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1986 no start


Active member
Aug 17, 2001
86 Pace Car 31,000 miles
Having a problem with starting. It all started with cruise control switch going bad on the turn signal stalk.I had it replaced and upon picking up the car that evening ( after hours),when I started it up there was a terriable whine comming from under the hood,also noticed low voltage.Turns out alt. diode pack was fried(apparently battery was not disconnected when repairs made,radio did not have to be reset). Shop said all fine when they worked on it .I put a new alt on (140amp). Now I'm having a problem with starting, cold or hot doesn't matter, Went out yesterday tried to start,nothin doin,tried later still nothing, this morning,got in started right up no problem,I didn't touch a thing.:confused
Hoosier, welcome to the CAC:)

Man, if it's not one thing it's another:bang
Good luck on the repair and let us know how it goes


You might want to start at the starter and follow the wires to the ignition switch. I would think it would be the switch or somewhere in the steering column. Good luck and keep us informed.

Brian :w
Theft deterrent issue???

Hi there,
Is it possible that your vehicle theft deterrent is kicking in, and NOT allowing the starter to function???
This would be my first course of action, as your mechanic can scan the system for a starter enable signal to the PCM, and confirm that it is going through.
It sounds like you would have an intermittant contact problem.
Please keep us posted, c4c5
I agree with C4C5Specialist.

Sounds like the VATS is kicking on you. There can be a variety of reasons. If you don't have a G.M. 86 manual, voltage meter, and a solid understanding of the electrical compenents, then go see the dealer to get the problem solved. Let us know what they find.

On the other hand, a bad starter solenoid will do the same exact thing. Next time it does this (be prepared) and quickly get to the starter with a heavy metal object and tap/rap on it. The idea is to do this quick enough and get back in to attempt starting before the VATS resets. If it fires, you know it is not the VATS and was just a bad starter. If no start, you still won't know if it is a starter or VATS. At least it may answer 50% of the problem.

You can also simply check the connection at all of your battery terminals. A loose or corroded terminal at either the battery, chassis ground/engine ground, or starter will cause the same problem.

A bad neutral safety switch will also kick out the start mode.

As you can see, even your mechanic may have a little trouble spotting the problem right away.

The turn signal stalk was replaced........
Running down the shaft are the infamous VATS key sence wires...in my experience when the wheel comes apart that get pulled & tugged... and IF it was starting to wear out this dosent help the process.

A quick way to check is the following get out your handy dandy OHM meter and measure the pellet on the key, write down the number ( eg 11.8k ) this is the value of the resistor to enable the VATS.

Now tear out the hush panel under the drivers side, and find a small 2 pin connector ( with 2 white wires and orange sleeving) These are the wires from the key switch that contact the pellet. Disconnect the connector and measure the resistance with the key out ( should be OPEN ) and then put the key in
and you SHOULD get the exact same reading as when you measured from the key directly. Jiggle the key around and see if is intermittant.

If it is, there are 2 ways to approach the problem.

1) Go to Radio Shack and get a resistor close to the same value ( +/- 10 %) or do the math and get a few to put in series to get the number closer to the resistive value on the key. Clip lead the new resistor value on the other side ( MALE ) portion of the connector to see if it starts. If that works
solder it in nicely to that connector, and DO NOT plug the steering coluum connector back in! This defeats the VATS system so option #2

2) Have the key switch assy replaced ( Expensive )
You'll have VATS restored but... any theif who wants your car knows about the VATS anyway so it does provide a slim margin of anti theft. I myself
have put a secret switch over by the vats and is shorts the key sence line out, & breaks the fuel pump line.

MY .02 cents
From another post of mine:

Engine Not Grounded to the Uniframe
From start of production of the 1984 to about December 12th, 1987 ('88 model) the ground strap was attached to the uniframe along with the black wire coming from the negative battery cable by a 10mm headed screw. Sometimes the ground terminals do not make good contact to the uniframe. Early in the '88 model (about December 12th) the negative battery small black wire had a ground screw of its own going to the uniframe. The braided strap had another 10mm headed screw forward 15mm on the uniframe attaching it to the uniframe. This created a good backup ground system (engine to uniframe).
Usually when the engine to uniframe ground is bad, the dash displays a low voltage and may turn on the caution light when the voltage reaches 11.5 volts DC or less. On 1986-87 cars when this ground path was bad sometimes a no-start VATS problem was noticed.
Many times after the transmission was removed and reinstalled a poor engine ground occurred. The top left bellhousing bolt and terminals did not make good contact to the engine.

He then goes on to troubleshoot various conditions.

I think it's all coming together now; if only I could figure out where to start! :L

See this post for more replies: C4 Wiring...
Science Rocks!

WOW! that would make it 550.00 approx to get a new switch installed..and 2 new keys from the dealer YIKES! the 2.00 approach on the resistors seems like the most cost efficent way to go!

Thanks for the personal reply Hoosier! That's what it's all about here, sharing the info, savin the $$$, and gettin it right the first time! There ( in my opinion ) are a few issues about the corvette that IRK me in the design area... but I wouldnt trade them for anything else. The info about the grounds are correct... I inspect them every year or so and in the begining they were marginal.



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