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Old 05-29-2014, 07:03 AM   #1
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Default Engine not starting

About 3 to 4 weeks ago, my 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix 3.8 non supercharge started to not start. It happened the first time where I went on the highway to go pick up and my daughter and after I turned the car off and a few minutes later I went to turn the car on, nothing at all happened. No lights, no beeps from the drivers door being opened, nothing at all. So I had it in the acc position while looking on line on the cell phone to see what the problem would be, and then after about 15 minutes the cars lights on the dash and all the beeps went on and I turned the key and it started. I was able to drive the 30 minute ride home down the highway with no problem. It started back up a couplee times that night. Then the next morning I went to start it and nothing again. So I wiggled the battery terminal cables and after 10 minutes all the lights on the dash and beeps started and I was able to start the car. I took it to my cousins shop and he said the neg terminal was lose so he put a biggerr bolt in the side post and said it should be ok now. Well, it ran great for a week or so. Then last weekend it didn't want to start again. Some people are saying it may be the ignition solenoid, or the key being worn. So after it not starting off and on and after reading online that if you let it sit in the acc position that it will start after 15 minutes. I thought also it could have to do with the anti-theft devise on it or the automatic start. So I was at a party over this weekend and a guy said he had a friend that had the same problem and he got a new ECM for it and hasn't had any problems. I also went to Auto Zone to see what they thought and he said it might be the ECM going out. I'm wondering if there is a way to narrow down what this problem would be and how to do it. And if it is the ECM, Auto Zone said the price ranged from $133.00 to $120.00 depending if it is bought already flashed from the dealership. And also that guy from the party said there is a very reputable salvage yard that has that ECM for $55.00. The car has around 170,000 miles on it. Also tonight while pulling into the gas station parking spot the car shutoff before I put it in park, which that was the first time happening. Any ideas would be helpful. Thanks,Rob
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Old 05-29-2014, 07:38 AM   #2
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first and foremost dont listen to the parts counter guys. second it sounds like you need to take apart the big cables and clean under them and the cable ends good and reassemble with some dielectric grease. if you have intermittent power it messes with the security thats why it seems like thats the issue sometimes
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:46 AM   #3
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A larger bolt was used? That'* a flag.....sounds like a connection problem....
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Old 05-29-2014, 07:14 PM   #4
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Thanks guys for the feedback.I just thought about that about a week before this was happening that I went to the car was to spray down the engine to get the oil washed away from the intake gasket area to see how bad it could be leaking. Cause I have been putting about almost 1 QT. in about every 3 weeks sence I had Apex change it for me for the first time. (I usually do it myself)..So I put a bottle of that Liquid Copper in the radiator to see if it would stop any leaks until I get the cash to get someone to change the intake gaskets..I wonder if the water would of got any thing wet in the engine area that would make this happen. The reason he put a larger bolt in my Neg terminal because my original one didn't tighten very good and it would start turning loose after it was just about tight..I can try tomorrow to clean the termanals and look to see where the terminal cables lead to so I can make sure that connection is also good.
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Old 05-29-2014, 08:10 PM   #5
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seems like separate issues. the intake gaskets wont stop the engine from starting till it fills the cylinders with coolant. i dont recommend putting that job off. its not to bad if you do it your self, you can get the good felpro and dorman stuff for a little over a hundred bucks from rockauto
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Old 05-30-2014, 01:15 AM   #6
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When you sprayed the engine, did you use plastic to cover up the electronics like the alternator?
And you did spray it while the motor was warm, and not hot right?

I also recommend doing the LIM Job ASAP, if you get coolant in the cylinders the coolant cannot compress like air, and you could end up throwing a connecting rod through the block, or ruining other internals, which will have you replacing the motor, and most likely still needing to do the LIM job with the replacement motor.
If you need links to parts, how-to'*, and or videos let me know.

Another thing, using that stop leak crap is something I'd never suggest anybody adding to the coolant system, when you do the LIM job I'd get the coolant totally flushed out.
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Old 05-30-2014, 05:29 AM   #7
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Okay, the water from washing it should be long evaporated and gone as much as its run since then. However, the GPs can have serious issues with the ignition switch assy in the steering column. They go **** up after they get older and things just quit working. Out of the blue a lot of the time. Starting them with the AC, heater and such turned on makes them arc and fail. Been there done that!

