Question about 2003 Chevrolet Malibu

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2003 Malibu won't start

Engine cranks, runs on starter fluid, doesn't seem to be getting gas

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  • alrimaples Dec 15, 2008

    How difficult is it to change the fuel pump in our 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. I have experience, but need advice.

  • yadayada
    yadayada May 11, 2010

    is the security light on in the dash when u try to start it? The fuel pump is in the fuel tank.

  • yadayada
    yadayada May 11, 2010

    think it may be the fuel pump has failed?

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If the theft light is not on, then it's not related to the security lock-out. This is classic fuel pump failure. If you don't hear the 2 second hum of the fuel pump when you turn the key, it has failed. If you hear it and you still have NO gas to the engine, it could be debris in the strainer or a severely clogged filter.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009

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If the security light is on and the key on for 10 minutes trick works, You need to take it in to the dealer as the anti theft module has gone bad and the 10 min trick temporarily reprograms the key code (micro chip in the key) to the cars computer. The computer has basically forgotten what the code from the key is for and cannot match it into its data base.

Posted on Dec 16, 2008

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My parents malibu does this sometimes. It has something to do with the theft system. try turning the key over and leave it for 10 minutes the turn it off and the repeat it again leaving it turn on for another 10. Then try to start it. It should work you same problem.

Posted on Dec 15, 2008

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Your car may have set a problem Code and a scanner will identify it. Since you have all dashlights on during the cranking phase, you just don't see it until the engine would start.

What you can try is a little starting fluid. If the motor tries to start or runs briefly, you have found that you have a fuel problem and the engine is firing. There is a test tap on the fuelrail for fuelpump pressure. If you have no pressure it indicates the fuelpump is not working and you need to find out if it is getting power. Also, if there is fuel pressure, you need to find out if the injectors are working.

The autoparts stores have loaner programs for the injector bulbs and the fuelpressure meter. Each area can be tested to see why you are not getting gas into the engine.

Should you not get results from the starting fluid, you will need to look at the spark system. If the starting fluid does nothing, then you probably have no spark. There are ignition Relays which provide power to the coil and crankshaft sensors which tell the spark to go to a particular cylinder. If you do not have power going through the coil, it may be bad or not receiving power from the ignition or crankshaft sensor.

Autozone.com has free wiring diagrams and fusebox diagrams available online when you register your car on its site. If you suspect a bad coil, it can be hand carried and bench checked.

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To clarify - - if the engine cranks the battery and starter are ok.
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If it cranks but won't start, you have to figure out if you are missing fuel to the injectors or spark to the plugs to proceed.
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No crank to a mechanic means the starter motor doesn't spin the engine over, is this what you mean? Or do you mean the engine cranks over but will not fire up and run? If it is the latter have you added at least 3 gallons of gas to the tank to make sure the electric fuel pump inside the tank can properly prime? If not do that, also you can spray starting fluid into the engine engine air intake pipe after adding the 3 gallons and see if that gets it going. If it still will not start you have burned up the fuel pump and you will need to drop the fuel tank and replace the pump, remember the pump is cooled and lubricated by the gasoline it runs in, so when you run low on fuel or out you can very quickly severely damage the small electric fuel pump. Never let the gas gauge level go below 1/8 tank to prevent premature fuel pump failure.

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Chevy Malibu 2003 cranks but won't start! I know


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1997 chevy cavalier 2.2 engine, intermittent starting problem. Replaced plugs, wires, coil packs. Sometimes it will start and run like a champ. Other times you can't get ut to start at all. I've...


When you say it won't start, do you mean it cranks but won't fire, or it just won't crank? If it just won't crank, you could be having an issue with the starter relay. The often become intermittent before failure. Many owners do not know there is a starter relay because it was added as a recall item i order to protect the iginition switch from burnout. The starter relay is located in the very front of the engine compartment, just to the left of the battery, on the back side of the radiator crossmember.

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1 Answer

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Scenario: You turn the key, but nothing happens: And by nothing, we mean there is no dash light, no sound, nada. The first thing you should do in this case is to pop the hood and check the battery. Either the battery is completely dead or there's a wiring problem in the starting system. Try jump-starting the battery. If that doesn't work, you'll probably have to call for assistance.

Scenario: When you turn the key, you hear a rapid clicking sound, and the dash lights dim. This is your classic low-battery symptom. Jump-starting the battery should get the engine to start.However, if you keep experiencing this problem, you could have a bad battery or alternator, or it could be some­thing as simple as a loose alternator belt. Take your car to a mechanic just as soon as you can.

Scenario: When you turn the key, the lights on the dash come on, but you don't hear anything. Make sure you have the shift selector all the way in park. Move it out of park and then back, or try starting it with the shifter in neutral. If your car has a manual transmission, make sure you have the clutch pressed all the way to the floor. If that doesn't help, you can try jump-starting the battery, but it probably won't work. There's a good chance your car has a bad starter or a problem in the starting circuit. That could mean a prob­lem in the ignition switch, neutral safety switch or starter sole­noid.

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Scenario: The engine cranks unevenly in a repetitive-sounding pattern. You may have a bad timing chain or timing belt. Call a tow truck and have it towed to the repair shop.


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Scenario: The engine starts right up, but shuts off as soon as you release the key. This is the classic symptom of a bad ignition switch. A new switch should fix it.

Scenario: The engine starts and runs, but when you put the transmission in gear, the car lurches and the engine shuts off. The converter clutch in the transmission torque converter probably is engaging when it shouldn't. On some cars, you can bypass this by disconnecting the torque converter clutch solenoid; but unless you know which wire to pull, forget about it. Call for assistance.

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