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Truck starts only when it wants too.

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by rjfguitar, Jul 9, 2005.

  1. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I went to start the K5 yesterday and when I turned the key I got nothing. I have power to everything in the cab and the battery was registering at 11volts. Just when I turn the key, nothing. I tinker with it for a while, ignition key being turned on and off. Finally, after about a 1/2 hour, it fired up. Just turned the key like normal. :doah:

    In the past it did this to me before, but only once and I just had to try it again once. So, what ever is worn out or loose is getting worse. I tested my alarm, not the problem, and my remote start is plugged in through the alarm. I am guessing either a worn out ignition key switch, sticky starter selonoid, or a loose wire some place.

    I was just hoping that maybe I am having a common symptom of a bad part and everyone would be able to point it out easy, but with my luck I doubt it. :doah: I am getting the K5 ready for Blazer Fest and I leave next Thursday. I would like to get it fixed before I leave so it doesn't act up out on the trail. :doah:
     
  2. Robert79K5

    Robert79K5 1/2 ton status

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    Sounds like a worn out ignition switch... but hell as cheap and easy as they are why not just go ahead with the shotgun approach and change the ignition switch, solonoid and look for bad wires all at the same time.
     
  3. dirtwarrior17

    dirtwarrior17 Banned

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    Does it run alright once its started?

    If you haven't replaced your ignition switch yet then its probably bad. Mine went bad about 2 months ago. got so bad i could start it with no key.... just turned the switch and fired it up. Eventually it killed my power.
     
  4. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    It runs fine, just only starts when it wants to. I'm leaning towards a bad ignition key switch too. Are they hard/easy to install? Never done one.
     
  5. down4thakrown

    down4thakrown 1/2 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    the ignition switch isnt up were the key goes. its under nieth the dash on top of the coloum. theres 2 i think 5/16 bolts that bolt it up with 2 plugs that go to it.dropping the coloum down a little bit helps. there only like 15$ at autozone.
     
  6. dirtwarrior17

    dirtwarrior17 Banned

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    the tumbler is what i meant..... It's about a 2 hour project having never done one before. no real way to test a tumbler tho. Since you can check the ignition switch(not the tumbler) with a multimeter start there... if that checks out then replace your tumbler. Only about 6 bucks and you get your deposit back for the lock plate remove and steering wheel puller when you return the em. 6 bucks and 2 hours aint bad.
     
  7. ntaj*ep

    ntaj*ep 1/2 ton status

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    Take your battery cables off the battery(s) and clean the connections. Use some dielectric grease on them and see if that helps. If a small amount of corrosion forms on the cables it can cause this issue......
     
  8. dodgedude99

    dodgedude99 1/2 ton status

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    id try cleaning the terminals as well.

    last summer out of the blue my 99 ram did the same thing as you described.
    it would click when i would try to start it like the battery was dead, but the lights were bright as could be.

    so i thought it was the starter, took it off cleaned it, put back on same thing.
    took it back off and the starter, went to Autozone to have it tested and they both checked fine.

    put everything back in and it fire right up.

    grant it i have top post connectors, but who knows side post might do the same even though they arent supposed to.
     
  9. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I don't get a click or anything when I try to start it. Just turn the key against the spring and the lights dim just a little but not a sound from the starter.

    So the ignition is on the steering columb under the dash?
     
  10. unclematty

    unclematty 1/2 ton status

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    there is the key! the lights dim but no sound or anything! I'd almost bet your soliniod is going away
    you also need to do a voltage drop test between the battery and the solinoid :crazy:
     
  11. Thunder

    Thunder 3/4 ton status

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    Yeah is your IGN switch is probabally ok. Check your Cables, solonoid, and starter. Get under your truck and give the starter a wack with a BFH, Cresent wrench or what ever is handy. Many times a good wack will make it work.
     
  12. willyswanter

    willyswanter 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Starter Solenoid.
     
  13. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Dont change the ignition until...

    You try jumping the solenoid when it wont start by the key?--if it cranks when the solenoid is "jumped" then its not the ignition switch--its probably in the wiring,the big purple wire that activates the solenoid is interupted by the neutral safety switch( did you hold the key to "start" while moving the shifter lever from park to neutral,too see if the switch is out of adjustment?).

    The switch might be bad,(you can unplug the purple wires from it, and jump the connector with a cotter pin to test it)----,that wire could be cut or chafed,the solenoid or starter might have a "dead spot" in them,or are failing to activate due to high temparatures caused by headers or exhaust pipes too close to the starter...this sounds like your case,since it starts again after cooling down awhile..ever try cooling it off with a garden hose and trying to start it??(the starter motor!).. :confused:

    I've had at least a dozen GM cars and trucks,and I've yet to encounter a bad ignition switch yet!--maybe I'm just lucky,but I'd blame the ignition switch LAST,not first!...its a PITA to change--no sense in changing it for nothing.. :doah: :crazy:
     
  14. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Opposite, it seems to do it when it's been sitting for a while and is dead cold. Maybe it is the starter selonoid, since it isn't started for a while and sits without it being used. It seems once the truck is started it is fine, is warmed up, and is started again. Selonoids do tend to stick more after they have sat right?
     
  15. ntaj*ep

    ntaj*ep 1/2 ton status

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    Did you check the cables?
     
  16. fatbob

    fatbob 1/2 ton status

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    I agree with ntaj*ep, check the cables. My truck was doing the same intermitent starting problems, but the cables looked good, and I kept looking at everything else for the problem. Finaly I try wiggling the cables and it pulled off the end. The plastic sheathing looked good but the cable had corroded underneath. The last few strands still gave me power to everything but not enough amps for starting.
     
  17. 3 on the tree

    3 on the tree 1/2 ton status

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    Did you hit the wrong key??? 11 volts is not enough voltage to start. If that 11 volts is accurate, you have more problems than an ignition switch. Check your charging system output once you get er fired up.
     
  18. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    The battery and charging system is fine. My battery had 11 volts under load, that is plenty to get started. My alt. pushes 14-14.5 volts when charging. I only start my K5 about once every two weeks so the battery sits for a while.
     
  19. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Well, I'm going to start in on the K5 probably tommorrow because I leave Thursday for Blazer fest. I'll inspect all the cables while I'm at it. ;)
     

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