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Random no-start condition


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A few weeks ago my car had trouble starting. I thought it was a one time thing because it hadn't happened again...until yesterday.

-It seems to be random. Temperature has no effect. It doesn't matter if it was started 10 minutes after being shut off, or hours after. Sometimes it happens, other times not. It will start after trying several times.

-It does NOT turn over, but I CAN hear the fuel pump turn on. Being under the hood I can also hear what sounds similar to the fuel pump hum, but VERY faint... Not sure what it is, but I know it's always done that so it's nothing new. I do NOT however hear the starter click.

-There are no new codes set. Just the ones I have had for a while regarding the TCC and wheel speed sensor.

-The starter is fairly new. About a year old actually, and was installed by the shop my brother works at. I know their work and I do trust them.

-I checked, cleaned and tightened the battery cables. No troubles there.

-The dash voltage display reads 13v with key on. With the car running it's 14.6-14.9v, so there doesn't seem to be a problem there.

-The shifter is a little stiff going into "park", but if the PRNDL switch was at fault it wouldn't even prime the fuel pump when trying to start, correct?

I've pretty much run out of ideas of where to look. The only other thing I considered is a faulty starter, even though it's new. I know that does happen from time to time... Does anyone else have any thoughts on what to look for next? I won't be able to check anything further tonight as it's in the shop having all new tires put on, but I will be able to in the morning.

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The fuel pump will probably run even if the PRNDL switch shows the car to be in-gear. I would start there.

Again, the battery cable may still be a possibility. My 1997 Eldorado had three cables in the OEM cable (I got a new one from the dealer in 2003 or so). Three separate cables could be pried out of the red plastic housing for the positive terminal. One of them goes to the starter/solenoid. I would pry all three out and clean them separately. If necessary, get a copper washer to tighten the sandwich up from an auto parts store; they make them just for this purpose. You know the drill.

Have you checked the engine ground strap? How about the battery ground cable - both ends?

If there are no electrical issues and no codes, the next thing I would look at would be the starter solenoid.

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-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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ignition switch? or put meter on starter cable to see if it is getting voltage during crank. i found a caddy that needs new starter and flywheel. pretty cheap car. too bad flywheel replacement is a tough job.

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When it happens, run the gear selector through all the positions and back to park then retry. This still sounds like a PRNDL switch to me.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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....-It does NOT turn over,.... -The starter is fairly new. About a year old actually, and was installed by the shop my brother works at. I know their work and I do trust them.

If the "new" starter was a no-name aftermarket part, that is your prime suspect. In fact, I will stick my neck out and predict the starter solenoid is the actual problem.

The solenoid has two functions. The electrical part is to connect (switch) battery power to an extremely large load (the starter motor). Starter motors can draw upwards of 400 Amps which means the solenoid contains heavy duty copper contacts to handle the current. When the contacts fail, you are dead in the water.

The second function is mechanical. The solenoid also moves the starter gear to engage the flywheel.

I was able to nurse my failing solenoid for a few months by repeatedly and rapidily moving the key from START to ON to START until the solenoid finally came to rest at a spot where the contacts were good enough to carry battery power to the starter motor. Not a recommended practice in cold weather when you need that engine running.

Jim

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....-It does NOT turn over,.... -The starter is fairly new. About a year old actually, and was installed by the shop my brother works at. I know their work and I do trust them.

If the "new" starter was a no-name aftermarket part, that is your prime suspect. In fact, I will stick my neck out and predict the starter solenoid is the actual problem.

The solenoid has two functions. The electrical part is to connect (switch) battery power to an extremely large load (the starter motor). Starter motors can draw upwards of 400 Amps which means the solenoid contains heavy duty copper contacts to handle the current. When the contacts fail, you are dead in the water.

The second function is mechanical. The solenoid also moves the starter gear to engage the flywheel.

