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Old 02-27-2012, 03:15 PM   #1
Tfreier31
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Default 2004 Malibu with Intermittent Start Issues.

I have a 2004 Malibu LT and for about 3 months now it has been having intermittent starting issues. There is no rhyme or reason or consistency with it. When I crank it to start it, there are no dash lights on indicating Pass Lock or Check engine issues. I have tried the Pass Lock reset trick to no avail. Occasionally jumping it helps, occasionally unhooking the battery helps, occasionally pulling fuses help but nothing is consistently working. I think all these are purely coincidental. No codes are stored. It starts fine at the repair shops and no one can seem to diagnose it. In general, it cranks fine, fires up briefly then sputters and dies. After this occurs 1-2 times, it then just cranks and does not fire at all. It has been towed 4 times and it has been in and out of 5 different shops in the past month and so far I have replaced;
1. Fuel pump
2. Fuel filter
3. Throttle Body and TPS Sensor
4. Crank Sensor
5. Fuel pump relay
6. Thermostat
7. Battery

In addition, the driver side lock and factory remote start have quit working. I am about a week away from scrapping it and just buying a new, non-Malibu vehicle as this seems to be a common issue with this model.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:19 AM   #2
Rodents
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Default Re: 2004 Malibu with Intermittent Start Issues.

Did you just throw the listed parts at it, and if so, why? Does the check enigine light illuminate with the key on, engine off? This is the '04 to '08 Malibu, correct? How often does this happen? It's hard to diagnose it if the car starts when it's in the shop. You can't fix what isn't broke at the time. Do the lights flash acknowledging the RVS request?
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:51 AM   #3
Tfreier31
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Default Re: 2004 Malibu with Intermittent Start Issues.

All those parts were recommendations from the repair shops based on what they "thought" was the issue. The ceck engine light is on while cranking but apparently is not tripping any codes. Yes, it's the 2004 LT Malibu. It appens nearly daily for me and at first it would "reset" and start within a few minutes. Now it is to the point where it won' start for days and Ihave to have it towed. Four times the past 2 weeks actually.

What do you mean by lights flash? Headlights I assume... Yes.

Yesterday I tried to remote start it. It locked as usually but when I it the start button, it triggered the alarm.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2004 Malibu with Intermittent Start Issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tfreier31 View Post
All those parts were recommendations from the repair shops based on what they "thought" was the issue. The ceck engine light is on while cranking but apparently is not tripping any codes. Yes, it's the 2004 LT Malibu. It appens nearly daily for me and at first it would "reset" and start within a few minutes. Now it is to the point where it won' start for days and Ihave to have it towed. Four times the past 2 weeks actually.

What do you mean by lights flash? Headlights I assume... Yes.

Yesterday I tried to remote start it. It locked as usually but when I it the start button, it triggered the alarm.
Multiple shops are involved? This can't be that hard if it does it that often. You have to find some reputable shop somewhere by you and tell them the whole story and let them diagnose it. Got to check fuel pressure and verify good spark. I wonder if you had the whole vehicle scanned instead of just the powertrain modules, whether there aren't codes in other modules that may give a clue as to what's going on. The majority of those parts aren't cheap and by taking it to multiple shops you're only adding to the problem. Sometimes saving a buck just isn't going to save you that buck in the long run. A good shop charges good money for a good reason, they're worth it. Your bill would most likely have been much less if a knowledgeable shop looked at it in the first place. Good luck. While it's frustrating to be in your position, your angle of attack here needs to be changed.
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2004 Malibu with Intermittent Start Issues.

Multiple shops because 1 refused to look at electrical issues, 2 tried and failed and told me they had no idea and to junk it, the 3rd was just there when it died and was able to push it in to look at it simply because it was failing at the time so i hoped it could be diagnosed while failing. The 4th was a friend and he was not sure after 9 days of testing it and no failures. The 5th is where it is now and we hope to be making progress, so I am told. We'll see.

Fuel pressure is fine, spark is good.

Here is where we are at after yesterdays “testing”... The think it is a bad fuse block in the trunk. When the car fails, they "bang on it a bit" and it eventually starts up. They found 3 codes as follows;
U2107 – Lost Communications with BCM
U2105- CAN BUS error ECM
U2122- Lost Communications With Radio

The belief now is to change the fuse block and re-program the car for around $520.

Thoughts?
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:36 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2004 Malibu with Intermittent Start Issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tfreier31 View Post
Multiple shops because 1 refused to look at electrical issues, 2 tried and failed and told me they had no idea and to junk it, the 3rd was just there when it died and was able to push it in to look at it simply because it was failing at the time so i hoped it could be diagnosed while failing. The 4th was a friend and he was not sure after 9 days of testing it and no failures. The 5th is where it is now and we hope to be making progress, so I am told. We'll see.

