NEED HELP Can a frozen Torque converter keep car from starting?

Discussion in 'Drivetrain' started by jmonica, Mar 19, 2017 at 11:42 AM.

  1. jmonica

    jmonica Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    9
    Hi, This is a bit of a strange situation. I didn't find anything else on this by searching. My vehicle is a 2006 GMC Envoy SLT. It's has about 230k on everything except the engine and alternator and starter and battery. To make a long story short, I got in the car and it would just barely turn over very slowly and not start. After two tries it stopped turning over. I had this happen to this car a few years ago and it was the starter. Thought I had a dying battery but the starter was failing. Replacing it fixed the problem.
    So skip ahead to 2 days ago, showing the same symptoms, I replaced the starter, I have a fully charged Optima battery and no change, the same thing, slow crank over once or twice and now it won't crank over at all and I hear something down by the starter/trans that sounds like it's frozen or a slight tapping and i thought I had heard a squeak the few times it would barely crank over with a fresh strong battery. Is it possible that a bad Torque converter, could be frozen and preventing me from starting the vehicle? I tried cranking it in Neutral, no change. The car is stuck in a parking lot, fairly far from home with no AAA and very little money so I'm really in a bind with it. A transmission replacement is probably out of the question but I might be able to scrape up enough cash to replace the TC. I just don't know how to narrow it down and pinpoint if that's the cause. Thank You very much for your help.
     
  2. AWD V8

    AWD V8 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    282
    Nope

    If the convertor was preventing the engine from cranking and starting, the starter would have to be operating while the transmission was in gear, like trying to crank over an manual transmission car while in gear with the clutch out, it would try to move the car. Try in neutral it would then start but stall or jump ahead when you put it in gear.

    You have a bad battery, starter, cables/connections or a seized engine.

    The first thing I would do is use good quality jumper cables on a know good battery, to eliminate your battery as the cause.

    If that didn't work, I'd get a big socket and bar on the crank bolt and rotate the engine clockwise, alternator bolt can work as well. If the engine is seized you will not be able to rotate it.

    Next I would get to the starter. I'm not familiar with accessibility of a 4.2 starter, but I'd use a screwdriver and jump the large battery positive cable to the smaller solenoid connection. This will by pass switches, relays etc. If it cranks now you know starter is good but it's a relay or switch problem.

    If it doesn't crank, it might be the starter, or it might be the cables or connections to the starter. I use jumper cables to a good know battery and jump directly to the engine block for ground, and the large battery connection on the starter, now jump the starter like I just described. If it still won't crank you have a bad starter. If it does crank you have a bad cable or connection to the starter.
     
    jmonica, Redbeard, Tiggerr and 4 others like this.
  3. littleblazer

    littleblazer Gold Supporter

    Messages:
    6,215
    Likes Received:
    2,973
    I would look into connections as well. I had an issue with a flakey ground on my boat that would act like a dead battery. Go around tighten every thing all cables including the ones at the battery, give them a wiggle test and make sure nothing changes. If it starts track down the faulty connection.
     
    jmonica and Redbeard like this.
  4. Mooseman

    Mooseman Moderator

    Messages:
    8,763
    Likes Received:
    3,747
    Transmission has nothing to do with it. Do as @AWD V8 and @littleblazer said, which will eliminate a lot of stuff. This video by our own @MAY03LT shows how to diagnose starter issues. The relay jump is probably the most pertinent for you with a known good battery and connections.


    What brand starter did you get at the time? It may have failed again if it was some cheap brand.
     
    jmonica and Tiggerr like this.
  5. jmonica

    jmonica Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    9
    Ok great,at least I have some place to start now, Thanks EVERYONE!. The thng that's leading me away from it being the starter is that it does the same exact thing with the old starter as it does with the one I just installed yesterday. No change at all. The one I installed was a rebuilt, but I'm leaning more towards a bad connection. Fortunately I do have a set of heavy gauge jumper cab;es so I will be doing some diagnostics tomorrow.

