89 Camaro Starting Problem - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old Oct 26th, 00, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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Unhappy

After driving the car for a period of
time, and then letting it rest for a few minutes, the car will not start (i.e. crank) when the key is turned. After letting the
car rest for a longer time, it will start.

I have had this problem for approx. 2 years, and it is getting worse. In that time, I
have cleaned the wire connections (ground
and positive), changed the starter, changed
the battery, & changed the alternator. I thought it was tied to the car being hot, but it is gradually getting worse. Just spent
$150 for a mechanic to check it out. They
thought it was still the starter, but they
have put two on & it did not help. The
mechanic "claimed" the starter was getting
voltage even when it would not start.

Any thought would be appreciated.
89 Camaro 305ci

Thanks,




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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old Oct 26th, 00, 03:35 PM
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Hi, I used to have this problem with a '68 I had. I went through several starters as well, with no success. Did you have the ignition switch checked? Thats about the only thing I did not do with the '68. Hope you find the problem, because I know how annoying that can be when it won't crank.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old Oct 27th, 00, 11:27 AM
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One other thought corssed my mind. You can also try a heat shield on the starter or solenoid. This problem can also be caused by a thing called heat soak, where the starter armature gets hot and expands, preventing it from turning until it cools.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old Oct 27th, 00, 03:19 PM
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A problem I've seen before is when either battery cable is situated to close to the exhaust manifolds. Due to the heat, the resistance goes way up. You'll still get power, but not enough.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old Oct 27th, 00, 03:43 PM
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This is a VERY common, chronic small-block Chevy problem; as an earlier post states, it's caused by the exhaust manifold heat getting the starter solenoid so hot that the plunger expands and sticks in the bore of the solenoid. As it cools, the plunger is freed up and works fine. Cure is either a heat shield (available from all the parts houses) or a Thermo-Tec starter wrap kit. Can also be cured by removing the plunger from the solenoid, oil-sanding with emery paper to take off a few thousandths all over the plunger surface, and re-installing; however, this also removes the protective plating on the plunger which can eventually corrode it to the bore of the solenoid. Welcome to the world of the small-block Chevy!

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old Oct 27th, 00, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the ideas. Keep them coming until we fix the problem. I will try them all. Hope to work on the car 10/28/00. I would have thought the mechanic would have put on a new solenoid that would not be so sensitive to heat, but who knows. I wonder if I can test the heat problem by spraying a fine mist of water on the solenoid and/or the cables? Again, all ideas are welcomed and I will get to them all until one fixes the problem.

Thanks,

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old Oct 30th, 00, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
 
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Update: After posting my problem, I read through a lot of the prior postings. This might be a problem people are solving in different ways.

Bottom Line: I replaced the neutral safety switch located in the console and activated by the automatic transmission shifter. I will repost when I am certain this fixed the problem, but all looks good at this point.

What is Happening: When the car gets hot, the starter, solenoid, wires, etc. get hot ant it take more current to engage the starter. You could get around the weak neutral safety switch by letting the car cool, shielding the starter, insulating wires or moving them away from heat, or you could have a bad or weak ignition switch.

What I Did: I ran the car until it would not start. I ran a wire from the ignition side of the solenoid (cliped by an alegator
clip) to a cheap 12 volt tester (alegator clip with light and a sharp point). I grounded the tester to a screw on the sill plate while trying to start the car. Although the light came on, I don't think the starter was getting enough current. I started the car by touching a screw driver across the positive connection on the starter to the solenoid ignition wire connection (the one and only small wire on 89 camaro solenoid). I went to a parts store to replace the starter switch or neutral safety swith, but the parts man could not tell me how to remove the starter switch, so I went for the neutral safety switch.

Thanks and Keep The Ideas Comming: All your comments have been a great help to me. I was about to give up on this problem and take it to a dealer who I know would charge me over $200, keep the car for three days minimum, and still might not fix the problem. Even if I am on the wrong track, you have given me more ideas to try and think about. Until I am certain my problem is solved, I appreciate additional comments.

As someone else said, Prayer always helps too.

