Couple of Problems, one really strange. - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


1987-1991 Parley with regards to your 1987 to 1991 Bonneville, Olds 88 or Buick Le Sabre Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 09-23-2007, 11:11 PM   #1
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Default Couple of Problems, one really strange.

Ok, I have an 89 Bonneville, and The first issue, is the odd one. The starter intermittently works, and when it doesn't, I bang on it two or three times with a tire iron, a it starts just like normal. Now I know for the long haul this isn't the solution, and a new starter is, but $60 is a little hard to come by at the moment. So what could be causing this, it seems so odd to me to not be in any shape wrong besides having to bang on it. Oh and to clarify, it doesn't even try to crank when it doesn't work, it makes no noise at all, like there isn't any juice to it, and I have checked and cleaned and re-greased (dielectric) all the couplings to it.

And the other issue, not a biggie but wanted to mention, my car had the steeringwheel buttons, but they never ever worked, now how can i determine if its the module in the steering wheel, or the wiring going down through the steering column. And secondly, I have a CD deck from a 1997 Bonneville, (plug fit with absolutely no modification so they had the same plug from 89 to at least 97, LOL) Anywho... the car it came from had buttons too, obviously styled differently, but Id like to know if they would work with the new stereo. and even if not, id like it fixed for the Electronic climate control
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Old 09-24-2007, 04:43 AM   #2
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There are a couple of different reasons your starter needs to be beaten to convince it to start, but what it boils down to is what you have already figured out. You need to replace it. No other way around it, unless you are prepared to rebuild your starter motor, and since you had to ask what is wrong with it, I would guess that you are not.
It might just be a bad solenoid. This can be replaced, but you usually need to pull the starter off to do it. Not expensive. Sometimes when starters get old the magnets get loose or the insulation shreds and creates drag on the armature. This puts the armature in a bind and knocking on it frees it enough to let it spin again. Or it could be the bushing getting worn and seizing. This is usually not an easy fix for the home hobbyist or weekend mechanic and will require that you identify and diagnose the problem and know what parts are needed to fix it. In other words, you will need to know what a good starter is supposed to look like to be able to diagnose and repair a bad one.
You might try to find one in a salvage yard. It may save you a buck or two, but then again it might fail just like the one you have now and you'll be swapping your starter twice.

The buttons fail because they are made of crappy material that gets mushy over time. They are fixable, the information is on this site somewhere. I read it once upon a time, but never cared whether or not mine worked so I didn't pay too much attention. There is a fix for the 92-95 in Tech info, but I'm not sure if ours are the same.
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Old 09-24-2007, 11:07 AM   #3
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Default starter

9 times out of ten the four brushes inside the end cap of the starter are worn past the limit and not transfering power to the armature. Tapping on it jolts the shaft so it makes contact with the brushes.
They are easy to change, but like bastard said, if you had to ask what is wrong with it you probably should just go out and replace it.
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Old 09-24-2007, 02:19 PM   #4
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Default Buttons

Thanks for the advice about the starter guys. I have the service manual for my car, but it only describes changing the starter, says 4 bolts to take off the flywheel cover, and 2 for the starter, is this right, or is it more complex, and is there a pictoral guide somewhere? that doesnt cost $

Secondly, as far as the buttons, would it matter if the buttons don't light up at all, like when the headlights are on, I know they are supposed to be red like all the rest of the instrumentation so they dont have power.
:(
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Old 09-24-2007, 06:42 PM   #5
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Default starter

Thats the correct amount of bolts to remove the starter. You also have two electrical cables to remove.
On the steering wheel buttons it would be best to look the wiring diagram up in your factory manual. The buttons should light up.
There may also be help in the Everything electrical section. Try making a seperate post there and continue with you starter problem here.
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Old 09-26-2007, 01:37 PM   #6
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Default ideas on guide

Any ideas where I could find a pictoral guide for changing the starter,preferably without paying $30 for it, If i have to pay some obscene amount for a guide, i might as well have a mechanic do it. But I have changed the water pump, and plugs/wires etc so I do have some mechanical ability, I just dont know which bolts to remove, and dont wanna go in there willynilly and start taking stuff apart and end up with something coming off thats not supposed to. Thanks
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