Won't start / turn over

Deviation

Original poster
Member
Mar 25, 2012
19
Ok all. I'm hoping someone can lend some insight. I'll try to layout the details. Bear in mind its 30-40 degrees and raining...and of course the car is outside. *sigh*

Yesterday I got a call from the wife saying her car wouldn't start. Her dad was nearby so he went to jump her car. From what she relayed to me, the car didn't start immediately but he did get it started. Once she got to her parent and shut the car off, it wouldn't restart. So once again it was jumped and he followed her to our house.

I came home assuming the battery was toast. What I noticed is that the lights and accessories all came on when I put the key to start. When I turn the key fully, there was no click or noise and the lights did not dim at all. This seemed suspect to me, but I went ahead and dragged the battery to wally world to see if they could check it. 45 mins later (grrr), they told me it needed replaced. Unfortunately I was a bit mad about the amount of time, so I didn't think to ask why. Bought a new battery and installed it. Same issue.

So I checked fuse #17 and it is good. Removed and replaced relay #47 a few times. The contacts look good. I'm not sure how verify that it's good. I can also shift through the gears. The dash "security" light is not on either. I read some more and decided I'd try the ignition switch since it's relatively cheap. Replaced that (lined up the gear as best I could to the old one). No change except that the positions are nice & firm now. So next I set the key to on and decided to try & short the solenoid on the starter (first time I've tried that). Did that and it sounded like it spun.

There is a service engine soon light on. I can't pull any codes at the moment since I don't have access to a code reader. The airbag light flashes but goes out (can't recall if that's normal). I'm at a loss. Any help would be appreciated. I'm thawing my hands for the night, but I'll be back at it tomorrow.
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
Since the check engine light came on I would get the codes read before proceeding with troubleshooting.
 

andrew4321

Member
Jan 28, 2012
50
CaptainXL said:
Since the check engine light came on I would get the codes read before proceeding with troubleshooting.
The CEL being on while in the run position is normal and should clear only after the engine has been successfully started. Considering that the vehicle is unable to turn over and thus discontinue the CEL, it seems unlikely that there is a code. Was the CEL on while your wife was driving the vehicle (after jumpstarting it)? If that is the case then there would be a code stored.
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
What? He just said his check engine light is on. There are codes stored. No ifs ands or buts about it.
 

andrew4321

Member
Jan 28, 2012
50
CaptainXL said:
What? He just said his check engine light is on. There are codes stored. No ifs ands or buts about it.

Perhaps I wasn't entirely clear. If his engine is running and there is a check engine light there will be a code (as you stated). However, if his engine is NOT running (which it sounds like considering the nature of the op's issue) and the key is in the "run" position the CEL is normal until the engine has started successfully.
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
andrew4321 said:
Perhaps I wasn't entirely clear. If his engine is running and there is a check engine light there will be a code (as you stated). However, if his engine is NOT running (which it sounds like considering the nature of the op's issue) and the key is in the "run" position the CEL is normal until the engine has started successfully.

I highly doubt that is the case. Pretty sure the OP knows what a CEL is and when it comes on.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Maybe instead of any of us assuming one thing or another we should ask :tongue:

Deviation, was the SES light on at all while the engine was running?

Now here's my hypothesis:

Starter.

If the starter is sticking, it won't crank (obviously). However, when getting a jump you're now giving the starter 14 volts from the jump vehicle instead of the normal 12V it gets off a battery. That extra voltage could be just enough to give the solenoid a little extra oomph to unstick, or if a contact is in the solenoid is worn the higher voltage can overcome it easier.

Just a thought. When my starter failed on my truck it did similar to what you describe. Turn the key and... nothing. No click, nothing.

Now you said you shorted to the solenoid and "it sounded like it spun" - what were you shorting, exactly? jumping the solenoid so the motor was spinning, or applying direct power to the solenoid to crank the engine? If you bypassed the solenoid to check the starter motor itself, my hypothesis could still be the case.

You could test this easy enough - hook up a test light or meter to the solenoid connection, and turn the key. If the test light glows then you know you're getting power to the starter solenoid and it is the culprit.
 