Hints For Replacing Neutral Safety Switch: First disconnect the negative wire to the battery. Put the emergency break on. Remove the C clip from the shifter knob. Hit the bottom of the knob with the open part of an opened end wrench or something that will go around the shifter post with an upward motion. Don't scratch the post and watch out the knob might pop up high. I had to remove/loosen the screws holding the shifter to remove the old switch. When I pulled my switch, I noticed it would move from side to side, but the new switch did not. The parts man said that the switch should not move unless it is engaged (i.e. has current, shifter in correct position, etc.). I had to turn the key and depress the shifter (where knob would press down) to get the post aligned so I could install the neutral safety switch. Put the car in Park and reconnected negative batery cable. Started car.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 00, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
 
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As far as I can tell the neutral safety switch solved my problem. Thanks for your help. I hope the problem does not reapper when the weather gets hotter.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 00, 08:31 AM
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#rd gens have a funny problem like that. My 92 Firebird V6 would not start every once and a will. Everything acted normal, but not cranking. I swapped to a V8 and even though I have a different starter, the problem still happens. The relay under the dash is clicking, but the motor will nopt crank. I put a push button switch on the starter, and when it acts up, I hit the button and the car turns over. Problem is somewhere between the dash relay and the starter solinoid. Since mine is manual shift, I checked the clutch pedal switch and it is fine.

My friends 90 RS does the same thing, but is an automatic.

Darn wierd!

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 00, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
 
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Mark,

Your friend might want to put in a new neutral safety switch on his automatic.

I was getting current through my safety switch, but apparently it was not enough.

For your manual trans:

This may not be applicable to you but I thought I would let you know. 1) On my 1972
Chevelle I had a clutch pedal switch that was warn. When I put in the pedal it sometimes would not send the current it needed. 2) I also had to clean a connection that went into the transmission where there was a sensor -- I assumed this sensor indicated when the car was in neutral
or park.

Bottom Line: You may have more than one electrical device telling when the car is in neutral or the pedal is depressed. Although
my neutral safetly switch would send a current through it for my 89 camaro, it still would not send enough current to start the car. If your switchs are not too expensive you may want to change them.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 00, 10:42 AM
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Mark,
We have a fleet of pickups on our farm and see a lot of switch problems. The dust get's into them and causes a lot of problems.
The headlight switches that are rocker type have contacts that just lightly touch together like ignition points, with no scraping movement to knock the dust off.
If just a little dust get's into the switch which is not protetcted or sealed, the switch gets hot and can melt. I wouldn't be suprised if it caused a fire.
The current through the switch is fairly high on the headlight circut.
With starter problems, if there is no noise from the starter, I try bypassing the neutral safety switch before pulling the starter.

Also, on a fleet situation, if the engines don't start right away you see a LOT more worn out starters as an extra 15 seconds more cranking will shorten the life of the starter a lot.
So, I concentrate on a good tune up as a way of making the starters last longer.
David

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[This message has been edited by davidpozzi (edited 12-01-2000).]
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old Dec 4th, 00, 09:44 AM
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I like the safety switch ideas, I know they are working because I can hear (and feel) the relay in the clicking, but I am sure that less then max current would also do that? Am I right? Maybe the relay is working, but not putting enough to the starter???? I think you guys have something here. I guess I will break out the ole multimeter again.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old Dec 4th, 00, 03:53 PM
 
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My brother is having the same problems with his 89 RS 305. He's replaced the starter, alternator, fuel pump, computer, distributor cap, wires, plugs, rotor, coil, battery, neutral safety switch and sometimes the car still won't start. This may sound weird, but if he keeps the fuel tank at least half full at all times, he doesn't have as much trouble. Sometimes the car will start running eratically and just die on him. Sometimes it'll crank back up and run fine and other times it'll sit for a day or two. He sometimes leaves the car sitting for up to 8 hours in a parking lot on the weekends and when he returns, the car won't do anything. Most of the time, the headlights will work but the engine won't turn over. I've told him to replace the ignition switch, but he doesn't listen to me....he just calls me to pick him up when his car won't start. Any ideas or suggestions?
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old Jul 9th, 01, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
 
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Well I am back. I had no problems starting my 89 camaro after replacing the neutral safety switch last year. However when the hot weather returned, my car somtimes will not start until it cools down. I am emailing others with a similar problems to see what the best solution is. This year I have tried a solenoid heat shield from Auto Zone which did not help. I am leaning towards a Summit wrap around starter heat blanket, and I see Classic Industries out of
California has a "Hot Shot" solution to cars with heat starting problems which looks like a wiring solution to get more amps to the
starter; but I would really like to know why after working for years the car will not start when it is hot. Is it because the engine is old and running hotter than it used to? Also looking for the best solution to my problem. Another thought is I have not replaced the ignition switch, but noticed the wires from the switch had breaks in the insulation (which I electrically taped over). Any additional thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 01, 09:56 AM
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Mack, Here are two solutions I have for you. I just finished with this problem. I ordered a starter blanket from Jegs for $20 and it worked like a charm. My other solution is a remote Ford solenoid. Someone in this site sent me a link to a website that has the instructions on how to do it.
Here is the link--
www.geocities.com/MotorCity/Speedway/6432/starter.htm

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