Why 2001 Chevy Silverado 4.3 Cranks But Won’t Start [4 Reasons]

You turn the key on your ’01 Chevy Silverado, and it cranks just fine. But, that’s as far as it goes. You can’t get it to run. 

What to do if a 2001 Chevy Silverado 4.3 cranks but won’t start?

A no-start condition can result from a number of internal failures. Insufficient compression can be the cause. Clogged fuel injectors can keep the fuel from getting to the cylinders preventing startup. Bad spark plugs or sensors can also keep your Silverado from starting.

That covers the core of the issue. But, there’s more to figure out the problem. Stay with us as we walk you through the entire process.

Let’s get right to it-

4 Reasons for 2001 Chevy Silverado 4.3 Cranks But Won’t Start

Diagnosing these problems will require a bit of work. But we’ll be providing a thorough guide to make things easier for you. We’ll be covering every possible issue that could cause a no-start condition.  

Reason 1: Compression Insufficiency

Your engine requires 4 components to start. Compression is one of these components. If the compression isn’t sufficient your car won’t start. 

You can easily test whether that is the issue or not. All you need is an engine compression tester and a person to crank the engine. 


To ensure your safety, you’ll need to disconnect the fuel and ignition systems first. Taking off the “Spider” assembly will disable the fuel system.

For the ignition system, you can either remove the ignition coil or the ignition module. And then you can take out the spark plugs. The ceramic insulator on a spark plug breaks easily. So be cautious when handling the plugs.

Now you get to the actual test. Take your engine compression tester. Then thread the gauge into the first cylinder. Use your hands to screw it in. Tightening with tools can result in stripping the holes. 

Next, get your assistant to turn the key while you observe the gauge. Ask them to stop cranking once the needle on the gauge stops. Take note of the reading and repeat the same for the other five cylinders. 

Once that’s done, take it from the top one more time. But, this time add a tablespoon of oil to the cylinders. 

No change in the values would mean the cylinder head valves are the issue. However, if the values shoot up, then the issue is worn-out piston compression rings.


In case the cylinder head valves are the offenders, a garage visit is the only way. But you can avoid a repair when the offender is a worn-out compression ring. Add a product that repairs engine compression.

Reason 2: Bad or Clogged Fuel Injector

The fuel injectors deliver the fuel to your engine. Over time, their nozzles get clogged due to rust or corrosion. 

All you need for this test is a long screwdriver and, as before, an assistant. 


After disconnecting the ignition system, locate your fuel injectors. Now place your long screwdriver against the fuel injector. 

Once you’re done, ask your assistant to crank the engine. Put your ear to the back of the screwdriver when they are cranking the engine. If you hear a constant clicking noise the fuel injector is working. Repeat this for all the injectors.

A bad fuel injector will make inconsistent clicks or won’t click at all. If your injectors are fine, stop cranking and take out the spark plugs. Wet spark plugs are a sign that the fuel got to the plugs. 

Dry plugs indicate there was a blockage keeping the fuel from getting in. 


If your fuel injector isn’t making the clicking noise you’ll have to replace it. Bad injectors cannot be repaired.

On the other hand, a clogged injector can easily be cleaned. You’ll need a cleaning solution, a battery, and a way to pressurize the system. 

First, take out your fuel injectors and attach one end to the nozzle of an aerosol. 

Now, you’ll need to connect the injector electrically. Ground the injector to the negative end of a 12V battery. Leave the other end disconnected. 

Once that’s done, quickly tap the other wire on the positive end of the battery. While doing that press down on the aerosol to provide the cleaning solution. Stop the process when you see a clear spray coming out the fuel injector. 

When you see a clear spray pattern, turn the injector around and repeat the entire process. Your injectors will be clean once you’re done.

Reason 3: Bad Spark Plugs

A pressurized engine with fuel will still fail to start if the spark plugs are bad. Just get a spark tester and you can check if the spark plugs have gone bad.


First, take the spark plug wire off of the spark plug you’ll test. Then attach the spark tester to the plug wire. And ground the tester to the negative terminal on a battery. Now, get someone to crank the engine.

If all the wires spark, the ignition system is ok. And if none spark then the ignition coil has gone bad. 

However, if some of the wires don’t spark you’ll need to repeat the test. This time remove the wires that didn’t spark from the tower. And connect the tester to the tower as before.

A second no-spark situation would mean a bad distributor cap. The opposite would mean the wires are the culprits. 

If any part of the ignition system is not working, it’ll have to be replaced. 

Reason 4: Bad Crankshaft Position Sensor

The crankshaft position sensor tells your truck’s computer when to fire the spark. It does this by giving the computer the exact position of the valves and pistons. If it isn’t delivering the right information your truck might fail to start.


You’ll need a digital voltmeter to test your sensor’s condition. 

First, disconnect the ignition system and the fuel system. Next, connect the leader wires on your meter to the pins on the sensor. Now, ask a person to crank the engine. 

If the voltmeter pulses, the sensor’s in good condition. The contrary would mean you have a bad sensor in need of a replacement.

That covers all problems that could lead to a crank-no-start situation.


Question: How often should I change my spark plugs for Chevy Silverado?

Answer: Modern spark plugs can last about 100,000 miles without any issue. However, the recommended mileage for changing your spark plugs is 30,000 miles. 

Question: Can I just mix the fuel injector cleaning solution with the fuel?

Answer: No. You cannot do that. The cleaning solution will release any form of debris anywhere in the fuel line. The freed-up debris will end up clogging the nozzles even more. 

Question: How often should I replace intake gaskets?

Answer: The intake gaskets can leak as frequently as every 50,000 miles. You should get your truck inspected for leaks just as often and replace any blown gaskets. Or, you can replace the gaskets regardless of the condition every 80,000 miles. 


That ends our solutions for the 2001 chevy Silverado 4.3 cranks but won’t start. Hopefully, you’ve pinpointed the problem with the tests and now can ride your truck once more.

Follow along thoroughly to make sure you get the right results. And always make sure to keep yourself out of harm’s way.

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