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Old 09-15-2007, 12:40 PM   #1
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Default Intermittent non-start? Please help!

Hi folks,
Hope you can help me out with a quick one here.
Once in a while, my car would not start. You turn the key, and get nothing! Does not turn over. When you boosted it, it would start.

I changed the battery and cleaned the connections to the battery about 2 months ago. All was well until 5 minutes ago, it did it again. Left my wife, my daughter and I stranded at the coffee shop until a fellow gave me a boost, then it started right away.

Any ideas? Starter going? Dirty connections to the starter? That doesn't explain why it would start when boosted, though. Maybe the battery is defective?

When I got home, I turned it over and it started no problem.

This seems to be an intermittent problem, and I don't like it.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks,
Adam
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Old 09-15-2007, 12:51 PM   #2
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Did you pull the boots off the cables for a good cleaning? Use dielectric grease? Get them on tight?

Do the same to the grounds. Follow the black cables everywhere they go, and do the connection at the starter and alternator for good measure.

It wouldn't hurt to check the ground bus locations either.
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Old 09-15-2007, 12:53 PM   #3
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Hi Will, and thanks for the quick response.
I will remove every cable and clean the snot out of them, but I am curious:

Why will the car start when booster cables are used?

Adam
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Old 09-15-2007, 03:59 PM   #4
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Default SECURITY

Sometimes my '96 SSEi wouldn't start, and it was an intermittent problem just as you describe.

Only the SECURITY light would light up and stay on, and I'd have to wait 2 minutes to try again. Sometimes it would take 4 or more tries to start.

This has gone on over the course of 4 years.

Lately it'* been worse, and seems to be more frequent during rainy weather.

Last night it wouldn't start at all. Nothing. The battery checks at 803 CCA, 12.7V, good battery.

I'm about to catch a ride across town and pull the starter.

Pain in the butt.

Any advice offered would be appreciated.
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Old 09-15-2007, 05:43 PM   #5
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Adam - We'd have to know where the jumper cables were attached on your car to be able to accurately answer that question. If it was grounded (negative) to the engine somewhere, that would take your ground cable out of the equation. Also, sometimes the extra current provided by the jumper battery, or the way they're attached to the battery can make a difference.

Pizzaguy - yours sounds more like a problem with the VATS system. There are ways to bypass that, but as a start - if you have another key - try that one. If not, clean the pellet on your key with an eraser and see if it helps any. Also, do a search on VATS for additional information.
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:44 PM   #6
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Archon: I connected the booster cables to the battery. My battery has both top and side terminals.

Today I removed every cable I could find remotely connected to the battery and cleaned each and every terminal. The positive wire to the starter was a bit yucky, but everything else didn't look too bad. I sanded each one, but unfortunately did not have any dielectric grease on hand. It seems to fire up just fine now, but I still don't trust it. As I mentioned, this is a very infrequent problem, but when it happens, proves to be a pain.

The battery measure 12.7 volts when not running. When it starts, it raises to 15+V then settles at about 13.7, so all of that seems to check out okay.

Are there any start relays I should inspect and clean?

Thanks,
Adam
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Old 09-15-2007, 09:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archon
Pizzaguy - yours sounds more like a problem with the VATS system. There are ways to bypass that, but as a start - if you have another key - try that one. If not, clean the pellet on your key with an eraser and see if it helps any. Also, do a search on VATS for additional information.
Did the VATS search, and read all relevant topics. Learned a few things, but not enough to diagnose or repair I'll bet. Will go work on it in the morning, too late to go over there tonight. Unfortunately, it let me down for the last time 30 miles from home, on the weekend when the bus schedules will make it a 4 hour trip across town! :(

Thanks for the reply!
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Old 09-15-2007, 09:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archon
clean the pellet on your key with an eraser and see if it helps any.
LOL! I haven't done that to a car since it ran on slots in a circle!
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Old 09-16-2007, 09:39 PM   #9
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Thats the first step.

Next step, imo, would be to try and clean the ignition cylinder by squiting in some lock deicer / cleaner and shoving the clean ed key in & out a bunch of times. Repeat the process. This helped alot on my wifes Olds but I did eventually bypass it.

If that doesn't resolve the problem the measure they resistance of the key pellet. Insert it into the Ignition Cylinder, then climb under the dash and disconnect the orange wire connector. In the orange wire are two white wires coming from the ign Cylinder contacts that your key pellect connects to. Measure the resistance and if it more than 2 ohms difference than the key alone then replace the ign cylinder or bypass the system using the resisotrs you should have read about.

Cheers!
Tim
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Old 09-16-2007, 11:03 PM   #10
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Well it has been a long day. Went to fetch the car from across town, and whatta ya know it started in neutral after failing once in park. Surprise surprise. It hasn't started since.

I had cleaned the key last night. That ain't it!

So I started going through the simple stuff first. Step one battery cables and terminals. Pretty ugly. I replaced the negative cable completely. I replaced all ends. As I have a battery that has both sets of posts, I converted everything to top post. Cheaper and better IMO.

Same thing. No start. SECURITY light in both park and neutral.

Went for the starter, and found a loose wire. Tightened same. No change.

Pulled the starter, and took it to the parts store for testing. Kicks like an army mule.

No I did not read the resistor information or how to. A direct link would be fantastic if you can help, otherwise, I'll search again!

The good news is I don't have to shell out $70 for a starter!

The bad news is I'm still right where I started...or not, as the case may be!
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