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Chevrolet Impala Starting/Stalling Problems

neustkgneustkg Posts: 35
edited July 2015 in Chevrolet
Thought I would post this here as the Impala can have the same engine.

I have a 2000 Grand Prix GT w/3800 V6. Has about 89,000 miles. It seems to always start when it is cold. After it warms up completely, if you turn it off (to go into a store, etc.), and try to start it again, it sometimes will not start (happened about 3 times in the last month). It turns over, but won't start (sounds like it is flooded). It will sometimes eventually start after numerous tries, but will always start when the engine cools completely.

We took it into a decent local shop, but they told me it hasn't thrown any codes. They said it could be the crankshaft sensor, ignition module, or fuel pump. They don't want to just start replacing parts as each repair can be costly with the fuel pump being the most expensive. We were hoping that it would start failing more often, especially when they had it (it always started for them) as they can't really do much as long as it always starts for them. We thought the car problems were consistent (always starts when when cold, sometimes won't start when warm, but will eventually start when engine gets cold), but it threw us a curve the other day when the engine stalled while my wife was turning into our development. Luckily, she was able to coast it a half mile to our driveway. Again, after it cooled, it started.

I have heard that a bad battery or one that will soon fail (or one that is defective) can possibly cause this (the battery in the car is 4 years old), so I might take it to a shop and have them check it and maybe replace it anyway as this would be the cheapest fix that I can do myself.

Has anyone had this problem w/the 3800 V6? Any advice? I'm hoping that if the battery doesn't do it, the car will start failing so the shop can fix the problem.

See Also
How To Diagnose Problems If Your Car Won't Start



  • quietproquietpro Posts: 702
    I had a similar problem with my '94 Mercury Cougar. In my car, I believe it turned out to be the Mass Airflow Sensor or a component of the intake system. What I believe happens is that as the parts wear, they don't function up to full specs. What you might be hearing is the air being pulled past the components in the intake (between the air filter and intake manifold). Think of it as the type of sound of blowing across the top of a bottle. You are only hearing it intermittently because the outside temps are affecting the way the components are adjusting to get the fuel mixture optimized and the mass of the air being pulled through the system. Start making note of the outside air temps when this occurs and see if they are close to being the same. Mine only happened on cold mornings as well.

    In my particular case, the car seemed to run fine although I had engine ping at high rpms. I had assumed it was just the age of the car that was causing the ping but when I happened upon the intake air issues and fixed them, the ping was fixed as well. If you aren't noticing any real problems other than the noise (and this is indeed the problem), I wouldn't worry too much about it. It may never amount to anything other than a minor annoyance.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    I had a 2000 Impala with the 3.8l engine...invariably when I had quirky electronic problems come up, they'd be followed by a dead battery...and when the battery was replaced, the problems went away. Can't say for certain that's your problem, but I had my car 8 years and I replaced the battery 3 times...first one lasted right around 3 years, 2nd one maybe lasted 2 years, and the 3rd one about the same. I just sold the car a few weeks ago with a battery that was about a year old, so I don't know how long it will hold up. Don't know what the problem was with short battery life, but I'd definitely get the battery checked, and if it's bad (or going that way) replace it and see if your other problems persist or not. I never had stalling issues, but had weird things going on with the radio controls and such that went away once the battery died and was replaced.
  • Well, I plan on going to Sears Automotive today to have them check the battery. It is 4 years old, and batteries tend to need replacing (for most of my cars) around that timeframe anyway. There's a good chance the cranking amps may be low enough that it won't start on cold winter day between now and late march, so it that's the case, I'll replace the battery.
  • it was the engine fans.. one of the bearings was going in the engine fan i just replaced the entire thing (houseing everything) cost about 150 from advanced auto and took about 1- 1/2 - 2 hrs
  • ike12ike12 Posts: 2
    This intermintent starting issue and now with it stalling when it gets hot i be inclined to think you have a crank sensor. I had the same problem with a differant gm vehicle. im also a mechanic in central ny and i have seen that problem with those morors before. sometimes it can be a problem with the the security system. if that was the case it would just be an intermintent no start wouldnt matter if the car was hot or cold, but it wouldnt stall if it was in the security system. anyway my advise is change that crank sensor and ill bet your problem will go away.
  • Thanks for replying.

