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2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 - Difficulty starting

Dear Ray,
My 2011 Chevy Silverado 5.3 V-8 Started having trouble starting about a year ago but only when cold. After starting in the cool morning, the rest of the day never has a problem. It does have the remote start feature that I usually do not use. Since this is Arizona we do not have that many cold mornings but it still causes concern. Especially since I tried to go on line to see if anyone else was having this problem and golly gee, many people are but no one seems to have found a reason for the problem. It seems to be over many model years and GM does not have an answer either. It sounds like low battery or out of time. Only the first start of the day.Have you encountered this problem? What can I do to solve it and Make the truck reliable again? Thank you for your weekly Feature in the paper.

No Ray here, this is an open forum. What exactly happens when it has trouble starting?

Sounds like low battery or out of timing. Lugs and then starts. All the rest of the day no problems. Only first time in the cool morning. Web browsing brings up MANY people claiming similar symptoms even to not starting at all. No answers. Some even claim Chevy dealers don’t have an answer. Multiple model years Silverado. Would like to solve the situation. Any help appreciated.

If it seems to take more of the rrrrr rrrr rrrr rrrr time (cranking) than it should before it pops and starts to run, that could be a fuel pressure problem. there’s a one-way valve in the fuel system (usually in the fuel pump itself) that is supposed to maintain the fuel rail pressure even when the engine is off. If that valve fails the fuel will slowly leak from the fuel rail back into the tank overnight, and the next morning the low fuel pressure will cause a lean condition and make it take more cranking before it starts, and this will be more pronounced when the ambient temperature is colder. A fuel pressure hold test would confirm/disprove this idea.

If the cranking is robust, just takes a lot of it, there’s no battery problem. If it seems to crank more slowly than it should , the engine turns too slow during cranking, that could be a battery, starter, or electrical connections problems. engine timing problems , ether ignition timing or valve timing, would generally show up during running as much or more as during starting, so I tend to discount that idea given what you say above.

Thanks. Will try. All through the warm weather it never happens.

Test this hypothesis with the “key dance:” turn the key to Run (not all the way to Start) and listen for the fuel pump. It should run for a couple seconds. Turn the key to Off, then back to Run and pause again. A few repeats will, if the pump is running, bring adequate fuel and fuel pressure up to the engine. Then turn the key all the way to Start and see what happens. Good luck.

Thanks. Will try tomorrow morning.

Thanks George, tried it this morning and it seemed to improve the starting problem. Will try again over the next few days each morning. Hope it will be the complete answer.


Tried the “key dance” yesterday and today. Yesterday did not seem to help but I was more patient today and waited a little longer and the truck fired right away. Temp outside was 32 degrees so perhaps George has the cause and solution. Will continue to try the " key dance" over the next few days to see if it continues to work. Thanks again.

Did not do the “key dance” the last few days. Our driveway has a pitch that has the back of the Silverado lower than the front. Parked the other direction and for the last three days the motor started with no problem. Makes me think that the fuel was running back to the tank and by parking with the nose low it did not run back. Seems like there should be a check valve to keep that from happening. Will investigate further but many thanks for George pointing me toward a solution to a maddening intermittent problem.

FWIW, the times I found the key dance necessary were when the fuel level in the tank was low, especially when it was cold outside. Sounds like you are getting a handle on the situation. Best wishes.

Don’t trust the “key dance” or parking backwards to be a long term solution. Sounds like your fuel pump is old, and will need replacing soon.

Thanks. Now on the right track thanks to the car talk community. Did not know where to start before and now I do. Narrowed the search thanks to you so believe I can find the cause before too long.