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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.
  • :confuse: Our TB was recently in a wreck. There was only damage to the rear where the tail gait is. Mostly cosmetic. Recently , the car would not start . We thought it was try battery and we replaced it. Later on we found out that we needed to put the car in full park. When we did that it started. When my wife and i got off work we went to start the car and it would not start. We did the same steps before and nothing happens. We did notice that the brake pedal was locked. Could this have something to do with the car not starting
  • Thanks. I found that the transmission cable was broken. The lever was in Park but the transmission stayed where it was before broken (R - Reverse). I changed the cable and done!
  • I bought an 06 Trailblazer and had my one year anniversary Dec 6th of 2008. It has been a NIGHTMARE since I bought it and the dealership won't buy it back. I was hoping there were similar issues that someone could suggest that I have them look at at the dealership, they are ready to total it so they don't have to look at it anymore, I didn't think that was a good solution. Here are a few of the issues:
    -Sounds and feels like driving on rumble strips at 45-70mph LOUDLY.
    -Tranny intermitant shifting problems
    -Mild intermitant vibration at 35-70 mph in gas pedal
    -Diminished Eng Capacity Light comes on and off
    - Intermitant 12mph max speed
    -Speed/Power cuts out randomly (no more acceleration regardless of gas pedal pressure)
    -Trac light intermitantly on
    -Check engine light intermitatly on
    -Clock auto resets itself occasionally
    -CD randomly pops out on startup or shut down or while driving
    -Vehicle shakes and chugs worse than a disel pickup on start up occasionally
    -Cruise control sometimes quits on its own
    -Replaced transmission pump/ignition switch
    -Torque converter locking up (tech told me potential problem)
    -Starter sometimes has issues, turn key and click, hard turnover, nothing then wait 10-15 seconds and without touching the ignition switch the truck starts.
    -Continually warping rotors
    -Clunk on occasion when shifting from "P" to "R" or "R" to "D"
    -After startup while idling sometimes there is a loud clunk from the passenger side sounds like someone is kicking the side of the truck
    -Windows intermitantly work powering up
    -Transmission "whistles" when rpm's going up to shift occasionally
    -Radio/CD sometimes just shuts off
    That's about all I can think of off the top of my head I have had it in the shop at least 50 times in the past year and they keep telling me their computer doesn't say anything.....last week it lit up like the 4th of July but they still couldn't figure out why all the problems. If anyone can help with ideas that would be great, I don't know what else to do. It is all still under warrenty thank goodness!!!
  • Hi everyone, I have a 1999 Chevy Trialblazer, the engine cranks but wont start. It gets fuel and spark. I'm not that good with engine, what are the possible problems, or how could I go about trouble shooting it?
  • With key off or ignition on needle is at full. With engine running needle moves clockwise to straight down position. Help. What is possible problem to check before i have to spend big dollars.
  • I have problems starting my 02 will start on the 3rd or 4th time...i thought it would be the starter but then they told me it might be the sparkplugs...i need help.i'm a girl and dont know that much about cars or trucks..If any one has an answer please let me know....
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Starting problems can be caused by any number of things such as worn or defective spark plugs, ignition coils, drained battery, bad fuel pump, etc. Without knowing more about your specific problem, I'd go with the recommendation of the mechanic who diagnosed your TB.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • Hi all, I'll try and keep it simple.

    My 02 Chevy TrailBlazer is having some starting problems. It won't start, not even the radio or anything. I can't get the key out of the ignition either. My dad (used to own an automotive repair business) told me to tighten the positive cable on the battery, and that would fix it. Every time I tweak the cable the radio, clock, and other battery powered functions come on. At that point, I can get the key out if I want to. But if I turn the key to start after that, though it will sometimes start, more often than not, there's just a click and everything dies, and I'm back to square one. I had a problem like this before, about nine months ago. That turned out to be the actual battery, so we replaced the battery and the alternator to be safe. Certainly not the battery this time around. Anyone else had this problem before? Any ideas on what it is and/or how to fix it?

    Thanks a lot.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    You have probably already done this but have you taken a good look at the battery cable to see whether it has a corrosion problem? That seems to be the common element here so you may want to try working that to remove any corrosion/oxidation on the contact surface.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • bc1739bc1739 Posts: 3
    I have an 02 TB. When I turn the key there is no sound at all. Has gas and is in park. All lights etc work and I took the battery to have it tested - it is fine with full crank amps. I have checked all terminal cables and all are tight with no corrosion. I tried to short the starter solinoid and it engages (but does not start). What am I missing? What about the starter relay?
  • vinny99vinny99 Posts: 3
    it sounds like an ignition tamper issue it must be reset by the dealer or a cycle of put in on position for 10 min then back off for ten seconds then repeat this cycle three times while watching the security flas on the das go from solid to out
  • winkawinka Posts: 1
    I have had this vehicle to the Chevrolet dealership for 3 days as the vehicle will not start in the morning. This has been going on for 3 months. They thought they had repaired as they replaced the control module. Went out the next morning and the vehicle would not start. I took it back to the shop today. They just called and said they can't quite figure it out...this is after spending 600.00 plus rental car fee!!! Any ideas beside getting rid of this thing.

