Car Won’t Start

car won't startI have a Chevy Blazer with a 4.3 V6 engine. I have an intermittent starting problem. When I turn the key to the on position, and the dashboard shows a complete bulb check my car will start. When the bulb check does not work the car will not start. In both cases the starter turns with no problem.

From prior experience it has always been a computer problem. I changed the ECM but the problem still exists. The check engine light does not stay on so I doubt if there is a trouble code being stored. I also checked the fusible link going from the battery to the ECM and it is not open. Recently I have noticed that when I shut the key off the fuel pump is still running for a few seconds before turning off.

I do not have a service manual for this engine so I have no idea what other devices are in this circuit. If you can be of any help I would greatly appreciate it. I also thank you for your time and for this site being available to the public. Thank you, Mark


Hello Mark,

So let me make sure I understand the complaint.

Sometimes you turn the key to the on position and the dash light check does not happen…you try to start the engine, and it turns over (starter is working, engine is trying to start) but engine won’t ignite and start.

So you have to wait? Until it WILL start? Does it do this when the engine is warm, after driving around awhile, or first thing in the morning, or at random intervals.

The very first thing that comes to my mind would be to look at the ignition switch, and or the ignition lock rod inside the steering column and ignition lock cylinder.

This model does/did have a problem with the fuel injectors (spider injector) plastic fuel links cracking and leaking down fuel. When this happens it takes a long time of cranking the engine to pump up the fuel pressure. Although it has no bearing on the dash light check not working.

Let me know.
Please share this with your friends,
Austin C. Davis

Follow up

Austin, once the dash light check works, then the car will start. It does not matter if the engine is cold, completely warmed up or in between.

When the key is turned to the on position, the clock will light up and the gear position needle in the dash lights up it is just that the bulb check lights do not come on and the car will not start until they do. That is why I replaced the ECM but that did not fix this problem.

This model does/did have a problem with the fuel injectors (spider injector) plastic fuel links cracking and leaking down fuel. When this happens it takes a long time of cranking the engine to pump up the fuel pressure

I did a fuel pressure check and it averaged 55 psi. It is a little below average for this vehicle but I don’t know if it makes that much difference.

How would I go about checking the ignition switch? That is one thing I have not done, though I wondered about it. I do not know how to get into it to see if that is what is causing this.
Thank you again, Mark

Thanks for your reply Mark,

The ignition switch is located on the steering column, towards the bottom under the dash area. You probably have to drop the column down slightly to gain full access to the switch; they never make it easy to get to.

I would also make sure the ignition lock cylinder (where you put your key) turns smoothly. The lock cylinder moves a long rod inside the steering column (ignition rod) which then comes in contact with the ignition switch thus making the switch operate, if the key is not turning all the way to the start position, the ignition switch might not get the “start signal” .

Please share this with your friends,
Austin C. Davis

Posted in: Won't Start Issues

20 Comments on "Car Won’t Start"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Darren says:

    Man, why didn’t my mechanic tell me about this idea, would have saved me a towing charge for sure. had a loose battery cable….arggg

  2. Dan says:

    I replaced the fuel pump strainer and filter an also replaced the Distributor cap, rotor, coil, plugs and plug wires and it still wont start. Even after spraying the carb with starter fluid it still wont do anything.

    • By Austin Davis says:

      You need to determine what is missing…fuel pressure, spark or compression. Something is missing out of those 3 key ingredients. Once you determine what it is, we can start narrowing things down, but now we are just guessing and it costs more than testing. If it will not start with starting fluid (or attempt to start) then I would ASSUME that there is either no spark at the plugs or there is no compression in the cylinders to ignite the spark. Timing chain problem, ignition spark timing problem etc. etc.

      Check for spark at each plug
      Check for fuel pump pressure at the engine using a pressure gauge
      Check compression on the cylinders and spark timing

  3. Dan says:

    I know this thread is old but I’m hoping someone will still be able to help me. I have having similar problems with my 95 s10 pickup truck. I am not getting any light on the dash except for the gear indicator. Truck tries to turn over but won’t, even when sprayed with starter fluid.

    • By Austin Davis says:

      If the engine will not turn over, nothing at all, then I would suspect a battery, battery cable or starter motor type of problem.

      If the engine turns over and over but won’t start. I would try to rule out lack of spark or lack of fuel pressure at the engine. These vehicles are notorious for weak fuel pumps. Sometimes you can bang on the bottom of the fuel tank with a block of wood AS someone cranks over the engine. It can jump start a weak pump.
      Testing fuel pressure at the back of the engine with a handheld fuel pressure gauge is what you really should do to test the pump. Pump can run, but not deliver enough pressure to start the engine.

      Lack of spark…start with the distributor cap, ignition rotor, ignition coil, coil wire (corrodes easily)

  4. Joel says:

    Hi Austin

    I have a 1996 Chevy Blazer it wont start. It runs fine wen its worm but the next day it wont start until like the tenth time. usually the battery dies the only way it starts on the first try is if i use starting fluid.

    • Austin says:

      If you can start it with starting fluid you have a lack of fuel or lack of proper fuel pressure at the engine. These vehicles have a problem with the main fuel injector under the hood, commonly referred to as the “spyder” injector because it has plastic tubes coming out of it which go to the individual cylinders. These plastic lines tend to leak, thus causing lower fuel pressure on starting. Once the engine gets started the fuel pump can compensate for the leak to keep the engine running.

      You might be able to smell and see raw fuel leaking toward the back of the engine, if you do you have a leaking spyder that needs to be replaced. Brace yourself, its costly. $1,000 aprox.

