94 Regal custom won't start


jerrod11
08-10-2011, 06:31 PM
I have a 94 regal custom, and today after I drove it to my school, it wouldn't start when I came out of the school. The first time trying to start, it sounded like it was trying, but not kicking over. Then every time after that it wouldn't even sound like it is trying to start. We thought it could be the batter as the Volt meter doesn't move when we try to start it. The car beeps with key in but not turned, once we turn it the beeping stops, and the radio doesn't turn on(I believe, usually on when I start so it should've came on). The light under the hood works, and the brakes lights worked when we pushed it into the parking lot from in front of the school. Didn't check the lights. But we decided it wasn't the battery.

My brother who is a diesel mechanic thinks that it is either the starter or the ignition switch(which is a pain with the anti-theft on the keys). He didn't know where the starter was to try to test that, as we were just in the parking lot.

HotZ28
08-11-2011, 01:28 AM
Have you had the battery load tested, or checked the cables tightness or for corrosion ?

procaddytech
08-11-2011, 06:54 AM
The first time trying to start, it sounded like it was trying, but not kicking over. Then every time after that it wouldn't even sound like it is trying to start.
When you say it sounded like it was trying, but not kicking over, was it cranking ok and acting like it was trying to start, but just not stay running, and when it didn't sound like it was trying to start, was it still cranking? I am asking because in the business I have heard alot of people confuse crank/no starts with no crank/no starts. (terminology confusion) So was the starter solenoid clicking and sounding like it was trying to start or was the engine turning/cranking fine, but just not firing up? What did the battery voltage measure? The starter is located front bottom center of engine if standing in front of the car.

mcmalloy
08-11-2011, 12:17 PM
if the engine is turning over but it wont start, it is ether a fuel problem or a spark problem, but most of the time it is the fuel pump if it was running fine before, you can spray carb cleaner in the throttle body and try to start it,if it fires up for a second or two then it is not getting fuel, some times with a bad fuel pump you can hit the gas tank with a stick while someone cranks it over and it will start up and run until you turn it off again,good trick to get the car home or the repair shop

jerrod11
08-11-2011, 09:25 PM
Tested battery, it was fine. Starter wasn't getting any power to it. Fuel Pump didn't have a buzz from it as some usually do when trying to start. I didn't see any security light flashing when try starting but I don't know if the 94 has it.

We are guessing it is the ignition switch, which will also get us a new VATS/PASS key. Advanced didn't have it in stock tonight, so have to check our GMC dealer tomorrow.

The windows will row up and down, radio doesn't turn on, lights work(not blinkers), AC light on off lights up, but stops when the key is turned and held in the start(Not run) position. headlights don't dim at that time.

procaddytech
08-12-2011, 04:33 AM
The radio and other accys should turn of while cranking on most cars. Check for power on the red wire going into the ignition switch at all times and on the yellow wire coming out of the ignition switch while in crank. It then goes to the theft deterent releay. If the VATS system is good, you should have power to the yellow wire into the trans range switch and then out of the purple wire of range switch to starter. The wires at the back of the VATS ignition cylinder will break alot inside the column. Measure the key pellet resistance, then unplug the connector under the left kick panel with the Orange insulated wire with 2 small white wires comming out of it. (may be in a big connector with turn signal etc that iss bolted in the center) Measure resistance, 1 lead in each white wire, back through the coulumn with the key in the ignition while rotating the key. The resistance should stay consistent and not jump around or go OL. If you buy a key and the wires end up being broken, you will have to buy new keys to match the new lock cylinder to turn it. The code will be right but it won't be the right cut for new cylinder.

jerrod11
08-12-2011, 03:49 PM
it wasn't the ignition lock cylinder. Bought, tried and returned. Wouldn't take the key just for that one back so ended up losing $25 in the process. Now to the lock switch.

procaddytech
08-12-2011, 07:05 PM
Well here is your starting schematic. Looked the same for a 3.1 or a 3.8. The theft deterrent relay is located behind the right side kick panel. Will probably have to pull the r/h sill plate up to get the kick panel off. Here ya go, hope it helps:
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e50/twabelljr/regalstarting.gif
Pretty straight forward. Through the switch, theft relay, PRNDL, to starter. Lots of connectors in there.

Tech II
08-13-2011, 10:11 PM
OK, so the car does not crank at all?

Look the dash.....turn the key to "on", not crank.....look at the SECURITY light....should come on for 3 seconds and go out....does it stay on?

If it stays on, you have a PassKey problem.....

You say you tried a new lock cylinder(this is not the ignition switch).....easiest way to check it was to disconnect the harness connector at the bottom of the steering coumn, attach new lock cylinder harness and put new key in new lock cylinder....just put it in, don't have to turn it(important thing is, the new key has to have the same resistance as the old key)......now insert old key in the lock cylinder on the column and turn the key to "on"........Does the SECURITY light go out now? If it does, now turn to crank and see if it starts....this is what you should have done before trying to install the new lock cylinder in the column....

If the SECURITY light goes out after three seconds and the car doesn't crank, and you have no power at the purple wire to the starter solenoid, with the key in the crank position, you have to follow the circuit

Tech II
08-13-2011, 10:28 PM
OK, so the car does not crank at all? Tried to start the car in Neutral?

Look the dash.....turn the key to "on", not crank.....look at the SECURITY light....should come on for 3 seconds and go out....does it stay on?

