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Old 07-09-2004, 05:14 PM   #1
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Default Weird problem.... maybe computer?

Help! Here'* the story....

I bought my 95 SE about a week ago and it'* been fine with the exception of one reoccuring problem. A couple of days after I got it, I when to start it and all I get it the click from the starter solinoid. The usual dash lights light up but the starter doesn't spin. My first thought was battery so I jumped it from my wife'* truck and after a half a minute it started. I figured hey, I just washed it, maybe I didn't close the door all the way and the battery is dead. It happened again when I was at work, I did have my hands full when I shut the door. But, again, maybe the battery is on it'* way out.... Today on my way to work the car dinged three times and the check oil light came on and shut off within a second of coming on. I did change the oil last weekend, maybe I've got a leak. I checked it when I got to work but the dipstick said the level is fine. Huh, bad sensor? Well this afternoon is really weird, I went to take it to get inspected and it wouldn't start again. A friend gave me a jump start and we got it running. I disconnected the jumpers closed my hood, got in the car closed the door and put my foot on the brake and it totally died. The motor shut off, the dash went dead, and when I turned the key off and then tried to start it again, I got nothing, no lights, no click, nothing! I turned it off and opened the door and the key alarm dinged a couple of times but it sounded really sick. I sat there and tried starting it a few more times and nothing.... finally I turned the key and it started.

I'm thinking it'* a failure with the computer, but the other thing that comes to mind is the VATS key. I'm going to try a spare key and see if it helps. Any suggestions?
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Old 07-09-2004, 05:34 PM   #2
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Battery cable corrosion. Check all connections at the battery, alternator, starter, and ground locations on the frame. Follow all of them. Remove, clean, goop, install.
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Old 07-09-2004, 07:35 PM   #3
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I'll try it. It doesn't explain the oil warning or the "everything died after it was running".
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Old 07-09-2004, 11:10 PM   #4
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Yes, it does explain all that. When the voltage to these cars goes too low, all of those things can happen. When my alternator was on the way out, just about every part of the dash flashed and the ding ding kept going on and off, the transmission was slipping and then it just died.

Sometimes the battery terminal itself will rot away just inside the battery, so that it barely connects. This is usually due to someone getting too strong when tightening the bolts, and they fracture the actual lead terminal. After a while it corrodes, removing the last little remaining connection. I have seen some where you just pull on the battery cable and the cable, terminal and bolt all come out as a unit.
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Old 07-10-2004, 09:25 AM   #5
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Huh, That'* interesting. I'll definately check it out. If Teleplayer is right, will I see it when I take the battery lead off? Should I just replace the battery? Like I said, I just bought the car and I'm not sure how old the battery is. It looks reasonably new....
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Old 07-10-2004, 11:10 AM   #6
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Find a way to monitor your voltage. For instance, hook up a meter to the cigar lighter. When you car is giving the trouble, see what the voltage is. If it is low (let'* say under 10 or 11 volts), then go check it right at the battery terminals.

When your car is running, you should always have around 13.5 volts. If it'* much lower than this, then your alternator is also suspect.

When the car is off, you should have at least 12 volts.
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Old 07-10-2004, 03:12 PM   #7
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I think it'* fixed! Wilwren was right.... There was some corrosion on the positive contact on the battery and on the lead. Why did it die after the car had started? I thought the fuction of the battery is to provide power to the starter until the engine was running. The altenator should provide the 12V to all systems after the car has started.
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Old 07-11-2004, 09:22 PM   #8
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I installed the foam anti-corrosion washers today and all I did was disconnect one terminal at a time and put the washers in place. Sure enough I lost all power in the car again. I futz with it for a few minutes and it came back to life. While it was running, I wiggled the positive lead and the car died, so this is definately where my problem lies. I tried giving another turn and a half with the ratchet and it'* been fine since. If the positive terminal is starting to fail, how bad a job is it to replace? It looks like it'* actually two terminals with one end. On lead goes by the coil packs and under the engine cover...(to the alt?) and the other one heads down by the starter. I'd guess this is factory.
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Old 07-12-2004, 12:13 PM   #9
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It'* time to replace the Battery!
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Old 07-12-2004, 02:51 PM   #10
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I don't think it'* battery, I think it'* the other side.....
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