    Two things are throwing me off though. One is that I heard some sort of noise for a few days prior to this happening. I thought it was the alternator bearings failing because it is an aftermarket alternator I installed about a year ago, and my DIC popped up a message that indicated that the battery wasn't charging, I ran it for a few seconds and revved it up and then the message went away and the voltage meter went back to normal. I must have a bad connection some place.
    I just wish I had the car at home instead of in a parking lot, but we do what we have to.

    Also the car has a slight exhaust leak, but it's had it for a long time. All of sudden a few days before this problem, every once in a while the engine would start running rough. It would surge like it had a vacuum leak. What does all of this tell me? I have no idea except I will try the steps outlined to diagnose it.

    I can't thank You all enough! If i discover the problem I will post in case it can help someone else.
     
  6. Sparky

    Sparky Moderator

    Messages:
    9,925
    Likes Received:
    4,886
    Poor charging could also be bad connections as well to the battery, which could lead to poor starter response.

    I'd just go over all the electrical connections as suggested. Maybe even take the serpentine belt off and try starting that way to rule out a seizing accessory (when my AC compressor seized and blew up on my old car it bogged the entire engine down right before it went boom inside).
     
    jmonica and Redbeard like this.
  7. Tiggerr

    Tiggerr Gold Supporter

    Messages:
    682
    Likes Received:
    225
    Along with what others have said.. sounds like charging/starter/connection issue... if the engine does appear locked though. Pull the plugs and try spinning it that way.. I have had a motor get hydro-locked from an injector pouring fuel in a cylinder before...
    Also had one hydro-lock from a bad head gasket filling cylinder with coolant..
     
    jmonica and Redbeard like this.
  8. AWD V8

    AWD V8 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    282
    If you have had any hints of charging issues, I'd first try jumping it with a known good battery to eliminate yours as a possible cause. It is possible that your battery has a bad cell, but the voltage can still appear to be good enough to start it. A bad cell will cause the battery to buckle under the load of the starter. Or your battery just may not be fully charged if the alternator is weak. Don't know about where you are located, but an old battery, not fully charged, in a cold climate is not a good combination for reliable starting.

    You need to get it started first before you can check the charging.
     
    jmonica and Redbeard like this.
  9. jmonica

    jmonica Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    9
    Thank You. I did pull the Belt off enough to make sure that the Alternator spins freely but didn't check other companonents to see if something else is frozen but i will try to start it with the belt off after I go through the steps outlined by the previous posts. Thats could be it. At this point i"m leaning towards a bad connection or cable of some kind so I am hoping that bypassing the cables with a jumper will reveal that to be the problem. I've ruled out the battery itself as i have tried a brand new battery as well as a fully charged Optima that is only a few months old. Thank You again for your help!
     
  10. jmonica

    jmonica Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    9
    Ok Thanks. I will keep this in mind if the engine appears locked up. I can't try any of this until after work today and it's killing me! The car is 20 feet away from desk but I can't do squat until the end of thw work day. Thanks again!
     
  11. jmonica

    jmonica Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    9
    Hey Thanks for the tips. I am in a cold climate,. I had to dig my car out from under 5 feet of snow after getting plowed in by our JO.plow guy who was obviously angry that my car was making it harder for him to plow our parking lot so he used my car to pile all of the snow around. I have tried several batteries including a brand new one so I am ruling that out as a cause at this point. I appreciate you posting info to try to help me out. I'm in a bad situation right now and really need all of the help I can get. I can't afford to have it towed home and i have to get it out of here before the building has it towed.
     
  12. AWD V8

    AWD V8 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    282
    Wish I was there in person, I"d get that sucker going!

    OK, let's assume that your battery is good, seeing as you have tried others with no better response. We can assume that the starter is good as you get the same things as another starter.

