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Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe No Start problems



  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    ohms is a measure of inches is a measure of distance.

    When a fuse blows, it goes to infinite resistance since the small wire inside the fuse burns up, and there is no connection remaining between the two ends. If the fuse is still good, it has 'low' resistance. Just look to see whether the fuse indicates 'infinite' resistance...if so, it's blown.

    If in doubt, just replace it since they are cheap. Alternatively, you can swap the fuse with another fuse of equal rated amperage (swap a 10 Amp fuse, with another 10 Amp not swap a 10 Amp fuse, with a 15 Amp fuse). The amperage rating is the amount of amps that the fuse will handle before it burns up.
  • my_three_sons - this sounds like my problem. here is what I have posted on just
    1999 Tahoe V8 2WD - problem with starting when cockpit is humid. cranks, fires, acts like it wants to start, but dies. Only happens when cockpit is humid.

    Optional Information:
    1999 Chevrolet Tahoe 350

    Already Tried:
    replacing rotor, cap, wires, plugs, unplugging in and pluggin in ECM connectors. All underhood stuff. Does not seem to have any bearing on what is going on under the hood, only if the interior is humid. In the morning is the most likely time that this happens, but also on a rainy day. It sometimes fires the first try, but if it does not and fires and dies, no level of repeat attempts works until it sits for a while. Battery is fresh, so that is not the issue. Have looked for this issue on message boards, and see a lot of folks describing this problem, but no causes identified. I'd like an answer quickly, but not willing to pay $$ to get a canned stupid response, and since this is the first time I've tried this service, I'll see what I get and then pay if the answer looks plausible.


    is this the same problem you encountered?? Is a new fuel pump the reccommendation based on symptoms? How hard is changing the fuel pump??


  • Your problem does sounds like you are a candidate for a new fuel pump. If the fuel pump hasn't been replaced in the past 4-5 years, there is a strong probability that you need a new one.

    I have had my Suburban since 1999 and have replaced the fuel pump once in 2004 and once in 2008. It is a known weakness in the Suburban/Tahoe vehicles.

    I had the replacements done by qualified mechanics both times as it is a tricky procedure. The part costs about $500 and the labor is about $300. The fuel pump is located inside the gas tank at the back of the truck. You need to drop the fuel tank ( best if it has very little gas in it ), replace the fuel pump, then re-install the tank. As I am not a professional mechanic, I was uncomfortable attempting this procedure on my own. I did not want to risk incorrectly installing a $500 part, then having to pay for the procedure all over again.

    One way to see if the current pump is operating properly is to have your mechanic measure the fuel pressure that coming out of the existing fuel pump. The manufacturers' specification is around 60 PSI. If is is below that by a significant amount, then the fuel pump is not operating properly.

    Good luck with your truck.
  • Hi to all. My first post to this site, from what I've seen there is a lot of help here. So, with that said here is my problem and the things I've done so far. The problem started showing about two months ago, taking longer and longer to start, checked battery and found it to be week, put in new battery, did not fix problem. Next to happen was to replace the plugs, was due anyway, problem still not fixed, got to the point that a quick squirt of starting fluid was needed to get it to start. two days ago temp got down to 19 degrees F, and would not start at all, replaced distributor roter, and cap, both showed signs of wear. Still problem is not fixed. Checked for spark at plugs and it is presant, checked for fuel at purge point in line, fuel is presant but not sure of pressure. Finaly today, hooked up jumpers from other car and a quick shot of start fluid and it started. After it starts the first time it's not a problem again until it cools down. What should I check next?!!!
  • Sounds like you might have a fuel pump problem. If the truck is 5 or more years old, you might be up for a replacement. Check to fuel pressure coming out of the pump when it is cold. If the pressure is low ( less than 45-60 PSI ) it is probably worth replacing the fuel pump. The pump is ~$500 and ~$300 in labor for a total of $800 or so.
    Hope that helps.
  • I'm hoping that thats not it, just replaced the fuel pump last year. I agree, I need to test the fuel pressure, rather than going at it a little at a time, I am going to take it to have an analasys ran and see what all pops on the radar. I hate to say it but it probably is the fuel pump. :cry:
  • arriearrie Posts: 312
    Based on what you say your problem is with fuel delivery to the engine, i.e. when you give it a small amount of starter fluid it starts up. This all tells that everything else is ok, just a problem with fuel getting in the cylinders in a correct form.

