2005 Malibu Maxx intermittent starting issue - Chevy Malibu Forum: Chevrolet Malibu Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2012, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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2005 Malibu Maxx intermittent starting issue

We bought our 2005 Malibu Maxx about a year ago and it's been great so far. Over the last 3 or 4 months we've had a weird intermittent starting issue.

I've done a bunch of research regarding starting issues on these, so hopefully I can include enough info here to give you guys a firm idea of what is and isn't going on.

Turn the key, and the dash lights up. All lights on the dash light, and then go off, except the engine light which I think stays lit until the engine is started, then it goes off as well. No security lights stay on or are blinking.

I can hear the fuel pump hum and then click when the key is turned to acc. every time.

The car successfully fires up 9 times out of 10. When it doesn't, it'll crank over fast for about 3 seconds, then it stops trying. Turning the key a second time will almost always result in the same thing happening, the engine cranks fast for about 3 seconds and fails to start.

I have found that if I press the accelerator while it's cranking will force it to start.

One more thing, it seems like when I get gas, the rate of it doing this increases to about 50%. Not sure if it's related or not, just something I've noticed.

There are no error codes. Battery reads 12.98V. All electrical has tested good.

Any ideas where to start?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2012, 06:13 PM
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Re: 2005 Malibu Maxx intermittent starting issue

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When it doesn't, it'll crank over fast for about 3 seconds, then it stops trying.
IF that means that it stops cranking, then what happens to the dash lights at that point ?

If the dash lights go out, it is likely that you have a bad connection at one end of one of the main cables going to the battery......or inside the battery itself.

If the dash lights stay ON, then you likely have a starter or solenoid problem.....or maybe an igintion switch problem developing.

What exactly do you mean by "All electrical has tested good" ??

The no-load battery voltage is pretty meaningless......until it goes totally dead.

The only "symptom" that is not consistent with an electrical failure somewhere is the bit about pressing the gas pedal seemingly causing it to start.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2012, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2005 Malibu Maxx intermittent starting issue

Thanks for the reply. I really appreciate the help.

By electrical, I meant the charging system was tested at a local auto parts store. Not sure if my battery could be the problem but it is pretty old.

The lights do stay on after it happens. I just put a pressure gauge on the injector rail and it shows about 55psi.

Once it does is its almost certain to do it a second time. Pressing the throttle definitely gets it to fire up on the second try.

I hope I'm explaining everything clearly. If anything needs to be clarified just let me know.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-22-2012, 07:04 AM
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Re: 2005 Malibu Maxx intermittent starting issue

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Not sure if my battery could be the problem but it is pretty old.

Pressing the throttle definitely gets it to fire up on the second try.
Probably time for a new battery but it doesn't sound like that's the cause here. Even with the dash lights on, it could be the problem though. At least check the connections.

It is possible that the throttle position sensor is giving a bad reading in the "closed" position. That's the only guess I have......except that maybe the throttle thing is just a coincidence.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-22-2012, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 2005 Malibu Maxx intermittent starting issue

Thank you again for the help. I will do some more investigating and report anything I find. I notice a lot of people come on forums and ask for help and then trail off and never reply, leaving everyone who comes behind and needs help pretty much up a creek. I try not to do that.

Thanks again!

Last edited by revmedia; 05-22-2012 at 10:25 AM.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 09:38 AM
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Re: 2005 Malibu Maxx intermittent starting issue

Hello there, just curious if you've come closer to an answer? I'm having a similar problem. New battery and plugs. No codes, all lights go out like yours, and injector rail has the same psi. Mine just started with the not starting problem. Push the gas, it starts.

What's different, when my car starts it goes back dead unless I hold the throttle down a hair, then it'll stay running. As if whatever is telling it that It's a cold start isn't working. Even when this doesn't happen, the rpm still drops really low and come back up, unless it just keeps going down, ultimately going dead. In which case I push the gas and force the rpm to stay up at about 1000.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 09:50 AM
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Re: 2005 Malibu Maxx intermittent starting issue

It would help to know what engine size you guys have. Mileage, do you have the electric throttle body, any work done lately, age of battery, anything you think might be relevant. When this is giving you problems, does the starter completely stop after a few seconds or does it slow down?

Last edited by Drunken Elvis; 01-01-2014 at 07:52 AM.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 10:05 AM
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Re: 2005 Malibu Maxx intermittent starting issue

Sorry, brand new battery. Like a week old. 3.5L, electronic throttle body (I think, has a big "Delphi" plug in it) the starter quits, 108,000mi, and the problem I have is pretty random that I've noticed. But pretty frequent (on the going back dead) not as often with the starter issue. And there's been no work done.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 10:58 AM
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Re: 2005 Malibu Maxx intermittent starting issue

It' s pretty well impossible to diagnose something intermittent like this other than checking the usual things, loose or cracked vacuum hoses, dirty wire connections, a frayed wiring harness etc. The only logical step is talking to a dealer.

Perhaps the computer is logging some failures that do not fire up the "check engine" light. Perhaps the dealer will suggest you bring it in immediately after one of these incidents. Maybe the dealer can provide you with a monitor that can be plugged into the OBDII data port and record what is happening during these failures. Sorry this is all I can suggest.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 11:25 AM
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Re: 2005 Malibu Maxx intermittent starting issue

The way to tell if you have an electronic or mechanical throttle body is to see how the gas pedal is hooked up to it. If you have a cable, it's mechanical. If there is no way to move the throttle plate from the outside it's electronic.

All throttle bodies have a TPS - throttle position sensor. The mechanical TB will have a TPS on the other side of the TB from the cable (usually), whereas the electronic TB will have one as part of the throttle control module.


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