    Did you check that the engine is not locked up? Turn the engine over by hand? Crank pulley bolt, or possibly the alternator nut may do it if the belt doesn't slip.

    Now, did you jump directly to the starter with cables from a good battery? I don't recall you commented on that. When testing a starter on the bench you jump it with a good battery. So, if you want to get right down to basics, jumper cables from a good battery directly to the starter. Ground it on the body of the starter or the engine block. Positive to the big cable connector on the solenoid. Now using a screwdriver jump the positive cable clamp to the small solenoid wire, it should crank, or click or spark or do something. This eliminates everything except the starter. You are simply testing the starter just like on the bench except you are crawling under your truck to do it.
     
    Reprise, jmonica and Tiggerr like this.
  13. jmonica

    jmonica Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trust me when I say I wish you were here too! I have no doubt you could diagnose this POS in a matter of minutes. So I think I have all of the advice ready in my head to try. I just can't leave my desk to go try it until after work. And it's killing me. Anyway, my plan is this.
    1) Turn engine over by hand to verify it's not seized.
    2) Jump the small solenoid terminal to the big battery terminal on the starter with a screwdriver to to bypass any switches or relays.
    3) Connect battery via jumper cables directly to the starter. The negative to the engine block and the positive to the big terminal on the starter, then jump it again with the screw driver. If number 3 works, I know I have a bad cable or ground connection.
    I thought I would just try to jump the negative battery cable to the engine block by itself to see if that doesn't do the trick. as its easy to do.

    Do these steps sound correct as far as my next steps go? Thank You a million times over man!!! Jim

    BTW... I will report back after I do the troubleshooting steps. Either to praise the ground that you walk on, or to cry like a little whiny B.... because my car won't start. Thanks again!
     
  14. AWD V8

    AWD V8 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    282
    I understand it is easier, and you can go that route first and see what happens. The reason I said to the starter body is that eliminates a bad ground surface starter to engine block. I understand that is reaching a bit but I wanted to emulate a bench test starter situation as closely as possible to eliminate anything else.

    If you go aaaaall the way back to a basic starter test, then "add in" more of the vehicle system we will hit on the part that is messing with you.

    This is the most basic test of the starting system. Confirm the starter itself is working by eliminating everything else and work backwards from that. This simple test will tell us a lot.
     
    xavierny25 likes this.
  15. jmonica

    jmonica Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    9
    OK got it. I understand. 2 more hours until I can try anything. Work can be a real inconvenience sometimes... :smile: Will report back ASAP!. Thanks again Mate!
     
  16. jmonica

    jmonica Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    9
    Okay well problem diagnosed! Not the answer I was hoping for but that's the story of my unlucky unhappy life. I never catch a break, but whatever. The A/C compressor is seized up. I removed the drive belt and it fired right up. I haven't checked see how much of a PITA it is to swap the compressor. I know when you buy one you are supposed to change a few other things especially if you want the warranty to be valid. I just need to get the GD thing home right now though so this brings up a whole new set of challenges. I cannot thank all of you guys enough for the fast assistance and you guys provided me. It was comforting to know I wasn't alone trying to figure this out. Thanks again everyone who replied!
     
  17. jmonica

    jmonica Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    9
    Well I guess I am in luck. Rock Auto sells an AC Compressor bypass pulley kit. I knwo its a cheesy way to do things but money is tight right now. It's $32.75 and is a heck of a lot cheaper than the compressor and associated parts. At least I can get it home and work on it my garage.
     
    littleblazer likes this.
  18. littleblazer

    littleblazer Gold Supporter

    Messages:
    6,215
    Likes Received:
    2,973
    705k6 belt will work as well to bypass the compressor.
     
    Reprise, jmonica, Mooseman and 2 others like this.
  19. Tiggerr

    Tiggerr Gold Supporter

    Messages:
    682
    Likes Received:
    225
    Best way is to buy an AC kit that contains the compressor, drier, orifice tube all in one...
    Have the condenser flushed and have it vacuumed down and recharged professionally after you install...
     