    A wrong form easily can be that too low fuel pressure does not atomize the fuel spray and the engine won't start. Then, after you start it up with the starter fluid and it runs and engine is warm it will start normal way, until it sits and cools down.

    An important thing with the fuel pump that needs to work correctly for correct fuel pressure is the fuel pressure regulator. Did you change that out? If not, that would be my next thing to do. It actually would have been one of the first things that I would have checked before changing everything else you have changed including that fuel pump.

    Checking codes probably will not tell you anything since there is no sensor for fuel pressure. Have codes checked at a car part store, where they do it for free for you. Dealer or other shops charge about the same as a OBD II scanner cost, i.e. if you are considering taking your car to a dealer or other shop buy the scanner instead. It is easy to use and a very good tool to have. OBD II scanner works for all U.S. sold cars since 1997 I believe.

  • Well, I've taken it to the shop, and yes it's the fuel pump, the one I had replaced not quite a year and a half ago. It does seem like most of the posts here eventualy come down to the fuel pump, this must be the achiles heel of the suburban. This is really the only major issue I've ever had with it. Does it make a difference if I replace with OEM or aftermarket? Anybody experienced?
  • arriearrie Posts: 312
    Do you promise to post back if the new fuel pump, that you will be replacing in less than two years since your last one, fixes the problem if I give you my opinion to your question?

  • cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye. I promise. Sorry, but I haven't been back in a while. But please, give me your opinion.
  • arriearrie Posts: 312

    The truth often is that a third party part actually is better than a part from the OEM. I ALWAYS opt for third party part if it is available. A simple reason is that if their part does not work they will be out of business so they must make sure, for most of them, that they work as well or better as OEM part.

    Car dealer shops can screw up countless times with poor quality parts and people keep coming back, until they are out of business when these people finally realize they need to buy something else, i.e. imports.

    You did not say anything about the fuel pressure regulator. Was it tested? When you check fuel pressure it can be too low for two reasons. Your pump does not give enough flow/pressure or the pressure regulator is bad. As you very recently changed your pump already why not replace the regulator just to rule it out as a possible problem? I does not cost much. I have not changed it but I would expect the part to cost less than $30.

    Who diagnosed that you have a fuel pump problem? Dealer shop? If so, make sure they do NOT also replace the fuel pressure regulator to make you a happy customer since it seems dealer shops are the worst ones to rip people off and do unnecessary repairs. Worst case would be that they only replace fuel pressure regulator and don't even touch the pump as they could be aware of the "real" problem and know they can get nearly $1000 from you for a $50 fix.

    I know I sound pessimistic but this car fixing cheating crap is everywhere and you just need to look for yourself.

    A fuel pump going out in two years is very rare occasion and just for that reason I would replace that fuel pressure regulator before going after that big job. You can do it yourself.

  • My 1999 suburban is doing the same thing. Did you ever find out if it was the crank sensor, or something else??? I need help!!!
  • I have checked and tightened battery cables, fuse boxes, and made sure I had plenty of gas. The delay is sometimes seconds or could take minutes before the damn thing starts. I just need to know if it is the starter, ignition, without sinking too much money into it.
  • My 1996 Tahoe has been sitting for about a year (I have to fix the 4WD tranny). I recently decided to start it up. It tries to turn, but it won't crank. It sounds to me like the fuel is not getting to the engine. I checked fuses for the injection system and put in some fuel (6 gallons), but still it won't crank. I thought it may be because it is parked on an incline, but now it has 6 gallons of new gas in it with a bit of Marvel Oil.

    My wife suggested the fuel pump not working properly and found this forum. Also, I should mention my fuel gauge needle all the way to the right at 3 o'clock ("full" is at 2 o'clock). Your remarks about the fuel pressure regulator sounds like it may be my issue. I've never heard of a fuel pump going out because a car sits (I could be wrong).

    In the past, I started my old 1966 Mustang that sat in my sisters garage for 13 years!! I have an old Jaguar that I seem to be able to start after it sits for months at a time. Please help! Any advise is welcome. :sick:
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Pull a couple of the spark plugs after a hard cranking / no start exercise, and see what they look like.