Voymom

Member
Feb 3, 2012
2,523
andrew4321 said:
Perhaps I wasn't entirely clear. If his engine is running and there is a check engine light there will be a code (as you stated). However, if his engine is NOT running (which it sounds like considering the nature of the op's issue) and the key is in the "run" position the CEL is normal until the engine has started successfully.

My Envoy does this, and I know I have absolutely NO codes stored....My CEL light will stay on until I start my truck, once I start the truck the CEL light goes off.
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
Voymom said:
My Envoy does this, and I know I have absolutely NO codes stored....My CEL light will stay on until I start my truck, once I start the truck the CEL light goes off.

Everybody's does this. The op explained very clearly in the original post when the CEL did and did not come on. Its not an assumption.
 

TollKeeper

Supporting Donor
Member
Dec 3, 2011
8,053
Brighton, CO
Hate to say it CaptailXL, I re-read the OP 3 times, he said there is a CEL, but he doesnt say when it appears to come on.

And his CEL being on is not going to stop the engine from at least turning over.

Deviation, since you already posted that you changed the ignition switch, and the Security light is not on, this leads me to suspect the starter motor, starter solenoid, or the starter relay (I dont know if the 360's have this relay or not).

If its possible, try to have your wife hold the key in the start position, and tap the side of the starter with a hammer, or something. If you get it to spin/start, that usually indicates a dead spot in the starters windings, and would need to be replaced. I dont know if this is possible on the 4.2, as i dont know where the starter is located (I have the V8).

Past that, I am at a loss as to why the starter is not engageing.
 

Wex

Member
Dec 4, 2011
124
Voymom said:
My Envoy does this, and I know I have absolutely NO codes stored....My CEL light will stay on until I start my truck, once I start the truck the CEL light goes off.

When the dash lights come on like that, this is called the prove-out. It lets one know certain more important bulbs are indeed working.
 

Wex

Member
Dec 4, 2011
124
TollKeeper said:
Hate to say it CaptailXL, I re-read the OP 3 times, he said there is a CEL, but he doesnt say when it appears to come on.

And his CEL being on is not going to stop the engine from at least turning over.

Deviation, since you already posted that you changed the ignition switch, and the Security light is not on, this leads me to suspect the starter motor, starter solenoid, or the starter relay (I dont know if the 360's have this relay or not).

If its possible, try to have your wife hold the key in the start position, and tap the side of the starter with a hammer, or something. If you get it to spin/start, that usually indicates a dead spot in the starters windings, and would need to be replaced. I dont know if this is possible on the 4.2, as i dont know where the starter is located (I have the V8).

Past that, I am at a loss as to why the starter is not engageing.

Back in the old days I had a hand held trigger that would allow me to jump the solenoid. This would point me in the right track if directly starter related or somewhere else. Many times I would use it to bump the crankshaft.
 

Voymom

Member
Feb 3, 2012
2,523
CaptainXL said:
Everybody's does this. The op explained very clearly in the original post when the CEL did and did not come on. Its not an assumption.

I thought you were arguing the fact that the light should not do this without storing codes....My bad.
 

Deviation

Original poster
Member
Mar 25, 2012
19
Sparky said:
Deviation, was the SES light on at all while the engine was running?
No it wasn't. I just checked for codes and found none.

Now here's my hypothesis:

Starter.

If the starter is sticking, it won't crank (obviously). However, when getting a jump you're now giving the starter 14 volts from the jump vehicle instead of the normal 12V it gets off a battery. That extra voltage could be just enough to give the solenoid a little extra oomph to unstick, or if a contact is in the solenoid is worn the higher voltage can overcome it easier.

Just a thought. When my starter failed on my truck it did similar to what you describe. Turn the key and... nothing. No click, nothing.

Now you said you shorted to the solenoid and "it sounded like it spun" - what were you shorting, exactly? jumping the solenoid so the motor was spinning, or applying direct power to the solenoid to crank the engine? If you bypassed the solenoid to check the starter motor itself, my hypothesis could still be the case.