  20. AWD V8

    AWD V8 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    282
    Hoping that you can at least get it driving now until you can decide to fix it later or have no A/C
     
    jmonica likes this.
  21. Mooseman

    Mooseman Moderator

    Messages:
    8,763
    Likes Received:
    3,747
    If the compressor won't turn when A/C is off, then it's the clutch bearing, not the compressor itself. I'm pretty sure it is available on eBay. But you just need to get it going for now so just use the belt specified above until you can fix it properly.
     
    Reprise and jmonica like this.
  22. AWD V8

    AWD V8 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    282
    If you just want to buy a belt to bypass the compressor, here's a video;

    If you want to replace the compressor clutch, here's a video;
    Note, you don't have to pull the compressor off or any lines to do this. You will likely need a compressor clutch pulley puller, rent/borrow.
     
    Mooseman and jmonica like this.
  23. jmonica

    jmonica Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    9
    Ah man, you guys are a true wealth of information I was considering trying to figure out which belt to use to bypass it. after reading a post about whether or not a belt that is 5mm longer will work or not, I got nervous and decided to just get the bypass pulley. i'd much rather just replace the belt though so ill pick it up tomorrow and finally drive the vehicle home. btw, I purchased an dented box bypass pulley on amazon for $16 shipped. I don't like the fact that the pulley is made if plastic though but now that I know which belt to buy, i'll be returning the pulley anyway. Summer is right around the corner so I'll be fixing the AC whether it means replacing the clutch (thanks for posting link to video), or buying the kit and doing it right, its gonna happen. Thanks again everyone!!! you are prince's amongst men!
     
  24. jmonica

    jmonica Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    9
    Thank You for all of your help friend!☺
     
  25. AWD V8

    AWD V8 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    282
    You are welcome, we all try to work to help each other out. Someone usually steps up if someone doesn't know about something. Enough brains here to fix most things that happen, at least that's what we tell ourselves!
     
    xavierny25, Reprise and Tiggerr like this.
  26. Reprise

    Reprise Silver Supporter

    Messages:
    192
    Likes Received:
    86
    Now that you have the truck out of danger (of being towed), if you happened to take a picture of the truck when it was plowed in, it's time for karma to visit the plow driver. Show it to HR (if you have one; if the lot is that big, you should) along with some details about why it was there. With luck, there'll be a new company plowing next year!

    Note: this works better if:
    - the plow driver isn't related to the boss
    - your company didn't just sign a long-term renewal contract.

    That the plow driver did that to you is inexcusable. I don't care if you were in the back corner of the lot, where he'd normally put the snow. And I wouldn't worry too much about the driver, either, especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow. People who do plowing don't call it 'white gold' for nothing.

    Good luck to you going forward - and look at it this way - in the end, you have an easy, cheap fix until you can replace the parts!
     
    jmonica likes this.
  27. jmonica

    jmonica Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    9
    Thanks. I like the way you think. The Plow driver made one mistake in that he went off on one of the ladies who works in our office about my car being there. She'e the nicest lady you'd ever want to meet and this guy apparently T-d off on her when he saw my car in the lot. I wasn't there or I would have got in his face about it. Unfortunately for him, the ladies husband knows the A-hole plow guy and apparently has never liked him and really did not like the way the guy spoke to his wife (Who is seriously hot BTW) so now the plow guy has a rogue UPS driver looking for him to "discuss:" the situation. I've met her husband. The guy is built like a brick $%# house. I wouldn't want him after me that's for sure. Thanks for your input!
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2017 at 1:28 AM
  28. Reprise

    Reprise Silver Supporter

    Messages:
    192
    Likes Received:
    86
    As they say...karma's a bitch :satan: :wooot:
    Once you find out the deed is done, buy your new friend a drink :tequila:
     
    jmonica likes this.

Share This Page