Fuel pressure is fine, spark is good.

Here is where we are at after yesterdays “testing”... The think it is a bad fuse block in the trunk. When the car fails, they "bang on it a bit" and it eventually starts up. They found 3 codes as follows;
U2107 – Lost Communications with BCM
U2105- CAN BUS error ECM
U2122- Lost Communications With Radio

The belief now is to change the fuse block and re-program the car for around $520.

Thoughts?
Only thing I see coming out of the rear fuse block related to a no start is the fuel pump fuse and relay. You said fuel pressure is good when it is not starting. Spec is 50 - 60 psi key on engine off and pump running. There have been problems with the rear fuse blocks, no doubt. Thing is, this should be verified by checking voltage at the fuel pump relay and if it's good there, check it again at the back of the rear fuse block on the black 62 cavity connector pin A10 a gray wire. A9 is a dark green wire with a white stripe and A11 and A12 are not used. Could be a burnt block internally but for the money you're looking at I'd like to be more certain than it sounds like you and the current shop are. One other place to check is C413 which is under the car at the fuel tank by the EVAP canister area. A 10 way connector, pin C is the one to check, which has a black wire in pin D and a white wire in pin B. This is assuming the voltage to the fuel pump is the issue. I don't disagree with the tap testing method, it works well to isolate an issue, if it weren't such a disaster as it is right now, I might be comfortable just saying go for it. In this case though, a bit more testing makes it easier to justify another 5 bills and change. You said the fuel pump relay was replaced so we can hopefully assume it's good. Right now I assume the relay is being properly controlled so I'm not looking at the coil side of the relay right now. Can always jump the fuel pump relay with a 10A fused jumper lead set between pin 30 and pin 87 of the relay opening in the block. This makes testing a bit easier since the ECM only grounds the fuel pump relay while the engine is running, cranking or for two seconds at key up. Two more areas to check would be the wiring coming out of the rear fuse block going towards the front of the car, there's a good possibility of wire chafing where the harness rubs against the body, need to check from the rear fuse block forward to the pass through into the passenger area. Also check the wiring coming out of the floor pan towards C413 for abrasion and repair as necessary.
The U codes don't bother me right now, would be nice to know what modules they were set in but I don't think they're going to take us anywhere right now so leave it alone. No theft codes is good. I forgot to mention yesterday, in BCM data is a set of data called Remote Start Disable History, in there it will identify why the RVS wasn't allowed.
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:26 AM   #7
chelsiannelin
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Default Re: 2004 Malibu with Intermittent Start Issues.

I have the exact same issues with my 2004 Malibu LT. It's been an ongoing issue for about five months now. I've taken it to my regular mechanics multiple times, another more expensive mechanic, and a friend who is a mechanic and nobody is able to diagnose or fix the problem. My regular mechanic replaced the entire ignition (which needed to be done anyway as my key was getting more and more bent from a somehow crooked ignition), the fuel pump, the fuel relay, etc. All in all I've spent 1400 on this problem alone, not to mention multiple tows. It will usually be fine for a week or two after I get it back from the mechanic, but then suddenly it won't start. It will crank, catch, and die, and then will not catch at all. After they fiddle around a bit at the shop, it always starts and will continue starting until I pick it up. It seems that messing around in the hood (I have very limited knowledge of cars/mechanics, so sorry I don't have more specific descriptions/terminology) temporarily fixes the problem. Fuel pressure is fine, though before this issue started, it seemed like my car would be "chugging" along and I would have to press harder on the gas pedal to get fuel. Also, lately, I can get it to start if I sit and turn it over and over and over again, sometimes for up to an hour (I've been stranded in some very far places) but when it does start, the gas and temperature gauges will remain at baseline and my radio won't work, though the rest of the electrical will. Please help! I can't sell it like this and I go to school and work at a bar in Detroit, so getting stranded/not having a car/spending more money on this pile is not an option for me right now.
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Old 10-11-2012, 03:25 AM   #8
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Cool Re: 2004 Malibu with Intermittent Start Issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chelsiannelin View Post
I have the exact same issues with my 2004 Malibu LT. It's been an ongoing issue for about five months now. I've taken it to my regular mechanics multiple times, another more expensive mechanic, and a friend who is a mechanic and nobody is able to diagnose or fix the problem. My regular mechanic replaced the entire ignition (which needed to be done anyway as my key was getting more and more bent from a somehow crooked ignition), ...
A quick question: When they replaced your ignition for a bent key did they also replace the electrical switch on the back of it? They are notorious for not working and your description suggests that the switch itself might be most or all of the cause. If they didn't you might see about having that done, but before shot-gunning parts at it check around this forum for instructions (from Rodents and greenman and possibly others) on what fuses to check to see if the switch is doing its job.
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