92 SSEi intermittent starting problem - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 05-02-2004, 09:47 PM   #1
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Default 92 SSEi intermittent starting problem

Has anyone had experience with this problem? My '92 SSEi will occasionally do nothing when I turn the key to the start position. The key always lights up the green dash lights and all the red and yellow indicator lights too, and the gauges do their sweep, but when I turn the key to start, sometimes (maybe one in ten times) I get nothing, well, the dash lights act identical to when it does start (I think the green lights (compass, DIC, ECC, radio) go out in the start position) but I don't hear a click or anything. Battery is new and connections are tight. All other times it starts normally. Bad ignition switch??? Starter solenoid?? Is there a way to check this stuff for intermittent problems?

Oh yeah, sometimes you can just turn it from run back to start and it will go on the 2nd or third try).
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Old 05-02-2004, 10:29 PM   #2
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Wrong Key! J/K
Besides what you have tried allready, do you think it could be something with the spark plugs? You can turn the key but it just does not crank over, right? Have you tried giving it a little gas just to see what it does, if anything?
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Old 05-03-2004, 12:05 AM   #3
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I was not thinking the plugs were a problem because when it does start, it runs great under all conditions - idles smoothly, accelerates like a rocket, runs smooth under heavy load. Just sometimes, it won't crank in the start position.

I haven't tried opening the throttle.
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Old 05-03-2004, 08:03 PM   #4
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Hehe, nothing is wrong with the plugs or your throttle!! This is your PATS (passive auto theft system) acting up. Mine does this occasionally, it just comes and goes althought it has not done it in about 8 months or so. You will notice when this happens the security light is on in the dash. What you need to do is take the key out of the ignition (I even get out of the car and close the door) and wait about 3 or four minutes (until the security light goes out) and then it will start. For some reason the car thinks that it is being stolen. I thought it might be the key but it has done it with hers as well. Haven't figured it out and it will have to wait until it gets bad again (the cycle). It might just be something in the ignition cylinder that sometimes gives a bad contact with the key resistor. Next time it does that try what I said.
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Old 05-03-2004, 08:06 PM   #5
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Thanks! I had not noticed whether the security light was on when it did that, but I will check to see next time. (I won't have to wait long, it does it usually once a day.)
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Old 05-04-2004, 04:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill buttermore
Thanks! I had not noticed whether the security light was on when it did that, but I will check to see next time. (I won't have to wait long, it does it usually once a day.)
Um, it'* VATS (Vehicle Anti Theft System), not PATS, and you should indeed look to see if you've got a Security light glowing on your dash after a failed starting attempt. If so, you're going to have to wait until the light goes out, about three minutes or so, before trying again. In this case, the problem may be dirty contacts on the resistor chip in your ignition key; if the car doesn't detect the right key, it will kill the starter and fuel pump for three minutes, and turn on the Security light. Try cleaning your key or using an alternate one.

However, from what you say about sometimes being able to immediately twist the key a second time and get the starter to crank, and the fact that you never mentioned the light before (I think you would have noticed it blazing away), I think you've got a bad starter solenoid. You did say that you hear _nothing_ at all, including no click from the solenoid, but that a follow-on attempt right away sometimes works, so I think you might want to check your battery cables and starter connections. If they're all clean and tight, especially at the solenoid, then your starter solenoid may be on the way out.
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Old 05-04-2004, 07:34 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice, Andy. Of course, it has started every time since I posted this problem, so I haven't had the opportunity to check the security light possibility. But, you are right, I have never noticed it on, and I have always been able to get it started in less than 3 minutes. I'll check the starter connections next.
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Old 05-04-2004, 09:58 PM   #8
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JUST GREAT!!! I WAS JINXED! You're problem has went away and mine has come back. Oh yeah Murphy struck bad! No sooner had I said that this hadn't happened in about 8 months guess what. Yep, this morning it did it and I had to wait the 3 minutes for the light to go out and away I went.
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