    Wet with fuel? Carboned up? Fouled out?
  • arriearrie Posts: 312
    "It tries to turn, but it won't crank"

    If it won't crank it means that the starter motor cannot crank the engine. As you say it tries to it most likely means your battery is almost all empty. You had it sit for a year, right?

    Before doing anything else, based on your post you need to recharge the battery or perhaps even replace it. You obviously have another vehicle so give it a jump start.

    It could be that there is nothing wrong other than not enough juice in your battery.

    After you jump it or recharge battery and get good crank and if it still won't start post back and we can think of something else being the problem.

    Depending on the vehicle they pull various amounts of amperage from the battery even when they just sit. In a year it does not take much and the battery goes empty. Unless, of course, you disconnect battery cable while it is sitting.

    It also is that when battery is low enough that it still barely cranks the engine it might not have enough voltage for a good spark to fire up the engine.

    I would try to jump it as I wrote above and think other options after that if needed.

  • My wife needed a tow truck today when her 1999 suburban 4wd stalled in traffic. It would simply not start. The gas tank indicated full. When we got it home I checked for spark, good spark. I replaced the fuel filter since I had one laying around, still would not start, but the old filter had a lot of dirt in it. I checked the forums here, and noticed that many suburban and tahoes have faulty gas gauge problems. So I checked the trip meter, which was 562miles. I divided by 13mpg, and it came to around 43gallons. I asked my wife when she filled up last, it was several days ago. I checked our bank records, sure as shootin' it was 4 days ago. She had driven several hundred miles in a Suburban, which "died" on the highway reading absolutely "full". I just put 2 gallons in her, and after a strategic pause, she fired up nicely, purring like a kitten again. I'm not going to mess with the fuel gauge (in the tank), we'll use the trip meter, which is more accurate anyway. When the fuel pump dies on some day years from now, I'll find out what happened to the gauge.
  • I replaced the battery. I put 6 gallons of gas in. The truck is parked on an incline. Have not changed any filters or anything else. The person at the auto parts store said I should syphon all the gas out totally and put in new gas because the old gas in the tank may have turned to "varnish" as they put it.

    Any other suggestions?
  • arriearrie Posts: 312

    now it cranks but won't start.

    Trouble shooting basics:

    1. Check that you have spark. Easiest way to do this is to take one spark plug boot off and insert an extra spark plug on it (can also do it for all spark plug wires separately). Then placing it against engine ground have someone crank the engine and observe if you have a good blue spark. You should hold the boot with isolated pliers or tape it on a wood stick to hold. If you have a good spark you have a good chance for a little electric shock if you hold boot by hand.

    If you have spark then problem is with fuel delivery system unless your spark timing is all messed up. In that case the engine should show some kind of signs of trying to start though.

    2. If spark is ok you need to check for fuel delivery in the engine rail. Go buy a fuel pressure gauge that screws in the service port of your fuel rail. When cranking the engine you should read 40-60 psi.

    Fuel gauge should also have a bleeder line. Mine has a small diameter plastic tube that lets fuel pressure out from fuel system when a button is pressed. Very handy to use before working on the fuel system.

    You can use the bleeder line to get a sample of your fuel entering the engine. If fuel really has gone bad perhaps you can sample it and see if it even burns.

    Remember, as long as the spark works at the correct time and correct quality fuel is delivered in the engine it will run.

    Check those for starters.

  • We have put a new starter and checked batteries and vehicle will not start. Any ideas?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Your symptom description leaves a lot to be desired. It may be obvious to you since you are there watching and hearing it....someone on the other end of a pc terminal can only read your symptoms.

    For instance....

    Is the starter engaging, and turning the engine, but the engine doesn't start running?

    or, when you turn the key you hear click, click, and the starter doesn't engage and the lights dim?

    Any other symptoms that you can describe?
  • I have 73k miles on my '03. Has original plugs/wires. I have changed the air/fuel filters. Intermittently cranks for a while when starting, hot or cold. Idles rough when AC on. Sometimes when it cranks for a few seconds without starting, I will turn the key off for a second or two and then on again..starts right away.. The engine runs fine at speed.....any suggestions?? thanks
  • We ahve a 2004 suburban 1500 4x4. Recently it has developed a very intermittent starting problem ( aboiut once pre 2-3 weeks). The vehicle simply will not crank or make any nosie when the key is turned. These is no clicking. The lights come on as expected. If we try to start it 10-20 minutes later sometimes it starts right up. never had it die once it starts.
    We're replaced the battery, had it to the dealer 3 times, and even to a specialized auto elecrtic shop but no one has any ideas nor do they find any codes on the computer.
    Any ideas as we now have a vegicle that is unreliable and yet can't afford to buy a new one and to sell this lemon.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Intermittent problems are the hardest for a repair shop to fine, because of course it never fails while they can see and diagnose the problem.

