Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

No fuel no start

it’s me again…
2000 chevy impala 3.4 E
My car cranks and cranks before starting. It’s getting good spark, I already checked. Sometimes it will help to turn the key on, off, on etc but sometimes that doesn’t do it either. i can hear the fuel pump, so i know that it’s working. I have a feeling that it’s not pressurizing correctly and don’t have a pressure tester to find out where. is there anyway to test pressure (say at the fpr) without buying a guage? Once it’s started, it drives fine. no smoke or noises or anything. actually since this started, it probably idles a little better than it did before!
i’m getting 3 codes, 2 for the evap (both too rich and too lean) and 1 for the secondary air which i think is an unrelated issue but don’t really know. i’ve heard that it could be the return valve at the pump. could I pinch the return line while cranking to test this? i’m not totally sure how the system works.

The answer to your problem is quite simple. Take the Impala to a good, independent mechanic that knows how the system works. You could also buy a repair manual and attempt the repair yourself but I believe that you will be money ahead by visiting a good mechanic. Guessing and throwing parts at a problem will cost you a lot of time and money.

Post the specific codes that you have. Its possible that the evap codes could have something to do with it. There are no evap codes that refer to richness or leanness, unless GM has something special & weird.

I bought my fuel pressure gauge for $40. I got my repair manual for $20. Autozone has free repair info online.

first off, thanks for the response.
MISSILEMAN-You’re right, I know that simply throwing parts at a car is stupid, that’s what i’m trying to avoid. if i took it back to that same mechanic, that’s what he would do.I’m having a hell of a time finding a good mechanic in nyc. there are certainly a lot but as I don’t know anybody with a car here, I haven’t been able to find one. I used the tool on here to try to find one, and one of the best rated was a guy that i took it to for an oil change and left a ratchet sitting on the battery and the cap off the oil, so i don’t really trust it. the mechanic that I had work on it before is expensive and simply doesn’t want to deal with this. I asked him about the poor starting before and he told me “well it always starts on the 2nd or 3rd try so I wouldn’t worry about it.” But it’s getting worse pretty quick. Also, I’m broke and if it’s something as simple as a faulty hose that I can replace myself, i’d rather do it. at least I got a free ratchet…
I have a Haynes manual (I couldn’t find a Chilton at the time) and have sortof familiarized myself with the system.
CIGROLLER- I was getting 3 codes, P0412 (Secondary Air Injection System Switching Valve A Circuit Malfunction), P0452 (Evaporative Emission Control System Pressure Sensor Low Input),P0453 (Evaporative Emission Control System Pressure Sensor High Input). I erased them today to see what would still pop up and it’s now only showing P0412 and P0453. also the monitors are giving a lot of incompletes: egr, evap, o2 sensor, o2 heater, catalyst, and one other i can’t remember right now.
I had said “rich and lean” because that what was written on the code chart I looked it up on. You’re right, i got a better chart.
was I wrong to erase the original codes? i would assume that if the problem was still occuring, they would simply come back. can I check vacuum/air with the same gauge? I would guess not.

thanks again

Those codes you mention should not cause an engine no-start condition.
Without a fuel pressure tester, and if you’re pretty certain there is no fuel pressure you might try this.

Remove the cap on the fuel rail pressure test port and wrap a rag around it as a shield.
Have someone crank the engine over for you while you depress the Schrader valve on the test port. You should see gasoline gush out, either immediately or within a few seconds. Immediately means the system is retaining residual fuel pressure. A delay means there is a pressure loss. (pump check valve, fuel pressure regulator, or an injector stuck open)

I can’t say a whole lot more of value without knowing about what the fuel pressure in the system is actually doing.

I’ll just wonder - you’ve done the key on/off/on etc. which sometimes helps. When it doesn’t help have you ever tried the alternative - flooring the gas pedal? Holding the pedal to the floor as you start it is a flood clearing procedure. If that helps it would say something independently of knowing what the fuel pressure is doing.

i’ll give it a shot. I’m working all weekend, so it’ll have to wait a couple of days. I’ll keep you posted.
thanks again