I was able to nurse my failing solenoid for a few months by repeatedly and rapidily moving the key from START to ON to START until the solenoid finally came to rest at a spot where the contacts were good enough to carry battery power to the starter motor. Not a recommended practice in cold weather when you need that engine running.

I agree with Jim. As a temporary fix you can run a cable from battery to starters positive terminal. Be VERY careful, do not touch the exhaust manifold or anything for that matter with the cable. You can attach it permanently to the starter terminal which is M8 stud. Disconnect the battery before making connections. Make sure the cable is tight and will not touch the hot exhaust manifold later. It will cause a thermal event. lol

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Yes Jim it is...which is exactly why I am HAPPY it was replaced BEFORE I started driving it. According to the receipt for the starter job it is indeed an ACDelco part. The part number on the receipt matches the part number listed on rockauto for the ACDelco starter for my car.

I had basically dismissed the PRNDL switch as a possibility due to the fuel pump still kicking on...now that I know that doesn't matter then I would lean toward that as a possibility because as I said, the shifter has started going into "park" a little harder than normal. The next time it does it I will try the neutral trick and see if that works. If it does, then I will have to drive it like that for a little while. I have no money to replace it right now. I just shelled out 400$ for new tires, a new belt, and an inspection. The shop wouldn't pass it without a new belt, so I bit my tongue and had them do it there. I am still cringing at the thought of someone else working on my car...<_< I'm glad I did let them do it though. Turned out the square hole in the tensioner that you would put a breaker bar into was completely rounded off.. they ended up having to pull the tensioner off to get the belt changed. My boyfriend has it at work right now, but he said it's driving like a whole new car. Amazing what a new set of tires can do!!!

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And I just noticed the title of this thread says no-star instead of no-start. Oops.^_^

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Carla,

I'm guessing yours is *probably* the same as my '95 Eldorado was. If so, you have a Starter Enable Relay that should not be overlooked.

StarterCkt.jpg

I never had to go looking for the critter, but my '95 manual describes it as, "Taped to body main harness, 9 inches rearward of front edge of LH rocker panel."

Regards,

Warren

[EDIT] P.S. Was "no-star" in your subject line a clever pun, or just a Freudian slip?

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I read something about that on another thread. I've heard that some cars have it in the relay box under the hood...so now I'm wondering where mine would be.

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And I just noticed the title of this thread says no-star instead of no-start. Oops.^_^

I fixed the title for you.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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Thanks Bruce! At least I won't look like an idiot to future readers. You guys already know the truth though! :lol:

Adallak, I was not aware of that. I was under the impression that I would have to replace it. Is it hard to adjust? Also, is the "put it in neutral and see if it starts" the best way to find out if that IS indeed the problem?

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Thanks Bruce! At least I won't look like an idiot to future readers. You guys already know the truth though! :lol:

Adallak, I was not aware of that. I was under the impression that I would have to replace it. Is it hard to adjust? Also, is the "put it in neutral and see if it starts" the best way to find out if that IS indeed the problem?

The switch should be attached to the transmission and should be easy to remove and adjust. The procedure in the FSM looked easy. I believe the PRNDL switches are very similar on Northstars and 4.9 engines. Unfortunately, I do not have my 1991 Seville's manual to look. My Fleetwood has very different neutral safety switch.

I do not know any other way to check it, just play with gear selector and see if it starts. In some nine years (wow) on the forum I remember several occasions when misadjusted PRNDL caused no-start condition.

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

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Hopefully all that is needed is a lube of the shifter cable, and perhaps an adjustment of the shifter position.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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I'm hoping so. I'm quite frustrated as of right now. As I said earlier, I had a new belt put on my car today. Well my boyfriend just got home from work, and apparently bad has gone to worse. The new belt is chewed up horribly and the power steering is gone. My guess is the power steering pulley is seizing or binding and has caused the belt to be eaten so to speak. Also, there is coolant EVERYWHERE around the tank. It appears the crack has become a crater. I'm not a very happy camper right now, but I'm keeping my hopes up that I can get it taken care of. Patience Carla...patience...:fighting0025:

On the upside, it hasn't had a problem starting since this morning.

