new battery, not starting.PLZ help! :(


kiko B
08-11-2012, 01:06 AM
Hi there, im new to this and dont know alot about vehicles. I know the bare basics if that. So please bear with me here. I have a 96 Grand am v6, yesterday morning it started no problem, i dropped my son off at day care and when i came out it would.not start again. No ticking, not trying to turn over, nothing (all lights, radio, and seatbelt/door alarm works). I had someone come boost me and it started. I drove to work turned it off and it wouldnt start again. Same as the last time.
i was told to get someone to boost me to test the battery. Basically attach the boosters and let his car run for ten mins. Unhoom the boosters from my car, if it starts then its the battery gone bad (wont hold a charge). Well my babt started so i went and picked up a new battery installed right there in the parkinglot and again it would not start. No noise or anything,same as last time.
The only time i can get it to start is by boosting it.
My thoughts:
- dead starter? No, it would tick-tick-tick when i turn the key.
- bad battery? No brand new not even two days old.
-alternator? How do i test it?
-cylinoid? How do i test it?
-bad grounding connection? Where is/are the ground connection(s), how do i clean them, how do i test them?
Can i di all this my self or does it have to go to a profesional? Sombody please help, im running out of patience with this car and i really cant have it crap out completely right now!

GTP Dad
08-11-2012, 09:16 AM
Welcome to AF!!

There are a couple of possible issues here although you covered most of them in your post. First, is the security light, located on the dash, illuminated. If it is I suggest you try another OEM key to try to start it. If the chip in the other key is bad then the system may not be reading it and the security system is disabling the car.

You could also try to reset the passlock system by turning the key on and leaving it on for 10 minutes, turn it off for 30 seconds and then turn it on for another 10 minutes. Turn off again for 30 seconds and turn on again for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes on the third try see if the car will start. It is a pain to do this but it is the only way to reset the system.

If the security light is not on then problems will lie elsewhere. I don't think the battery is bad but it could be an issue with the battery terminals. Remove them and clean the terminal on the wire and reinstall. If that doesn't work then try this trick. Get a set of jumper cables and connect the negative to the engine where it makes good contact like the alternator bracket or other metal parts on the engine. Try to start the car. If the ground is bad this will bypass it and you should get a good ground and the engine should start. To find the ground connection just follow the black battery cable to where it connects to the engine block. It should be bolted to the block. Remove the bolt and clean it with steel wool or a wire brush.

If this doesn't work then you may have a bad positive leading from the battery to the starter solenoid. This happens as it could have corroded and is not making contact. As you indicated the solenoid may have gone bad or the starter is bad. You can change the starter if you can safely get the car up off the ground far enough to get under the car. Do not try this with the OEM jack. You will need jack stands and a good quality bottle or floor jack to lift it. It only takes basic hand tools to change them. Since the solenoid is part of the starter you will need to remove the starter to change it so have the starter tested if you decide to remove it from the vehicle don't just remove and replace the solenoid.

Finally, it is a good possibility that you have a bad positive or negative wire coming from the battery. If this is true then you will need to replace both wires. Sometimes over the years they deteriorate internally and as a result it takes far more amps to turn the starter over than one battery can supply that is why it starts when you use another car to jump it.

By the way, I don't think the alternator has anything to do with this problem!

Hope this helps!

Tech II
08-11-2012, 10:54 AM
In addition to what GTP Dad said, this car uses the PassLock system, so there is no chip in the key....it's a blank key.....

It could be a SECURITY or THEFT system problem.....only way to know for sure is to scan for "B" codes, or check for power at the "S" terminal of the starter solenoid, with the key in the crank position....

Chances are, if it doesn't even crank, but immediately cranks with a jump, then there is either a bad connection somewhere or a possible problem with the starter/starter solenoid....if you are getting BAT voltage at the "S" terminal with the key in the crank position, and there is no crank, then it's the starter.....if no voltage at the "S" terminal, possible THEFT system problem.....

kiko B
08-11-2012, 01:49 PM
In addition to what GTP Dad said, this car uses the PassLock system, so there is no chip in the key....it's a blank key.....

