2002 Venture Van Won't Start

I have a 2002 Chevy Venture mini-van, bought new, with just over 85,000 mi. In 2006, at around 60,000 mi., it began having times when it would not start. This would happen only occassionally, generally during 80 degree + weather, and only when the vehicle was turned off for a brief period of time (2-10 min.) When this happens, it will start again in 15 - 20 min. I just have to sit and wait.

It has been taken to the dealership where it was purchased. They kept it for 2 weeks straight one time; it has gone in other times. They cannot get it to “not start” and say they can do nothing unless it ‘does its thing’ for them. I never know when it will do this. It has happened at the gas station. After filling up, it will not start. Then I just have to sit blocking a pump or get help to push it out of the way. The dealership wants me to have it towed in. The problem is that by the time a tow truck could get there, get loaded, and to the dealership, it would start.

Has anyone had this same problem? Any good ideas what it could be?

Well, you left out an important detail, namely–Does the starter turn the engine over during these “no start” situations, or is the starter inoperable?

In the absence of that information, I will go on the assumption that the starter does not turn the engine over. Many years ago, this used to happen to GM cars with big engines, and it was usually attributed to a “heat soaked” starter. The solution was to put some kind of insulation around the starter to shield it from excess engine heat.

Truthfully, I did not think that this type of situation still existed, but anything is possible. You might want to ask an independent mechanic if he is willing to try the approach suggested above. If he is not willing to do that, or if this approach is unsuccessful, then you may have to replace the starter.

However, if the starter does turn the engine over, but the engine fails to start, then my answer is clearly not the solution. How about filling us in on the missing details?

Yes, the starter turns the engine over just fine.

I also have a Chevy 2002 Venture minivan (WB edition) and my van is doing the same exact thing. In my case, I get the van started, but it quickly stalls and cannot be restarted for 15 minutes. So far, it has started every time after I wait 15 minutes, but this is a major pain especially at the gas pumps.

I’ve been told it may have something to do with the anti-theft system shutting down the fuel pump. I’m surprised that your dealership did not look at the car’s computer codes.

Can the anti-theft system be disabled? Who would want to steal this van anyway - they probably could not get it started.

Thanks for the response. I can’t believe mine was the only Venture van that ever did this. The dealership did hook it up to the computer. They said it wasn’t “throwing any codes”. They insist it needs to be hooked up to the computer AND “do its thing” at that time for them to get meaningful codes. Not sure about the anti-theft system. I’ll call and ask. They know me personally now.

This is most like a problem with too little, or missing, spark; or, too little, or too much fuel being injected into the engine.
YOU can help discover which. When the engine doesn’t start, hold the gas pedal to the floor as you crank the engine. AS the engine starts (maybe), ease up on the gas pedal. This action will clear an engine if it is flooded.

If clearing a possible flooded condition didn’t help, try something for a lack of fuel: use a spray can of Starting Fluid (available at auto parts stores), pull a small hose from the large, black, engine intake tube, spray a two second burst of the Starting Fluid into the large intake tube, reconnect the smaller hose. Attempt to start the engine. If it starts, that indicates that the problem is fuel delivery into the engine.

Next, check for spark. You can use a spark plug, or a spark tester you can get from an auto parts store. There are inductive test lights which you place on the spark plug wire. If the light flashes, spark is going through the spark plug wire.
Report all your findings to a reputable independent mechanic.

I had the van in for a coolant flush a couple of months ago and had the non-start issue occur (am I lucky or what?). My mechanic hooked up the van to a computer and he said it was throwing codes that were associated with the anti-theft system. He could not go further since they are encrypted and GM won’t release these type of codes to non-dealerships. I really hate to take the car to a dealership since it will probably cost big bucks.

Anyone have any input on the anti-theft angle of this thread?

The anti-theft system blocks engine cranking. If the engine cranks, it’s something else. There is a GM Service Bulletin No. 01-08-45-005A that deals with failure to start, hard starts, etc. Your mechanics should be able to get it, read it, apply it to your problem.

see below

I also found this:

I am sure many of you have had a GM towed in as a no start and when you go out to try to start it, it fires right up. Well we know many things will do this like the fuel pump, ignition components, starter, etc. So you then go and scan the vehicle and you get the code B2960 (key code incorrect but valid). I also get a U1000 code a lot with this code which may be related, may not be. The information I give from here is from what I have seen and is my opinion for some of the problems that cause this code.

