2003 Tahoe z71 Intermittent Starting Problems

Discussion in 'General Chevy & GM Tech Questions' started by John_03z71, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. John_03z71

    John_03z71 New Member

    I have a 2003 Tahoe z71 with approximately 125k miles. Lately, I've been having intermittent starting problems. Sometimes when I get in the vehicle and go to start it up, I turn the key to "on" and all the electronics come on as normal but when I go to crank it, nothing happens... no sound at all coming from under the hood, and the electronics all go out (which I think is normal) while the key I turned. I have to turn the key off and on and keep trying several times. Sometimes it takes 30 seconds, sometimes up to 10 minutes before the engine will crank... and when it does it sounds perfectly normal, not like a low battery or anything. I read on another board to check the transmission neutral sensor as it may be messed up and thinking the cehicle is in gear. It reads that I am in park, and I've even tried shifting to neutral and trying to start, but no change. Also, as weird as it sounds, it seems to have this problem mostly after the vehicle has been parked in the sun for a few hours. Not sure if its coincidental or actually related to the problem. Also tried using my spare key as the dealer said my key may be worn out... tried that but still have the problem. Any ideas???? Typed this from a phone so I apologize for any misspellings... thanks in advance for any advice.
  2. MightyMax

    MightyMax Rockstar 100 Posts

    I would check that sensor myself, you mentioned.

    Also, while doing that I would make sure that your grounds are good, and check for any corrosion....

    But I think the sensor would be the best place to start

    Might also be your ignition, something else to consider.
  3. kurtibm

    kurtibm New Member

    My '03 Z71 Tahoe (150K) has been exhibiting the same symptoms to a "T". I have checked the neutral safety switch - it is not that. Last night it would not start (as described by John_03z71, but this morning, without touching the shifter (or even being in the truck) it started first turn - this would seem to lobby against it being an ignition SWITCH issue. This has been a phantom issue for at least 10 months - it throws no codes either.
    If anyone has had this issue and SOLVED it, please chime in.

  4. John_03z71

    John_03z71 New Member

    I ordered a neutral safety switch last night so I will keep you updated if it fixes anything. On Wednesday, the problem was so bad that it took about 40 minutes until the truck decided it wanted to crank... When it finally decided to crank the battery was dead from all the attempts and fuel pump buzzes that I had to ask for a jump. Ever since then, it has started up on the first try. So aggravating............. like I said, I will see if this neutral safety switch changes anything and let you know.

    Also read somewhere to check/replace the starter solenoid, but the fact that there is no 'click' when the issue arises tells me that its not the problem part, correct? Or is it possible for a faulty starter solenoid to make no sound and only fail intermittently like this?
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010
  5. John_03z71

    John_03z71 New Member

    Update: just went to crank it and had the problem again. After about 2 or 3 minutes of trying to get I to crank, when I turned the key forward to crank it nothing happened (like the rest of the tries) but then when I let go and the key moved back to the 'on' posiytion, after about 1 second the engine cranked by itself without my fingers even on the key. Also, when it did crank up all my gauges are now dead. The lights all come on in the cluster but none of the 6 gauges work. What is going on?????
  6. MightyMax

    MightyMax Rockstar 100 Posts

    Have you replaced the ignition?

    Kinda also sounds like a short some where.....some exposed wire is grazing something.
    Or some loosely connected wires.....

    Maybe start fishing around under the dash, checking all the wires and tracing them to their connecting points.
  7. John_03z71

    John_03z71 New Member

    Sorry I wasn't too clear, no I haven't replaced the neutral safety switch yet, it just got delivered. Also, just got back in the truck a few hours after the gauges failed and they are working again... weird. Anyways, I will replace the switch tomorrow and see if the problem persists. If so, any ideas on what to try next? Ignition switch, CPS, ?? Thanks again for your help!
  8. MightyMax

    MightyMax Rockstar 100 Posts

    I would maybe try ignition next.

    But man, anytime I have had a weird issue with my truck (things work one time and not the next time), it has usually come down to a loose/floating ground....

    So I would really take the time to look over your wires (check for bare wires or loose wires) and also check your grounds.

    If you can, maybe get a Chiltion's manual that has a wiring diagram and look to see where the wires go, and get a multimeter to check the wires for continuity.
  9. John_03z71

    John_03z71 New Member

    Partsgeek.com sent the wrong part so I had to order a neutral safety switch from another place. BTW, never order parts from them, must have called customer service 20 times with no answer and sent 3 emails with no response. Now I see they have an F rating with the BBB. Had to open a dispute with my bank. Anyways, will keep you updated whenever I receive the correct part and install it.

    Kurtibm, any luck fixing yours?
  10. grandparon

    grandparon Member

    Try cleaning the battery cables, remove them from the battery and clean them with a wire or fiber brush, even if they look clean. Do like MightyMax suggests and go over the wires and the grounds. Check the wires at the starter and the ground from the engine to the chassis and to the battery. Go to the troubleshooting guide in the Chiltons. Troubleshooting is the key here, not replacing parts, that can get expensive very fast. Some of the best troubleshooting books are the Mitchell Manuals. See if you can access them online or go to your local library to find one. Have you checked the codes? Maybe something will show up there too. Good luck.

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