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Update On Discharging Battery


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#1 jseabolt

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 07:05 PM

This is a follow up to my dad's 98 1500 Express. Dad said the other day his van wouldn't start. He checked the battery voltage as I told him to and he said he was getting 12.7 volts. Then he said on the second attempt the van just started.

That tells me all along his problem has not been a bad battery but something in the starting system.

He says when the van wouldn't start if he put a battery charger on it, it would start. I';m thinking all that is doing is giving the starter a boost which get's it going.

Any chance this van has had a bad starter from day one?

In the past on European cars known for electrical issues, I've taken the solenoids apart on Bosch starters and cleaned the hardened grease from the plungers and regreased them with engine assembly lube and never had any more problems. I've also put new connectors on the wires and grounds.

I haven't had many issues with electrical problems on American cars so I'm doubting installing a new connector on the solenoid is going to fix the problem.

Any service bulletins on issues regarding starting issues on Chevy van/trucks built in the late 1990s?

Maybe just put a rebuilt starter on it and see what happens?
1976 Chevrolet 454 big block trailering special
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#2 Jeff DeWolfe

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 08:02 PM

I wouldn't doubt it. I have seen that on my Grandpa's 93 pickup. It wouldn't start, but the battery was fine. Jumped it and it started right up. Ended up replacing the starter and it has been fine ever since. Good luck!
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#3 jseabolt

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 11:09 AM

Here's the latest on this starting issue. 

Dad has been monitoring the voltmeter on his van. He says it is not dropping while driving.

I had been trying to figure out if the alternator is not charging at times causing the battery to run down to the point where it won't start the next time of if something is causing the battery to discharge just from sitting or it's something in the starting mechanism. Like the starter or ignition switch.

He says in the past few weeks when he goes to start the van the starter clicks. It only does this if it's been sitting for a few days. 

He says if it tries it again, it may start on the second time but can require up to 5 times before the starter motor turns over.

So today I installed a new starter. Three starts so far and no problems.

Would a bad starter solenoid cause the starter to click like it's got a weak or dead battery? 
1976 Chevrolet 454 big block trailering special
1968 Ford Fairlane 500
1980 Fiat 124 Spider (turbo)
1987 Yugo 1500 (turbo)
1980 Fiat 131 Brava
2003 Subaru Baja
2008 Mustang GT

#4 2010 LTZ Z-71

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 11:35 AM

Would a bad starter solenoid cause the starter to click like it's got a weak or dead battery?



Without a doubt it would.

I had a 1978 Silverado that did precisely the same thing. We hunt, seriously hunt, and a truck like that can be deadly in the bush. Mine would usually start, but if I turned the engine off and went to restart a few minutes later, it would simply click.

Eventually, I found that I either had to wait for an hour, until the engine and starter cooled down, or I could crawl under the truck and "whack" the starter a dozen times with an axe. Then, it would start.

What a pain in the ass.

A new heavy-duty starter, solved the situation.

Yup, you are on the right track, my friend.

Steve

#5 Diesail

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 05:37 PM

Yes a bad solenoid would make it just click. But the first question I would have is you say the voltage drops while driving. What does it drop to? It should not drop below 13.8 volts. If it does the problem is most likely something else.

#6 10YukonXL25004x4

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 05:43 PM

He said it is NOT dropping while driving.
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#7 Diesail

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 05:54 PM

He said it is NOT dropping while driving.


Oops, sure read that wrong.

#8 jseabolt

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 05:39 AM

Well the brand new starter didn't fix the problem. AARRGGHH!!!!

Dad says the van still clicks but will eventually start after hitting the switch two or three tries. So I'm back to troubleshooting this problem.

Here's some thoughts. Someone tell me if they see something not right.

The battery is producing 12.3 volts with the engine not running. It's just one year old. It's rated at 820 CCA at 32F. Is this battery too weak to crank over a 350ci engine? I asked dad if he told the guy at the autoparts store what the battery went on and not just grabbed one off the shelf. He said the guy at the counter looked it up on this computer.

I tried to see if having too many circuits on (A/C, headlights, etc.) could recreate the problem but it started on the first try with me.

This is a notorious problem with vintage Fiats. But I've never had a problem like this with anything other than old Fiats.

