Please help! After replacing therm, truck starts, then dies and wont start!?

MedicatedMike

Original poster
Member
Feb 24, 2012
101
Like title says, i changed the thermostat housing and after everything was put back (with no parts left over, lol), the truck started right up. It did do a weird thing when i was reconnecting the battery. When the negative terminal first made contact with the batt, the horn would honk!? (This does have a Anti-theft system with remote start). After tightnening down the negative terminal, the horn did not honk any more so I didnt think much of it. After I started the truck and it ran for a few minutes, it stalled. I tried to restart the truck and it wouldnt and the key wants to lock in the on or start mode. It wont come all the way back to where you can get the key out. and it doesnt crank at all. Makes a barely audible "click" noise from under hood.

Please help with any ideas of what to check first.

Thanks! :thumbsup:


Other Info:
Owned for 1 month
05 TRAILBAZER LT
70K MILES
4X4 I6
 

Regulator

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,496
I would start by removing the negative terminal, making sure it is clean and has good contact and try again.

The ignition is behaving that way because it is not getting any power.
 

STLtrailbSS

Member
Dec 4, 2011
1,617
:iagree:
You are experiencing the same symptoms of a dead battery but instead your connections are most likely bad,check them out. Keep us posted!
 

MichEnvoyGuy

Member
Dec 3, 2011
523
My horn honks once in a while too when I reconnect the battery - that doesnt bug me. What DOES bug me is when Im standing in front of the truck and reconnecting the battery, and EVERY time, the headlamp washers spray and squirt the hell out of me! :biggrin: Ive learned to remove the headlamp washer relay when messing with the battery.

Anyway, double check the tightness of your posts,thats probably what is causing your problem. And just my $.02, if you have the battery disconnected and reconnect it, the throttle body goes through a relearn and will stall, sputter and hesitate. Its best to clean the throttle body if you have the battery disconnected "while you're at it" b/c if it relearns on a dirty TB, you are going to have issues!
 

Regulator

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,496
MichEnvoyGuy said:
My horn honks once in a while too when I reconnect the battery - that doesnt bug me. What DOES bug me is when Im standing in front of the truck and reconnecting the battery, and EVERY time, the headlamp washers spray and squirt the hell out of me! :biggrin: Ive learned to remove the headlamp washer relay when messing with the battery.


I hated that so bad that I pulled the relay and never put it back in. I do miss it sometimes when I have some ass leaning up against my truck. Just because I have a metal bumper and the truck is scratched to shit doesn't mean some random stranger can lean against it in walmart parking lot. :hissyfit:
 

MedicatedMike

Original poster
Member
Feb 24, 2012
101
ok guys, I ironically went out to investigate while waiting for responses....and first thing I did was remove neg terminal again and check it out. It did have the slightest bit of "melted insulation" is the best I can describe it. Im talking just a hairline amount around the very edge.....so I took a clean blade and cleaned that up, hoping it would fix it. Tightened both terminals nice and snug....and nothing.

I then began taking off alternator again since that didnt work. I did find a wire that was supposed to be connected to the back of the alt that I did not connect. (DOH! IDIOT!) I have 2 wires that are held down by the nut on the back of the alternator. Im assuming the second one is tied into the anti theft system, because the truck started and ran just fine for 3 minutes before dying and going into this "locked ignition mode".

Anyways I connected the other wire like it was supposed to be (I know, what a dummy), and retightened the nut down, reinstalled the alt bolts, and put the belt back on. Still no change. It still has "no power" when u crank but I can STILL here a very faint noise coming from the fuse box i think it is on the drivers side right behind the battery. Im thinking I blew a fuse at the least from running the truck without the other wire connected to alt.

What fuses or relays should I check? Plus I have no extras so I will have to borrow from another, so if you know which ones are not important to borrow....lol thats great too.....sigh

Also any chance I killed the battery in 3 minutes of running like that when it still sparks when connecting terminals and there is clicking in "fuse box"?
 

MedicatedMike

Original poster
Member
Feb 24, 2012
101
well...while waiting for responses, I checked every single little mini fuse and couldnt find a single one that was bad. Dont know how to check the handful or relays without swapping them with a new one and dont have any.