    Since I changed the battery (the old one was pretty much done for), I haven't had the problem in about 2 weeks (since Super Bowl Sunday). I'm pretty much sure the battery wasn't the cause of the problem and hope I'll see a code next time the car won't start. I am leaning heavily towards crank shaft sensor, too, but my shop advised against changing it until it fails and they witness the problem or see a code (just in case it might be fuel pump or ignition module).
  • Iv'e had the security problems with my 01 Imapla but a new ign sw cured that. Now it cranks but no start sometimes. The Tech II scan tool showed low voltage to ign module and a crankshaft position sensor fault. I replaced the ign module and it worked for 5 weeks. Thought I had it fixed. Now it'll sometimes crank but not start. No ign from coil packs. I have power at 60A underhood fuses and power thru 15A DFI MDL fuse. Last time it wouldn't start I tapped on the IGN RELAY with a MAG light and it started. Swapped relay with foglamp relay but it still doesnt always start. The CRK PSN snsor is next but it's a [non-permissible content removed] to get at. I'm actually looking at a 2008 Malibu and this can be someone else's problem.
  • It just so happens my son in a Chevy auto tech, 12 years in the business. He helps me keep it going. My '93 Silverado has 213K miles on it, thanks to him. The itermittent ign has him baffled too. Everytime I have him look at it, it works OK. The last time it would not start, he came right over and put the scan tool on it and guess what, no DTC's, Diagnostic Trouble Codes. He says he's seen camshaft sensors go bad but not too often crankshaft sensors. It was my idea to replace the ign module for troubleshooting. 200 bucks! He didn't want to replace it unless he knew it was bad. However, my wife said I'm not driving it til you do something cause it had quit twice while we were driving it. Replace something! That's how we used to fixed the airliners I worked on. The CRK POS SNSR is $59 and he said he'd put one in for me since the ign mdl didn't fix it. I'll let you know. Randy
  • If it is crankshaft pos. sensor, it will be around $250 to replace at a reputable shop (non-GM). I'm looking at that type of replacement, too, but the shop wants to make sure it is the crankshaft pos. sensor and not cam pos. sensor. Since replacing the battery, it died on the road (in motion) twice. The shop got an intermittent crankshaft sensor code, but want to make sure it isn't that and another thing, etc.
  • neustkgneustkg Posts: 35
    Had the above sensor replaced along with the fuel filter (which probably needed to be replaced). I am hoping this does the trick and the problem wasn't something else, like camshaft pos. sensor (knock on wood). Cost me about $330 and I'd like to not spend another $250 or so for the cam pos. sensor.
  • My stalling 2001 Impala problem went away when I traded it for a 2008 Malibu the other day. No problems with that Impala for 95K miles til last summer when it began to act up. It quit in Wisconsin the other night 100 miles from home. That was the last straw I guess. At least it was 40 above and not 40 below that night. Waited 30 minutes and it started right up. Stayed in the right lane all the way home cause it kinda shakes your confidence in your car. It's at my son's dealership right now in the back row. If it acts up there, he'll have to fix it. One last thing, on our last trip home, at Powers Lake Wisconsin, the Check Engine light came on!! At least it set a fault so they can troubleshoot it.
  • 323456323456 Posts: 1
  • anunezanunez Posts: 3
    i have a 2000 chevy impala 3.8 having the same problems were you able to fix your problem if so what was your outcome thanks for any help
  • neustkgneustkg Posts: 35
    I was actually going to post a final reply, but I wanted to give it time to make sure no other problems surfaced.

    In early April, we had enough as the car stalled while my wife was turning into our development. She was able to coast it the half mile to our driveway. We took it to our shop and told them to just replace the crankshaft sensor (they wanted to wait until it actually threw a code). Cost us about $325 or so and hasn't had the problem since. But remember, it could have been a cam sensor, too, and we wouldn't be able to get a refund on the cranshaft sensor. We were pretty sure it wasn't the ignition module.
  • anunezanunez Posts: 3
    thankyou for responding so you changed both sensors on your car

    did your car have the check engine light on during the problem?

    thankyou for your time and help really thankyou !
  • neustkgneustkg Posts: 35
    Actually, only changed the crank sensor.

    Since the car NEVER gave a check engine light, therefore, no code, the shop didn't really want to throw parts at the car, but we told them we were tired of messing around and needed to give it a try, so we had the crankshaft sensor replaced (but DID NOT replace the camshaft sensor). We guessed right because it could have been the camshaft sensor instead, or maybe both.

