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Car won't start

This is a discussion on Car won't start within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; i hope I am posting in the right area. I have a 1998 Trans Am WS6 with some minor engine ...

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    Member thomasterrible's Avatar
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    Car won't start

    i hope I am posting in the right area.

    I have a 1998 Trans Am WS6 with some minor engine mods and dyno tune.

    Here is my issue. I went to get gas a few days ago and all was fine. When I went to leave the gas station my car would not start. Everything worked but not a sound when attempting to crank the motor over.

    I pushed it in to a parking spot and read up on the alarm system as it was not acting properly such as the LED light on the dash was blinking 3 times fast rather than either the usual slow on and off or just off. I towed it home and did the various things that are suggested to try to get the alarm fixed and it was only after disconnecting the battery which is a few months old and fully charged and leave it disconnected for a long time then connecting it.
    Then it stopped doing all the screwy things and the buttons on the fob did what they were supposed to and the red LED on the dash was looking normal.
    But still no start or sound.

    I am going to go to an electronics store and get a resistor that matches my key and put that inline in case I have broken wires to the lock cylinder and that will let me know if that is the cause or not. I called a Chevy dealer service writer who after my telling him of my financial situation suggested that and it makes total sense as if the wires are broken which is supposedly common that would work if that is the problem. It is cheap and easy to I will at least try it to rule it out if anything. Then decide if I want to go without an alarm or get a second non resistor key and touch my stock key to an area of those wires with the insulation stripped to keep the alarm. He has several friends that have fixed their VATS alarms this way and they worked for years. So I am going to try that today to be sure about the alarm being working or not.

    If that does not work to start my car then I will be stuck.

    In that case I don't have money to have it towed, diagnosed and fixed. Can someone with more experience please tell me what the next steps to test or try would be? I would think if it was a bad starter motor I would have heard it getting worn and eventually trying to engage but I have not heard that at all. I don't have my GM shop manuals here so I can't look up to see where fuses are but am not wanting to just pull them all in case pulling the wrong one messed my computer up again or more than it may be.

    I use my car for daily driving and in the past year I have had 7 different drivers run in to my car to cause various damage and am waiting to get all that stuff fixed but I have had the worst luck. I was not even in the car for most of them and two were hit and runs. I was run off the road and have two bent wheels I am just replacing and getting tires for. Even the tow truck that towed my car home tore the hell out of the bottom of my bumper cover and the plastic air dam somehow did not snap off. I was telling him to get a different type of tow truck but he just scraped it in to the bed of his tow truck causing massive damage. So please have mercy on my car if not me.

    Ideas????

    Thanks in Advance.
    Comp Cams 242R, beehive springs, LS7 lifters, LS2 lifter trays, Comp Cam steel caged trunion bearing upgrade, Moly pushrods, Ported LS6 oil pump. Dyno tune...So far.

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    1st where there any other symptoms of issues? Windows, radio interior lights not working or intermittently?

    If yes it could be a BCM issue.


    2nd - There is one more, less know spot that could also cause the issue with the chip and the VATS. There are 2 contact points inside the key switch. If one of those contact wires has broken off it VATS will never work. Fixing it is not an easy issue.


    3rd - Have you had the starter checked out, checked all the fuses yet?

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    Member thomasterrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    1st where there any other symptoms of issues? Windows, radio interior lights not working or intermittently?

    If yes it could be a BCM issue.


    2nd - There is one more, less know spot that could also cause the issue with the chip and the VATS. There are 2 contact points inside the key switch. If one of those contact wires has broken off it VATS will never work. Fixing it is not an easy issue.


    3rd - Have you had the starter checked out, checked all the fuses yet?

    1. The radio LED lights stopped working suddenly months ago. That is about the only different thing I can think of.

    2. I read about the wires that read the resistor in the key being common to be broken in the lock cylinder. However the Chevy service department said that I could put a resistor of the same ohmage as my key measures out to in line with the two orange wires that go to that and that will send the same signal as the resistor would to the system it just would not act as an alarm since it would always read as the key being correct signal.

    3. No I have not taken the fuses out. I don't have my GM shop manuals here so I only have minimal lists of what fuses do whatever. I know there are fuses under the hood in one spot and on the left hand side of the dash are those the only two fuse places? If so I can get a puller and take out each one regardless of what it does and see that it is working. I don't know which one is for the alarm but I am not sure if that would be good or bad to pull if things are working normally now.