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Sometimes these things are all related. A steady drip of coolant may have caused an idler pulley or other mechanism on the front of the engine to stick, for example. A common first visible symptom of a head gasket problem is a sudden but temporary VSS failure because of coolant drip on it. It's also possible that coolant got into the cable, for example.

If you park outside, you may have ice caked up under the car. Try parking it in inside parking at a mall or something and see if the shifting into Park doesn't get easier.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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Check the AC compressor hub bearing, they are known to go bad and seize. You can put a short belt on the engine to eliminate the AC compressor from the loop till you decide what to do with the compressor.

I doubt the problem is your power steering pump seizing, unless you confirmed it by trying to turn it. Grab the ac compressor hub and see if it binds or moves

If you need a short belt, if you do a search, we have determined the belt you need to eliminate the compressor already

Did the belt spontaineously destroy itself? Did the old belt do the same? Could you not have had the belt on all of the pulleys correctly?

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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BBF I think that in a past thread Carla has a pic of where the coolant was leaking from the cracked surge tank and it appears she might have an idler in place of the compressor..?? Is this so, Carla?

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BBF I think that in a past thread Carla has a pic of where the coolant was leaking from the cracked surge tank and it appears she might have an idler in place of the compressor..?? Is this so, Carla?

Yes sir. Sure is. My compressor started binding up over the summer and I didn't have the money for a new one, so I replaced it with a pulley.

Mike, it did seem to spontaneously destroy itself. The original one was split down the middle into 2 separate belts kind of, but was still driveable. This one has 2 ribs shredded off of one side of it. It would probably hold up to get it to a garage, but that's all I would trust it for. I didn't put the belt on myself, but the shop I took it to was a reputable shop and I doubt they put it on wrong...it is POSSIBLE, but I doubt it. My family in-law has had all their work done there with no trouble at all.

The reason I am pointing fingers at the power steering is that it's the ONLY thing that's not working. The alternator is still charging well, and the engine runs flawlessly despite the shot belt. Also, my boyfriend was prompted to pull over because he heard a rattling on that side of the engine right before the power steering stopped working, which I am thinking could have been a loose or bound pulley.

I am a bit upset that given the WAY the old belt broke, the shop didn't check out the pulleys before putting on a new one. At least I am guessing they didn't since the new belt is now toast as well. I would have checked ALL the pulleys, and double, and triple checked that the belt was on properly.

I'm going to comment on the point that was raised of coolant possibly making a pulley stick. The tank IS very close to the pulleys and belt, and when he got home last night there was coolant everywhere! Does it stand to reason that it was a sheer coincidence that this belt shredded? That maybe the old one did break just from wear, and this one broke due to the now excessive amount of coolant leaking onto the belt?

At any rate, I refuse to replace the belt again until I find and repair whatever caused it to shred. I can't afford to throw away money.

I appreciate everyone's help and advice. I always end up having to spend money I don't have right after Christmas lol. But that's the way of it I suppose. When it rains it pours...good thing I have an umbrella. This car would have cost me a small fortune if it weren't for all the help I have received here.

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Oh, I didnt know that the compressor was by-passed in the past, please post a link, you didnt use the short belt?

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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I didn't use the short belt. The local parts store would have had to order it and it would have taken 2 days. They had the pulley in stock and I needed my car ASAP for a road trip. I never posted on here about the actual problem or job because I was troubleshooting another problem at the time.

Post #44 on this thread (about my clogged cat and first dead coil pack) mentions it: http://caddyinfo.ipb...pic=29392&st=30

And the picture that was spoken of is on this thread:http://caddyinfo.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=34837&st=0&p=180060&fromsearch=1entry180060

Good eye by the way! I didn't even notice you could see the pulley in that picture!

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