1999 V6 Starting Problems - Team Camaro Tech
Troubleshooting Diagnosing problems done here.

 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old Mar 10th, 03, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Long Beach, CA
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Question

Ok I need some help here since this problem is getting frustrating. I bought a used 1999 Camaro Coupe with the 3.8 V-6 5-Speed. 35,000 miles. The day after I bought it, it would not start, not even a clicking noise. Took it back to the dealer they ran a test on electircal and tightened the battery cables and said there were no draws on the system. Started fine

One week later same problem, won't start, only a clicking noise and gauges went haywire when I tried to start. I checked the battery cables, noticed battery acid had dripped all over them. Had dealer replace both cables. It started fine for 2 weeks, until today. Won't start again, clicking noise only, gauages going crazy low amp reading. I really need some help on this since the dealer is clueless about this problem.

Should I replace the battery? Is it an alternator problem? Starter? Solenoid? I have no idea what to do. Any help will be appreciated.

Thanks
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old Mar 10th, 03, 03:55 PM
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Location: Austin, TX, USA
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Get a digital volt meter and measure the voltage drop between the battery terminal and battery cable connector while cranking. Do the same thing for grounds such as measuring between negative post and engine, negative post and frame, etc.

Do you think something is draining the battery? What does the DVM show when measuring battery voltage directly. Should show at least 12V with no less than 8V when cranking. A running / charging battery should read between 12.8 and 14.2 volts.

I had an ECM relay weld shut on my wife's [email protected]%D once. Car would run fine until you let it set for a couple of days. ECM relay was causing fuel injectors, pump, ignition and all sorts of sensors to remain powered with the ignition off. But you said no drain right? Make sure it's not intermittant.

Sounds like the DVM should be kept in the glove box for a while.

-dnult

Dave
========================
68 Coupe, 350 w/ Edelbrock Performer RPM heads, cam, intake, 700R4, Dave's small body HEI
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old Mar 10th, 03, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
 
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Well before I had the cables changes the volt meter in the dash would move back and forth between 12.8 (idle) and nearly 15 or 16 (fwy speeds) depending on the how much I'd rev the engine. Then when I got the new cables the volts would stay constant around 14.2 when the engine was running. So i figured the cables were bad (maybe corroded) and were not allowing consistent current to flow, thus overcharing the battery at times. But now I'm thinking it's more complicated than that.

I would think that they ran those tests with a digital volt meter the first time to look for a drain.

If it's intermittent, are there certain situations to be aware of an intermittent drain, like excessive heat or cold outside, radio on or off, kill swtich, lights? low fuel? both times this happened I left the car for 1+ hr (during lunch) and it was 80+ degrees and the car was below a 1/4 tank of fuel. Weird coincidece or important information? I don't know.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old Mar 12th, 03, 02:12 PM
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Location: Waldorf Md. USA
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AMD,
You metioned that "battery acid had dripped" on the cables ??? GM had some problems with thier batteries around the time frame of your car, but I thought it was only the truck batteries. They would leak out through the positive terminal and corrode the heck out of the cables and everything under them. I think I would be taking a real good look at the battery itself if there is any evidence of leaking, get it out of there. I would think that the dealer would have looked at this if they changed the cables. It sounds like a bad connection somewhere to me. I would take it back to the dealer and "make" them fix it. You have documentation that it was like that when you bought it from them. If they can't...find another dealer. This one should be an easy fix for someone who knows how to troubleshoot an electrical system.
Just my opinion,

Bill Koustenis
Owner
Advanced Automotive Machine
Waldorf Md
1971 Chevelle "Heavy Chevy" original owner


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old Mar 12th, 03, 04:20 PM
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No offense to any dealer mechanics out there, but I never put faith in the dealers work. I know I'm stereo typing and that I'll probably offend a few honest mechanics, but I don't think I'm off base by much.

I always do one of two things. First, fix it myself. Second, diagnose the problem so I know exactly what needs to be done. Dealership mechanics are paid on commission at a flat rate. A call-back just means more money for them in many cases. So to think that they did proper diagnosis with a DVM is not certain. If they got it to start they probably shoved it out the door and called you to pick it up.

-dnult

Dave
========================
68 Coupe, 350 w/ Edelbrock Performer RPM heads, cam, intake, 700R4, Dave's small body HEI
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old Mar 13th, 03, 07:06 AM Thread Starter
 
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Dnult - I agree with you completely. However, in this situation I need to make it their problem, since the car had this problem from day one (literally) and I purchased a warranty as well.

It just got in this morning and i told them to check the battery or replace it (it's under warranty from NAPA) and clean up any acid that I may have missed, and test the entire electrical system related to starting and look for ANY possibile drains. They're officially on notice that this is try number 3 and after this if it happens again I'll start looking for a lemon law attorney. I hate to do it, but I have to get them motivated to fix this now. I can't afford to waste any more time with this.

One other thought - would the Pass II key have any thing to do with this problem? I have the key with the metal chip on it. Just a random thought.

thanks for the replies guys.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old May 20th, 03, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Long Beach, CA
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Angry

So here is the long term update.

The dealership took it in over the weekend back in March and had their "best" mechanic work on it. His professional opinion after 1.5 days of work was that it needed a new battery! Can you believe it? So they replaced it and I drove off...

2 months later, no problems starting up since then!

So the problem apparantly was the battery and it was aftermarket (napa) and had a bad cell in it. I'm not sure why the car would already have an aftermarket battery at 35,000 miles, which leads me to believe that there must have been some damage to the car or some other significant problem before I bought it. The carfax checks out ok, but it doesn't mean the car was never in an accident.

Thanks for your input.
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