'02 Impala 3.4L, 170.3k: Sudden NO-START yesterday morning
Bought this car brand new in 2002. All original parts except battery, intake gaskets (of course), plugs, wires, radiator and hoses, coolant level sensor, brake pads, can’t think of anything else…
Went out in the AM (8:30) to go to work (clear weather), opened the driver’s door, had a mouth full of mouthwash (typical) that I needed to spit out, decided to start the car first, so I turned the key - NOTHING (no click, no nothing), door was still open, foot was off the brake (figured that was it), closed the door, put my foot on the brake, turned the key - STILL NOTHING. Radio worked, fan worked, headlights looked strong, battery (side) terminals clean as a whistle. Suspecting the starter (original part), went back inside to grab a hammer, but had to roll the car back away from my '89 Colt (a statue since '02) so I could shimmy underneath. Tried the key first, just for kicks, and the car started!! Drove to work, car re-started when I got there (twice - once for gas along the way, another after parking it). Drove home, started two more times going out to eat, and started fine this morning.
So which is it:
1.) Transmission selector? I didn’t think to try starting the car in NEUTRAL. Did rolling the car back manually 3’ somehow effectively do the same thing?
2.) The Starter? There was no ‘click’ when I turned the ignition key. NOTHING. That’s why I suspected the starter. But #1 probably cuts out the starter all together, right?
3.) Low fuel? Probably not, right? I only mention this because I drove home from work the night before with the LOW FUEL message lit. I’ve done this many times before over the years because it’s only 27 miles home and I know the message appears with 2 gallons remaining (which is worth about 40 miles, conservatively speaking). The next morning I probably only had 1.5 gallons in the tank (but maybe less). Could I have a weak fuel pump (also original part), and rolling the car caused the fuel to swish around in the tank, aiding the start? I drove the car about 16 miles back to work on this 1.5 gallons left and stopped to fill up, so the tank is full right now.
Oh- there are a couple of codes on the computer: 102 and 442. One of them (442, I believe) has been there since I cleaned the throttle body out about a year ago. The other one (102) is new … but looks to be another cleaning issue (MAF ?). Both probably un-related to this starting problem, right?