    And yes I could remove the starter and take it to Autozone up the street and have it tested and buy a new one if needed but I have never had a starter just go out instantly and for sure there were issues with the alarm. So I can do that. As far as testing and diagnosis I really need instructions and I can't even move my car to get it to a shop nor have the cash to pay for anything and tow it back home to install the part. It is just a horrible financial time for me but I need my car for transportation so it is not a great position to be in.

    I think it is a reasonable idea to at least try putting a resistor in where the two orange wires come from the lock cylinder that the resistor send the ohms through. If they are broken that should fix it.

    If it is the same then I think it is not the alarm at least not anymore but I will have to go to the next most likely thing that it could be.

    What would you do if the car still wont start with the correct signal being sent to the alarm system? Pull and check all the fuses? Remove the starter and check it? I so wish I could just connect my scan tool and be told what to replace!

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    Go ahead and do the VATS bypass.

    If you have had the starter checked out and is fine, made sure all the fuses are good, put in the resistor and still no start (VATS bypass) I would then check the BCM next. There are 3 spots that if the solder has broken it will prevent the car from starting. It's an easy fix if you know how to use a solder. We have a pic of the 3 spots to solder. I've done it to mine and no issues since.

    It could also be a bad ground but you would/should have other symptoms to point to something like that.

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    Member thomasterrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    Go ahead and do the VATS bypass.

    If you have had the starter checked out and is fine, made sure all the fuses are good, put in the resistor and still no start (VATS bypass) I would then check the BCM next. There are 3 spots that if the solder has broken it will prevent the car from starting. It's an easy fix if you know how to use a solder. We have a pic of the 3 spots to solder. I've done it to mine and no issues since.

    It could also be a bad ground but you would/should have other symptoms to point to something like that.

    OK thanks. And yes I am very skilled at soldering so that is right up my alley. I will go through the steps you suggested but do you have a link to that BCM and the solder points to check or resolder?

    I have not had any recent differences. I did have my car get hit to cause minor damage to a few ares and one was a garbage truck glancing the front of my car. So depending on the location of the BCM which I would appreciate a link to where it even is as I can't drive to get my shop manuals, then perhaps it got messed up from one of those incidents even though it was a year ago.

    At least this gives me some ways to go that I understand. They are not over my head or using tools I don't have. So yes PLEASE SEND ME THE LINKS and thanks so much for helping me on this. To e honest I should be in the hospital but am trying to get things done first and having a running car is mandatory for me. It is awesome to have a moderator chime in as typically that is someone that knows what they are talking about. I urge people to join forums for their type of vehicle and don't understand why they don't do so. Get factory shop manuals and join the forums it is the best way to get help and fix your issues!

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    Member thomasterrible's Avatar
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    BTW I so hate VATS alarms! I have had them only give false alarms and keep me from driving my car. One Corvette I owned was parked in a dark street in a bad part of town and the VATS messed up so I had to unhook the battery and wait to get my car started. They break down at the worst times and yet there has never been a recall to replace the lock cylinders etc. that cover so many vehicles. If your car won't start due to a known defect that commonly shows up after a certain amount of years that can be a life and death situation. Imagine trying to drive a dying relative to the hospital or escape danger or be stranded in the cold with no way to get the heater going and freeze to death. I am far more in fear of my VATS putting me in danger than it even keeping my car from being stolen.

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Here a couple of the BCM pics. I can't find the thread at the moment.

    I 2nd pic you can see the 5 spots I solder. It turns out there's 5 not 3.








    Here are most of our tech self help threads for other projects in case.

    http://www.ls1.com/forums/f6/technic...tickies-79083/

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    Member thomasterrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    Here a couple of the BCM pics. I can't find the thread at the moment.

    I 2nd pic you can see the 5 spots I solder. It turns out there's 5 not 3.


    Click for full size

    Click for full size



    Here are most of our tech self help threads for other projects in case.

    http://www.ls1.com/forums/f6/technic...tickies-79083/
    OK thanks much. If it comes to it I can for sure solder those. I have not checked out your link to the other stickies etc. but do they show where on the car the BCM is located? With no manual here I have no idea where it is to take it out and open it up.
    Don't mean to be lame but I just honestly don't know where it is.

    Again thanks much for your help. This will take me at least all day and maybe tomorrow since I will be needing rides but will report back what I find and and hopefully what fixed it so my car is running and I can move on. Really appreciate the help!!!

