Article > Underhood Service

Tech Tip: Chevy Malibu Starts and Stalls


With some Chevrolet Malibus (1997-1999 2.4L, 1997-2003 3.1L and 2004 2.2L and 3.5L engines), the vehicle will start and then stall. A scan tool should indicate a DTC P1626, P1630 or P1631 stored in the Powertrain Control Module (PCM). The flow chart for each code will direct a scan tool to be used to access BCM codes. This is the best way to perform diagnostics on this problem.

Vehicles affected:
Chevrolet Malibu: 1997-’99 2.4L, 1997-2003 3.1L and 2004 Malibu 2.2L and 3.5L.

Vehicle will start and then stall. Security indicator on the dash is on. DTC P1626, P1630 and/or P1631.

Problem 1 of 3:
The Body Control Module (BCM) failed to recognize the signal from the ignition lock cylinder.

Test & Fix:
A scan tool should indicate a DTC P1626, P1630 or P1631 stored in the Powertrain Control Module (PCM). The flow chart for each code will direct a scan tool to be used to access BCM codes. This is the best way to perform diagnostics on this problem.

If using a scan tool that is not capable of retrieving BCM codes or viewing data, try the following procedure. Disconnect the wires from the ignition lock cylinder. Turn the ignition key to the Key On, Engine Off (KOEO) position. Using a voltmeter, check voltage on the white wire, at the BCM, to ground. The voltage should read 12 volts.

Then check the voltage on the yellow wire, at the BCM, to ground. This should read 5 volts. Next check the black wire, at the BCM, being sure there is a good ground on this wire.

If there is a loss of ground on the black wire or the voltage is missing on the white or yellow wires, check the power and ground for the BCM and the connections at the BCM. If powers, grounds and connections are OK, the BCM will need to be replaced.

Note: When you remove the BCM, first disconnect connector C3 before you disconnect the remaining connectors. When you re-install the BCM, connect connector C3 last. Connector C3 contains the BCM power and ground sources. If the voltages are correct, proceed to step 2.

Problem 2 of 3:
The ignition lock cylinder fails to change the voltage on the yellow wire.

Test & Fix:
With the ignition lock cylinder electrically reconnected, back-probe the yellow wire with the positive lead of the voltmeter and connect the negative lead to a known-good ground. Insert the ignition key in the lock cylinder, rotating the key to the start position, then release the key, allowing it to return to the KOEO position.

During the time the key was rotated to the start position then released to the KOEO position, the voltage on the yellow wire should change from 5 volts to a lower value. Because there are 10 different voltage values, we are unable to give a specific voltage value. However, what the voltmeter should indicate is a change in voltage value. If this change in voltage did not take place, replace the ignition lock cylinder. For the theft system relearn procedure, go to step 3.

Problem 3 of 3:
A component related to the theft system, BCM, PCM or ignition lock cylinder has been replaced and the password needs to be re-learned.

Test & Fix:
Password programming can be done using the following procedure:

1. Ensure the vehicle’s battery is fully charged.

2. Use a scan tool to clear any diagnostic trouble codes from the PCM and BCM.

3. Starting with the ignition switch in the Off position, momentarily crank the engine and leave the key in the Run position while observing the security indicator. In 10 minutes the security indicator should turn off. Rotate the key to the Off position for five seconds.

4. Repeat step 3 two more times.

5. The fourth time the engine is cranked, the engine should start and the BCM and PCM will have learned the new password.

6. Clear the BCM and PCM trouble codes again.

Courtesy of Identifix, Inc.

  Previous Comments
avatar   ella    star   8/24/2011   12:15 PM

well i did change my fuel pump still want crank its still not getting gas in the line do u think if i put one of those transponder on my car it might crank

avatar   pierre   star   1/5/2011   6:37 PM

i have a 2004 malibu new body with a 3.5, new fuel pump clean injectors, new ect. it starts and turns off, no security light, but when i press the gas pedal for 2 seconds it ok. starts good when it cold but when it warm it doesn't start by itself have to press the gas pedal.

avatar   carmine   star   12/14/2010   1:02 PM

i have a 99 olds cutlass the theft system lights comees on i wait the 10 to 15 mins and the light goes off so i go to start it and still no start and then the theft system light **** on agen can u help me with that thank u

avatar   Arleen Berrios   star   9/6/2010   1:36 PM

i installed a new ignition cylinder on my 2004 malibu and now it will start but the ac, windows and gas meter will not work.

avatar   CLEWY   star   7/30/2010   8:13 PM

hard to start turns over and over starts then shuts off runs fine then when hot stumbles wont take the gas release the pedal then it will pick up slowly

avatar   Andrew Markel, Editor, BRAKE & FRONT END   star   5/6/2010   2:06 PM

Chris, It sounds like a wiring harness problem. I would take it to a shop that knows what it is doing.

avatar   chris    star   5/6/2010   12:43 PM

my 1999 malibu starts and stalls or starts and sputters and stalls when this happens my gauges go haywire also back and forth got a new battery tested alt starter had new pulley and harm baln and still no good in fact getting worse i get 4 to five clean starts a day now the rest stall? help

avatar   eric   star   5/1/2010   8:13 AM

I had a problem that my car wouldn't start with the theft light on. I thought it was the fuel pump, becuase when i used carb cleaner it would start. the theft light threw me off though. if it was a fuel pump the light woildn't be on. So I asked my friend and he traced it to the ignition switch using the flow chart. Saved me alot of cash not getting that fuel pump.

avatar   JJ Mattingly   star   4/30/2010   7:52 AM

Good Tech Tip. GM has lost a lot of customers over these PASS systems. At least with the chip in the key you could bypass it w/ a resistor matching the key chip soldered into the wiring under the column. Then they redesigned it and made it worse...

avatar   Edwin@opelika AL   star   4/29/2010   10:38 PM

If you have access to a TECH II it takes even less time

avatar   vinny   star   4/29/2010   11:01 AM

Now this is a realy good understanding of the security system. thank you

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