It seems with the key being stuck in "on/accesory mode" the battery is almost completely dead as the radio does not light up any more and the light in dash is really faint. I read somewhere that the battery going dead can cause the ignition to lock up like it has to me, where you cant get key out. Can anyone else confirm this? Its poss I killed the batt from not having that 1 wire hooked up to alt. (The one that is unique to my truck and im sure is related to the anti theft/remote start crap)

Replacing battery is my next step since it seems low now and may be the primary cause for engine stall and key lockup or may just be a secondary problem but its cold here and we just bought truck and battery does not appear brand new, so its needed regardless. We dont have any other vehicle though so replacing battery could take longer than it should.

Any "trick" to get key out? Any other thoughts or ideas of things to try/check in meantime? Is there any fuses anywhere else besides the fuse and relay box behind battery on drivers side?

Thanks!!
 

STLtrailbSS

Member
Dec 4, 2011
1,617
I dont know of any tricks to get that key out..frustrating

Do you have a multimeter to check your DCv of the battery?
 

MAY03LT

Member
Nov 18, 2011
3,425
Delmarva
MedicatedMike said:
I have 2 wires that are held down by the nut on the back of the alternator.

Two wires? And they were both hooked up prior to removing the alt?:undecided:
 

STLtrailbSS

Member
Dec 4, 2011
1,617
MedicatedMike said:
no i dont have a meter yet.....big sigh....

That is a bummer you can turn your key to ACC and read the gauge that's my only idea, If its even turnable to ACC in that state. You still have interior lights dont you?.. just makin sure you didnt blow the mega fuse.. But im going to wait for someone to chime in. I refuse to give noob answers lol
 

christo829

Member
Dec 7, 2011
509
Fairfax, Virginia
For starters, if that's the original battery, it needs to get load tested. It may have voltage, but
not enough amperage to get things going. Five years is pretty much max life on batteries in
these trucks, and they are really picky about their voltage and amperage levels.

As soon as you can get a meter, recheck fuses. Visual checks can sometimes overlook
conditions like bad connections in the fuse block itself, as well as hairline breaks in older
fuses. You can check voltages at the battery as well, which will tell you if you've got a
bad cell, but won't tell you if there's an amperage problem (you can have 12+ volts at the
battery but still not have enough current to run the vehicle).

Removing the key can usually be done through a small access hole in the underside of the
steering column, near the keyway. You should be able to push a Phillips screwdriver in the hole
and hit the small release button by the keyway, turn the key and pull it out.

Stuck key is a sign of no power, but could also be a problem with the shift interlock system.
It's supposed to prevent removal of the key while in gear. If, for some reason, your truck thinks
it's still in gear, it will not start, and won't let you take the key out.

Also, make sure the small ground wire from the negative battery cable is still connected to
the fender wall. If it got disturbed while you were working on things, that missing ground can
cause a lot of different (flaky) issues.

The fact that it ran for a few minutes then died is also somewhat indicative of a problem with the security
system. There are some models that are designed to allow the vehicle to run for a short period of
time before killing the fuel pump circuit or starter. Are you seeing anything on your instrument panel,
like the "Security" light, when you try to start it? That doesn't explain the no-start behavior subsequently,
but maybe there's a relearn procedure for that security system that needs to be performed after the disconnect.
There have also been cases where aftermarket systems have prevented the vehicle from starting thanks
to bad connections or blown inline fuses, so you may have to go digging for things like that.

Good Luck!

Chris
 

RayVoy

Member
Nov 20, 2011
939
MAY03LT said:
Two wires? And they were both hooked up prior to removing the alt?:undecided:
Like Andrew, I need to question the two wires.

You have probably killed the battery with the 2nd wire.

The only wire under the nut should be a red one and, there should be a rubber hood over the stud/nut.
If you have connected 2 red wires, one of them is the wire that provides +12v to the trailer connector, remove.

The only other connection should be the plug from the PCM
 

MedicatedMike

Original poster
Member
Feb 24, 2012
101
Well....I put a new battery in.....and it fixed it!!!! Key popped right out and truck started right up after i tried to remove key and put it back in......I too agree the two wires are strange but that is how it was before I ever touched anything and leaving the one off that had the little rubber boot is what killed the battery in the first place apparently. The battery might take a charge again depending if it just drained it from running off the batt only or if it blew or fried the battery from doing so, then its junk.