You could test this easy enough - hook up a test light or meter to the solenoid connection, and turn the key. If the test light glows then you know you're getting power to the starter solenoid and it is the culprit.
I should add that I attempted to jump it with my battery charger (it has a 50AMP start mode) which didn't do anything. Granted this charger has a few years on it, but I did start the neighbor's car not that long ago with it. I haven't attempted to jump it with another car yet.

I shorted the terminals on the solenoid. It did make a noise like it spun. It didn't hear anything engage though. The two terminals shown below.
starter_solenoid_44.jpg
 

Deviation

Original poster
Member
Mar 25, 2012
19
TollKeeper said:
Deviation, since you already posted that you changed the ignition switch, and the Security light is not on, this leads me to suspect the starter motor, starter solenoid, or the starter relay (I dont know if the 360's have this relay or not).

If its possible, try to have your wife hold the key in the start position, and tap the side of the starter with a hammer, or something. If you get it to spin/start, that usually indicates a dead spot in the starters windings, and would need to be replaced. I dont know if this is possible on the 4.2, as i dont know where the starter is located (I have the V8).

Past that, I am at a loss as to why the starter is not engageing.

I'll try to work the hammer trick in a bit. Really wish I had this thing in my garage. Ohio's weather is not cooperating lately.:hissyfit:
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Deviation said:
No it wasn't. I just checked for codes and found none.


I should add that I attempted to jump it with my battery charger (it has a 50AMP start mode) which didn't do anything. Granted this charger has a few years on it, but I did start the neighbor's car not that long ago with it. I haven't attempted to jump it with another car yet.

I shorted the terminals on the solenoid. It did make a noise like it spun. It didn't hear anything engage though. The two terminals shown below.
starter_solenoid_44.jpg

The jump battery charger won't give it as much as another vehicle. 50A isn't that much.

Also looking at that pic (pics.bbzzdd doesn't work very many places but I saw it) will test the starter motor but not the starter solenoid. Bypasses the solenoid. Try attaching a meter or test light positive probe on the little wire (and put the other probe on a ground of course) and turn the key. That'll be a surefire way to tell if the starter solenoid is to blame.

By the way, did you jack that picture from an image search? Because I happen to know the guy who owns that pics.bbzzdd.com account from another forum :biggrin:
 

Deviation

Original poster
Member
Mar 25, 2012
19
Sparky said:
The jump battery charger won't give it as much as another vehicle. 50A isn't that much.
Yeah I know. It was cheap what can I say.
Also looking at that pic (pics.bbzzdd doesn't work very many places but I saw it) will test the starter motor but not the starter solenoid. Bypasses the solenoid. Try attaching a meter or test light positive probe on the little wire (and put the other probe on a ground of course) and turn the key. That'll be a surefire way to tell if the starter solenoid is to blame.
I'll give that a shot tomorrow. My meter was acting goofy for some reason. Wouldn't even read voltage from a AA battery. Guess I've abused for too many years. I don't have a test light laying around to try.

If it's the solenoid, can I replace just that part? Or am I looking at replacing the whole assembly?

By the way, did you jack that picture from an image search? Because I happen to know the guy who owns that pics.bbzzdd.com account from another forum :biggrin:
Yep. Google Images FTW. :yes:
 

rmsg0040

Member
Dec 10, 2011
285
No click when trying to turn over could mean a starter issue, how old is the truck, NVM 2002

I bought a tool which reads CCA and voltage, I was reading around 417 CCA of out 800 CCA and that was a weak battery
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Deviation said:
Yeah I know. It was cheap what can I say.

I'll give that a shot tomorrow. My meter was acting goofy for some reason. Wouldn't even read voltage from a AA battery. Guess I've abused for too many years. I don't have a test light laying around to try.

If it's the solenoid, can I replace just that part? Or am I looking at replacing the whole assembly?


Yep. Google Images FTW. :yes:

You might be able to get just the solenoid, but if the starter is old and rusty it may just be better to get a a whole unit. That's what I ended up doing (plus I couldn't get mine apart in one piece anyway).
 