  • loriann805loriann805 Posts: 1
    HI,i went to start my tb in the morning,it would crank over ,but wont husband took out the fuel filter,and he did change it.Then he was told there was 2 fuel filters.He checked that one was fine.Now he checked the spark plugs,that's where he started to get stumped.He found oil on the spark plugs ,two of them so he started to check hoses.I guess there is a hose for the fuel line that had a small hole in it,he changed that.He has checked the fuses and he is stumped.He works on his cars all the time,but he has older cars.I'm the one who wined i want a suv so here we are so if anyone could help we would greatly appreciate it.THANK YOU!!!!!!! :sick:
  • dogdaydogday Posts: 1
    Did this work?
    I have an 02 TB with start issues...first time it died while I was driving. When I turned the key to restart, dashboard lights came on but no cranking, no clicking, nada. About the time I got my AAA card out, I turned the key again and it came on with no prob. Next morning tried to start and same thing. Lights, gauges, but no cranking/clicking. Tried a few more times and still nothing. Did notice that the RPM gauge was shooting up over 2xxx, even though engine totally dead. This time wouldn't start. Called AAA and even with a jump, could not start. Would not let me shift out of park either. After talking w/3 different mechanics (gotta love cell phones) at the same time, I had AAA disconnect battery, wait a few minutes & reconnect. Started right up. Got to the repair shop and would not start. I've had starter relay replaced as well as battery. Would work initially, but within 5 days back with same problem--lights but no cranking. I've read solutions including replacing crankshaft position sensor, resetting computer and replacing ignition switch. :sick:
  • tkazeetkazee Posts: 4
    Stuck, did you ever get a fix for this? (or anyone else that wants to chime in) I noticed that there were other "similar" problems listed but none just like yours. My situation is like yours. If I go on short trips and cut the car off, it takes a while to get it started again, sometimes when It does start after almost flooding it out, it idles real high, sometimes it idles so high I have to shut it back off again. (afraid Im gonna blow something) Mine doesnt cut off while driving, my key has never gotten stuck, it starts right up in the morning or if it has been sitting for longer than a half hour. Its just short trips it has a problem with, and it doesnt do it all the time. The only difference that i have from you is that mine will start all winter long (live in Ohio) when its warm out, thats when it starts acting stupid. Thus the reason for my post, Any help would be greatly appreciated :confuse:
  • bc1739bc1739 Posts: 3
    Your problem sounds exactly like mine w/ 02 TB. My TB had been dead in my driveway for 3 days. Nothing I could do to start it. I took out the battery and had it tested to find it was fine. I actually had the car already on the wrecker to take to the dealer. We needed to remove the key and could not get it out. So that gave me a clue that it was either the interlock for the tranmission or the ignition switch. I wiggled the steering wheel and finally the key let go. When it did I turned it over to see if anything would happen and it started right up. When I explained this to the tech. he said it was classic of the ignition switch going bad. Works one time but not the next. They replaced it and it has been great since.
  • maizjmaizj Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Chevy Trailblazer Ext. After the 100k miles it started to rough idle. First, I had the throtle body and injectors cleaned. The problem is still there. Then , I changed the spark plugs , it seems to improve but the problem is still there. I had one coil replaced from one of the spark plugs after the computer scanner indicated it and still have the probelm. When the car runs it smells like it is not making a good mix of air and gas. I had the scanner put again and gave me these codes . P 11330-H025-b1-s1 Insufficient swithcing, P1171-Fuel System Lean During Accel, P0130-02-Sensors Fant Banch 1 Sensor 1, P0135-02-Heater CHT Banch -1 Sensor-1, P0134-Low AQdiwity Bank1 Sensor Sensor 1. Defitinely it looks like Banch 1 Sensor 1 is defective . Can someone tell me is this is the oxygen sensor that needs replacement or something else that I need to change. I am almost getting ready to go into the cliff and let the car go over it..... I love this car and I will ike to fix it, best of all I just finished payinf for it and I will like to get a relief before I buy another car but it seems like Chevy makes their cars for 100k miles only..... In the other hand I have a [non-permissible content removed] and the one has 165 k miles and is still going strong ...... Thanks for your support ....
  • I am having the exact problem!!! Short trips, it wont start. It cranks but almost seems like it is not getting gas. If I pump on the gas sometimes it will start but most of the time I think I am flooding it and I have to wait 5-10 minutes before it will start. I have been to three mechanics and the dealership and no one can figure it out. I could scream. I love this truck and I dont want to have to buy another one. Someone help!!!
  • bc1739bc1739 Posts: 3
    My truck's problem was a bad ignition switch. Sometimes it started and other times it didn't. I figured it out when it would not start for three days and I got really mad and slammed the steering column. That vibrated the ignition switch enough so it finally started. Have your mechanic change out the ignition switch and see if it fixes it.

  • :( okay i just bought this trailblazer about 3 days ago 60,000 miles on it, and on my way home last night i was sitting at a light waiting for it to turn green and it just shut off!!! i try to turn it on again, nothing! put it in park and then tried and it started as if nothing happened..????? I have a warranty, and GAP insurance but the dealership is an hour and a half away. i'm just wondering if anyone else has this problem?? also it didn't come with an owners manuel, so im clueless. any help would be great!!
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