The second wire I am 99% certain is for our aftermarket anti theft and remote start crap! :frown:



Thanks all for the help and responses and always, this site is priceless!! :wootwoot::wootwoot::wootwoot:
 

blazinlow89

Member
Jan 25, 2012
2,088
Strange to have a wire connected to the alternator for the alarm system. Is it fused, and do you have the other red wire that free floats near the battery. Like stated it sounds like someone hooked up the trailer wire to the alternator. Alarm power and starter connections are mainly under the dash.

The way I will get the key out when I kill the battery is jump the truck (not start it), turn the key to ACC and let everything come one (lights, etc.). Then you should be able to remove the key. Only way I got it out when my bat went. Jumping a trailblazer with a cavalier is funny, really sucked the cavvy couldn't push enough juice to get the engine to turn over (battery was FUBAR).
 

STLtrailbSS

Member
Dec 4, 2011
1,617
blazinlow89 said:
Strange to have a wire connected to the alternator for the alarm system. Is it fused, and do you have the other red wire that free floats near the battery. Like stated it sounds like someone hooked up the trailer wire to the alternator. Alarm power and starter connections are mainly under the dash.

The way I will get the key out when I kill the battery is jump the truck (not start it), turn the key to ACC and let everything come one (lights, etc.). Then you should be able to remove the key. Only way I got it out when my bat went. Jumping a trailblazer with a cavalier is funny, really sucked the cavvy couldn't push enough juice to get the engine to turn over (battery was FUBAR).

Buick LeSabre did nothing for mine either lol I had to get a f250 to come and it still took about 10 minutes to get enough to fire lol


Thats weird with the battery. So now your truck is working step 2 BUY A METER before something else happens! Even a $2.99 harbor freight can read you a voltage
 

RayVoy

Member
Nov 20, 2011
939
blazinlow89 said:
Strange to have a wire connected to the alternator for the alarm system.
Not completely uncommon, it is a place to pickup unswitched +12v for things like alarms and RS. That red wire does include a fuseable link between the alt and the bat.
 

blazinlow89

Member
Jan 25, 2012
2,088
RayVoy said:
Not completely uncommon, it is a place to pickup unswitched +12v for things like alarms and RS. That red wire does include a fuseable link between the alt and the bat.

Just saying think it would be strange to run a wire like that from the brain, when all of the connections can be made at the main harness. Then again, I did my first TB alarm/remote instal (with Drews help). Prior to that it has been a good 4-5 years since my last one.

I just think someone would run to the mega fuse, or bat directly. On the other hand it could be a wire that would sense voltage change to detect whether the engine started or not. Maybe I am thinking to far into this.
 

MedicatedMike

Original poster
Member
Feb 24, 2012
101
lol, yeah i follow everything you guys are saying although my knowledge electrical wise is stereo related only. THe one with the little boot (like a mini spark plug) was the one that was left off the alternator and I BELIEVE, without going back and looking is the one that goes directly over to the positive batt terminal. The other one seemed to go into a larger harness type deal that runs back towards the firewall.

So it makes sense that the battery was drained dead within 5 minutes if that little boot wire was left off and that is the one that recharges the batt.....but now you guys have me intrigued what the other one really is for.

I could see it POSSIBLY being tied into the anti theft deal as it is a "top of the line deal" supposedly so it can run from remote start but if key isn't in ignition and someone touches the pedals or shifter, it dies and locks up.....but I too think its a stretch is is likely not needed. I will investigate further tomorrow and post pics and let you know what I find.


Its dark, and cold, and im beat.....but i feel good! :smile:

Knocked several things off the list today!
 

blazinlow89

Member
Jan 25, 2012
2,088
:thumbsup: It is nice to get alot done.

The immobilizer is done through the starter interrupt, which is activated from an output on the brain. Or through the brain depending on brand. The only time the starter wire sees power is when you turn the ignition key, or when you push for remote start.

I am not saying its wrong, or not for the RS/alarm, it just seems a bit odd. Maybe someone else would know more.
 

MAY03LT

Member
Nov 18, 2011
3,425
Delmarva
RayVoy said:
Not completely uncommon, it is a place to pickup unswitched +12v for things like alarms and RS. That red wire does include a fuseable link between the alt and the bat.

Perhaps someone installed a 12v accessory and needed a constant 12v connection. Instead of replacing the positive battery terminal to accommodate the additional 12v lead, they used the alt stud. Plausible, I guess.

MedicatedMike said:
but now you guys have me intrigued what the other one really is for....I will investigate further tomorrow and post pics and let you know what I find.