The next time it does this, take a meter and see if you have power to the ignition switch under the column. If you do, turn the ignition switch on and then check for power leaving the switch. I'm thinking it'* very possible you may find power in but notta leaving the switch. I'm half asleep and do not remember the wire colors for you to check but if no one has the wiring schematic available, I can take some panels down under the dash and check mine this evening after work and see which colors should and shouldn't be energized in each position.
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Old 05-30-2014, 07:58 AM   #8
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if the door chimes and interior lights are not functioning, i dont think those are wired through the key switch
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:29 AM   #9
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The car started running ok for a few days after my last post. It then didn't start and then I left it in the on position before starting it and after about 10 minutes it then started. Then the rain clean down so I couldn't go out to clean the terminals yet. And when It wasent raining I was working. So Monday it ran fine and I bought it to my cousins shop to change the oil and the PVC valve but didn't have time to clean the terminals before he was leaving the shop for the day. The car started the rest of Monday and Tuesday. I then went out to go to work yesterday (Wed) and it wouldn't start after leaving it in the on position for 10 minutes. So I got a jump but after it started then about 5 seconds later the car started bogging down before dying unless I kept giving it gas. I tried 3 times and it kept doing the same thing. So I tried jumping it when I got off work a couple hours again and it did the same thing. So I let it sit for a hour while looking online a bit and then just went back out and tried to keep it in the position right before the run where all that lit up was the light for the shifter that showed it was in park. I let it sit for 10 minutes and tried starting it and it did the same thing as it bogged down and dyed. But I did notice the check engine light was on this time but I don't have the meter to check it nor can afford to go buy one. So I gave up on it cause its dark and its almost 4 in the morning. I did have a problem when changing the PVC Valve, which when I went to pull up on the Mass Air sensor (I believe that'* whats it called) . It sat on top of the spring that held down the spring which was over the PVC valve, which when I separated to two latches on the Mass Air sensor and after pulling it up the top cover of the sensor came off and I then seen how it pulled the rest of the way out. My cousin said I will need to get a new one and he put the top back on and after changing the PCV I then snapped the Mass Air sensor back in place and after driving the car it ran fine. I drove over to Advanced Auto to get a price on one and it was like $140 bucks which I cant afford so he told me that it may be ok and if the service light comes on then to come back so he can hook it up to see what code it is. Well the service light is on and I don't think I will be able to get the car to Advance Auto to get it checked with the way its stalling. I apologize if I seem to be getting off track from the last batch of answers I just seen when logging in from last time so I will try to anser them in order.

1.Willime- I did not cover anything on the motor when spraying it down. And I just drove it for like 5 minutes to the car wash when I first drove it in the morning. So I don't think it was to hot. And I also sprayed it down a couple time in the past and didn't have a problem thank god. What is the LIM job? (Changing the intake gasket)?
After spraying down the engine, that afternoon later I started the car and sprayed carb cleaner around the valve cover to see if the gasket had a leak and I didn't notice and engine increase or decrease noise, so I figured it may not be leaking and the PCV was bad which I was told that could of been what was making me having to add so much oil. I didn't know the stop leak wasent good to use and for the price of it I thought it would be worth a try. But as soon as I change the gasket I will deff change the coolant.
I might need some pics and videos when time comes on doing it or troubleshooting the problem im having now. Hopfully I can get it running to get it to somewhere that can check the engine light that is causing it to go on now.

2.Damadtech-How do I go about checking for power in the ignition switch. That was the first thing I thought might be wrong was the ignition until I noticed my neg battery terminal was lose and had to tighten with using a larger bolt.

3.jwfirebird- Just a little while ago when I went out to turn it on and it dyed, I left it in the position the next past the off and one time when the door was open the interior lights were on and the next time they were off. I gave up on it and I have to get some sleep and hopefully tomorrow will be a nice day where I can do the cleaning of the battery post and cables. I did make a mistake when I hooked up the jumper cables this afternoon, when I hooked up both positives and her ground and as soon as I put my ground end onto the metal frame it sparked and the neg post started smoking so I hurried up and took of the jumper cables and put them on the correct way and luckily neither car got messed up.

Again guys, thanks for your feedback and hopfully I can get a better start tomorrow on where to begin with all this..
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:47 AM   #10
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definitely clean the cables they can cause all sorts of issues like you have. even if not you got to start somewhere. i would get the code read if at all possible. code readers are pretty cheap maybe someone will let you borrow one. i use torque pro for my phone and a 20 dollar bluetooth adapter, and the app was 5 bucks. it does like 4 times as much as a normal code reader too
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