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Old 04-12-2016, 06:54 PM   #1
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Default 1994 Buick Century won't start

I've been trying to repair a 1994 Buick Century (with a 3.1L 6 cylinder engine). Last November the engine would start fine. This January it wouldn't start at all. When I turn the key I get 1 or 2 clicks, then nothing. Turning the key a second time doesn't even give clicks. I tried to jump start it, same result.

Since then I've replaced the battery and the starter, but I'm still getting the same result.

Any suggestions as to what might be broken?
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Old 04-13-2016, 12:13 AM   #2
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Check chassis ground?

Also, does the THEFT/SECURITY light go out after 3 seconds when the key is turned to the "on" position?

If yes, check for power at the purple wire to the starter solenoid, with key in the crank position? If no power, check the starter enable relay circuit.....
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Old 04-13-2016, 01:54 PM   #3
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"1 or 2 clicks" as in clicks where the starter engages in the flywheel?

How cold does it get where it was parked for November-December-January?

Check the oil, is it waaay over full?

Not knowing much about the car'* history or condition, I'm thinking it'* possible that it got really cold for a long time, has a minor head gasket leak, and a cylinder on its compression stroke is filled with coolant. Next check for this would be to disconnect and pull all of the spark plugs then try cranking it again.

With this in mind, I'd suggest keep any attempts to crank the engine extremely brief until you know this isn't the issue, or until the starter actually turns the engine.
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Old 04-13-2016, 10:52 PM   #4
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After rereading, can you manually rotate the engine by applying a long wrench to the crank bolt?
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Old 04-14-2016, 01:19 AM   #5
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Thanks for the responses

Another thing that might be relevant. When I turn the key to the crank position, the overhead light goes out, and then won't come back on for a while even if I turn the key to the on position.

Tech II:

The chassis ground checks out.
I didn't see a theft/security light, I'm not sure this car has an anti-theft system.
I haven't checked the starter solenoid wire for power yet, will do that tomorrow and post the results.
As for manually rotating the engine, I'm not sure how to find the crank bolt. Is it the bolt on the crankshaft pulley? If so, I tried rotating that, but it seemed to just turn the serpentine belt and the other pulleys.

CathedralCub:

I assume that'* what the clicks are.
It averaged around 40 Farenheight, with lows of under 10.
The oil is at a good level.
As for coolant flooding, is there a simpler way to check for it? Removing all the spark plugs is a pain.
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Old 04-14-2016, 03:41 PM   #6
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I checked the power to the solenoid terminal, a multimeter showed 12.1V between it and the battery (the battery was a little low). When cranking the voltage briefly spiked to 17V before settling back around 12. I'll try recharging the battery, but I doubt that will help.
Now that I've had the car cranked while I was standing near the starter, I'm quite sure the click is the starter engaging.
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Old 04-14-2016, 10:05 PM   #7
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Tech II:

The chassis ground checks out.
That'* good.

I didn't see a theft/security light, I'm not sure this car has an anti-theft system.
It has one...does the ignition key have a black resistor pellet on it?

I haven't checked the starter solenoid wire for power yet, will do that tomorrow and post the results.
That needs to be done....

As for manually rotating the engine, I'm not sure how to find the crank bolt. Is it the bolt on the crankshaft pulley? If so, I tried rotating that, but it seemed to just turn the serpentine belt and the other pulleys.
That'* the bolt....yes, this turns the belt, pulleys and crankshaft......as you turn it, it should be hard and have releases, as valves open.....since the engine rotates, need to check for power at the purple wire to the starter solenoid with key in crank position.....
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Old 04-14-2016, 11:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desquee View Post
Thanks for the responses

Another thing that might be relevant. When I turn the key to the crank position, the overhead light goes out, and then won't come back on for a while even if I turn the key to the on position.

Tech II:

The chassis ground checks out.
I didn't see a theft/security light, I'm not sure this car has an anti-theft system.
I haven't checked the starter solenoid wire for power yet, will do that tomorrow and post the results.
As for manually rotating the engine, I'm not sure how to find the crank bolt. Is it the bolt on the crankshaft pulley? If so, I tried rotating that, but it seemed to just turn the serpentine belt and the other pulleys.

CathedralCub:

I assume that'* what the clicks are.
It averaged around 40 Farenheight, with lows of under 10.
The oil is at a good level.
As for coolant flooding, is there a simpler way to check for it? Removing all the spark plugs is a pain.
Based on those temperatures it could be maybe what I was thinking above. I understand about the spark plugs

Looks like you are able able to turn the engine if turning the crankshaft pulley turns all the other pulleys. Can you turn at least two revolutions?
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Old 04-15-2016, 05:29 PM   #9
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Tech II:
There'* no black pellet on the key. Would the security indicator be visible if the light is not on? Or is it only visible when it'* lit up?
I checked the purple wire, it'* getting normal voltage (12-12.6V) when the key is turned to the crank position.

CathedralCub:
I can turn it at least two revolutions.


Do either of you have any ideas what might be causing the electrical system to stop working after the first crank? When I start in the morning, the overhead lights go on when the key is in the on position. But then when I turn the key to crank, the light goes off, and then won't come back on for a while when I move the key to on (I haven't timed it exactly, but it'* more than 10 minutes). I also won't get any response (not even the click) when cranking the key again after the first try. When I try again the next day the same thing happens (light turns on, one crank, light goes out, then nothing).
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Old 04-15-2016, 05:36 PM   #10
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I just timed it, the lights come back on after about 10-15 minutes.
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