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Old 12-03-2009, 01:47 PM   #1
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Question Car won't star unless I push brakes

Hope someone can offer advise with this very strange problem: bonnie is completely dead -no lights or anything- unless I push the brakes and turn the key at the same time. Turning the key without the brakes does nothing. Once the car starts the electrical system seems to reboot (the clock reboots to 1:00, AC starts automatically). Any ideas?



1997 Bonneville SSE
80K miles
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Old 12-03-2009, 02:27 PM   #2
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That is quite odd. When you say no lights, you mean if you pulled the headlight **** they don't work?

Start off checking both postive and negative cables at all ends to ensure they are clean (remove boots at battery end to look underneath), tight and not corroded.

And just as an aside. Do you have a remote start installed in the car?
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Old 12-03-2009, 02:55 PM   #3
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It doesn't have remote start.
The car acts like the battery is completely dead -no headlights, dashboard lights, nothing-, but does start if I turn the key and push the break. Can't wrap my noodle around this one.
I'll check the cables when I get home tonight.
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Old 12-03-2009, 03:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmanuel View Post
It doesn't have remote start.
The car acts like the battery is completely dead -no headlights, dashboard lights, nothing-, but does start if I turn the key and push the break. Can't wrap my noodle around this one.
I'll check the cables when I get home tonight.
So just to clarify, if you turn the key and hold it, nothing at all happens? But if you continue to hold the key in the start position, then press the brakes, it will turn over?
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Old 12-03-2009, 03:42 PM   #5
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The reason I suggest the battery cables is it sounds like you have a bad ground to the chassis. By following them all, you'll find a ground from the battery to the fender and engine block. And another ground behind the norn on the driverside fender.
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Old 12-03-2009, 03:57 PM   #6
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I'm going to go with a bad battery cable here. Check them out real good, both ends, and test them. They some times corrode inside the cable.
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Old 12-04-2009, 12:09 PM   #7
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Almost sound like a starter safety switch. I had a '90 Merc.
Cougar that did this.I was told it was safety feature.
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Old 12-04-2009, 12:13 PM   #8
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I think his battery and cables are ok, but its a good idea to check and clean them up, it sounds like some kind of saftey switch but like it cuts all the power from the car instead of just being a starter disable

what if you turn the key to accessory or just on? does anything happen without hitting the brake? another thing to do might be to at the brake switch right above the pedal and see if there is anything extra going on there
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:03 PM   #9
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Seems like the problem finally went away though I don't know why. I checked all the cables and grounds and they were all OK, the alternator though was oscillating voltage too much, I replaced it and now the problem is gone (for the moment, at least). ??????
Thanks for all the advice.
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