Deviation

Original poster
Member
Mar 25, 2012
19
Sparky said:
You might be able to get just the solenoid, but if the starter is old and rusty it may just be better to get a a whole unit. That's what I ended up doing (plus I couldn't get mine apart in one piece anyway).
Is it just two bolts to pull it out? One looks easy enough to get to. The other looks pretty tight (near engine).
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
Im gonna suggest that when you pickup the starter that you grab a Haynes repair manual as well. Its all in there.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Deviation said:
Is it just two bolts to pull it out? One looks easy enough to get to. The other looks pretty tight (near engine).

One bolt, one nut. Upper one is a nut that threads onto a stud, which makes it easier to reinstall as it helps to line it up for you.

I went from the top on mine.

Where in Ohio are you? If you aren't too far I'd be willing to come out and help diagnose and replace the starter if that is the case.
 

Deviation

Original poster
Member
Mar 25, 2012
19
Sparky said:
One bolt, one nut. Upper one is a nut that threads onto a stud, which makes it easier to reinstall as it helps to line it up for you.

I went from the top on mine.

Where in Ohio are you? If you aren't too far I'd be willing to come out and help diagnose and replace the starter if that is the case.

Doesn't sound too bad. I'm south of Dayton in Franklin. A bit of a drive from cbus, but I appreciate the offer.
 

Deviation

Original poster
Member
Mar 25, 2012
19
So in my case, it was a bad starter. After I tested the ignition switch wire, I went ahead and pulled the starter and had it tested. It cranked the first time on the bench but then nothing after. Car starts like a champ now. No struggles at all.

It sucks having to shell out the money, but I learned a lot through the process. I thought I'd share some of my insights in case anyone else stumbles across this thread. This stuff may be posted elsewhere, but I thought I'd share anyhow. If you see something incorrect, feel free to yell.

Helpful Resources
  • Starter Troubleshooting - Good reference. No pictures for those of us that are visual learners.
  • Good general, starting system troubleshooting video -
    [video=youtube;0mKrx-fMi_8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mKrx-fMi_8[/video]
  • Talks about VW, but the diagrams are fairly universal -
    [video=youtube;dGem9YsjCRQ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGem9YsjCRQ[/video]

Specific to Envoy
  • Service Engine Soon light illuminated is OK in a no start situation. It will go away once the vehicle is started.
  • If your security light is illuminated, you need to relearn the key to the car. I can't recall the exact procedure, but Google is your friend.
  • Check your battery first. Have it load tested by a shop/store your trust.
  • If the battery checks OK, test the ignition switch wire for voltage. Using a test lamp, one end to ground and the other to the purple ignition switch wire on the solenoid. Have someone turn the key to start. It should light up. If not, replace the ignition switch. These are cheap and relatively easy to do (~$35 & 30 mins).
  • You can check the starter motor by shorting the two terminals on the back of the solenoid. It should spin up. If not, it's toast. If so, you could have a bad solenoid. I suggest pulling it and having it checked by a shop/store.
  • ---
  • Make sure you have small arms are know a guy with small arms. It's a tight fit if you choose to get at it from the top.
  • 13mm deep socket to remove the 12v+ wire. Don't remove the (braided) one that connects to the starter.
  • 8mm socket to remove the ignition switch wire
  • 15mm socket to remove the lower mounting bolt. 15mm socket + extension to remove the upper mounting nut. This is a very tight fit and will take some time to get out.
  • To help guide the upper mounting nut, use some thick grease on the inside of your socket. This will keep the nut from falling out while you guide it into position. Also helps prevent fits of rage and cussing.:smile:
  • Torque specs are 37ft/lbs for the mounting bolt & nut. Good luck getting a torque wrench in there.
y6HbCe1.jpg


All else fails, post on gmtnation.com and wait for the help to roll in. :tongue:
 

Deviation

Original poster
Member
Mar 25, 2012
19
Well I had a lengthy post typed up with pictures and more info, but it apparently went into the ether. It said it posted. Guessing it went to the moderation queue since I had a bunch of links? Anyhow, it ended up being the starter. Thanks for the tips.:yes:
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Glad to have helped, and glad it was the relatively simple starter vs some other tough screwball problem.
 

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