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    The BCM is located jus under the glove box on the passenger side. You will need to remove the kick plate, the side trim and the glove box. It has 2 connections to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    The BCM is located jus under the glove box on the passenger side. You will need to remove the kick plate, the side trim and the glove box. It has 2 connections to it.
    Thanks again. I have some hope now that between all of these issues I may just get my car running. One of my medical issues is severe headaches and between the stress over my car and the last two days of workers installing a new roof over my head and dropping 100 lb bags of roofing that shook the house the constant pounding of hammers did not help.

    I will get to trying everything in order as soon as my ride gets here to take me to the electronics store. Radio Shack carried expensive low quality electronic stuff but at least had things you could use in a pinch. Now with very few stores open there are just not many electronics parts stores. I have to drive a half hour to get to one. At least they are huge and have everything.

    It is good to feel like I have some hope now for sure.

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    Start simple....check for bad ground, starter relay, ECT ECT. Does the fuel pump prime when you turn the key to run?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 0rion View Post
    Start simple....check for bad ground, starter relay, ECT ECT. Does the fuel pump prime when you turn the key to run?
    Honestly I don't hear the priming from memory but will check tomorrow.

    As far as the bad ground I am not sure which wires to check to make sure they are grounded. I have heard someone that had a similar issue had a bad ground from the wire that runs from the negative battery terminal to the fender.

    Today I attempted to start it just to see. I heard a faint sound the first two times that sounded like they were coming from the passenger side lower engine. But after those times it stopped making the noise so I could try to pin point it more.

    I can remove and install a starter easily of course but without my manual I am not sure how to check to see if the starter relay is bad or not.

    This whole thing is odd and the reason I am sure that at least at one point the alarm was a problem was that the buttons on the fob were not doing what they were supposed to and the alarm was going off when it should not and I was seeing the dash LED flash fast 3times and keep on repeating. But now the door locks and arming and disarming the lock and the LED light and all seems normal with the one exception that in the past when I would push the lock button on the key fob I would get two quick horn beeps and now I only get one.

    So I do plan to do the things that have been suggested and think checking the starter solenoid is not a bad idea either. In fact I will look up the price and if cheap just buy one. I have just never had to do enough work on this motor to know where things are located and without my shop manuals am pretty lost to be honest.

    I have not had any check engine light come on or seen any trouble codes.

    Since it is not cranking over at all then would it not make sense that it would be the starter or the relay to it vs the fuel?

    I will get a box of fuses and replace any that are bad or questionable and at least that will rule out fuses and that is a start.

    Beyond removing the starter and having it tested though without instructions I am pretty worthless at attempting to find and test the starter solenoid I have never even seen on this car. I wish I knew these things better but I just don't.

    And of course thanks for the input. I can obviously use all the help I can get. As I don't have a lift or anything but a slanted driveway to work on my car it has limited me from doing many things as I can't jack it up at home to get underneath. I am sure I would know where things were if I had that. Also the shop manuals are great and would answer most of my questions but as I don't have it here it does me no good at the moment.
    Last edited by thomasterrible; 03-05-2018 at 08:13 PM.

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    single beep means something is not closed fully. trunk or door.

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    Member thomasterrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    single beep means something is not closed fully. trunk or door.
    AH OK Thanks I will figure out which one it is.

    I continued to have horrible luck with my ride with the tow truck driver who was using a flatbed and winch method. He had the underside of my front bumper cover dragging and making deep gouges in to it as he was pulling it towards the truck. He made the plastic air dam fold backwards then someone the entire front end did not break off. I had told him to stop and get a different type of tow truck and use dollies if necessary but he ignored me and looked like a kid that was raised by wolves and never owned a tooth brush so that makes 7 idiots that have run in to me causing damage in the past year.
    It was showroom mint when I got it. Anyway he rolled one of the windows down and one of the wheels and tires are in the truck and it is closed but I will lubricate everything and make sure they are all closed. Glad that was a simple thing. The 3 fast flashes of the red LED on the dash was confusing and I could not find any information on it. It seems I managed to fix that now so I am not worried but it was obviously not a good thing to see.

    I have my rides lined up to go to the electronics store etc. and try all of the various suggestions and hope one of the easiest one works but if I can do anything and fix it myself I will be more than happy.

    Sort of reminds of me a flaw in Subaru Forester clocks. You don't see many for sale on Ebay but rather services to repair them. Those clocks come out in about two seconds and there is one capacitor that has a bad joint. It took me all of 5 minutes from start to finish to fix the clock in my moms car. So if nothing works I will try the solder joints in the BCM though it would be nice to have an easier fix.

