2001 Chevy Silverado Truck will not start when temp drops b

Tiny
KENCC
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 CHEVROLET SILVERADO
Engine Performance problem
2001 Chevy Silverado V8 Two Wheel Drive Automatic

I have a problem I hope someone can help me with. I have a 2001 Chevy Silverado, extended cab, with a 4.3liter V8. I have been the single owner of this truck and have had an intermittent problem with it starting during the winter. When the air temperature drops below exactly 32 degrees the truck will not start. Starter turns over and sounds good, but no matter what I do it will not start. I have tried everything but nothing I do will start it, and on most mornings the truck will have to sit out in the open until the air temperature rises above 32 degrees. It’s been to the dealer 4 or 5 times but they have never been able to resolve it, often it’s been a waste of time as the truck has to be running to bring it to them and they always leave it in the shop overnight, preventing it from getting cold enough for the problem to reoccur. This winter has been colder than normal and it has been a constant and almost daily problem. As a second problem, and I don’t know if this is related, the fuel gauge often fails to report the correct fuel level. Top the tank off and it shows empty until the level drops below ¾. Then it will also show empty when you stop at a traffic light, and remain there until you start moving again. I would bet it’s just a problem with the fuel tank float but wanted to bring it up because of the failure to start issue.
Any help would be appreciated.


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Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 AT 9:33 AM

5 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi:
You are most likely right with the fuel gauge, but it's part of the pump which makes me wonder if you have corrosion where the pump plugs together or it has a loose connection. What I would suggest, and you may not like this, but when it doesn't start because of the cold, check two things. First check to see if the engine is getting spark. Also, check the fuel pump pressure. Taking a guess, I bet you have no fuel pressure which of course causes the truck not to start. The connection could even have moisture in it and when it freezes (32 degrees) water expands and may be causing the problem.

Try what I said with the spark and fuel pressure. One will be missing, and then we can go from there. If you need directions as to how these things are done, let me know.

Joe
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Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 AT 8:59 PM
Tiny
KENCC
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Thanks for your reply. Just to keep things in prospective, let me recount the past 48 hours. On Wednesday night at about 11:00 pm, the outside air temperature had dropped to about 34 degrees after only reaching a high of 36 degrees. I tried to start the truck at that time and it hesitated/required about 10 or 15 cranks (defined as turning the key until the starter kicks in, one or two cylinders fire, I let go of the key, and the engine fails to catch.) Before it started. This problem again occurred this morning, when the outside air temperature was about 35 degrees. It took about 8 to 10 tries, before the engine caught. Pumping doesn’t help, nor does holding down the gas pedal while I crank. Two hours later, the engine started on the first try and has continued to start without fail all day as the air temperature has remained at or above 54 degrees. The funny part is that when it’s warm enough I don’t even have to be in my truck to start it. I can just reach in the window, turn the key and it fires right up. In the past I have tried to keep the engine warm during the night by starting it every few hours but it made no difference. I even tried putting a 60 watt light on the ground under the engine and a tarp over the truck but with no luck. Like you I tend to think it is a gas issue with water and not a spark issue with water. Hope this info can help! Ken
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Friday, January 23rd, 2009 AT 5:16 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I agree with you. It does sound more like a fuel problem. Check the fuel pressure when it's cold. Let me know what you find.

Joe
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Friday, January 23rd, 2009 AT 6:54 PM
Tiny
KENCC
  • MEMBER
Without having to go to a mechanic, and taking into account that I am somewhat mechanically proficient, what would be the best way to check the fuel flow in the cold?
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Saturday, January 24th, 2009 AT 12:41 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi:
You can rent or borrow a fuel pressure gauge from most nationally recognized parts stores. It hooks up to the fuel rail.
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Wednesday, January 28th, 2009 AT 5:33 PM

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