Starter clicks once, sometimes starts - 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 08-07-2006, 01:14 AM   #1
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Default Starter clicks once, sometimes starts

I had my alternator checked awhile back and it was fine. At around the same time I boguht a brand new battery. That was a few months ago. For awhile now my starter has been doing the following:

- Starting up normally on one try, or not starting until sometimes up to 20-30 tries of turning the key. When it doesn't start when turning the key it will click once and nothing. However sometimes it will click pause a second and then start up as normal, but that is rare. Usually it'll click once and i'll have to keep turning the key until it starts. (Clicking once for each turn of the key)

Is this the solenoid and not the starter? The starter costs $160 so if its a simpler, less expensive fix than replacing the entire thing then i'd like to save the money.
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Old 08-07-2006, 01:18 AM   #2
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Sounds like the solenoid to me....But, seeing how you'd have to remove the starter to get the solenoid off....May as well replace the whole thing....

Especially if you have my luck, replace the solenoid and 2 weeks later the starte motor will go..... LOL
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Old 08-07-2006, 01:34 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LakevilleSSEi
Sounds like the solenoid to me....But, seeing how you'd have to remove the starter to get the solenoid off....May as well replace the whole thing....

Especially if you have my luck, replace the solenoid and 2 weeks later the starte motor will go..... LOL
Ouch now that is bad luck.

Either way I will probably be removing the starter. How much does just a solenoid cost? Or do you feel it would be worth it to pay the extra money and buy the entire thing?
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Old 08-07-2006, 01:40 AM   #4
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Pay the extra money, replace the whole thing....per my bad luck normally with pain in the *** stuff like that lol.
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Old 08-07-2006, 02:01 AM   #5
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Slow down.

90% of the time this is NOT starter related. Remove and clean every end of every black and red cable from the alternator, battery, and starter. Including the grounds under the ICM bracket.
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Old 08-07-2006, 03:00 AM   #6
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I had the same problem in my '92 SSEi. Took out the starter and had it serviced at a local shop that rebuilds starters. The problem was the solenoid. I recall the tech telling me that there was a problem with the solenoid hanging up in these starters. Did it have to do with the type of grease used to lube it? Can't remember for sure. Anyway, the starter motor and bearings were OK, and all they had to replace was the solenoid. I want to say I paid about $60 to have them fix it. No problems after that.

Of course, it makes good sense to check all the contacts first. That'* cheaper than $60, and even a new starter won't work right with corroded cables and grounds.
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Old 08-07-2006, 03:56 AM   #7
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I just had this very problem on my 95 3 months ago. It was the battery connections. There are dozens of dozens of bad connections like this each year on this forum. Please check and clean all the connections first, then follow up with the starter advice. Free stuff first!
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Old 08-07-2006, 04:01 AM   #8
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I was a victim of the connections too, at the battery.....

But I never had the clikcing and mess with it 30 times before it would start. I'd either have power at the key, or nothing at all. Or sometimes I'd lose all power while driving and have to mess with it to get it to refire, or it would just lose power for a split second, quick enough to hiccup the motor and re set my gauges and trip and then it would keep going.....


I did jump the gun a bit on the starter, they're right, check the connections first....I messed up :P
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Old 08-07-2006, 04:27 AM   #9
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Mine began as intermittent. Then it would work if it failed once, and I wiggled my connections. But the flaky connection can be at the block ground locations, the starter, the battery, or the alternator.

Many, many cars get fixed right up after doing this. And it'* good preventive maintenance even if it proves to be some other issue.
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Old 08-07-2006, 11:43 AM   #10
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i'm going to chime in with willwren here... Mine did what sounds to be the exact same thing! gives one click and then nothing. I was told to remove the rubber boot arround the positive bat cable because it tends to hold water and will cause major corision. may not be the case with everyone but it was with me. i cut it of and it was NASTY under there! after i cleaned it all up and got a new bolt to bolt things to the battery it was as good as new.
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