When I get the code B2960, I will look through the security data pids for any problem. I will see if there are any other codes in any of the other modules. I will check the key code voltage and see if it matches what it wants to see. What I do next if there are no other codes that I think relate to the no start, the key code voltage is correct, no other security data pid problems, and after clearing the code it does not reset and the vehicle starts. First thing I will do is test the battery electronically with my midtronics tester and then load test it. Next I will check power and ground connections. My next step is the most important once you get this far. I will call the customer and ask them a few important questions; when did you see the security light and do you turn the key to on before you start your vehicle. If the customer says the security light came on while driving and the no start happened later, then my diagnoses will go a different direction. If the customer says the light was flashing after the no start or they say they didn’t notice the light, I will continue to proceed in this direction. The next answer I hear is usually the same and I believe is part of the cause of the B2960 code. “Wait to start? I just turn the key untill it starts.” This is the biggest piece of the puzzle for me. Let me tell you how the Passlock™ lock cylinder works from Alldata. When the correct key is used to start the vehicle, a magnet on the lock cylinder passes close to the Passlock™ sensor within the ignition lock cylinder case. The magnet activates the security hall effect sensor in the Passlock™ sensor which completes a circuit from the security sensor signal circuit through a resistor to the security sensor low reference circuit. The BCM will measure the voltage on the security sensor signal circuit and compares this voltage to a previously learned voltage. If the voltage measured is within a valid range, the BCM will send a class 2 message to the PCM to enable vehicle starting. If the voltage measures is not within a valid range, a class 2 message is sent to the PCM to disable vehicle starting. Think about everything that happens when you turn the key on, all the modules are powering up, radio turns on, headlamps and light might come on, all the sensors are getting there reference voltages, etc. Now think what happens when you turn the key to crank, a lot of compoents are now turning off like the radio, hvac system, light, etc. and the starter starts to draw a couple hundred amps. Now think what happens when all of this occurs within a 1/2 second when the customer turns the key straight to start. Can you see where your voltages are moving all over the place in a very short time how the key code voltage may be off .2 of a volt and cause a no start and the B2960 code. Now lets say the magnet is a little weak or the key cylinder is a little worn and how this can happen very easily.

90% of my customers will be charged a diagnostic fee for what I have checked. I do a key relearn which involves 3 ten minuete key cycles and I tell them to turn the key to on for a second or 2 and then to crank. I will never see them back for this problem again. The other 10% have a faulty key lock cylinder, forget to turn the key to on first, or have some other problem with the system. Of that 10%, a new key lock cylinder sensor will fix 95% of them while 5% of those 10% have a different problem. If I do not replace the key lock cylinder sensor right away because the customer wants to try turning the key to on for a second before starting first, I always let them know that if it does happen again where they get a no start, to turn the key to crank and then release with out turning the key off, wait 10 minuetes for the theft light to stop flashing, turn the key off 5 seconds to put the theft system into bypass mode. This gives them the chance to start the vehicle, not be stranded, and to save a towing charge so that I can fix the problem correctly for them. This is just my theory on this problem and this procedure continues to work for me.


Also look here for information about B2960 code, Pass Lock Sensor, Ignition Cylinder, and Ignition Switch.

“Its the pass lock sensor, when the problem happens the security system is disabling the fuel injectors so it is not getting fuel” - that’s why it starts, then stalls. If you wait 15 minutes, you can then start the car because the security system resets.


Pemberto, that was a good piece of research at the site. Good show! The author should be given credit. He is: travsirocz.

For Savanna, I make the suggestion to be sure the battery connections, in particular, are clean, and have no electrical resistance. Have the battery and alternator checked to be assured that full voltage is going to the ignition passlock sensor. When you turn the ignition key to ON, wait a moment before turning to START. These actions may stave off the problem with the passlock sensor, if the passlock sensor has a problem…we’re just assuming.
As always, RSVP

Thanks for all your suggestions. I sent it in to the dealership to check on the connector described in the GM Service Bulletin. They found no problem. (My dealership has not charged me for the time they’ve spent looking for the problem. They have not been able to repair it, but they really seem to be trying.) I’m going to check into the anti-theft angle.
Thanks again!

did you ever find out what was wrong with your van? mine is doing the same thing and noone seems to know what is wrong? If you could help I would appreciate it. thanks

My 2002 Venture has had intermittent starting problems for a few years. The car has only 43000 miles and I am the original owner. when it doesn’t start, it will not even turn over. After a couple of tows and no diagnosable problems, I decided that it must be a faulty starter solenoid and I was ready to just replace the whole starter motor, which is necessary in this car if you have a faulty solenoid. This morning, the car didn’t start and I followed Pemberto’s suggestion and low and behold, the car started right away. thanks for the insight Pemberto. This is also better than (and also consistent with) my own, unsophisticated way of getting the car to start- slam the doors and the hood to jolt the magnet/solenoid to reset- this works sometimes.