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Old 08-13-2011, 07:09 PM   #1
nwalt
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Post instrument panel wont work and car wont start

please help ... i went out to start my 2002 malibu the other day...the instrument panel wouldnt work except the blinkers and when i tried to start the car it would turn over but wouldnt crank. i also noticed that the radio thou it would still work now has a cal err on it. i has a friend at autozone put it on the handheld computer and the computer wouldnt even show that the key had been turned.....any help would be appreciated.

Last edited by nwalt; 08-13-2011 at 07:46 PM. Reason: better title
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: instrument panel

Well, you have to understand this is a shot in the dark, scan tools diagnose this kind of stuff, not forums but since you have no instrument panel illumination, I wonder if the ignition switch has gone bad. The key turns, the engine cranks but never runs. Just for the heck of it keep trying to start it, just keep cycling the key from off to crank, if it doesn't start, try it a few times and leave it alone for a few minutes. Maybe if the battery is in decent shape, leave the key on for a miute or two in the run position. What usually happens is one of the circuits inside the ignition switch goes bad and instead of supplying full battery voltage to the circuit, it might pass 4 or 5 volts and that just isn't enough. Some times if you leave the key in run for a minute or two, for some reason the voltage will come up to full voltage and the car will start. If it starts, get it to a garage unless you want to gamble on the ignition switch yourself. Really should be properly diagnosed but that's your call.
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:14 PM   #3
nwalt
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Default Re: instrument panel

would the ignition switch give me a cal err on my radio???
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: instrument panel

Quote:
Originally Posted by nwalt View Post
would the ignition switch give me a cal err on my radio???
It might.

However, before you panic, what I've had to do a time or two in the past is to take the radio out, reach behind the ignition cylinder to the switch, waggle it around and push it towards the back of the car, then start it.

Got her running.

(You remove the radio so you can get your hand in, BTW.)

RwP
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Addendum: Rest in peace. Surge tank blew, motor overheated, I think she's lived a long and useful life.
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Old 08-14-2011, 07:31 AM   #5
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Default Re: instrument panel

Quote:
Originally Posted by RalphP View Post
However, before you panic,
AND even before you panic that much......
check the battery voltage and the connections at the posts.
If you still have the original battery, it's likely WAY overdue for replacement.

P.S. The term "crank" is usually used to mean "the engine is turning"........so your situation would be "the engine cranks (turns over) but won't fire".
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: instrument panel

When did the cal err message start appearing or did you just happen to notice it? Usually cal err means the VIN was lost in the radio, could be an internal radio issue, could be a loss of voltage reset the radio, shouldn't really be that way but it happens. Need a radio setup procedure run to clear that mesage. You can play with those ignition switches all you want, they have a high failure rate as they age. You may have two different issues. The radio wasn't removed/exchanged or anything was it? Not a salvage yard unit is it?
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:56 AM   #7
nwalt
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Default Re: instrument panel

the cal err message started at the same time as the other problem.wasnt too worried about it since you can still hear the radio...i just mentioned it as a symptom of the problem.
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Old 08-19-2011, 11:10 AM   #8
nwalt
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Default Re: instrument panel

many thankz guys....it was the ignition switch
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