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Electrical issue starting car when cold


caddydude

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I have a 1996 Cadillac DeVille Concours. This car is in perfect condition and ridiculously maintained. My issue is this: Only during cold Ohio weather the car will not start if it sits outside for any length of time, as long as I keep it in my heated garage it does not have any problems. When you try to start it the dash remains black and car will start for 1-2 seconds and shuts back off. After approximately 10-15 or more tries the car will eventually start but the dash remains black. However, the headlights, tailights and heater/AC will come on but will remain at 75 degrees with the fan on high (you can not override this or make any adjustments of any type), it seems to be in some type of emergency mode. Once the car gets good and warmed up the dash lights will flicker on and off for a short time and will eventually stay on. Again, this only happens if the car has sat outside. The car has a new battery and multiple good clean grounds to the battery, engine block, ignition, chassis and radiator support. I removed the computer under the air cleaner last week and found moisture had been getting into the computer due to a faulty gasket (reconditioned computer was installed 8 yrs. ago and come to find out the gasket was not installed properly). I cleaned the computer and plugs with contact cleaner and put di-electric/anti-ox on all connections. After sitting outside for the first time last night since that repair the car did not start again this morning and when it finally did again I had the completely black dash. This has to be some kind of electrical problem but I am at a loss as to what else to try, I have been chasing this problem for the last couple of winters and had to put one of my ohter vehicles into storage for the winter just because I have to keep this car inside now. Please note that fuel pump was replaced last year so it is not a fuel delivery problem. Any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for your expertise.

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The positive battery cables are known to corrode under the plastic insulation, so you cannot really see it.

You should have some trouble codes set. Check them out.

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

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about every car Ive had did weird stuff when its 0 or -10 out there in the morning. My STS the speakers didnt work right for a minute or 2, just one side worked. My 00 DTS certain buttons on the steering wheel didnt work when cold. My fleetwood struggles to start but makes a weird humming sound for a few seconds. My buddies 00 dts had a loud vacuum sound for a minute, supposedly some air pump that my 00 didnt have.

And the worst was my 86 chevy sprint. All 60 cubic inch 3 cylinders 1500lbs of it. To get the heater to work you had to slam the driver door REALLY HARD! When you clicked on the A/C the factory AM only radio would switch stations. And the weatherstripping was so bad it would snow on the passenger seat. And the snow didnt melt because the car NEVER warmed up unless you let it sit for 15 minutes, as soon as you started driving it cooled back down. But I loved that car. It could catch some good air on jumps and once I had to change a back tire and my friend held the back end up while I changed it. :D

* 1966 Deville Convertible

* 2007 Escalade ESV Black on Black

* 1996 Fleetwood Brougham Black on Black V4P -Gone
* 1983 Coupe Deville Street/Show Lowrider -Gone

* 1970 Calais 4dr Hardtop GONE
* 2000 Deville DTS - Silver with Black Leather and SE grille GONE
* 1999 Seville STS - Pearl Red GONE

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about every car Ive had did weird stuff when its 0 or -10 out there in the morning. My STS the speakers didnt work right for a minute or 2, just one side worked. My 00 DTS certain buttons on the steering wheel didnt work when cold. My fleetwood struggles to start but makes a weird humming sound for a few seconds. My buddies 00 dts had a loud vacuum sound for a minute, supposedly some air pump that my 00 didnt have.

And the worst was my 86 chevy sprint. All 60 cubic inch 3 cylinders 1500lbs of it. To get the heater to work you had to slam the driver door REALLY HARD! When you clicked on the A/C the factory AM only radio would switch stations. And the weatherstripping was so bad it would snow on the passenger seat. And the snow didnt melt because the car NEVER warmed up unless you let it sit for 15 minutes, as soon as you started driving it cooled back down. But I loved that car. It could catch some good air on jumps and once I had to change a back tire and my friend held the back end up while I changed it. :D

Does your car correctly display the outside temperature, and the cars coolant temperature? I'm leaning towards a sensor going off the scale. I would suspect some kind of code would be set. Also you may have moisture in the tank that is hanging up the pump? - a little dry gas might be worth a try too.

let us know any codes.

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Is yours a digital dash? The digital dash will not ignite if the battery voltage is below about 9 volts. If that's the case, you might want to pay close attention to what adallak wrote in post #2.

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Thank you for your input so far. I need to say this is not a fuel related issue, had this problem with old and now the new fuel pump (with new fuel filter). Also, the car has a new AGM battery with new gold plated battery ends which I also used di-electric grease to ensure a good connection. Alternator has been replaced and car always has run anywhere from 12-14 volts. My car does have a digital dash and while I am experiencing this problem there is absolutely nothing showing on the dash, it is pitch black. Headlights (low beams only), tailights and turn signals will work, heater/AC will come on and run at 75 degrees but no adjustments can be made and nothing else will work but car is driveable. My local repair guy said car throws a bunch of codes but once car is shut off and restarted codes disappear and everything works perfectly normal so I don't have any codes that it has set off before. My opinion is that a ground somewhere besides the obvious is causing problems or this is a computer issue. This feels like what I would call some kind of a "safe mode" or "emergency mode" set up by the factory in order for car to keep running if out on the highway or out around town, it's just strange that the cold weather causes the problem to occur on a daily basis. Any more thoughts?

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You can pull the codes while the engine is running.

When it acts up, and then you finally get it started..."THEN" pull the codes before you shut it off again.

I am guessing that you are going to get a bunch of communication codes and maybe a low voltage code...

At this point...I still lean towards battery, battery cable or ground.

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