Odd Electrical/Starting Issue

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chadasmith10
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Odd Electrical/Starting Issue

Postby chadasmith10 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:18 am

So any guidance here would be appreciated...

9 times out of 10, my Vibe (2005, ~170,000 miles) starts just fine. 1 time out of ten, there's enough electrical power to turn on the dash lights and radio with the key in the accessory position, but everything cuts out when I turn the key further to start the car. No lights, no power, nothing. BUT, all I have to do is disconnect and reconnect the battery, and suddenly it'll start up like nothing ever happened. No noticeable issues when driving. IE no dimming headlights or sluggish wipers. It's annoying but tolerable now...but won't be when it's winter and 20 below...

Battery seems to be putting out proper amps per my multimeter. Any other ideas what could cause this or what I should be looking for?

Thanks!
Chad
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ehoff121
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Re: Odd Electrical/Starting Issue

Postby ehoff121 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:29 am

Welcome to genvibe!

chadasmith10 wrote:Battery seems to be putting out proper amps per my multimeter.


I think you need to check the voltage on the battery, not amps, both with engine on and engine off. Also, how old is the battery?

You should be reading 12.6v +/- .1v engine off, and approximately 14v +/- .4v engine @ idle (700-800 rpm).

BUT, all I have to do is disconnect and reconnect the battery, and suddenly it'll start up like nothing ever happened.


If voltages are good, intermittent battery problems could be a loose connection or corroded ground. Make sure the terminals are clean and the connectors are tight. Check the ground points for corrosion or anything loose.

If you need a new ground (black) cable, check here: http://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/pontiac,2005,vibe,1.8l+l4,1432959,electrical,battery+cable,2500

If all else is good and problems continue, I'd check the starter motor next...
2005 Pontiac Vibe AWD - Platinum

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chadasmith10
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Re: Odd Electrical/Starting Issue

Postby chadasmith10 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:19 am

Rock on, and thanks for the welcome! The battery itself is less than a year old, bought in March this year. Just ran out and checked the voltages you mentioned on my break. It was at 12.86 with the car off and 13.98 with the car at idle (and yes, it started this time :lol: ). Didn't have time for anything else, but I can look more closely the ground points tonight.
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jolt
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Re: Odd Electrical/Starting Issue

Postby jolt » Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:00 am

You need to test the volts and amps at the battery and the at the starter when the problem occurs. If the problem happens one in ten times, then start it ten times in a row until the problem happens and get the readings for both volts and amps. I would guess that the problem would be bad cables, or connections at the battery, like ehoff121 said, or a bad starter. By removing the cables, you are moving and flexing the cable, making a poor connect good for a while. Cables can get damaged inside the insulation covering jacket and ate away inside by acid wicking into the cable. Over 17 years damage gets done by the battery acid. Until you test it to find out, it is all a guess. Also make sure all grounding connections are clean and tight. That means all ground cables and wiring, not just at the battery. When you test the voltage, you are bypassing all the ground connections with your test leads and volt meter, just so you are aware of that too.

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tpollauf
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Re: Odd Electrical/Starting Issue

Postby tpollauf » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:06 pm

Chad. Had you posted your location, like a lot of us do here, we'd have a better idea where your located and if a corrosive environment is part of the problem. Understanding that several members here are likely part of a witness protection program and thus disclose NOTHING, a general geographic area would at least be helpful. Enough of my sick humor :o Definitely sounds like a grounding issue somewhere. Inspect ALL of your grounds (there are several) and YES to replacing the main ground cable as ehoff suggested. Keep up posted on all progress and Welcome to GenVibe ;)
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chadasmith10
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Re: Odd Electrical/Starting Issue

Postby chadasmith10 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:09 pm

Thanks all! I'll get cracking tonight when I'm not tied to my desk anymore. I'd imagine a corrosive environment could come into play - I live in St. Paul, MN, so perhaps road salt has taken it's toll over the years.
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Zimm
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Re: Odd Electrical/Starting Issue

Postby Zimm » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:49 pm

this sounds a lot like the problem i had with a corroded main ground wire that runs from the negative terminal of the battery to the frame. if you get another no-start from this, test it by putting 1 end of a jumper cable on the negative terminal and ground the other to the block or frame. if it starts, you need a new cable (which i did.)
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sporkinator3
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Re: Odd Electrical/Starting Issue

Postby sporkinator3 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:45 am

Just want to say I'm a having a similar problem. old battery was showing 10V so we figured it was dead. Swapped in a new one, turned on once then couldn't get it to go again. Thanks to this thread I did the jump the battery ground to the frame and it started right up.

Probably didn't need a new battery after all, but oh well. Have a new ground cable coming. Anyone have any idea how to replace it. Looks like a bolt for each connection, so it shouldn't be too bad.

reuseaway
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Re: Odd Electrical/Starting Issue

Postby reuseaway » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:03 am

I have a 2005 Vibe with about 130K on it. I had a problem where the battery was OK, but the starter would not engage. I had a great guy from AAA show me that tapping on the solenoid would allow it to start. I've only had to do it once myself and it didn't work the first two times I tried. The third time I tapped a little harder at the end closest to the connection to the starter motor itself and that worked.

Click and clack you to joke about this all the time. I actually tried tapping on the starter motor itself a few times when I was was trying to diagnose the problem but that didn't work. It's all in knowing where to do it. I'll update this if I learn more.

ehoff121
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Re: Odd Electrical/Starting Issue

Postby ehoff121 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:40 am

reuseaway wrote:I have a 2005 Vibe with about 130K on it. I had a problem where the battery was OK, but the starter would not engage. I had a great guy from AAA show me that tapping on the solenoid would allow it to start. I've only had to do it once myself and it didn't work the first two times I tried. The third time I tapped a little harder at the end closest to the connection to the starter motor itself and that worked.

Click and clack you to joke about this all the time. I actually tried tapping on the starter motor itself a few times when I was was trying to diagnose the problem but that didn't work. It's all in knowing where to do it. I'll update this if I learn more.


If you haven't already, replace the starter motor. The "bang-on-the-starter" trick works until it fails completely.
2005 Pontiac Vibe AWD - Platinum

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lannvouivre
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Re: Odd Electrical/Starting Issue

Postby lannvouivre » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:58 am

Hitting the starter can cause the motor to move past dead windings, allowing it to start. It's a temporary fix, as said, because more and more windings will die.
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reuseaway
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Re: Odd Electrical/Starting Issue

Postby reuseaway » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:37 am

I was able to tap solenoid and then get in the car and start it then that stopped working. I had to get someone to hold the key in the start position while I lightly tapped and that worked until I had the starter replaced.

My mechanic said something like this.

Most solenoids are built with a large copper washer in the end of them. When the solenoid is energized, the plunger is sucked into the solenoid via electromagnetic forces and pushes the copper washer into two large contacts. This allows current to flow to the starter motor itself, which spins the armature. If the washer or the two contacts get "bad spots" in them, contact will not be made and electricity doesn't flow. Rapping on the starter can move the washer slightly where good contact can be made and everything works correctly until the washer comes back around to the bad spot (the washer can spin freely inside it's solenoid home).

This came from
https://mechanics.stackexchange.com/que ... ng-it-help


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