2000 3.1 V6 Malibu – I cannot get the engine to crank. What I have done in the last 2 months; Replaced the battery – tests @ 12.98V cables off, 12.78V cables on, 12.58V with key in (KOEO) position Replaced the Key way lock cylinder – previous to this key would not turn back fully to OFF position. Used the old ignition switch, but had to put the old fob with the new key to get theft system to relearn. I still had issues, so I followed a walk-through on how to place a resistor inline on the wires leading to the pass-lock to avoid the system. It worked. I used a 2.100000k ohms.

New ignition switch – this was 3 weeks after the new key way. Car would sometimes start rough, and still had to bang the shifter hard into park to get it to start. The last time it ran, it hit a bump, ran up to a gas station and never ran again, no crank no start. No theft light blinking.

What I have have done in sequence is a new lock cylinder, bypassed the pass-lock, drove the car successfully for several weeks minus the banging shifter, had car die, replaced the ignition switch, put the wires on the pass-lock back together removing the resistor, tested the solenoid on the starter with success, tested the battery with success, removed the compustar 4200 connectors with no change to the lack of start. I had forgotten I even had a remote starter it died 3 weeks after I bought the car. Put it all back together- no change.

What happens when I try to start the car; I connect the negative cable on the battery, which sparks a bit more than usual, I get in closing the door, I insert the key in the ignition and turn 1 turn, just dinging as usual. One more turn to ON, and the car dings eight times I see all lights come on and then off completely the only light that flashes is seat belts. 5 seconds later the car dings 3 quick times, then the fuel gauge lights up as though its empty with the orange light-the car has at least half a tank. The only other lights on are the ABS – i disconnected in an unrelated time years ago, the parking and brake system lights and airbag. When turned to RUN everything disappears, the lights dim slightly, but nothing happens, no crank, no start. I never get a blinking or constant theft system light.

I read an article which states that theft deterrent doesn't interfere with crank, and I also read that the ECM, neutral safety connection at the transmission could all be NFG...but I am so helpless as to where to start next, and this is my only vehicle. I will not be getting another one for some time. I am borrowing until I solve this, and getting very exhausted. Can someone help me?

  • "I read an article which states that theft deterrent doesn't interfere with crank" The article is incorrect. The theft deterrent on these disables crank, fuel and spark.
    – narkeleptk
    Sep 15, 2021 at 0:24
  • Where are you located? Do you have access to a volt ohm meter?
    – zipzit
    Sep 15, 2021 at 16:41
  • Your 2000 Malibu has GMs Passlock antitheft; disabling injector operation when security is flashing. This doesn't interfere with starter operation. If your battery cables are corroded, either clean them with a warm water solution with baking soda and toothbrush to dissolve dried battery acid then retighten connections or replace cables. If the starter is original then it may be worn out. A starter test only checks it to run and doesn't determine when it wears out. This may be a worn out starter.
    – F Dryer
    Sep 16, 2021 at 15:15
  • Narkaleptk thanks for clarifying that. I used to have crank with the theft deterrent, but now nothing. Zipzit I do have a voltometer. I am in Canada, Manitoba specifically. F Dryer I will take the starter off today and bench test it, its not that hard to get to. Maybe that is all it is..but I never get a blinking theft system light, or a steady one for that matter, and the dash lights think my gas is empty, and i don't hear the fuel pump prime, but i know its in great condition, i just replaced it. And the battery is brand new and super clean. So many weird things all at once.
    – solanus
    Sep 16, 2021 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


If your lights dim when you're trying to crank the engine, that power is going somewhere. That coupled with a lack of cranking implies that there may be an issue with the starter motor itself. Since you have a voltmeter, I'd use that to check if there's power going to the starter when you turn the key.

If not, start working backwards from there. If the neutral safety switch was dubious before, I'd definitely make sure it's not stopping you. If your voltmeter is a multimeter, use its continuity test function to see if the switch is working.

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