. Mine did start so luckily for you it isn't what was wrong with mine, that would have been outrageously expensive had my warranty expired, it is now I made it just under the wire.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    I think I would remove the battery and have it tested before doing anything else. The fact that you could jump start it and all was OK, but then it wouldn't start after that makes me suspect the battery. Even though a neighbor charged the battery and it still wouldn't start, I believe that would be my first point of troubleshooting.
  • I've seen some of the other posts to your question and agree, that the starter can be checked w/out replacing it.

    If you can get it started, I would take it to an AutoZone or other car parts store and have them test the battery and alternator.

    Check the battery connections and make sure they are tight, check the main connections on the fuse block (just above the battery). My problem was a bad ignition switch. From all of the other posts I have seen, this appears to be the most common electrical problem. The ignition switch can be replaced for about $150. I had one place tell me they thought my problem was the alternator and needed to replace it $500 +/-, another told me the the computer $900 +/-. I thought that $150 was worth a shot, better than paying $500-900 to find out it still isn't fixed.

    From other posts I have read, it sounds as if any bad electrical connection through the ignition system may cause these same symptoms. If it is the ignition switch, it will continually get worse until it just won't start at all.
  • I have a 2002 trailblazer ext, I have had the 4wheel drive go out twice, transmission "blew up inside" @61k miles,right in front of the car dealership, lucky me. My back window gate pops open while driving, my windshield wipers go off on sunny days, I have replaced the alternator,brakes,tires (twice)battery twice, the doors are rusting on the bottom edges as well as the back gate. It has 81,000 miles I drive to work 5 miles each way, I am a woman and no one else really drives it but me and I do not "off road" NOW my $40k truck will not start ONLY when the outside temp is below 70 degrees?? If its hot it will start, usually. It will start first thing in the am no problem. After I drive it maybe 10 mins, take my son in to daycare,come out, nothing,it won't start. It reminds me off the sound an older car makes when you had to push the gas pedal to start it. I have had this car at the dealership FOUR times the supervisor even took it home and could not get it to duplicate this. I gave up because it was summer, well now its cold again and I cannot ever turn off my car. If I get gas or run in somewhere under 5 mins I leave it running.If I have to push on the gas to get it to start it will idle high for about 10 mins I can drive w/o touching the gas and maintain about 40 miles per hr??? And my clutch fan is going out, I guess,again only happens in the COLD. I live in Indiana Monday it was 91 now its 42, so its a problem. Does this make any sense? Even the dealership said they had zero idea maybe take it to a "backyard mechanic".....HELP
  • I am having the same problem with me 2003 trailblazer. it has 70k miles and has had starting issues for the last year. took it to the dealer august 06 and they couldn't relicate the issue so they did a lot of maintenance work and charged me a fortune and it did it again on the way home. if i stomp on the gas, it will finally start and idles high just as yours. now i am also having trouble getting the key out of the ignition when i turn it off. it is getting extremely frustrating!! :sick:
  • I am having a problem, when I stop and plave the shifter inpark, the engine turns off but I can't get the key to turn back past the ignition/acc position. I tried jammong the lever inpark with no luck, this happens intermittently. Anyone experience this before? 04 TB LS.
  • I had a similar issue with my 04 LS EXT. I would be driving and the engine would shut off. It happened on the interstate, residential streets, etc. I researched other Chevy forums and came across one that said it was a bad ignition switch. I bought the entire switch composed of three separate parts. To date it has not stalled on me; it's been 14 months.
  • tblazedtblazed Posts: 945
    Could be one of several things. A bad switch in the shifter [non-permissible content removed]'y, a bad electrical connection somewhere in the circuit, or a problem with the ignition key interlock mechanism or solenoid in the steering column. The earlier models have on the bottom of the steering column below ther ignition lock a little plug maybe 3/8" dia or so that you can pry out, then you can press a button inside the column to release the key. The newer ones just have a molding mark there where the plug used to be, the hole got deleted for some so-called safety reason. Your '04 may or may not have that access hole. (But a little drill would take care of that!) Good Luck!
  • dete5dete5 Posts: 2
    I bought an '06 TB in September of this year. Have had a problem with it ever since I got it in that it is hard to start and keep running until it warms up thoroughly. It almost seems like it is flooded, which is weird because it's injected. I have taken it to the stealership twice: the first time they said that I had alcohol in my gas. I agreed 100% since all gas has alcohol. They then said that it would cost $400 to clean the tank and that it was not covered by warranty. I called BS.

    I took it back after talking with the manager and he thought it might be the fuel pump. That got exchanged for a new one, they cleaned the tank and also replaced the crankshaft sensor (all under warranty), which they said was leaking oil. After all that, it's worse now than it was, which makes me think that we weren't event close the first time. Also, sometimes the tach stops working whenever it is especially hard to start the vehicle. It starts working again whenever I shut it down for a while and restart. All of these problems occur on the first start of the day, typically when the car is shut off for 8 hours or so.

    I have seen some posts about O2 sensors. Could that be it? Does anyone have any ideas?

  • tblazedtblazed Posts: 945
    If it is indeed a gasoline problem, maybe you got the dregs off the bottom of the storage tank that was mostly water and alcohol, or they just restocked the tank and the crud got stirred up, or the alcohol didn't get blended evenly and you got more than 10% blend, anyway some of the major retailers will guarantee no problems from their gasoline and will pay the related repairs. Of course you have to prove it.
  • dete5dete5 Posts: 2
    That's not it. They changed the fuel pump so that they could clean the tank out under warranty. Still have the same problem. Thanks though.
  • Hi:

    If your Trailblazer is 2002 or over, you will not see a V6. You will see instead a L6 (6 in line). The spark plugs are path through the valve cover. They are not placed as a V6 have it (near manifold).

    To reach spark plugs you need to remove the black housing over the motor (I am not sure is the name of the part is a resonator - it slow down the engine sounds). Then you will see 6 holes with something electronic over it - those are the ignition coils. You need to remove each ignition coil (each one have a plug) and then behind that is the spark plug. You will need to use a special wrench for spark plugs to remove them and place it again in the same order.

    I hope this helps.
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