It could be a SECURITY or THEFT system problem.....only way to know for sure is to scan for "B" codes, or check for power at the "S" terminal of the starter solenoid, with the key in the crank position....

Chances are, if it doesn't even crank, but immediately cranks with a jump, then there is either a bad connection somewhere or a possible problem with the starter/starter solenoid....if you are getting BAT voltage at the "S" terminal with the key in the crank position, and there is no crank, then it's the starter.....if no voltage at the "S" terminal, possible THEFT system problem.....



Your right tech there is no chip in the key just a plain key. I dont think its the starter because thwre is absolutely no sound coming from it. That was the first thing i listened for.

kiko B
08-11-2012, 02:02 PM
Welcome to AF!!

There are a couple of possible issues here although you covered most of them in your post. First, is the security light, located on the dash, illuminated. If it is I suggest you try another OEM key to try to start it. If the chip in the other key is bad then the system may not be reading it and the security system is disabling the car.

You could also try to reset the passlock system by turning the key on and leaving it on for 10 minutes, turn it off for 30 seconds and then turn it on for another 10 minutes. Turn off again for 30 seconds and turn on again for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes on the third try see if the car will start. It is a pain to do this but it is the only way to reset the system.

If the security light is not on then problems will lie elsewhere. I don't think the battery is bad but it could be an issue with the battery terminals. Remove them and clean the terminal on the wire and reinstall. If that doesn't work then try this trick. Get a set of jumper cables and connect the negative to the engine where it makes good contact like the alternator bracket or other metal parts on the engine. Try to start the car. If the ground is bad this will bypass it and you should get a good ground and the engine should start. To find the ground connection just follow the black battery cable to where it connects to the engine block. It should be bolted to the block. Remove the bolt and clean it with steel wool or a wire brush.
O
If this doesn't work then you may have a bad positive leading from the battery to the starter solenoid. This happens as it could have corroded and is not making contact. As you indicated the solenoid may have gone bad or the starter is bad. You can change the starter if you can safely get the car up off the ground far enough to get under the car. Do not try this with the OEM jack. You will need jack stands and a good quality bottle or floor jack to lift it. It only takes basic hand tools to change them. Since the solenoid is part of the starter you will need to remove the starter to change it so have the starter tested if you decide to remove it from the vehicle don't just remove and replace the solenoid.

Finally, it is a good possibility that you have a bad positive or negative wire coming from the battery. If this is true then you will need to replace both wires. Sometimes over the years they deteriorate internally and as a result it takes far more amps to turn the starter over than one battery can supply that is why it starts when you use another car to jump it.

By the way, I don't think the alternator has anything to do with this problem!

Hope this helps!




thank you SO much for this. You have given me several option to look at and given me the info i need to check my own suspicions. My security light is not on at all. It lights up with everything else but shut off when the rest of the lights do. Wothout proper lifts/jacks/ supports i cant get under ot today but i am definately going to check outhe positive and negative leads. Im fervently hoping this is the problem. I have already spent too much money on This car in minor repairs over the years amd at this point if i cant fix it my self with my limited skill and knowledge its just not wprth keeping. Again thank you sooooo very much for the help. I will check it out in a couple hours and let you guys know hoe it goes.
p.s- tech guy, im not even close to being knowledgeable enough abot vehicles to even have a torque wrench. So a scan of anysort is out of the question. If there is another way to check it with woth or without your basic household tools, please let me know. Again thanks a bunch :)

kiko B
08-11-2012, 07:04 PM
Well, i found and cleaned the ground connextions and i checked the positive connection too. I had the battery tested just in case i got a bum battery. I am having trouble finding the starter so i i can check that and re build it. I think its by the front end under the motor (going from what GTA dad says) but im not exactly sure what i am looking for? Is it beside my oil filter? If so is it to the driver side or passenger side of the oil filter? Amd stupid as this sounds what does it look like? (for years i thought that the alternator was the starter but i poimted it out and was told its actually an alternator hahaha)

thephantom1492
08-11-2012, 09:53 PM
The starter is somewhat easy to find. Follow the biggest wire from the positive of your battery. You will end on the starter.

