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2002 Chevrolet Impala 3.4L Won't Start

I have a 2002 Chevrolet Impala that hasn’t started for a week. It used to be an intermittent issue. I put the key in and go to start it and it doesn’t do anything but give a faint click. The radio display is dark and it worn’t turn on. The LED in the dash does not blink or light up. The power windows work. I have combed the internet and what I have read leads me to believe there is no fix. I have tried the key re-learn thing, also.

Are your battery connections clean and tight?

Yes. New battery. New starter (courtesy of leaking intake manifolds). I even put a slight bend in the positive terminal to ensure good contact.

That just might have been important information to include to begin with.

Did this problem start after the new battery/starter or was it there before and now remains unchanged?

The new starter you have could be faulty off the shelf.

You could have corrosion on the battery cables themselves (rather than the terminals) - you’d need to split the insulation to get a look at the wire underneath. All you want to see is shiny copper.

You may be having a problem with your ignition switch.

The starter makes a CLICK sound? Are you SURE the starter makes a click sound? I’d guess the starter’s not good then (or solenoid) (except for the fact that it’s a new starter.)

Sounds most like a corrossion/connection problem, I’d take all those apart again and clean & tighten.

With the expanded explanation, now it sounds more like an electronic security system problem. The remote lock thing may be preventing the car from starting.

If it weren’t for the CLICK sound, I would’ve guessed the ignition switch.

If you have a voltmeter, I’d try and figure out if power is getting to the starter. Or apply power to the starter and see if it spins.

Please explain “slight bend in the positive terminal”. This is a side post battery. Does the positive lead terminal have tow layers or just one. Some GM cars have two layers and if the washer between the layers falls out, you can have similar problems.

I lean toward a defective starter in your case but it doesn’t explain the radio though. The fusable link or main power relay could cause similar problems except that the power windows wouldn’t work.

One last thing, if the ignition connection at the starter is a push on terminal, the terminal could have gotten pushed back inside the insulation and you would not see that, but it does happen and it is so often overlooked.

Ok. I?ll go check the cables in a minute. Here is some history:

I have had intermittent start issues on the car for years. Initially, I thought it was a battery problem. The positive terminal kept building up thick corrosion and I would have to chip it off each month. The guy at the battery shop said it was just because of our humidity. Needless to say, I don’t go there anymore. I found that a hose (low pressure bypass?) in the cooling system had a bubble on it and was “humidifying” my battery. I replaced it and the corrosion problem went away. During all that, the leak from my upper and lower manifold intakes (common on the 2002 Impala) killed my starter (I am assuming. It may have been fine and just a symptom of the current problem). I had it replaced.

Six months after it was replaced, I found the issue on the manifolds and had it fixed. Some time after that the new starter went “bad” (drove car to work and it wouldn’t start when I leave at 5) and my mechanic replaced the starter and the battery. Car would not start again the next day at 5 when I was ready to leave work. Mechanic had it towed back and couldn’t find anything. They kept it for two days. I went to get it. No start in their parking lot. After some frustration for the mechanic, I had the idea to remove the battery from my keyless entry remote. There wasn’t one on the key I left with the mechanic. He reset the comp and the car started right up.

I decided to see if it was an issue with the key fob sending extraneous signals to the car. The issue cropped up again a couple of months later. I removed the aftermarket keyless entry and CD player that the dealer had installed. Was OK for another month. Then the no start happened again. I disconnected the battery and waited 10 min and hooked it back up (I have carried a wrench in the car since the corrosion problem). A second time, the car started but the radio said locked on it. It did that before, so I knew better than to turn it off until you get where you are going for good. The air conditioning didn?t work as long as locked was on the radio.

A time or two after that, the disconnection of the battery didn?t work anymore and it has not started since (a full week now). I am wide open to suggestions, but have tried a few things: key ?re-learn?, clean contacts in the ignition switch, replaced all ignition related (as far as I can tell) relays, and the passlock bypass.

I bent the lug that screws into the battery terminal, so that I could be certain that it was making contact. Instead of flat, I made it slightly concave with the cup facing the battery. That way, I could be sure that the screw was tightening the lug against the battery terminal. I will post the rest of the story in a reply back to cigroller.

I checked voltages at both AUX terminals and the starter. I get 12.7 volts. I disconnected the battery to check the cables for corrosion by stripping back some of the insulation. The one to the starter is pristine. The one that forks off to the AUX terminals and under hood fuse/relay boxes had some modest corrosion. I pulled all the 60A fuses to show him what looked like bubbles to me on the fuses. He pointed out that it was just the way the other side of the fuse looks. I taped up my skinned positive cables and reconnected the battery, so I could show him what the starter does when you short the posts on it.

I put the 60A fuses back in starting at the top left and going sequentially to the bottom right. I went to turn the key on to see if the car would start by shorting the starter posts. Just for grins, I turned the key all the way and it started. I let it run for a couple of minutes and then cut it off. It has restarted several times since then. Apparently, I failed in my PASSLOCK bypass because the security light is on in the instrument panel.