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Old 11-18-2013, 09:27 PM   #1
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Default 1999 Olds 88 Starting Issue

First, thanks to everyone who has contributed, there is a lot of great information in this forum. My Olds 88 is not starting...usually. I did get it started this weekend after fixing a small current draw I identified with the procedures listed in this forum but it is once again not starting. Here are the symptoms/conditions:
  • I had the battery fully charged at Autozone
  • the interior lights and instrument cluster all seem to operate fine
  • I can hear what I believe is the fuel pump after a few seconds
  • the security light in the cluster goes off as desired in the 3-5 seconds after attempting to start the vehicle
  • the starter doesn't turn over or click at all
  • the car had been garaged and well cared for and I do not see any corrosion with the connections at the battery or the starter

Where do you think I should check next? The starter relay?

The engine turned over so easily this weekend after not starting during the week makes me think it is an intermittent connection issue. Thanks for any help.
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:30 PM   #2
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Next time it doesn't want to turn over, try the screwdriver trick on the starter if your comfortable with it. That at least bypasses the starting system for diagnostic purposes.
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:08 PM   #3
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I couldn't get a screwdriver in there but a heavy wire did the job and the vehicle started. After turning it off, the car started with just the key and not needing to connect the posts. What does this mean?
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:23 PM   #4
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Now we need to watch for 12v at the starter when you turn the key. If you can rig up a test light so you can see it every time you go to start the car, this will tell you if you are actually getting voltage everytime.
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Old 11-18-2013, 11:01 PM   #5
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I had my wife cycle the ignition on and off a number of times while I had my mutimeter connected to the third post on the solenoid and touching the frame. I was usually getting close to 12V and the car wasn't starting. About the sixth cycle it did start.
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Old 11-18-2013, 11:18 PM   #6
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Just to be clear, I was usually getting between 11.3 and 11.6 volts.
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:07 AM   #7
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I would say the starter solenoid is shot or the starter relay isn't carrying enough amperage to kick the solenoid over. That'* why as Mike said if you could jump the starter while it'* acting up you could dertermine if the problem is in the starter or upstream some place. Often with GM cars that are equipped with duel positive battery cables people don't pull the two cables apart and clean the lead spacer between the two cables where it attaches to the battery.
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Old 11-19-2013, 09:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach View Post
I had my wife cycle the ignition on and off a number of times while I had my mutimeter connected to the third post on the solenoid and touching the frame. I was usually getting close to 12V and the car wasn't starting. About the sixth cycle it did start.
Then if you are getting voltage to the starter every time you cycle the key, your starter is toast. Sometimes if you whack the side of it with a hammer, you can get the 2 brushes to make contact again.
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Old 11-24-2013, 10:46 AM   #9
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Then if you are getting voltage to the starter every time you cycle the key, your starter is toast. Sometimes if you whack the side of it with a hammer, you can get the 2 brushes to make contact again.
Thanks Mike. The car starts well now.
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Old 11-24-2013, 07:35 PM   #10
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What did you do Phil?
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