2001 Chevy Malibu fuel pump/electrical, help!

Hello all. Here’s the lowdown. Recently my malibu would crank but not start. The consensus was fuel pump. I usually use Cole Muffler since they’re close but I’ve had too many issues with them so I decided to take it to Sandone Tire. Upon further inspection, it turned out to be a wiring issue. I then recieved a call telling me that when the fuel pump was tested with their equipment, it had 0 electrical charge, and would not run the car for more than 3 seconds, essentially indicating that there was now a pump AND wiring issue, and the pump had to be replaced.

When the work was completed, about 2 days later, i hiked to Sandone to get my car, and was hit with an almost $900 bill. $300 fuel pump plus labor, $300 labor to run the testing equipment on the electrical system, gas fillup, tow, etc. I was told “Well, we fixed the problem of the car not running, as far as the other issues (small ongoing, and possibly linked electrical problems like lighter/ac, radio, locks, etc… that may have led to the current problem) we’d have to bring it in and look at that”

I turned on the ignition to listen to the new fuel pump, and it would not stop priming. I read that that it can be 1 of 2 things, the fuel pump relay or the pcm not recieving the signal to turn it off after a few seconds. I tried to get back into the place, but he had locked up for the night. Ok, no big deal. It runs. We’ll figure the rest out later.

It’s now 1 day later and the vehicle is not starting again. Though this time it “tries” to start, with a little puff of combustion here and there, but will not start. I am going to ask if they put the right octane gas in, and tell them that I had a previous idle air control valve needing to be cleaned issue, but other than that I’m stuck on how to deal with this situation.

The cost of the fuel pump replacement was around $470, and my research tells me that that is generally average for what you’d pay. Though I’ve read that the fuel pump itself should not be $300, so I’m assuming a top end brand was used.

I had requested initally that the old fuel pump, if replacement is necessary, be placed in a bag in my back seat for personal inspection. This was not done. Also, my bill, with tax, came to $888, yet the amount shown on the receipt is about $10 more. I’ve left a message indicating that something might have been overlooked, or a wire possibly came loose or something, and have asked if the fuel pump not stopping its priming is an issue, and that since the old fuel pump didn’t do this, i find it only fair that it be wired properly or made so that it does just what the old one did. I also have requested that if the vehicle needs to be towed again, that it be done free of charge.

BTW the guy that did the work is apparently a 20 year GM expert.


Will the fuel pump priming constantly cause further issues?

What are my legal rights here? Can a mechanic “rig” wiring just so that your car runs even if it causes more problems down the line, or is rewiring/electrical repair supposed to be done a certain way? Should I have to pay for another tow, just to then pay more cash a DAY later to fix the problem when it wasn’t fixed in the first place, even after being told “we fixed the problem of the car not starting,” and paying almost the cost of a new engine/transmission for this assurance?

To top it off, and i told them this too, i need to pick up life saving medication for my wife in 2 days, and cannot afford to get a taxi that far. For a 2nd time I have had to tell my boss i cannot make it due to the car, after assuring him 100% that I can make it. I do not have a consistent way to get a ride, and am concerned I may lose my job. Personally, I DO believe that this is due to being given a false assurance that the car will definitely run, and a poor job done by the mechanic. At the same time cars are unpredictable, and something else may be the issue, but I would think that for $300 for testing, any electrical associated with (and anything associated with) the problem being fixed would have been checked.

Also, if the fuel pump was running fine then “suddenly” crapped out, and the problem is electrical, how the hell does the fuel pump suddenly then need to be replaced because it won’t run for more than 3 seconds?

I do NOT want to be dicked around and I am hoping i can get the mechanic across the street to check my car out so he can verify, in a court of law, if needs be, that the fuel pump indeed is sticking and that the car crapped out 1 day after repairs and assurance that the vehicle is fixed.

I am also planning on recording the phone conversations to transcript them just in case. I live in PA and am not sure of the wiretapping/recording laws, but I would guess that it’s not a big deal to record to protect yourself from shady business practices, especially if it’s deleted and transcripted instead.

If there’s any GM or electrical experts here, I’d love to hear your input. All other help is greatly appreciated. I’ve been told that this car will be good for another few years and did not plan on this, and I take good car of my vehicle’s basic needs. This electrical thing, or whatever it is, just lied in wait and got me out of nowhere. Thanks.


P.S. I need a good place to get xxx point inspections done. I don’t want anything else creeping up on me like this. Thoughts? Thanks!

Well, I wouldn’t take it to Sandone Tire for my annual inspection… Look for The Mechanics Files on this website to find a good shop in your area. You can click on it at the top of this screen. I won’t say NEVER use a chain store type of shop, but they seem to have more than their share of incorrect repair issue.
$300 for the pump itself is more that I’ve ever paid, although $250 is not uncommon. Seems like a nice round number too. Hmmmm… Does he have a boat? It is possible that the pump was bad right out of the box. I have seen that happen too. You can hear it in “prime mode” so my guess is it’s pumping.

My condolences on this one and while I wish that i could help I just don’t think there is enough known for me to be specific.

The price of the pump does not concern me much because it doesn’t sound out of line, especially if it was replaced as a module. However, I do feel that you’re the victim of a misdiagnosis and who knows what they did or whether the pump was even really needed.

When you first turn the key on the pump will prime for a few seconds and then shut off. This is normal and makes me wonder about the process, if any, they used to determine 0 voltage to the pump.
It is possible to do a wire-around where the pump will run all of the time but the system as it comes from the factory is designed to conform with Federal law. In the event of a collision the pump is supposed to shut off when the engine dies and this prevent high pressure gasoline from being sprayed onto a fire due to a ruptured fuel line, etc.

Again, sorry I can’t be of more help but this kind of stinks a bit in my opinion and I don’t normally voice that opinion right off the bat.

It’s not your fuel pump. My 2002 Malibu had tons of wiring problems. After sinking almost $1k in parts, towing, and labor, they redid my wiring from the starter up. No problems since.

It was $180 in labor to get the wiring connections redone, been fine since!