98 Bonne, Doesn't start looking for advice - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 02-23-2008, 04:36 PM   #1
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Default 98 Bonne, Doesn't start looking for advice

Hi, I have been reading through all of the other threads about this issue, but Ima not sure that my situation is like any of the other ones. I drove the car home two nights ago, and started to smell something that at first smelled a bit like the serpentine belt, and then it started to have a really sharp alcohol smell mixed in. I am not sure if this is related. Then while driving at what I thought was a constant speed, the speedometer would jump from 50 MPH to 70MPH, but I was probably going closer to the 70. The smell remained but I had no trouble getting it home and parking it. Then the next morning i try to turn it on and nothing happens. I am not sure if the smell has anything to do with it but who knows.

So in listening to the car when I try to turn the ignition there is a small clicking sound which seems to sound like it is coming from below the glove compartemnt when you turn the key from the on to start position. The clicking sound only happens once per turn of the key. The starter does not even turn at all, there is no attempt to crank. I have turned the engine over, so it is not locked up. I have checked the battery which is fine. I actually replaced the starter. Probably didn't need to but anything to help.

Oh, forgot to mention, the car is low on gas, and is on a slight incline. But I feel as though reguardless the starter would still try to crank. As well it seems as though all of hte accessories turn on with the turn of the key, but normally the left display on the dash would turn on and cycle through the lights of check engine and things such as that, and they don't.

Actually none of the guages on the car turn on at all, in the dash. Except for the security light and that only will flash when the door is open. The lights will turn on and don't dim when I turn the ignition. THe battery is reading 12.44 volts.

So any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for your time.
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Old 02-23-2008, 05:53 PM   #2
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First, remove, clean and carefully check both ends of both your battery cables for corrosion. Often the positive cable will corrode underneath the rubber insulation on the cable end. Peel or cut back the insulation to make sure the strands of copper conductor are not compromised with green corrosion.
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Old 02-23-2008, 06:01 PM   #3
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I already cleaned the leads, and checked the wires. Everything seems to be normal. THanks
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Old 02-23-2008, 06:05 PM   #4
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Starter wiring: Connect one lead from a 12V test lamp that will draw some current , say a stop lamp bulb, to the little wire on the starter and the other to ground. Turn the key to start. The light should illuminate. That confirms that the ignition key, switch, and wiring to the starter are OK. Don't use a multimeter and check the voltage at the starter solenoid, that will not tell you if the circuit will carry the necessary current to energize the solenoid.

The gauges sound like a bad ground or bad circuit board, maybe.
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Old 02-23-2008, 06:17 PM   #5
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If the test light at the starter solenoid does not light, it could be several things: the vehicle anti theft system, neutral safety switch, ignition switch or circuit. Have you tried to start it in neutral? I'm not such an expert on vats other than to say clean the resistor on your key with a pencil eraser. I'll see if I can locate an electrically savvy gearhead for you.....BTW, welcome to Bonneville Club!

The click you are hearing below the glovebox is probably your fuel pump relay.
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Old 02-23-2008, 06:29 PM   #6
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Thank you very much, I will try everything.
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Old 02-23-2008, 07:03 PM   #7
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That "alcohol" smell you describe sounds awfully like a blown capacitor. I'm thinking...body control module maybe. I dunno...I'm not too experienced on the 96-99 electronics yet, but if the VATS is integrated into the BCM...that would be the place to start.
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Old 02-23-2008, 10:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandrock
That "alcohol" smell you describe sounds awfully like a blown capacitor. I'm thinking...body control module maybe. I dunno...I'm not too experienced on the 96-99 electronics yet, but if the VATS is integrated into the BCM...that would be the place to start.
I'd bet a fuseable link or a chunk of wiring got toasted. If you have juice at the battery and you can't get the starter to even make "clickity-click" noises (solenoid trying to energize and drive the starter gear into the flexplate) then you have a wiring problem.

The smell that was noticed, is also the smell of melting insulation on the wires. Most of the starter'* juice flows in one cable from the battery down to the starter. The switch in the steering column just puts a little juice to the starter solenoid, which in turn will turn on the juice to the motor inside the starter.
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Old 02-23-2008, 10:51 PM   #9
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When you cleaned the cables, did that include pulling the red rubber boot off from the positive cable, and cleaning it up that way? The lights not dimming when you attempt to start it indicates that the starter isn't even trying to draw any current. While you're down there with the test light, if you get a light at the small wire on the solenoid when the key is turned, then put one end of the light on the big connection at the starter, and the other end to ground. It should light even without turning the key. If it does, then see what it does when the key is turned to start. If it doesn't light right away, on that connection, it'* not getting any power from the battery, and we're back to the cables.
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Old 02-24-2008, 05:48 PM   #10
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Ok, so starting out I made sur all of the cable conections to the battery were clean. I even peeled back the red rubber connectiona little just to triple check. So the positive battery connection to the starter has juice. THen looking at the starter there are three wires. two big connections and one small one. The small one I am assuming it the starter lead. So the starter lead has no juice. To prove that the starter is ok, i attached a jumper to the small connection and then the other end to the battery. The starter cranked and I pretty much started the engine. So, I think that the next thing to look at is the fusible links. BUt the problem is I have no idea where to find these fusible links.
I even tried to rub the resistor on the key with a wire. But no go. So I can try to follow the starter wire all the way up but that is a hell of a lot of insulation and electrical tape to look through and I feel as though I would see a black bubble or discoloration of the black insulation going from the small starter wire to the connection on the car.

So if anyone may know where the fusibile links are, or where the next step would be to look, I am freely open to suggestions.

ONce again thanks for all the help on this.
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