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Old 07-07-2010   #1
BigBadGTA
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GTA Year: 1988
GTA Engine: 350 TPI Automatic
Starting issues.... :(

My car developed a problem and its been doing it occasionally for the past month but it just had a fit. What happens is that when you try and start it the starter will make just one little pop noise and then EVERYTHING electronic in the car turns off. All the dash lights turn off, my radio resets all of my EQ, and preset settings every time this happens. Like 5 minutes ago I went out and tried to start it, I waited for the fuel pump to prime like I always do and tried to start it and everything turned off. And it did this about 10 times in a row. Then, I didn't wait for the fuel pump to prime and just put the key in and went for it and it fired right up. What the hell is wrong with the car? It did it for my dad the other day too? Any ideas? The battery and the alternator were replaced last year!
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Old 07-07-2010   #2
ThunderChicken
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Re: Starting issues.... :(

You have a short in your starting system. Bettin' you need a new starter.
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Old 07-07-2010   #3
BigBadGTA
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GTA Year: 1988
GTA Engine: 350 TPI Automatic
Re: Starting issues.... :(

Yeah thats what came across my mind too. Any guess on how much it would be to have done? Is it easy to do yourself on these cars?
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Old 07-07-2010   #4
JeremyT
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GTA Year: 1988
GTA Engine: 350 TPI Automatic
Re: Starting issues.... :(

In my opinion, it's a connection issue. That's especially if everything goes dark. Does the interior (dome) lamps as well? If so, I'd be checking battery cables. Don't just look at them, clean and tighten them (don't overtighten as you can ruin the battery).

At this point, I don't believe that it's a starter issue, as the starter would not "trip" things to shut off as a circuit breaker. The system uses more fuses and fuse links. Those things blow or melt, not "reset". I suspect the (normal) draw from the starter is enough to kill the (intermittent) connection at times.

But if you insist, you can have the starter checked. It certainly is possible to have a starter issue, but from your supplied information, it does not immediately point to it. First, I'd clean and tighten the battery cables. Remember, it could be the other end of the cables as well.
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Old 07-07-2010   #5
Fred91GTA
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Re: Starting issues.... :(

Check and tighten all battery cables and connections. If everything electrical goes dark then it's a connection issue. If the starter pops and the interior lights still have power, then your starter may be fried.
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Old 07-08-2010   #6
george88gta
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Re: Starting issues.... :(

Dont overlook the ground cable. It bolts to the lower end of the alternater/power steering pump bracket. They can get loose over time and they can corrode. On my 1988, they recommend dropping the exhaust Y pipe to remove the starter. I wrestled it out once and replaced it with a mini-starter. Just as a maintenance item, I would unbolt all battery connections, clean an grease before reassembly. Same goes for any electrical connection you open.
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Old 07-08-2010   #7
ThunderChicken
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Re: Starting issues.... :(

That was more what I had in mind George. A bad ground...If my post is after 11 pm, I'm not liable for anything I say. LOL!
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Old 07-08-2010   #8
BigBadGTA
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GTA Year: 1988
GTA Engine: 350 TPI Automatic
Re: Starting issues.... :(

Alright yesterday I went and I tightened the negative cable on the battery and it didn't give me any more problems. I will check the grounds and see if I find any loose. I don't think its the starter because it doesn't make any weird noises and it works perfectly fine when it when this isn't happening. When this happens everything goes out, interior lights, dash lights, my radio, everything. Its a weird problem.
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Old 07-08-2010   #9
george88gta
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Re: Starting issues.... :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBadGTA View Post
Alright yesterday I went and I tightened the negative cable on the battery and it didn't give me any more problems. I will check the grounds and see if I find any loose. I don't think its the starter because it doesn't make any weird noises and it works perfectly fine when it when this isn't happening. When this happens everything goes out, interior lights, dash lights, my radio, everything. Its a weird problem.
Dont forget that slip on connector at the back of the solenoid (purple wire, looks like 10 or 12 awg, big wire)as well as the positive connections to the starter.
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Old 07-08-2010   #10
george88gta
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Re: Starting issues.... :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBadGTA View Post
Alright yesterday I went and I tightened the negative cable on the battery and it didn't give me any more problems. I will check the grounds and see if I find any loose. I don't think its the starter because it doesn't make any weird noises and it works perfectly fine when it when this isn't happening. When this happens everything goes out, interior lights, dash lights, my radio, everything. Its a weird problem.
Dont want to sound like a broken record, but I cant stress enough the importance of lubricating all the connections in these cars. To save money, the MFG's use tin plated connections. Probably the worst choice for the environment in a car. Without getting in to a ton of details, here are some tips. Battery connections, clean with a wire brush ( manual operation) and grease before reassembly. Most any grease will work, I generally use anti-sieze. Weatherpac (or any other separable) connectors, I use silicone dielecric grease, anti - sieze can be conductive so it is not a good choice here. What you do is plug/unplg the connector two times or so. This wipes the tin contacts clean. Then before final connection, add the grease. Inside the distributor, clean the terminals and apply dielectric grease, again not a good place for anti-sieze. Body and engine grounds, best thing is a clean surface, toothed washer and the anti-sieze. At the voltage we are running in these cars, a good connection/ground is essential. When the MFG's get the voltage up to 42 volts or more, these connection will be more forgiving, but for our cars, cleanliness and protection from corrosion are the keys to a decent running electrical system. Even after all of this, you can still get corrosion inside the back of the connector assembly which will degrade the crimp connection. Check the wire at the back of the connectors. If you notice discolored/broken or brittle insulation, chances are that the connection inside is defective and over heating. Only cure for this is to replace the connector assembly.
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Old 07-08-2010   #11
YumikoGTA
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Re: Starting issues.... :(

My GTA did almost like this also right after we finished with the rebuilding project. The problem we discovered was that the three wires connected to the starter motor were only tightened by hand, we forgot to tighten all the way when we were in the process of putting the entire car back together. But I am unsure if the lights inside the car would go out. I have analog dash in my GTA so I did not seem to remember if my car lost its power or not like you mentioning your GTA does when I would try and turn it on. It would sometimes work fine and other times just not work at all. Maybe check to see if any of those wires to the starter motor are not tightened sufficiently.

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