If it stays on, you have a PassKey problem.....

You say you tried a new lock cylinder(this is not the ignition switch).....easiest way to check it was to disconnect the harness connector at the bottom of the steering column, attach new lock cylinder harness and put new key in new lock cylinder....just put it in, don't have to turn it(important thing is, the new key has to have the same resistance as the old key)......now insert old key in the lock cylinder on the column and turn the key to "on"........Does the SECURITY light go out now? If it does, now turn to crank and see if it starts....this is what you should have done before trying to install the new lock cylinder in the column....

If the SECURITY light goes out after three seconds and the car doesn't crank, and you have no power at the purple wire to the starter solenoid, with the key in the crank position, you have to follow the circuit backwards to the source of power.....have seen the starter enable relays fail.....try swapping with another relay.....

Main thing is, do you have power into the relay(key in crank position)...if no, check ignition switch...if yes, and no power out, either bad relay or theft module is not grounding it....

jerrod11
08-13-2011, 10:29 PM
I have never seen a Security light ever, and I have looked for that. We did try a new cylinder the way you said and hooking it up normally, didn't work. I been out of town the last day and a half, but bought a Ignition Switch for the brother to try while i was out of town. I don't know what has came of that yet.

procaddytech
08-13-2011, 11:49 PM
No power to starter Purple wire right? Pass-Key II is standard on this car. The Security light should illuminate in "RUN," "BULB TEST," or "START," for about 5 seconds as a bulb check. The light is controlled by the Theft Deterrent Module. Check the VATS and ELEC fuses in the IP fuse block. Check for power on the RED wire (D5) into the ignition switch connector. Use a test light, not a meter. You need to present some load. Check for power on the Yellow wire out of ignition switch (B6) in crank position. If good, access the PRNDL under the hood on the trans and check for power on the Yellow wire (G) with ignition in crank position, shifter in Park and Neutral. If good going in, check for power coming out of the Purple wire (E) at PRNDL. If nothing, PRNDL is bad or misadjusted. If good, Purple wire is broken between PRNDL and starter. If no power going into PRNDL on Yellow wire, then access theft relay behind right kick panel. Should be easy to identify. 3 Yellow wires and 1 Blk/Yel. Check for power on the Yellow wires at the relay. (backprobe with the relay plugged in) Relay should click in crank and power should be present at 3 Yellow wires. If power is present at only 2 (A2) & (C2), ground the Blk/Yel wire (A1) to a known good ground with the ignition in crank and see if the relay clicks and you get power at the third Yellow (C1). If the relay closes with the Blk/Yel wire grounded, but not on it's own, you have a theft problem. Unplug the relay, look at the diagram on the side of it and jump the 2 switch terminals together (C1 & C2) to bypass the relay. If the car cranks, and starts the relay was bad. If it cranks and doesn't start you have a Theft Deterrent fault because the ECM will also disable injector pulse.
Use the schematic above and this one:
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e50/twabelljr/RegalTheft.gif
The Theft Deterrent Module is located below the LH side of Instrument Panel (I/P) , left of steering column.
Attach a test light to the DLC between terminal "D" and B+ to check security indicator operation.

jerrod11
08-17-2011, 08:49 PM
I guess it wasn't the ignition switch and it is blowing a ignition fuse when trying to start. Short somewhere.

Edit: Im told its Ign Sw 1.

procaddytech
08-18-2011, 06:26 AM
Disconnect the negative baterry cable and remove the Purple wire from the starter solenoid and position the terminal on the end of the wire so it cannot short against anything. Measure resistance from the terminal to the engine block. It should read O.L. If so the starter solenoid is shorted. If you have a couple spare fuses, put one in, tape or protect the terminal on the purple wire, reconnect the battery and turn the key to crank. If the fuse does not blow, the starter solenoid is shorted or the purple wire was shorted until it was moved when you disconnected it. Follow it back a bit to make sure the harness is not loose and hitting the exhaust or something. If it does blow, follow the circuit (schematic post #8) and unplug components and inspect the harnesses closlely as you do until the fuse does not blow to isolate the section of the circuit with the short. Post back if I need to see where the Yellow wire branches off to at S235.

SuperFudd
08-19-2011, 03:25 PM
Perhaps my observations of starting problems on my 3.8 '96 Regal will be helpful.
It seems to always start on the first try on the first start of the day. The outside temperature is typically 70 F. Restarting after a visit to a store or such can be a problem.
I hear the starter solenoid click but the engine does not spin. The headlights only dim slightly as might be expected due to the current drain of the solenoid.
I supose it could be a lose / intermitant main wire connection at the starter. More likely the solenoid contacts aren't always making a solid connection. Also I suspect it could be the starter motor winding wire is open when the engine / starter is warm.
As for doing my on engine repairs I have been there and done that all to often over many decades. I will let a shop fix this.

Don

SuperFudd
08-24-2011, 07:40 PM
Here is the latest on my '96 3.8L Regal starting problem.
The Buick dealerdhip says oil has been leaking from the intake manifold onto the starter comutator or whatever where brushes pass current to the armature. The heat from the arching has baked and caked the oil there slowly causing poorer and poorer contact.
The Starter will be replaced, as will a leaky battery that has passed acid inside a battery cable so it, also, will be replaced. It seems when that battery was installed, the post was broken loose a bit. It is time for a new battery anyhow.
The repair of the oil leak (weep) will have to wait a bit.

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