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    Electrical gremlin are a MAJOR PITA to trouble shoot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    Electrical gremlin are a MAJOR PITA to trouble shoot.
    Oh don't I know it.
    A few months back I got a code saying the crank position sensor was bad. Replaced it and it was fixed.
    I like those scenarios much more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    Electrical gremlin are a MAJOR PITA to trouble shoot.
    I am still waiting to get a ride to the electronics store but two new bits of information.\
    First I CAN hear the fuel injectors prime.
    Second I hear some small amount of noise coming from the right lower part of the motor. So I am thinking starter or starter solenoid?

    I don't have manuals but can look up to see where the starters two bolts that hold it on are but no idea on the solenoid. It may be attached to the starter motor in some way for all I know.

    Thoughts?

    And you were correct about the beeps. Nothing was open but the hatch has a wheel and tire under the glass and I had to slam that down and not getting the two beeps.

    In my mind for sure the alarm was messed up. But thinking less and less it still is. I think that the starter or solenoid is the issue.
    Since I have only so much time should I just yank the starter and have it tested or should I check all the fuses first?

    It is going to rain soon and I will be outside working on this which won't be fun so the faster I can get things done the better.

    Do very much appreciate all the help. I literally could not have paid a mechanic to diagnose this so it means a ton to me to get the help.
    Last edited by thomasterrible; 03-07-2018 at 01:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thomasterrible View Post
    I am still waiting to get a ride to the electronics store but two new bits of information.\
    First I CAN hear the fuel injectors prime.
    Second I hear some small amount of noise coming from the right lower part of the motor. So I am thinking starter or starter solenoid?

    I don't have manuals but can look up to see where the starters two bolts that hold it on are but no idea on the solenoid. It may be attached to the starter motor in some way for all I know.

    Thoughts?

    And you were correct about the beeps. Nothing was open but the hatch has a wheel and tire under the glass and I had to slam that down and now I AM GETTING THE TWO BEEPS. Correction from my last reply. So all the alarm stuff seems to be back to working perfectly.

    In my mind for sure the alarm was messed up. But thinking less and less it still is. I think that the starter or solenoid is the issue.
    Since I have only so much time should I just yank the starter and have it tested or should I check all the fuses first?

    My ride was late so once again I can't get the part at the electronics store to bypass the VATS to see if it is still an issue.
    But now I am hearing fuel and at least what I think is a faint sound coming from the starter or starter solenoid I am pretty close to nailing this....knock on wood. I did get all the fuses I could possibly need and a good fuse puller as my 15 bags of tools are in storage at the moment.

    I feel like I am making progress though. I may end up driving an hour each way to pick up my shop manuals but it would be nice if it were just down to a fuse or starter (something cheap and easy).

    It is going to rain soon and I will be outside working on this which won't be fun so the faster I can get things done the better.

    Do very much appreciate all the help. I literally could not have paid a mechanic to diagnose this so it means a ton to me to get the help.

  19. #19
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Yes 2 bolts hold it on, plus the bell housing cover. The solenoid is connected to 2 wires.

    If the trunk is not fully closing or releasing the spring on the latch might be worn out. There's a cheap fix by adding another spring from the hardware store but I'd have to look it up.


    When you turn the key to on position you should be able to hear the fuel pump prime. They are a little noisy.

    Before you move on to another issue lets eliminate the starter from the possible list 1st. It's why I asked if you had it checked.

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    Member thomasterrible's Avatar
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    Sounds good. One of the people who damaged my car was a friend of my neighbor who backed her trucks hitch in to one of my tail lights and it moved the latch a bit.
    One of the hit and runs.

    I listened closely this last time and did hear the pump priming sound for sure and that other sound I can tell generally where it was coming from. It wont be fun in the rain but I will get the starter out and tested and if bad replaced. I just personally have not had a starter go from working fine to dead. I am used to hearing it die more slowly.
    But I will take it out and look it up to know what size sockets etc I will need and hope that fixes it.
    Though I did get some fuses and s fuse puller today to check those which is easy and perhaps worth checking them before pulling the starter. Will see how it goes but while the car still won't start it is getting better. The alarm was going crazy and now normal again.

    Will see what this next try yields.
    How I wish I owned a lift in a heated garage. Laying in puddles not looking forward to.

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