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Occasional No-start

This is a discussion on Occasional No-start within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Ok- I know this subject has been beaten to death, but I still have questions. My car has two separate ...

  1. #1
    Member turbojimmy's Avatar
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    Occasional No-start

    Ok- I know this subject has been beaten to death, but I still have questions.

    My car has two separate problems, one is that when it sits for a while the battery will go dead. Only sometimes. I've read that it's probably the alternator going bad. This one I can deal with because I can jump-start the car if need be.

    The other problem is an occasional no-start. The battery is fine, I turn the key and the starter doesn't engage. All the dash lights come on, the fuel pump primes, etc. and so on. From what I've read, the most common problem is the white PassKey wire on the ignition switch. Before I replace this, I'm wondering how I can know for sure? I don't get a security light (I don't think - when do I look for it?). Eventually, when it does start, it's pretty much at random. I can't point to any one thing that "fixes" it for that moment. Some times I just keep moving the key from off to run to crank, other times I will shut the car off and set the alarm then disable it, and other times I'll pump the clutch (thinking maybe it's the interlock switch). If it helps in the diagnosis, I can let it roll and pop the clutch and it fires up just fine.

    Whatever it is, it's happening more often now. It's embarrassing pushing my TA around the parking lot to get enough speed to pop the clutch.

    Where should I start with the troubleshooting?

  2. #2
    It could be the computer. That seems to be hard to check.

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    Moderator Cutlass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turbojimmy View Post
    If it helps in the diagnosis, I can let it roll and pop the clutch and it fires up just fine.

    Whatever it is, it's happening more often now. It's embarrassing pushing my TA around the parking lot to get enough speed to pop the clutch.

    Where should I start with the troubleshooting?
    This kinda points away from a VATS/passkey problem because the VATS disables the starter and fuel delivery.

    So it could be the clutch switch, starter relay, ignition switch, maybe battery connections, the starter itself, or the BCM (which is responsible for grounding the starter relay)

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    Could be the starter leads too, and or solenoid issue too. WHat does it do when you turn the key durring the times it does'nt want to start.? Any sound?


    Side note: till you figure it out, bump start in reverse,.. It usually a lower gear than 1st = don't have to push it as much.. Park nose up will make life easier till you can iron out the problem.. That is if you must drive it tho.
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    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    Do you just hear a "click" when you turn the key?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cammed goat View Post
    Do you just hear a "click" when you turn the key?
    I have this same problem with my 02 Camaro SS. I thought it was the VATS so I just bypassed it this morning. The security light comes on, stays solid then goes out in 5 seconds. With key or with resistors. I can turn the key and hear what sounds like the relay cllicking but the starter doesn't engage. I can flip the key to the on position on and off for a dozen to two dozen times, then at random times, it will start up. Very frustrating.

    I've pulled the relays and cleaned the contacts. But this doesn't seem to help. The car only has 32k miles on it and has been mostly garaged.

    What can I look for? Power at the starter itself? or starter solenoid (where is it located).

    Thanks for any and all help.

    Mike

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    Moderator Cutlass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mchan View Post

    What can I look for? Power at the starter itself? or starter solenoid (where is it located).

    Thanks for any and all help.

    Mike
    Yes. Test for power at the starter solenoid while cranking the key. The starter solenoid is bolted right on the starter. You could also check/tighten the battery cables at the battery

  8. #8
    Member turbojimmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cammed goat View Post
    Do you just hear a "click" when you turn the key?
    Nope - I get absolutely nothing. When I turn the key to crank, all the dash lights go out like they should, but there's no cranking. Fuel pump primes.

    Here's another hint: sometimes I'll get like a half-a-second to full-second delay when I turn the key before it cranks (that is, when it cranks). My brother's '01 SS is starting to do the same thing.

    I can go weeks and it will start fine. Then it won't work again for days.

    Since I started this post I replaced the battery, but that didn't help. I'm thinking maybe it's the starter relay. I'm going to disable the VATS with my tuning software just for fun, but I don't think that's the problem.

    My "winter car" has no heat, so I may have to drive the TA for the next few days until I sort that out. I need to figure this out!

  9. #9
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    Same thing happened to me all I did was replace the starter
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  10. #10
    Member turbojimmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10spokess View Post
    Same thing happened to me all I did was replace the starter
    What kind of job is that? I haven't been under the car in a while. I don't recall how hard it is to get at.

