1998 Chevy Blazer Engine Will Not Start Sometimes – Just Cranks Over

Reader Question Sir,

I own a 1998 Chevy Blazer with 19,500 original miles. The car has given me problems since day one of purchase in June 1999.

Here is the problem I am currently attempting to correct:

The car will run for three or four days then will not start again for a long period of time. The hand-held computer diagnostic check continues to refer to the oxygen sensor. I just replaced two oxygen sensors this past Saturday on either end of the catalytic converter.

The car ran good for two and half days and at noon yesterday, it would not start again. The engine is getting gas and the motor sounds as if it wants to turn-over, but it just wont do so. The starter appears strong as there is no problem there as far as we can tell.

I have found that on occasion if we lock and unlock the door a number of times, the car will finally start.

I was told this past Saturday that there is one additional oxygen sensor toward the right rear of the car that also needs to be replaced along with the A/C compressor (which is leaking).

Please advise on what you feel may be wrong with my car. I would love to keep the car for our two younger children to use when we return to Oklahoma in April 2009 or shortly there after as I am employed by the U.S. Army here in Seoul, Korea and to say the least, finding a reliable mechanic to repair the car is almost nil to none. The Daewoo GM folks here will not touch the car as they say its too old.

With only 19,500 original miles the car is in excellent condition with the exception of this one major flaw. I would also like to know why the security light continues to come on after the car has sat for a long time as well.

The car sat for almost three months until we could get the parts we were told we needed – ran for just over two days; and now is parked in the underground garage pending a response from you or someone you might be able to refer us to for answers.

Hey there Ralph,

A few things come to mind here.

1. Since your security light is coming on, I wonder if your ignition key has those two small “chips” on the side of the key for the security system. If the security light flashes as you are cranking the engine over, the security system is probably the reason the engine will not start.

I would try another ignition key and see if that helps. If you don’t have those two small chips on the side of the ignition key, I would look at the ignition lock cylinder and ignition switch to see if there is a problem there.

2. The second thing that comes to mind if you don’t feel you have an ignition key or switch problem is a weak fuel pump inside the fuel tank, or some other problem with the fuel system affecting fuel PRESSURE.

Next time it will not start; have someone bang on the bottom of the fuel tank with their fist or rubber hammer AS you crank the engine over. This can help jump start a weak fuel pump. If the engine starts, you most likely need a new fuel pump. Just because you can visually see fuel dripping in the throttle body does not mean there is enough fuel to start the engine.

This vehicle might also have a “Spyder” type fuel injector, which is one big fuel injector unit that has 6 small plastic fuel lines that connect to each cylinder.

These Spyder type fuel injectors (called that because they look like spider legs) are notorious for leaking fuel towards the back of the engine….this leak causes a decrease in fuel pressure, thus not enough pressure to start the engine.

Extended starting time, fuel getting inside the crankcase (mixing with the engine oil) and fuel leaking at the back of the engine are common complaints with a leaking injector. Your model MAY or may not have this type of injector. You can call the dealership and give them the VIN code if you suspect this. This can be a $1,000 repair back in the states.

3. A faulty ignition coil or corrosion on the ignition coil wire under the hood. The ignition coil looks like this top part picture Picture of Ignition Coil

4. Corrosion at the battery cables. I have seen these security systems freak out and cause trouble because there was corrosion built up in the battery cables and at the battery bolts on the battery.

Make sure those connections are clean and tight. You usually have to remove the two small battery bolts that hold the cables to the battery to clean the corrosion inside the cable and behind the bolts you can not see.

The security system cuts off power to the fuel pump when activated, so if the light is flashing when you crank the engine over…our fuel pump could be shut off.

A gasoline internal combustion engine needs three things to start and operate. Fuel – AT the proper fuel pressure, a spark at the spark plugs, and compression – the pistons and internal parts have to be working correctly.

I seriously doubt you have an internal engine problem – or compression problem, so that leaves lack of fuel pressure or lack of spark to the spark plugs as culprits. GM trucks and Blazers are NOTORIOUS for faulty fuel pumps. Although you only have 19K miles, the fuel pump could still be faulty.

Hope this helps. Keep me posted as to what you find out.


Austin Davis

Posted in: Won't Start Issues

6 Comments on "1998 Chevy Blazer Engine Will Not Start Sometimes – Just Cranks Over"

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  1. Dennis says:

    I’ll check that, thanks.

  2. Dennis says:

    98 Chevy blazer wont start,removed #2 spark plug to check for spark and vehicle started. Removed timing chain cover to inspect chain and gears all ok for 195,000.Scanned for codes all I got was multiple miss fires.

    • By Austin Davis says:

      Hey there. I am a little confused, you said the engine started once you removed the #2 plug? These vehicles are notorious for having low fuel pressure at the engine, either a weak fuel pump in the tank or a leaking fuel injector assembly at the engine. There are a few (6) plastic lines that are attached to a central fuel injector that go to each of the cylinders. Those lines leak raw fuel, thus lowering fuel pressure needed to start the engine. You usually smell raw fuel on the engine after a few cranks. I would be looking in this direction.

  3. Gale Vaudrin says:

    Where do you get the module to replace the BCM to get rid of the Theft system? Thank you.

    • Austin says:

      The dealer or a used one from a junk yard would be my two suggestions. Not sure if they offer an aftermarket version available at the local auto parts store or not….worth a phone call to see though.

  4. Dave says:

    Problem : 98-? chev/gm starts for 3secs & dies and may start and run for ? long . Findings : When key is inserted and turned on, the resistor in key is fed to BCM/Theft (that verifies correct key) and signals Computer/PCM “OK”, then PCM will function as normal…But if ; key wrong, theft, bad connection or BCM faulty , then Security=Lite will be on or blinking and PCM will only let the Fuel-Injectors fire 3 sec and shutdown = No Start PS…also found distributor,rotor,cap,BCM and Fuel Pump unreliable. Note : No Start = Theft Circuit Fault..I am ordering a module that replaces the BCM which eliminates the Theft-System and you can use a regular key with PCM “ready” when you turn key on…I found the Replcmt Module from much research…Good Luck

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