    What I would do, is to connect a fused test wire from the starter back inside the car. Get yourself a volt meter, so you can measure the voltage on that wire when you have the failing no-start condition.

    If you have 13+ voltage on that test wire solenoid when you turn the key, and the starter doesn't turn then you have proved you have a starter/solenoid problem and replace that unit. If you don't have 13+ voltage, then you are not getting the necessary voltage from the 'control' circuitry. You need the electrical schematics from your car to prove, but suspect key switch or possibly the security system doesn't like your key anymore. Try a different key.

    Unfortunately since it is intermittent, you will have to do some of the diagnostics yourself or you'll have this problem for a while until this intermittent problem becomes more permanent and the shop can see the failing condition after you have it towed to the shop.
  • Well two guys came out from the district office to our house. My wife is persistent and polite or maybe it was related to the bailout. Anyway they got it going and took it to the shop and said that now they were sure it was the starter and that previously it was so intermittent that they didn't want to replace it. So you were right on with it becoming more permanent. Thanks for you help.
  • JessedmJessedm Posts: 2
    Well, here's the answer to my own question. I took my Suburban in for the smog cert. It passed without any problem. I asked the mechanic about my idle and starting problems. He knew right away. He cleaned the injectors and the flap inside the throttle body (the throttle body was the real issue). That fixed the problem. The engine starts and idles perfectly.
  • heffron4heffron4 Posts: 1
    99 2 WD w/45K mi.
    Several mo. ago we had a problem with it not starting at all, it would act like it was going to start but just didn't keep running. It had been very humid out. Several hours later, we tried to start it & presto, it started. Did the same thing the next day-wouldn't start and then several hours later it did. Took it to a dealership. They keep it for a week and it started like a champ-of course! Suggested it might be the fuel pump, but nothing for sure since they couldn't get it to repeat. Told us about hitting the underneath and keeping more than 1/4 tank of gas in it. Brought it home, no problems since until today-after a weekend of rain, ice & snow (again lots of moisture in the air...) Tried to start it several times, with no success and then several hours later-it started again. Any known problems with moisture and what to do about it? Any other thoughts?
  • arriearrie Posts: 312
    Can you get it started if you keep throttle a little bit open with your foot?

    If you can then have the idle air valve checked.

  • I have a 2000 suburban it will start first thing in the morning or night and run perfect. Once I shut it off and let it sit for more than 10 minutes then I have to crank it over for 30 seconds and once it starts it idles real low until I give it some gas. It then runs great not skipping a beat until I shut it off. I can restart it with no problems for the first 5 minutes with no problems, hit the key and it starts.

    Thanks Ed
  • arriearrie Posts: 312

    As I talk about the idle air valve in my previous post that might be you problem too.

    Easy test to perform: When you first run the car after the first easy start and then shut it down for more than 10 minutes open the throttle just slightly when you try to start. If it helps you have probable idle air valve problem.

    Now, I don't know if your car has the electronically controlled throttle. If it does it does not have an idle air valve but still throttle opening is controlled for idle speed. If slightly opening the throttle at start helps and it is an electrically controlled throttle it probably means the throttle is sticky at close to closed position and idle air control does not work. In this case simple cleaning of the throttle could be a fix but it could also mean that the throttle control step motor has gone bad.

    You also can have a heat sensitive mechanical binding issue with the electronically controlled throttle. This would explain why it starts easily cold and just 5 minutes after shut off but you have trouble if it sits more than 10 minutes after driving.

    When you shut the engine off the engine heat will increase throttle temperature faster than the throttle body. This means throttle can become too wide inside the body if tolerances are too tight or some other way binding. When car sits only 5 minutes throttle has not heated enough yet to bind but after 10 minutes it would be and already aged and weakened controlled can not move it easily any more. When car sits long enough the throttle and the throttle body reach same temperature and throttle moves easily again.

    Now, above is just a theory but could be true too.

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