It seems to me that the starter solenoid is not getting enough power. On allot of my past Fiats, I'd place an MTD starter solenoid between the ignition switch and the solenoid. And wire it up so the solenoid get's full power from the battery. I'm thinking about doing this on his van to see if it works.

I hate comparing a 30 year old Fiat to a modern GM vehicle when it comes to electrical problems but I'm not sure what else to do.

If the ignition switch or starter relay was bad, the solenoid wouldn't click. So apparantly it's getting power, just not enough.

I told dad he could try a higher CCA battery like for a diesel truck (if it would fit the tray) to see if that would give it more of a kick but that's just a shot in the dark.
1976 Chevrolet 454 big block trailering special
1968 Ford Fairlane 500
1980 Fiat 124 Spider (turbo)
1987 Yugo 1500 (turbo)
1980 Fiat 131 Brava
2003 Subaru Baja
2008 Mustang GT

#9 4wd

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 05:46 AM

Well the brand new starter didn't fix the problem. AARRGGHH!!!!

Dad says the van still clicks but will eventually start after hitting the switch two or three tries. So I'm back to troubleshooting this problem.

Here's some thoughts. Someone tell me if they see something not right.

The battery is producing 12.3 volts with the engine not running. It's just one year old. It's rated at 820 CCA at 32F. Is this battery too weak to crank over a 350ci engine? I asked dad if he told the guy at the autoparts store what the battery went on and not just grabbed one off the shelf. He said the guy at the counter looked it up on this computer.

I tried to see if having too many circuits on (A/C, headlights, etc.) could recreate the problem but it started on the first try with me.

This is a notorious problem with vintage Fiats. But I've never had a problem like this with anything other than old Fiats.

It seems to me that the starter solenoid is not getting enough power. On allot of my past Fiats, I'd place an MTD starter solenoid between the ignition switch and the solenoid. And wire it up so the solenoid get's full power from the battery. I'm thinking about doing this on his van to see if it works.

I hate comparing a 30 year old Fiat to a modern GM vehicle when it comes to electrical problems but I'm not sure what else to do.

If the ignition switch or starter relay was bad, the solenoid wouldn't click. So apparantly it's getting power, just not enough.

I told dad he could try a higher CCA battery like for a diesel truck (if it would fit the tray) to see if that would give it more of a kick but that's just a shot in the dark.


then it could b the switch

#10 Diesail

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 05:47 AM

A battery at test should be 12.6 volts. 12.3 volts is suspect and should be load tested.

#11 jseabolt

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 06:12 AM

A battery at test should be 12.6 volts. 12.3 volts is suspect and should be load tested.


Since it's still under warranty, I suppose he could just tell them the battery crapped out and get a new one.

I've been Googling this problem and have yet to find one that matches his. Seems like everyone with a GM truck that is having problems starting is on hot starts. This van only fails to start if it's been sitting overnight or for a few days. Seems like the van never fails to crank over if it's hot.

And other topics are about fuel injection or ignition problems. Meaning their starter turns over, their engine just won't run.

This van will run once the starter turns over.

Edited by jseabolt, 18 April 2011 - 06:16 AM.

1976 Chevrolet 454 big block trailering special
1968 Ford Fairlane 500
1980 Fiat 124 Spider (turbo)
1987 Yugo 1500 (turbo)
1980 Fiat 131 Brava
2003 Subaru Baja
2008 Mustang GT

#12 chas0218

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 09:31 AM

Check out my thread, i was having a similar issues. http://www.gm-trucks...howtopic=130722

Edited by chas0218, 18 April 2011 - 12:25 PM.


#13 TriumphoverU

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 09:59 AM

Have you done a voltage drop test on the battery cables themselves? It could be as simple as a bad connection. If your connections are good then you might have a battery cable that is going south on you.

#14 jseabolt

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 05:27 AM

Have you done a voltage drop test on the battery cables themselves? It could be as simple as a bad connection. If your connections are good then you might have a battery cable that is going south on you.


No but that is something worth checking.
1976 Chevrolet 454 big block trailering special
1968 Ford Fairlane 500
1980 Fiat 124 Spider (turbo)
1987 Yugo 1500 (turbo)
1980 Fiat 131 Brava
2003 Subaru Baja
2008 Mustang GT

#15 NickV

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 09:05 AM

check the voltage on the battery terminals, bolts and then again on the wire/ connectors. It's possible you have a dirty connection, seen it many times.

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