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  #1  
Old 03-04-2014, 03:16 PM
Ickaber Ickaber is offline
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Default Bulletbird won't turn over

Hi all,

I went out the other day to fire up the 'Bird, but no joy. I've tried to follow the troubleshooting steps from the manual for the sections Engine will not crank and starter relay does not click and Engine will not crank but starter relay clicks. But, I'm confused. When I turn the key, the relay sometimes clicks a couple of times and sometimes just once, and then doesn't do anything at all. This is why I tried both sections, because at first it clicks, but then it doesn't.

The odd symptom I'm seeing is that after the initial click(s), the interior/courtesy lights go dead. If I then wait a while, they'll eventually be back and I can get the relay to click again. This initially seemed like a battery issue to me, so I took my battery to the parts store and had them test and they told me it was fine.

After reinstalling the battery and having the same issue, I jumped the 'Bird from my running Suburban, but it reacts the same. So it doesn't seem to be just a bad battery, but something else that is entirely killing power to the interior as well as the ignition switch for some short period of time.

Dave, I really want to follow "sound troubleshooting techniques", but at this point I'm not sure what they are, since what I'm seeing doesn't seem to fit into what would be expected according to the troubleshooting sections of the manual. Or maybe they do, but I'm not recognizing it. Either way I need some help.

Any thoughts?

Thanks.
Scott
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  #2  
Old 03-04-2014, 03:31 PM
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My guess is that the starter or starter relay has gone bad and is causing a slow-blo breaker to trip. That's probably why the lights go out and come back a few minutes later. I would try using a jumper cable and jump across the relay to the starter and see if the engine cranks. If it doesn't then you have a bad starter, if it does then the solenoid may have gone bad. Also make sure that the negative battery cable is still secure at the block. The fact that the relay clicks tells me that the neutral switch is functioning correctly.

John
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Old 03-04-2014, 04:38 PM
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Thanks John.

Just to be sure I'm sure, do you mean jump from what I've labeled "Battery / Alternator" to "Starter"? If so, I tried that and nothing happened. So my starter is bad?

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Old 03-04-2014, 04:54 PM
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Yes, I meant from the battery terminal of the relay to the starter terminal. You can also do it from the positive battery terminal directly to the starter terminal. If the motor doesn't turn over then your starter is bad or the starter wire isn't making good contact with the starter.

John
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:02 PM
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Thanks again John.

The good news is that I had come to the conclusion that the starter must be bad, but wanted to check here with you folks who're smarter than I am on this stuff.

I'll pull the starter and let you know how it goes from there.
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:18 PM
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Before you pull the starter take the starter cable off of the relay and put the jumper cable from the battery directly on the wire so that you eliminate the relay completely. Just a double check to make sure the relay isn't somehow grounding out the starter.

John
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:32 PM
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Done.

Jumper cable from + battery terminal directly to starter wire (removed from starter relay) produced nothing but some sparks when the wires met.
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:42 PM
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Then I agree that the starter is bad. It seems to happens quite a bit when they sit for awhile.

John
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Old 03-05-2014, 06:11 AM
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Sorry I didn't see this sooner, Scott. Looks like John nailed it (as he usually does).

There are only three main components to the starting system; battery, solenoid and starter motor. Cold weather normally plays hell with older batteries but loose or corroded connections can happen at any time.

So, how do we determine the problem? Sound troubleshooting practices usually start at the end, and work forward. John did it right. If the starter motor fails to turn with a direct cable connection from the battery, everything in between doesn't matter as long as the battery is good (which you proved-out) and the ground wire is connected well (which also proved because of the sparks).

Sounds like the starter has a short to ground inside or it is frozen and cannot turn. Just to be sure, try using jumpers with the starter out of the car. If it turns, see if you can bump your engine by hand. - Dave
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:50 AM
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Thanks much, John and Dave.

I'll get the starter pulled and then do as you suggest, Dave, and will let you know how it goes.
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