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Old 02-25-2016   #1
wilkink
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Random No-Start

Hey guys. Haven't been on here in some time. I have been having a really weird issue with my car over the past couple months. I'll go to start it and turn the key and get nothing. The fuel pump activates, but it won't attempt to turn over at all. Ten minutes later, I'll go back out to my car and it'll start right up. It happens at random and maybe once ever two weeks now. Is it the ignition control module or crank sensor? Hope someone can help. I really appreciate it.

Thanks guys!
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Old 02-25-2016   #2
rhomanski
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GTA Year: 1988
GTA Engine: 350 TPI Automatic
Re: Random No-Start

If it does it only when it's hot, then your starter is getting heat soaked. Otherwise, if it happens when the engine is cold, it could be a battery connection. Mine did that for a while, everything worked except the starter, Cleaned and tightened the battery connection which showed no gross signs of corrosion and it quit doing me that way. I went to lunch on a rainy day and when I came out, no start. Played with the battery cable, out in the rain, and it started right up.
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Old 02-25-2016   #3
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Re: Random No-Start

Thanks for the response. I've messed with the battery cables and made sure there was a good connection there. That was the first thing I checked. It'll do it at random. It can be first thing in the morning or after a 20 minute drive. I can sit in my car for 15 minutes after it happens and crank it again and it'll start right up. It doesn't make any sense.
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Old 02-26-2016   #4
rhomanski
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GTA Year: 1988
GTA Engine: 350 TPI Automatic
Re: Random No-Start

Did you check the starter? specifically the wire. Power and ground.

There's not much to it. The cylinder pushes a rod down the column to the ignition switch, that goes to the shifter switch or clutch switch and then to the solenoid. So you either have a bad ignition switch at the base of the column or a bad shifter switch if it's an automatic or bad solenoid/starter or wiring.

Next time it happens, play with the shifter. That usually will fix it. Wiggle it forward and aft and side to side.
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Old 02-26-2016   #5
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Re: Random No-Start

The first thing I did was check the starter. I took all the wires off and cleaned the areas very well. So that all checks out. Will a bad shifter switch or ignition switch cause the car not to crank? All the lights and everything work, so it can't be the battery.
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Old 02-26-2016   #6
rhomanski
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GTA Year: 1988
GTA Engine: 350 TPI Automatic
Re: Random No-Start

Yes, the ignition switch is in the dash at the steering column, the shifter switch is on the shifter. It could be a bad solenoid or starter. Or wiring. I replaced both switches when mine was about 15 years old.
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Old 02-29-2016   #7
wilkink
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Re: Random No-Start

Well thanks rhomanski. Sounds like I have my work cut out for me. Is there any way to narrow it down?
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Old 02-29-2016   #8
rhomanski
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GTA Year: 1988
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Re: Random No-Start

Next time it does it, wiggle the shifter. If it helps then you can try that first. The switch on the automatic shifter is easy to replace. Crawling under the dash, not so much. You can clean the peanuts out while you have the console off.
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Old 03-01-2016   #9
soarestransam19
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Re: Random No-Start

Would help if u tell us what year is it 89 and up cause if so u could have a vats problem
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Old 03-01-2016   #10
rhomanski
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GTA Year: 1988
GTA Engine: 350 TPI Automatic
Re: Random No-Start

That's true, if you have vats it could be a dirty/wore out key. My '88 came without vats so it didn't occur to me. Wait a minute though. Wouldn't vats just kill the ignition and not the starter? He's got a no turn over not no start.
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Old 03-02-2016   #11
Brianlibby791
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Re: Random No-Start

It would not be the ignition module. If it was it would crank over. I would say it is the crank sensor
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Old 03-02-2016   #12
MunsonGTA
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GTA Year: 1987
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Re: Random No-Start

Probably a vats issue or the park/neutral safety switch.
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Old 03-03-2016   #13
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Re: Random No-Start

It's an '88. I just have no idea how to cancel some things out. Is there any way to test sensors or switches on my own? I'm not the best with electrical issues.
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Old 03-03-2016   #14
rhomanski
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GTA Year: 1988
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Re: Random No-Start

As intermittent as it is, it will be hard to try to troubleshoot. You would have to catch it when it fails and then start troubleshooting. Not practical at lunch time. You have to get back to work. I would say replace the ignition switch at the base of the steering column, might as well throw a new rod in as well. I have heard some say theirs was banana shaped when they pulled it out. I would say a new shifter switch but you may not even touch it when it does start for you, but you do move the ignition switch everytime. I know when I get in mine I have the key out and ready. I sit down, put it in the column and turn, never touching the shifter. So I would start with the ignition switch.
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Old 03-04-2016   #15
merc3065
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Re: Random No-Start

If its an 88, VATS was an option and not all GTAs had it. If your key has a little rectangular chip looking thing on it, then you probably have VATS and a worn out VATS system can cause the no start.
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Old 03-04-2016   #16
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Re: Random No-Start

Will a faulty VATS system cause the car to not crank though? My key does have the chip in it though.
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Old 03-04-2016   #17
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GTA Year: 1988
GTA Engine: 350 TPI Automatic
Re: Random No-Start

If the VATS system goes down, the car will do nothing at all when the key is turned. Mine had to be towed once when the VATS system took a dive back in the day.
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Old 03-07-2016   #18
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Re: Random No-Start

As frankie said, I believe the 88 VATS will not allow the starter to engage.

There's a large relay attached to 4 wires (yellow/green or Pink/Yellow, its been a long time since I've been under there) underneath the upper left hand side of the driver's foot well. That relay is your starter relay. The relay is bridged when the VATS system OK'd the resistance on the key and energizes the relay.

Without that relay being engaged, your injectors won't fire or the starter will not crank.

My GTA had VATS, but I bypassed it by manually bridging the starter relay and disconnecting/removing the VATS system from the car.

I replaced the column (ignition included), removed the VATS passkeyII box from behind the heater core, bridged the starter relay and replaced the ECM/CALPAK with a non VATS version.
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Old 03-07-2016   #19
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Re: Random No-Start

Quote:
Originally Posted by merc3065 View Post
...removed the VATS passkeyII box from behind the heater core...
I suppose it's the acme of foolishness to ask, but you wouldn't happen to have a photo of that location (and bracket?), would you?
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Old 03-08-2016   #20
merc3065
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Re: Random No-Start

Theres 2 locations, one is on the back of the plastic heater vents where the heater core is located. Its right in the middle. The other place I've seen it was on the right hand side of the dash, again on the back. Its held on by 4 screws on 4 little plastic posts.

Sorry no pics...been almost 10 years since I've dived into the guts of the dash...
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