Welcome to the Corvette Forums at the Corvette Action Center!

Starting Problems


72 Bluz

Went to take Xena to a party last night with Me and Judy and she wouldn't start. Turned the key and nothing happened. Pulled the battery, added water, cleaned posts reconnected and still nothing. Had battery checked and it's fine. Stereo & etc. work well. Going out to check starter solenoid (sp?). Any other ideas? No sound or anything when the key is turned, not even a clicking sound like when the battery is dead.
Check switch on steering column,or take a hammer and TAPon solenoid first if nothing TAP on motor itself.
It it's an automatic, i know with mine sometimes i have to jiggle the shifter to get it going.. hope this helps

Tap on starter motor. also check + lead on starter motor it is a big fat wire that is on the solenoid, make sure to disconect the battery hot first!
My8T1 said:
It it's an automatic, i know with mine sometimes i have to jiggle the shifter to get it going.. hope this helps

I thought I was the only one. I turn the key and nothing, then I jiggle the shifter while still in PARK and, viola, it starts. Must be a more common problem than I thought. I also have to turn the steering wheel left against the lock to get the key to turn sometimes. Don't you just love 30 year old cars?
Thanks, 1yy07

The tapping did it. Wish everything was that easy.

72 Bluz
Need more help!!!

Tapping worked yesterday, but not today. Still won't start, and now radio, lights, etc don't work with key on. Is it in my steering column in the switch? HELP!

72 Bluz
Re: Thanks, 1yy07

72 Bluz said:
The tapping did it. Wish everything was that easy.
72 Bluz

This may only be a temp. fix. Sounds like your starter may suffer from the dreaded... GM EXHAUST HEAT SYNDROME. This is common. Most GM's V8 suffer this affliction at some time...

The starter sits right up under the exhaust system, and thus they get very hot. Normally this does not bother the starter, but there are times when the starter "Swells" from the Heat and actually seperates it windings. Usually the windings make contact when the starter cools down and will start. Sometimes it won't make contact when cool, and by "Tapping" it causes the windings to make contact... I raise this issue to forewarn incase it happens in the future.. It is more common than us gm types like to admit :(

same problem here, in the past

When Hubby and I were dating (9yrs ago), 78 was doing the start/no start thing on occasion, causing Hubby to have to crawl underneath to tap on something. He carried a towel around, just for this purpose, to keep relatively clean. The no start usually happened when the engine was hot. I suggested replacing the starter, which he eventually did (after it stranded me 30 miles away!), and no problems since.
Isn't there a heat shield for the starter?
BTW, I still carry a towel, but it is for rain drips/leaks! :D
Not starting cold

Never knew Xena to be cold!! Anyway, now nothing works - no radio, headlights or anything. Got to be something simple :confused
She is just testing ya...

Start at the battery... Check the Ground connection and the hot lead connections.

Check all the fuses, then onto the engine compartment to check
  • Alternator connections
  • Coil connections
  • Grounding strap connection
  • Starter connections
  • Ground connection from the battery to the frame

These are the simple things to check and you just may find the problem.

If all else fails "Ask her where it hurts".. Good Luck with xena.. Isn't owning a Shark fun? ;)

Bud about covered it.

Let us know what you find. My guess is the actual positive feed to the starter may be loose, or your ground coming from the battery to the frame is poor.

My 78 had a similar problem no lights etc.. there is a plug in by the fron cowl that was a bad connection fix it no problems after that.
Bad experience


This post just reminded me of a bad experience I had many years ago with my 74 four speed. I had a few problems like you described here, but did not pay a whole lot of attention because I could push start the car very easily. One morning about 5:00 a.m. I was cruising around 70 mph down a narrow road. I hit a few bumps and everything went out, no lights, no engine nothing. I thought I was going to die because there were no street lights and the moon was not bright. Suddenly I hit a few bumps and the power came back, the lights had dropped back in the hole so I had to wait for them to raise. When they popped up I was on the wrong side of the road heading for the ditch.

Found out later that day that the positive terminal to the starter was loose, and or the upper stud on the solenoid was cracked loose. It was causing the engine to loose all power, and thus not only did the engine stall, but lights and all went out.

You might jump under there right away to avoid the same thing happening to you.
I replaced my starter several months ago due to heat soak. I am not much of a mechanic and am learning to sevice my Vette through school of hard knocks. ICan't afford any other way. My '80's starter was attached with 2 vertical bolts. I bought a starter from one of the chain auto parts stores for $35 bucks plus the core charge. I kept the old starter. I had it changed out in 30 minutes. Works perfectly now.
Regardless of what the problem turns out to be, you should invest in a heat blanket for the starter. They are easy to install if you have a decent set of jack stands. I've also seen a metal heat sheild for the starter but haven't heard of anyone actuall using one. All of the vette catalog shops sell the heat blankets and they are pretty cheap if memory serves me correctly.

Good luck!
I had the same problems with not starting at times......Installed a new starter and solved the problem. My 2$ worth...
start.no start, now nothing

One thing that anyone has failed to mention is the GROUND wire. It is a VERY common problem on older GM cars, and especially Vettes. IT MAY LOOK FINE ON THE OUTSIDE.....skin the insulation back.....and you may find it all green and powdery on the inside. Replace it, and your problem goes away. Hope this helps. ALso, check your other grounds as well.....


Where is the ground to the engine from the battery?? I'm replacing a connection to the alternator, fuse block looks OK, as does connections to the starter.

72 Bluz

Corvette Forums

Not a member of the Corvette Action Center?  Join now!  It's free!

Help support the Corvette Action Center!

Supporting Vendors


MacMulkin Chevrolet - The Second Largest Corvette Dealer in the Country!

Advertise with the Corvette Action Center!

Double Your Chances!

Our Partners

Top Bottom