1999 Chevrolet Silverado 4.3 ltr **URGENT** **HELP**

Hello all.

This is my first post. Good to be here. I have a rather URGENT issue.

I was riding along the other day at about 40 mph and my engine just DIED. No sputtering, jerking, lurching, etc… I have a 1999 Silverado 1500 4.3.

Since then I’ve tried swapping the fuel filter out. When I took the old one off I did the blow test and could barely get a bit of air through it. Put in a brand new one. Still won’t start. It cranks but it won’t turn over. It’s like it is starved for gas I suppose.

All electrical faculties are functioning seemingly normal. (Of course I have to charge the battery every time I want to try and crank it because it doesn’t charge itself because IT WON’T CRANK!)

I’ve had to change the fuel pump twice in the past 2 years. The last time was about 5 months ago.

For the past week or two my “Change Engine Oil” light has been on even though I’ve had my oil changed a month ago.

WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG?!?!?!?!?!?!??

I need this problem resolved like yesterday. HELP!

If the check engine light was on, I’d get the code read

Perhaps that will point you in the right direction

You might have a crank sensor code . . .

Is there a way to do that remotely? Because it’s sitting outside my house right now and would cost a nice chunk of change to have it towed for that.


You need to hook up a code reader or scanner

Ask a parts store if they’ll let you borrow one . . . you may have to leave a deposit

I’m not really sure how it works, because I have my own scanner

Is it possible it is some safety switch thing or something like that? Because the engine just cut off like someone flipped a switch. Of course, all electrical things are still operational.

Fuel starvation from a plugged filter usually presents as stumbling before the motor stalls, while loss of spark is usually like flipping a switch. Unfortunately, the key word is, “usually.” You can check for spark with a $7 spark tester.

So if it is loss of spark what would that lead you to believe is wrong?

Maybe I misread it but the OP sait the “change oil light” not the service engine soon light, so there would be no code. I agree a starving engine from a plugged filter would most likely make it stumble but not just shut off. Anytime mine have shut off like that its been a fuel pump again (put them in almost yearly) or the crank sensor.

So again, try to determine if its fuel or spark. Spark plug on one of the wires will tell you if it is sparking or not. If not could be the crank sensor. Listen for the pump running for a couple seconds when you turn the key. If not bang on the tank underneath with a 2x4 or 5# hammer and see if that gets it going again. If it starts, don’t shut it off but drive it directly to a shop to have fixed to avoid the tow.

When I worked, I had my car towed home 50 miles a number of times and usually only cost me $125 from a local guy with the motor club. I avoided the cost of the big city that way and also get it home where I could deal with it. So towing sometimes isn’t so bad. Thats what they do-rescue dead cars within an hour and give you a ride to boot.

Agree with others that if you have no spark, a bad crank angle sensor is likely culprit. Here’s how to troubleshoot if you want to tackle it yourself:


You can check for spark with any old spark plug laying around, even one from a lawnmower. Just pull a wire from any spark plug and stick the old spark plug in it and lay it on the engine. Have someone crank the engine and look for a spark across the tip of the old plug. This is the first thing to check.

For less than the cost of a tow, you can get a code reader. They start at around $39. I would also look up the reset procedure for the oil change light and reset it. It should not make a difference, but who knows what is programmed into the computers these days.


You are correct . . . I misread it

A “change engine oil” message is no big deal, if it came on because it’s due by mileage/time

It’s a '99 and he was driving when it stopped. I’ll bet lunch that there’re codes stored.

Cvaug, I suspect you’re thinking of the inertia switch that shuts the fuel pump off in an accident or rollover. it’s not the first thing I would suspect, however there should be a reset protocol in the owner’s manual, so it’s easy and free to check. You might turn out to be correct. If the inertial switch were flakey, that would also explain apparent need to keep changing the fuel pump.

And I have a question for the OP: have you tried testing the fuel line pressure?

UPDATE TO ALL! Thank you for all of your input and devotion. It is greatly appreciated. It’s comforting to have people more knowledgable than yourself working on the same issue.

NOW! The UPDATE. I tested all of the spark plug wires. I AM getting a spark. My two prevailing theories thus far are: a) The “Fuel Pressure Regulator”, and b) A bad “Crank Angle Sensor” or some other sensor type thing.

Any thoughts?

If you have spark, your crank sensor is OK. A crank sensor will cause a loss of the ignition (spark), like right now and the whole thing will be dead. Been there a couple times. So now its fuel. A fuel pressure test would tell you if your pump and the regulator are ok but that’s going to cost. Can you hear the pump running for a couple seconds when you turn the key? I’m not sure that a bad regulator would cause a no start. It could cause a stumble and stall, but would most likely start up again. I think your pump is not running.

One of the sharp guys mentioned the inertia switch. That shuts the pump off if it has been tripped. That’d be something I’d check right away. I think its in the trunk but thats the extent of what I know. There should be a green spade connector under the hood that is the factory priming connector. You can put a test light on that connector and to ground to see if you have power for the pump circuit or not. You can also try banging on the tank and if it starts you know you have a stalled pump.

I agree with all Bing has said except for one thing–I don’t believe this vehicle has an inertia switch, and I know it doesn’t have a trunk in which to look for it.

@oblivion Yeah sorry, I was thinking it was a Ford. Maybe its a bad connection. Had that before too. Car just stalled, towed it and the connector for the fuel pump just needed cleaning and roughening up.

You might want to start by checking the fuel pump relay which is easily accessed, following this procedure:

Jesmed: I had actually already tried the fuel pump relay. I swapped it out with the horn and the horn still worked and the truck still wouldn’t crank.

Bing/Oblivion: So what connections are you thinking? And also, remember, I swapped out fuel pump a few months ago. It has gone bad twice since I bought the truck.

When my truck died this time I was sure it couldn’t be the fuel pump again so soon so I checked the fuel filter instead. The fuel filter had (in my limited experience) almost total blockage. Especially compared to the new one I had put in. I could barely blow through the old one at all.

Is it possible that the poor fuel filter has been straining my fuel pump and this is the reason I’ve had to change it so often and is probably the problem now?

Then the first question is, why are your fuel filters being clogged and burning out fuel pumps? There must be some nasty sediment in your gas tank, perhaps from contaminated gas, or perhaps from some mischief.

In either case, you might want to start thinking about dropping the gas tank and having it cleaned out. Because this will keep happening.

And while the tank is down, then you can replace the burned out fuel pump.

If you did not change the filter when you changed the pump, I will bet the pump is bad. I had a pump go bad in my 97 Chevy. The shop that changed it pinched the return line. The pump only lasted 2 mo’s. Can you hear the pump run? Try putting a shot of gas in the intake. I bet it starts but wont stay running.