    Cost around $300 for the part and labor. We also had them replace the fuel filter as we hadn't changed that in a while (but I doubt the fuel filter caused any of the problems).
  • YM60YM60 Posts: 1
    I have Chevrolet Impala 3.8 l LS 2004 with 60000 miles.
    Every few days or weeks i have starting problem. The lights and all the other things is ok but no starter !!! after a while i am trying again and the engine starting normal.
    sometimes everything is ok for weeks and sometimes it is not starting day after day.
    If somebody experienced the same problem i will thank him for his answer.
    Yoram Malkiman
  • I have been experincing a problem with my impala not starting about once a week. everything seems fine but go to turn it over and nothing. have to jump to start it. took it in the mechanic said every thing checked out from the new battery to starter and alt. drains were all in acceptable range even after the 20 min. sleep mode. keyless entry dosnt work and havent been playing the radio out of fear that might cause it.
  • I am also having this problem if you find out anything let me know please
  • I've since traded the car and got a new Malibu. The SES light faulted a crankshaft position sensor. That was replaced and it solved the problem.
  • Hi,I bought a 2005 impala,3.4, a few months ago and I am sorry I did.I had the intermediate shaft replaced(common problem)felt like the steering wheel was coming apart at times.Then the service engine light came on..took it back to dealer and they couldnt find the problem.Had fuel injection cleaned.Then security alert came on message centre at times,while driving.Then my car just wouldnt start at times.Maybe a few hours later it would start..maybe not.Took it back to the dealer and they couldnt find a problem.see,the car would start messages either.
    I paid for a scan that turned up nothing.Someone suggested i remove the car starter.that was in it when i bought the car,(not factory).I had the dealer remove it.
    2 weeks later..all fine...THEN, light came back on,service engine light,and
    as i was in a parking lot waiting for it to decide to start ,someone suggested that i turn the key to acc and leave it on for 10 mins ,then start the car.IT WORKED.
    The next day I took it to the dealer ,put it on scan,they said wires in bcm came up.
    I am also having ignition switch replaced.Sure am seeing alot of this problem.Should be a recall for sure.Will update if it works..or not.
  • ja33ja33 Posts: 23
    At 36,000 miles my 2001 Olds Alero started having passlock starting problems. At first it was every other month and then after 2 years it happened with every other turn of the key. Since I am not the least bit mechanically inclined, I tried any and all procedures suggested on the internet except cutting wires, or installing a new switch. Eight months ago I decided to clean the grooves on my ignition key with a squirt of 3 in 1 oil. THE CAR STARTED RIGHT UP. I did it again for the next 3 days to gain little confidence in the procedure. THE ALERO CONTINUES TO START EVERY TIME

    Now once a month I oil the key, push it in and out of the switch slowly a couple times. When starting the car, do not jam the key in quickly and turn. Take your time. It seems to be a very sensitive switch, and needs a little TLC to prevent dirt build up. Try it. A little 3 in 1 oil squirt might save you a $500 repair bill. I told my GM dealer mechanic about this solution. He said "Yeah, it might work"

    Other Olds owners have tried this easy solution with favorable results. Try it and see if it works. I would appreciate hearing your results-good or bad. Don't use any special ignition key lubrication from an auto parts store. Just plain old 3 in one oil. Ja
  • I cannot turn the ignition to start the car. the steering wheel is not locked, either (it turns freely in either direction). Is this a transmission lockout module problem, an ignition module problem, or a steering lockout module problem?
  • Hi I have an 2003 impala, it started stalling a year back, at that point of time it used to be once in a couple of months, but of late ie, for the last 3 months, it happens weekly stalls while driving and doesn't start immediately, may be after 45 minutes it would, took to the mechanic ther was no code. It would give check engine light when ever I had this problem. Finally got the transmission , powersteering fluids changed and spark plug system changed costing $800, now after changing al these and spending so much , it is again giving the same problem , yesterday didn't start from the parking lot and today stalled while driving and again didn't start from the parking lot. I f any oone can help
  • I had a very similar problem. but in my case, no check engine light. I researched the problem and it looked like a high probability of the problem being the crankshaft sensor. Replaced that and problem went away.
  • mechanic actually reset the crankshaft sensor code.......
  • only occationally i have this problem... more often on cold days than warm. after the engine starts it whines for about 30-45 sec. at a high pitch almost like a train horn loud.. annoying. sometimes after the high pitched noise it will stay the same volume but lower a few octives.. the noise is for sure comming from the engine but its so few and far between that i can not pin point it. it still happens when the defrost is off so im guessing that it is not the compressor it was more frequent in near 0*F temperatures but it has been close to 40-50 and it is still doing it.. also my engine fan is running alot more than usual after im done driving. temp is normal on dash. im clueless any help would be great thanks kenny
  • ok the noise has been absent since i post that except for today it came on once i was able to get out and pop the hood before it cut out. but it was still short, it sounded like it was coming from the non belt side "the driver side" of the engine. i also figured out that the low pitched noise was not the same as the high pitched or not coming from the same area.. i could not figure it out but both noises were going on at the same time. still baffled
  • Does anyone know what emission code 420 controls, and how can it be repaired?
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