  11. #11
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    hows your clutch?

    mine was doing this when my slave was going out, it wasn't fully disengaging, and not starting, id just hold the clutch down for a second, and itd fire up

  12. #12
    Member turbojimmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spikito View Post
    hows your clutch?

    mine was doing this when my slave was going out, it wasn't fully disengaging, and not starting, id just hold the clutch down for a second, and itd fire up
    I thought it might be the clutch interlock switch, but it doesn't seem to have any effect on it. I can hear the relay(s) clicking under the hood. It's gotta be the starter itself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by turbojimmy View Post
    I'm going to disable the VATS with my tuning software just for fun, but I don't think that's the problem.
    By the way, that only eliminates the PCM side of VATs. The PCM side shuts off the fuel injectors. The other half of VATs is the BCM with controls the starter motor through the starter relay.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cutlass View Post
    By the way, that only eliminates the PCM side of VATs. The PCM side shuts off the fuel injectors. The other half of VATs is the BCM with controls the starter motor through the starter relay.
    That's good to know - thanks. I do hear the starter relay click, and I still have fuel so I think I've eliminated VATS.

    I think I'm gonna get a new GM starter. It's $225+ shipping online, versus $198+ tax for a reman at Autozone.

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    I think I figured mines out...

    I replaced the starter relay with the ignition relay and it fired up but didn't start (no ignition relay). I then took Fan 2 relay and put it in the ignition spot and got the exact same response, crank but no start. I then took Fan 1 relay and put it in the ignition spot and boom, everything fired up time and time again.

    Looking at the 85 and 30 leg of the relay, you can see scorch marks so I figure that two of the four relays are toast? How odd that out of 4 relays, half would be toast at 32k miles. I think I'm just going to replace all 4 and keep the two 'good' ones in the glove box just in case.

    Hopefully this will solve my problem.

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    Senior Member 98maro's Avatar
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    Mine had the same problem few weeks ago. It usually no start sometimes. I thought it was the starter. Cuz I pushed it to start it up.
    Or sometimes start up normal. I could heard a noise on the fuse box on the engine bay.
    And then suddendly the car died.
    Then after sometime. That didn't work no more.
    The problem was the vats
    The gas pump was fine, starter was fine. Lights were all workin. At the end I had to fix the vats system
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  17. #17
    Member turbojimmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 98maro View Post
    Mine had the same problem few weeks ago. It usually no start sometimes. I thought it was the starter. Cuz I pushed it to start it up.
    Or sometimes start up normal. I could heard a noise on the fuse box on the engine bay.
    And then suddendly the car died.
    Then after sometime. That didn't work no more.
    The problem was the vats
    The gas pump was fine, starter was fine. Lights were all workin. At the end I had to fix the vats system
    That sounds like what my car is doing.

    How did you "fix the vats system"?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by turbojimmy View Post
    That sounds like what my car is doing.

    How did you "fix the vats system"?
    simple test for the vats is to turn the key on and look at the security light

    if it blinks, it's either not recognizing the key pellet or the wires at the ignition is broken

    if it stays on and solid for 3-5 seconds then turns off, the key/ignition combo is fine so you move on down the line.

    Next step is to swap relays around. I found 4 under my hood with the same part number. They get old, the brass contacts get tarnished and start to stick in the open position from sitting around too long. I'd check the one that's clicking and move that to the starter position (or just pull the fan ones and start swapping them). I heard clicking under the hood also but it was just the ignition relay clicking.

    If they both click then move on down to the starter and check for power at the solenoid when trying to crank.

    I was lucky, I bypassed the key/iginition with resistors then when I swapped the relays it started right up. Took the relay apart and cleaned them. They were pretty gummed up.

  19. #19
    Member turbojimmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mchan View Post
    simple test for the vats is to turn the key on and look at the security light

    if it blinks, it's either not recognizing the key pellet or the wires at the ignition is broken

    if it stays on and solid for 3-5 seconds then turns off, the key/ignition combo is fine so you move on down the line.

    Next step is to swap relays around. I found 4 under my hood with the same part number. They get old, the brass contacts get tarnished and start to stick in the open position from sitting around too long. I'd check the one that's clicking and move that to the starter position (or just pull the fan ones and start swapping them). I heard clicking under the hood also but it was just the ignition relay clicking.

    If they both click then move on down to the starter and check for power at the solenoid when trying to crank.

    I was lucky, I bypassed the key/iginition with resistors then when I swapped the relays it started right up. Took the relay apart and cleaned them. They were pretty gummed up.
    Cool - thanks. My security light does what it's supposed to. As far as the relays go, I hear clicking but I'm not sure from which one. I swapped them around and it didn't do any good. Thinking maybe the starter...

  20. #20
    Member turbojimmy's Avatar
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    Gaaaaaahhhhhhh!

    This thing drives me insane. I haven't moved the car in weeks. I'm tired of driving my gigantic Fleetwood limo around, so I figured I'd give the TA a shot. Last I tried it, it wouldn't start. This time, however, the battery is stone dead. That's the other problem I have with it - the battery will randomly drain. It was fine on Friday, stone dead today.

    I charged it up. Turned the key, same shit. No start. I did the random put it in and out of gear, reverse, pump the clutch in and out, etc. and so on. Voila! It starts. Shut it off, started right back up. It will be okay for a day or so, but then torture me when I least expect it.

    I think the alternator is draining the battery and the starter is no good. $400 in parts coming up.....

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