Welcome to the Corvette Forums at the Corvette Action Center!

Weird Ignition Problem

B

bruce

Guest
1988 coupe 4+3 trans stock 350

about every month to 6 weeks I turn on ignition switch. no sound no start but all electronics, lights, horn etc are normal and fully functional and battery fully charged.

I push the car a few feet and my daughter pops the clutch. I get in and start the car and all is normal.

Any ideas? Mechanic thinks I'm nuts and finds no problem. Very intermittent.
 
S

Steel Half-Shafts

Guest
bruce,
Sounds like the classic symptoms of a bad or intermittent Clutch Safety Switch.

Had the same thing happen on my 1990.
 

Yoda

Well-known member
Administrator
Joined
Oct 12, 2000
Messages
4,884
Location
Amarillo, TX
Corvette
1981 UL5
Weird Ignition Problems,eh?

bruce said:
1988 coupe 4+3 trans stock 350
about every month to 6 weeks I turn on ignition switch. no sound no start but all electronics, lights, horn etc are normal and fully functional and battery fully charged.
I push the car a few feet and my daughter pops the clutch. I get in and start the car and all is normal.
Any ideas? Mechanic thinks I'm nuts and finds no problem. Very intermittent.

Hi Bruce, this is not "Rare81", this is "1987 Z51" aka Ken :w.

The "no-start" condition you describe is exactly what I've been going through for the past 5-6 years. I also could pop the clutch and it would fire right up. Mine would act the same way, usually on cold damp mornings after sitting in the lot on graveyard shifts, then recently it began doing it when it was hot and dry.

I installed the VATS bypass kit from Mid America, and even replaced the key (tried different resistor). The thing is, if it starts when you push it, it can't be the VATS or the resistor; they would kill the power.

Well, to add to my already long list of things to go wrong on this wonderful journey to "Corvette Mecca", I lost power again yesterday, and I couldn't crank it to see if I had spark. "Andre" in Ely, NV discovered that my starter was bad, so we replaced it and I haven't (knock wood) had the problem return yet. I hope this finally takes care of the problem. I know your frustration!

I hope this helps you, nobody could help me and I took it to many people over the years. Intermittent electrical problems can be a real pain-in-the-a**. :eyerole

Ken
 

Tom Bryant

Well-known member
Administrator
Joined
Nov 9, 2000
Messages
7,252
Location
Edgerton, Ohio, United States
Corvette
1959 black 270hp (9/2/69) 1981 Beige L81(10/20/80)
If the starter has a dead block on the armature you will have this problem every time the armature stops on that spot. Moving the starter just a little usually gets the power flowing again.

Tom
 

Ken

Gone but not forgotten
Joined
Jan 30, 2001
Messages
8,236
Location
Hermosa Beach, CA
Corvette
1987 Z51 Silver Coupe
Retraction, sort of...

Well Bruce, I guess that wasn't the problem with mine. We just got to Bud's house in Modesto (I posted this morning from Gardnerville, NV when everything was working fine), and when I tried to restart it now after driving the couple of hundred miles today, it was (is currently) dead-in-the-water; turn the key - NADA! Zilch! No click, nothing. I'm sure it will start if I push it. Frustrated again!

So I guess I wasn't able to help after all. :eek: If I do figure it out, I'll be sure to post it here. Sorry. :cry
 

grumpyvette

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 17, 2001
Messages
841
Location
Loxahatchee, FL, Palm Beach co
intermitent starting

the problem you discribed was common years ago . as a starter wears the brushs in the electric motor wear away the surface contact area on the starters main axel assembly as the circumferance wears smaller the contacts get narrower and the brushes can contact more than one or none because the shaft wears unevenlly if the starter is bumped as your rolling the car the bendix gear grabs the flywheel an a different set of contacts line up with the brushes and it may work fine(replaceing the starter with a NEW NOT A REBUILT one will cure this but you are takeing a chance with rebuilt as the main shafts are seldom replaced only the brushes when they are rebuilt! there are other causes but this is a common one! if the solinoid is not moveing the bendix gear to reach the flywheel when you turn the key then your ignition switch or wireing could be at fault you can test this by shorting the two small leads on the soliniod with a cheap screwdriver if it turns over all the time with the short but not the switch you have to look at the switch other things to check are loose/corroded battery terminals,auto trans not adjusted so that its completely in park/gear when starting, clutch not fully depressed or a bad soliniod :D
 
B

bruce

Guest
Thanks to everyone for the info. I just had the transmission rebuilt in March and of course clutch replaced. will check starter and clutch safety switch. Love these intermitent problems

Save the wave:beer
 
A

ArtZR1991

Guest
Famous Starter Problem

As an "old time" chevy small block builder, let me add my two cents. The problem is very well known, and can happen in old starters and newly replaced starters.


How often it occurs is usually related to the nearness of the exhaust manifild and/or headers. "Hugger headers" are murder on starters on the SBC. Interestingly, in the LT5, because of the header placement (in all fairness, packaging problems as well), the starter was removed and placed in the top of the "V" under the plenum!

It is caused by wear, heat, or both. It occurs in all Chevy small blocks, including vans and trucks. Look in Summit and Jegs catalogues and you will find accessory heat shield blankets for the chevy small block motor.

Best solution is a replacement, and protection from the heat. I have an old van with almost 300k miles with no problems after that change 200k ago.

The other solution, generally not justified unless you have a race motor, is to use one of the small, gear reduced starters.

This problem can come and go for years before it becomes bad enough that you just have to stop and fix it. But one way or the other, that's it, and if you put a heat shield at the time of replacement, I have never heard of it returning.

1987 Z51 can probably fix his replacement even now by protecting it from the heat.

Good luck!
 

Ken

Gone but not forgotten
Joined
Jan 30, 2001
Messages
8,236
Location
Hermosa Beach, CA
Corvette
1987 Z51 Silver Coupe
Re: Famous Starter Problem

ArtZR1991 said:
1987 Z51 can probably fix his replacement even now by protecting it from the heat.
Good luck!

Thanks Art, I'll give it a try; it certainly can't hurt. :upthumbs

Ken
 

Corvette Forums

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

Help support the Corvette Action Center!

Supporting Vendors

Dealers:

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

Parts/Accessories:

Vetteskins

Advertise with the Corvette Action Center!

Double Your Chances!

Partners

Top Bottom