My first test would be to mesure the voltage at the battery.
You should be near 12.5V.

Get the car started by "any" mean. Mesure the voltage. It should be over 13V. If not you most probably have a faulty alternator.

Since you say that a boost make the car start all the time, I suspect that the starting circuit is all fine. So you appear to have a charging problem.


How the starting circuit is made: There is 2 power path. One is more like a "signal", the other is the main power feed.
The main power feed is from the battery positive via the biggest wire down to the starter solenoid (which is part of the starter).
A second wire is from the ignition key to the transmission shift interlock (big word to define a switch that prevent you to try to start the car while in gear. It allow to start while in park and in neutral) going to the solenoid.
The solenoid purpose is double, first it pull out the gear out from the starter to engage it to the engine flywheel. When it is engaged, the second function kick in: turn on the starter. In other words, the solenoid engage the gear and switch the power.
A starter use way too much power to feed it to the ignition key (we are talking over 100A, and can go easilly over 300A when it's cold outside), hence the switch. A starter is made to have lots of torque, but is low speed. The engine spin way too fast, hence why it need to disengage from the engine, else it would spin too fast and get damaged.

The alternator is on your accessory belt. It's goal is to charge the battery when the engine is running and power all the electrical load.

The battery act as an electrical storage and buffer device. As a side note, NEVER EVER disconnect a battery when the engine is running, you can kill all of the electronics (remember the buffer part?) A 12V battery is not 12.00V. It's 12.5-12.7V while full, 12V is kinda it's "middle" voltage, and 11V is about it's fully empty voltage. You need atleast 13.5V to be able to fully charge the battery. Normally you should be able to reach 14.4V when revving up the engine. It shouln't excede 15V.

Ensure that the battery connectors is oxydation free and tight. If you can twist the connector from the battery terminal, it's not tight enought.

kiko B
08-11-2012, 10:07 PM
Phantom : i had the battery tested it measured 12.73 V. I had to pull it out of my car and takr it in to be tested because i dont have morr than a basic wrench/wratchet set.

kiko B
08-11-2012, 10:11 PM
Phantom: so you think its a charging problem. And that is basically my alternators purpose. So you figure it is my alternator? How easy it it to rebuild that? And the starter too? Can i rebuild them?

thephantom1492
08-11-2012, 11:49 PM
If the battery got mesured at 12.71V, then it mesure full.

You should borrow a multimeter for this issue...

Also, how did you jump started? both wires on the battery or positive on battery and negative on engine?

I am trying to figure out why with a full battery the car don't start, but with a boost it does.

I might have went on the wrong track with my alternator idea...

See, if you have a battery that test good and have 12.71V then the alternator should work, and the car should have enought power to start. Meaning boosting shouln't do anything at all.

Now, why is boosting allowing to start and not the battery.

If you are jump starting with positive on battery and ground on the engine, it could point to a bad ground wire from battery to engine, or bad contact at the battery terminals. A multimeter would help ALOT to diagnose this... and confirm that you do have 12.71V at the battery.

kiko B
08-12-2012, 01:22 AM
What is a multi meter? And how do i use it?
I boost with both posts. I wanted to boost with just the pos, having neg connected to my block but i could get anyone to boost me. So thats on the agenda for tomorro. But i did check and clean up the ground connections as best as i could. Maybe i missed one?(two on the frame,one to the motor)

GTP Dad
08-12-2012, 09:13 AM
A multi meter is a volt meter that will tell you how much your alternator is putting out. If you have never used one find a friend that has one and have the friend test it for you. If you can't find a friend and can get one turn the wheel on the front of the meter to 20 volts or higher and put the red lead on the positive terminal and the black on the negative terminal of the battery. Then read the meter. It should tell you how much voltage the alternator is putting out. Unfortunately, you can only do this when the car is running.