      Now, these vehicles are also well known for fuel pump failures. You can sometimes, bang on the bottom of the fuel tank with your fist or block of wood WHILE someone cranks the engine over. If it starts, you probably have a weak fuel pump inside the tank that needs to be replaced.

  5. t* says:

    I have a 95 but 96 chevy suv also each year and hopefully no more dealing with the stupid mil bulb with inspection but we replaced the bulb and the codes are great passes on emmission but retarded about the bulb. seems like a big scam. and about money. In part what do you think. cause they think might be the cluster. Why would this happen? When we put the new bulb in the other socket it works but not in the socket. in part it is retarded about the inspection and should be waived for can you give feedback on what it might be or what are my option. I read something about gas pedal do I maybe need to trick it and the circuit might kick it back on. like you know your microwave to the socket it is plugged in. And will it finally correct. with being past dealing with military the money is tight and would love some feedback..cause I also was in a accident some years back and since then it has been this and that was from road construction. also heard about gas cap but tried that would be greatly appreciated

  6. Michelle says:

    Hi Austin,

    My fiance is a mechanic and is fighting with a 97 blazer with spider injection. The truck was in an accident and jumped timing. Timing belt & gears, plugs, wires & dist cap were replaced. Hasn’t started since. (he did not replace these parts, he was called in to help after the fact)

    Ignition switch is working
    Fuel pressure is 65 psi
    cranks but no start
    interior lights stay on…tried resetting PCM security code…no luck.
    I think he has trouble shot just abt everything I have read about for this truck. Shy of replacing the injectors is there anything else to try?

    Thanks so much.
    Have a blessed day!

    Michelle & Dale

    • Austin says:

      Gotta start with the basics

      1 do you have ample spark to the spark plugs
      2 do you have proper fuel pressure and volume to the engine
      3 do you have proper spark timing
      4 do you have proper compression on all cylinders

      I would be a little suspect of a timing issue or valve problem since the timing chain jumped. That must have been a hard impact. Even a seasoned mechanic can get the timing chain installation wrong, so I would triple check the installation and timing.

      The spider injectors normally leak raw fuel inside and behind the engine when they fail causing loss of fuel pressure.

  7. Chris says:

    To add to previous post. Always starts with starting fluid.

  8. Chris says:

    I have a 96 Blazer, 4.3L with the same intermittent no start issue. Dash lights always light up, engine always cranks as normal & can hear fuel pump prime when key is turned to run position. May drive a few miles down the road & it happens or may sit in garage for a week & same issue. But if i go out & crank it for a bit, trying to get it started, then walk away for a while, when I try to start again it start up on first crank, like there was never an issue. Just like a brand new vehicle. Any ideas?

    • Austin says:

      My first thought is a leaking or bad fuel injector. Sometimes you can look at the back of the engine and see and smell raw fuel due to the fuel injector leaking. The leak won’t let the fuel pump hold enough pressure to start the engine but once started can maintain enough pressure to keep the engine running. When you spray starting fluid you help out the fuel pump enough to start the engine. Second guess would be a weak fuel pump itself.

  9. james styer says:

    Hey hows it goin…I have a 99 blazer with a 4.3 ,no spider injection,it stalled while driving one day,thought it was the fuel pump,I tapped on the tank and heard a really weak gurgle sound,replaced the pump,now im not getting power to the pump unless i use a jumper at the under hood fuse box,i was getting spark at first because i sprayed starting fluid through the throttle body just enough to hear it start and stall,but now that I hooked the fuel pump to the ignition fuse so it comes on and turns off with the key,im not getting any spark,i disconnected the jumper and tried grounding the spark plug on the motor,and nothing,got another ignition module and coil[used],still nothing,used a test light on the coil,it lights but doesn,t pulse,thought it might have been the crank sensor,havent replaced that yet because im hearing a lot about this security light,which mine is on.I know that might have more to do with it than anything,i tried to reset it by turning the key to the on position for 15 min. and letting it sit,my battery was kind of weak after that so i hooked the booster up to it,the light flashes still so maybe i didn,t do it correctly or the booster triggered the code again…what would cause the fuel pump and no spark?I thought possibly it was the fuel pump and i just needed to reset the security code in the first place…not runnin out of ideas,just goin cross-eyed…lol..Any ideas or insight would be appriciated…thank you

    • Austin says:

      Wow, seems you have done just about all the tricks I would have suggested at this point. I would look harder at the security light because I think you have done a good job at ruling out everything else. Do you have another ignition key you can try? I would try another key or replace the ignition lock cylinder and get a new key and see what happens.

  10. david says:

    Somestimes when I try to start my 96S-10 the dash lites wont come on and the fuel pump doesn’t kick on. But the motor will crank over and radio and heater blower works Very random. Sometimes I turn the key off and on, only once and the dash litesup and starts right away. then sometimes I have to turn key off and on 30 to 100 times to get the dash to liteup . tHE ONLY TME IT RUNS IS WHEN DASH LITES COME ON! hELP i SAT IN TRAFFIC AT AN INTERSECTION FOR 3 CHANGES OF GREEN AND RED LITES BEFORE IT WOULD START., THANks, DAVID

  11. brian says:

    Hey im haveing the same problem this guy is with the check servicr light not coming on when turn of the key … I installed a new ingintion switch still the same problem and you dont hear the fuel pump kick in but before when the whole instrument panel lit up the car would start/ you hear the pump buzz and go off and the car would start as if nothing was wrong? This is on a 96Corsica.

Got Something to Say?