Cool! As you can tell, some of us are intrigued as well.:cool:
 

gmcman

Member
Dec 12, 2011
4,658
MichEnvoyGuy said:
What DOES bug me is when Im standing in front of the truck and reconnecting the battery, and EVERY time, the headlamp washers spray and squirt the hell out of me!

Ha!, I've been blasted before as well.....dummy me waited for the 2nd blast and the LOML was watching and needless to say was rollin'.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
STLtrailbSS said:
...So now your truck is working step 2 BUY A METER before something else happens! Even a $2.99 harbor freight can read you a voltage
:thumbsup: Mandatory advice, IMHO. (actually, if it's mandatory, it's not advice. It's minimum fish & game standards for being a vehicle diagnostician in this century.) Not knowing the exact condition of the battery AT ITS TERMINALS is a critical issue. All competent troubleshooting needs voltage measurements to be made. It's a more fundamental tool for EVERYONE'S kit than a code reader. And code readers are now so cheap that every DIY'er should also own one. If $50 is too much, then go in with a group of buddies. You should NEVER allow yourself to be at the mercy of an auto parts store or dealer for reading voltages or codes.
 

blazinlow89

Member
Jan 25, 2012
2,088
Picked up an ebay code reader for $25 shipped. Works pretty good, even works with Torque for android. I have no complaints at all.
 

MedicatedMike

Original poster
Member
Feb 24, 2012
101
holy crap! $25 for a code reader and it works!? Wow, I thought a decent meter was $100 easy and a decent code reader was at least 2-3 times that........

If I can get a volt meter and a code reader for $100.....consider them ordered!

I know nothing about volt meters or code readers though....so any help or pointers on what you like or have had success with, is greatly appreciated! Also if certain features or anything of the sort is important to have or not have please advise on that too.

Thanks for the advise yet again guys! I have to admit, while I was waiting for the new battery to be brought by, I had a descusting feeling thinking about what I would be in for next if the battery didn't solve it.....so point taken and lesson learned!
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
The Bluetooth code reader dongles are around $20 on Ebay. You need an Android smartphone to run the Torque app to talk to it. Do you have a Droid? Check Ebay and Harbor Freight sales for code readers that don't require a phone to run.
 

blazinlow89

Member
Jan 25, 2012
2,088
I ordered the elm 327, took 10 days to come in. Its a bluetooth unit, so it connects right to my phone, or laptop depending on what I need to do. I know some guys might advise against this but it gets the job done, and if it breaks I will order the more expensive one if need be.

I cannot remember the brand of my dmm, but I bought it from wally world. I had a nice fluke unit but someone decided they needed it more :hissyfit:.

They also sell code readers that have usb plug ins, just upload the software to your computer and the usb will provide the info.
 

MedicatedMike

Original poster
Member
Feb 24, 2012
101
Frustrating that my laptop died and the old reliable apple tower, doesn't have a memory stick slot, so I cant upload pics right now....ugh...

I looked at those wires coming off the back of alt again and it appears the normal one in the "boot" runs to the battery and the other "extra" one runs into the plug that plugs into to alt!?

Concerns me that I have a wire most don't and it feeds back into the alt itself?? :confused:


I'm waiting to hear back on a few used readers, but had another dumb question about them. Was going to get a cheap new one or used middle of road model, but if I bought a higher end one, would I be able to the the CASE relearn with it myself? (after installing new tuned pcm)
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
MedicatedMike said:
...if I bought a higher end one, would I be able to the the CASE relearn with it myself? (after installing new tuned pcm)
My impression is that the price of those units is in the $1500-4000 price range. If you locate a well-equipped independent mechanic (call around) you can have them do the relearn for as little as $25, much less than dealers charge. Some dealers may charge a fair price for 3 minutes work, so call them as well. Ya never know.
 

MedicatedMike

Original poster
Member
Feb 24, 2012
101
yeah, thats what I figured...just wanted to make sure I couldnt invest the $100 or so they are going to want into a better scan tool for myself instead.

Thanks again for not bashin a noob! :thumbsup:
 

joe mama

Member
Mar 26, 2012
27
You might want to check out the ScanGuage. I bought one on amazon and I really like it, more because it acts as a separate guage cluster, but with more info and digital readouts. Also works fine as a scan tool, and was less than $100 shipped to my house.
 

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