I don't think you have a problem with the alternator. The starter is your best bet so once you find it and remove it take it and have it tested. If it is bad it will show up during the test at the parts store. Although expensive your best bet would be to get a remanufactured starter and replace the one you have with that. Just make sure to keep any shims that may fall out when you pull your old starter. Also, be very careful to disconnect the battery before removing the starter. If you accidentally cross the terminals on the solenoid you will be in for a light show and will probably burn out one of the fusable links at the starter.

When you are at the starter look at the wires connecting it to the car. If one of the wires appears burnt that could be your entire issue and you will need to replace the link and reinstall it. They sometimes short out or burn out during hard use especially if you have jumped it multiple times.

thephantom1492
08-12-2012, 01:16 PM
Here come a nice video for you
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ze7pzrhRIs

This is basically what I'ld first do.
Since you say that boosting make it start, I would suspect a power delivery issue first.

First, I expected that you had a no charge issue, causing the battery to be unable to power the starter. But the 12.71V indicate a full charge. so.. plan B:

Then it's a possible power delivery issue. This is what I wanted you to check. This is basically one of the possible problem that the video cover, but it explain many things.

Notice that in the video they show a starter. On your car it might be at a different location, but will look simmilar.

A NOTE OF WARNING! A car battery can deliver enought current to make a wrench become red hot if you short the terminals, ALWAYS make sure that you will never short the battery !

kiko B
08-24-2012, 03:40 PM
Alright guys its time for an update.
First i replaced the battery, double tested it(its putting out 12.7)
then i cleaned the grounds (just to be sure how many are there and where are they)
then i checked the starter (working perfectly) and replaced the cylinoid. The wires there looked fine, not burnt.
i just replaced the ground wire (directly off the battery) amd the postitive post connection to the battery( a friend said he had the same issue and that fixed it)
i toom it to a mechanic who put a multi meter on(first thing he did) and said the alternator is working properly. Unless he has never seen this before and after spending 2 1/2 hours testing all fuses, starter wires, etc. he couldnt figure it out with out running diagnositcs and spending money i dont have.
My car still wont start with out a boost( this is how i get too and from work every day). I have no idea where to go next. And other people i have talked to are at a loss too. Anybody have any other ideas or suggestions?

thephantom1492
08-24-2012, 08:41 PM
Did you checked the youtube link? it have some good diagnosis there.

Also, you didn't said (or I missed it) if the terminals can be twisted by hand on the batt.

kiko B
08-24-2012, 10:02 PM
Yeahi saw the video, its nithing i didnt already know/try. It was interesting tho and im thinking of emailing him to ask for advice. I can not twist the terminals by hand, they are secure.
Ps- thanks for the video.

GTP Dad
08-25-2012, 08:53 AM
I know you don't have a lot of money but change the entire positive wire leading from the battery to the starter not just the end of the cable. I suspect that you have an internally corroded wire that is high amperage and that is why the car will start with a boost and not the single battery. This happens when the wires get old and can draw so much current during the starting phase that the battery cannot supply enough to start the car. This is the only thing that I can think of that may be causing the issue.

thephantom1492
08-25-2012, 09:55 PM
I know you don't have a lot of money but change the entire positive wire leading from the battery to the starter not just the end of the cable. I suspect that you have an internally corroded wire that is high amperage and that is why the car will start with a boost and not the single battery. This happens when the wires get old and can draw so much current during the starting phase that the battery cannot supply enough to start the car. This is the only thing that I can think of that may be causing the issue.

That could be tested by the same way that Eric in the video did...

Put probes on battery, try to start. Voltage should stay over 10V. If not, you could have a battery problem OR a starter OR engine problem or a mix of all.

Put a probe on the starter "big wire", put the other probe directly on the battery positive (if you can't, go to the connector...)

Then try to start. The voltage read should be very low. If you read an high voltage (let's say more than 2V) then your wire lose lots of voltage and need to be replaced.

If you read close to 0V, then one probe to the starter body, one to the battery negative terminal. Try to start. If high volt, you have a ground failure. If close to 0V then the ground wire is fine.

