At 04:33 AM 3/13/03, David R. Hendrickson wrote:

after the car's been down for 4 months for intake/valve cover refurbishment, I got it all together tonight. get in the car, hit start, no crank at all. the dash/interior lights don't even dim. all lights and accessories work.

the starter relay does click w/ key in start position. 12.6 VDC at relay pin 30.
12.6 VDC at relay pin 86 with key in start position.
ohm check from relay pin 85 to LH pin 30 - OK. didn't have time to get under car for the rest of this circuit or to verify 12 VDC at the starter. swapped relays. no change.

the cluster gear indicator is ok. so is the trans range switch ok, or could it still cause a no start? frozen starter solenoid? the starter has the usual (for me) oil coating on it, I whacked the solenoid a few times with rubber hammer, no change.

thoughts on what could die just sitting?


Possibly a relay, or a bad connection or corrosion on the yellow wire from the Central Power Panel to the starter solenoid. The cluster at the jump start terminal is a likely spot for corrosion.

Here is a complete test sequence - you already have checked some of this.

Starter engagement is triggered by:

Ignition switch turned to start position energizes yellow wire on terminal 50.

Yellow wire energizes coil of starter relay (Relay XIV on the '88). If terminal 85 of relay is grounded thru the starter safety switch on the transmission, the relay will operate.

Starter Relay connects constant-hot terminal 30 to load terminal 87.

Terminal 87 energizes (among other things) yellow wire in Plug terminal C12.

Yellow wire energizes starter solenoid, which energizes starter.

To test:
Ensure that starting is safe. Remove Relay XIV. Touch a jumper from terminal 30 to terminal 87 in the socket. If starter operates, wiring to starter solenoid, solenoid and starter are probably OK.

If starter does not operate, put voltmeter from large terminal on solenoid to ground. There should be battery voltage - 12 to 12.6 vdc. If not check battery and cables. Touch jumper from 30 to 87 in Relay XIV socket. If voltage drops, battery or cables may be bad. If voltage does not drop, put voltmeter from starter body to good chassis connection. There should be zero vdc.
Touch jumper between 30 and 87 in Relay XIV socket. If there is any voltage indicated between the starter and ground, clean or replace the ground cable going from the right side of the engine to the chassis.

If the solenoid clacks sharply when the jumper is touched from 30 to 87 in Relay XIV, but the starter does not operate, check starter solenoid and starter.

If the starter operates when the jumper is touched from 30 to 87 in Relay XIV socket, but not when the Relay is installed and the ignition switch is turned to the start position. connect a voltmeter from terminal 86 in the socket to a good ground. Turn the ignition key to the start position - there should be 12 vdc on terminal 86. If there is, move the voltmeter ground connection to terminal 85 in the socket. Turn the ignition key to the start position. If there is 12 vdc between terminal 85 and terminal 86, temporarily swap the fog light relay (Relay VIII) into Relay XIV, and try the starter. If the starter works, replace the starter relay.

Wally Plumley
928 Specialists