If both tests test ok, body of the starter and starter small wire. Should read about 12V when you try to start. If you do not then look at why!

Basically, the small wire power the solenoid, which pull on a lever, that push out the gear out of the starter so it engage in the flywheel, which is bolted to the engine. That solenoid also have a "switch" that connect the big wire to the starter motor.

The proper sequence is: small wire get energised, which power the solenoid, which engage the gear. Once the gear is in, the copper disk that is part of that "switch" make the contact and the starter turn.

The small wire come from the ignition key switch, then go to the transmission shift interlock switch (that prevent a car from starting when in gear) or to the clutch pedal for manual transmission. That wire can also be cut and a relay inserted there for anti-theif protection...

So you have 2 power path and a few mechanical devices.

Check for the voltages first. It will help to understand stuff.

ffshnike
09-05-2012, 10:38 AM
Hi there,
I have a 95 grand am se and a 97 grand am gt. My 95 has done the same thing to me and I replaced the battery. Both times it has been the ignition switch. $180 to fix it twice in 2 years. Got a 3 year warranty on the part this time. But it would start sometimes and other times nothing until it would just go competely dead. Hope this helped.

ffshnike
09-05-2012, 10:06 PM
Hi in doing some research for my 97 gt I found out that there has been a recall on later year grand am for the ignition switch. I have replaced my 95 ignition switch twice in 2 years. I called GM today and they are sending both my 95 and 97 to a service tech to get fixed or looked at and I was told that if the switch repair I already did is already done correctly I will be able to get a reimbursement for the repair!! Guess it doesn't hurt to check it out!

jtgdy61
09-16-2012, 12:56 PM
I have a 2003 Grand Am, GT, ran great no problems then won't start, nadda. all lights lit no noise at all when turning key., battery replaced 3 months ago i had to beleive that the starter was OK always a smooth start, did not know what to think. I read your post and I thought that it was strange but worth a try. After going thru the 3 times on and off, car started right up. Cannot thank you enough for your advice great to hear from someone who knows what they are talking about.THANKS

kiko B
10-18-2012, 07:50 PM
Okay time for an update. Since i have started having this problem i have checked/changed/replaced : my battery, negative ground wire, checked alternator, bench test starter,replace solinoid, replace ignitionswitch(twice) replace spark plugs and wires and tried the security bypass thing. The weird part : i had to change the rad(there was a hole) and after that she would start by herself without a boost. Ran perfectly for 3weeks, my boyfriend left it in neutral over night one night but it started up fine when i left for work. It was only when i tried to go for a coffee run at work( two hours later) that the same old ugly problem reappeard. Again not start unless boosted. I had a friend come over and insisting it was the plugs and wires changed them. It started with a boost but the engine light was on so we shut her off and tried again. She wouldnt even take the boost! So i did the ignition switch, to no avail, i did not try to boost this time. I gave up untill 3 weeks ago, i had a friend come loom and he thought it was the positive termial that i had replaced not connecting the wires properly(it was one that you slide over the wires the twist one the end that attaches to the battery)OR a dead spot in the starteer that "wouldnt appear on a bemch test because the isnt the load from the engine on it". At any rate we boosted it and she started with noises that sounded like a dead zombie chicken trying to escape from my engine. But after making that noise she started by herself several times that day and the next. I have been too busy to even think about the car until today. I tried to start it and it cranks but wont catch she did catch a couple times but died before i even took my hand off the key. What could be possible problems with this new issue? Any ideas would help immensly!
-no gas
-bad starter?
I have no idea and didnt even think to look at the gas gauge (but it should be full, unless someone syphened it).

Ps- the tips/advice/help you guys have given me so car have been wonderfull, and i really appreciate it. So thanks again and thanks in advance for any fresh ideas.

Tech II
10-19-2012, 03:46 PM
Have a can of carb cleaner handy.....when it won't start, spray carb cleaner into the intake and have someone crank vehicle.....if it starts and runs as long as you spray, it's a fuel problem......either no/low pressure, or injector problem(Security system?)....

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