chevy van starter clicks but won't start

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#1
???...I need some help on my van....1996 Chevy Conversion Van...1500 Express van..5.7..Started last week....went out to start it,starter just clicked...thought it was a dead battery...put charger on and charged battery...same thing...checked alternator output...it was fine...battery was good...cleaned all the battery terminals..thought maybe a bad starter solenoid....pulled starter and bench tested it...was ok but sounded a little funny so I replaced the starter..still clicked ....turned the key on and got under and jumped the solenoid and the van started...drove the van all day and started every time..went out later that night and it would only click... ??? ??? ??? ???Went today and got an ignition switch...thinking it was in the wiring....put the switch in and tried it...only clicked....got under and jumped the solenoid and it started....tried a couple more times and it started...I know when I go out in the morning...it will just click....am I missing something here?...also replaced the starter relay......sorry for the long post.....Jim
 
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#2
If you have this kind of deal on your cables....check there for bad connection.
 
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#3
Sounds like a possible bad neutral safety switch connections. Once you start it and move the shifter around it seems to work ok for a while. Did you try to start in neutral? The relay coil get its power trough the switch as you know already.
 
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Hey Dan.....it has the side posts...I took them off and cleaned them...old man....I haven't checked the neutral safety switch, but I will tomorrow....thanks for the ideas.....I will post more when I check it again.....Jim
 
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#5
Jim: Is it a slight click from the relay or a louder click from the starter itself? Maybe put your hand on the relay while someone turns the key to test.
 
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Hey Jack.....it is a loud click coming from the starter....sounds like when you have a seized engine and the starter hits the flywheel and won't turn....I was just thinking about what the old man said.....about the neutral safety switch......sometimes when I jump the starter and let it run for a bit it will start a few more times....but then I go out later and it does the clicking thing...but I haven't drove it or shifted it at all......Jim
 

billr

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#7
When you jump the starter terms to get it to crank, are you jumping the two big terminals, or jumping the small solenoid terminal to the battery cable?
 

billr

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#9
Then it has to be resistance in the circuit feeding that small term. A poor connector connection, the relay contacts are poor, a frayed wire... something like that. Verify by reading voltage at that small term while you try to crank; easy way is to read voltage between the battery term and the small one. That should be about equal to battery voltage when not cranking, and the go to near-zero when trying to crank. I'm guessing it is only going down to 6V or so while trying to crank.
 

billr

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#11
But he gets a "click" when trying to crank. That is either the starter relay or the solenoid; either way, power has to be getting to the relay, so the neutral safety and ignition switch must be OK.
 

nickb2

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#12
I agree with Bill. The circuit is giving an effort to start, hence the clicking. Therefore neutral switch is letting current pass.

An amp claw here would also be a nice addition, see amp draw while attempting to start.

On these conversion van. PDC/PCM is below wiper motor and receives a ton of windsheild washer and water from the drain that is conveniently placed above the PDC/PCM. I have seen alot of corrosion in the PDC due to this nicely placed drain aove these sensitive relay centers.

Jim, you know what I mean, you can see the drain right up there. Dowsing the PDC.

Jumping red wire and purple wire at starter relay will rule out any neutral switch problem anyway, as the neutral switch is in series yellow and black wires of exciter of starter relay.

I am pretty sure you have the schematic, but will post it anyway for others who may hit this thread. I will post screenshot and a "nickb" reverse white on black pdf. :p

So you say starter is new as well as the relay. And ignition switch too right?

If you bypass at relay, do you still get intermittent clicking/starting? I would seriously be looking at that ppl wire from PDC to starter for corrosion. Obviously the motor is grounded well.?

If all is well in that area, then maybe situation with neutral switch or related wiring. Depends if that relay is transmitting enough through circuit to energize the solenoid.

How about flex plate? Did you have a look see when starter was removed? How did the ring gear look? Did you put back the same number of shims?
 

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nickb2

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#13
I see a 4 point contact relay. Single pull.

Found some specs. I think they were Bosch back in the day. Tyco bought them out. I could be wrong, but these specs should apply.

Pull in Voltage:
The pull in voltage is the minimum voltage required for the relay coil to pull the contacts (30 and 87 on the Bosch relay) together. The pull in voltage is about 8 volts for a typical Bosch relay.

Drop out Voltage:
The drop out voltage is the voltage at which the energized coil will release the movable contact. The drop out voltage is somewhere between 1 and 5 volts for a Bosch relay.

Coil Resistance:
In a DC relay coil, the coil resistance determines the current flow through the coil. The current draw by the coil of a Bosch relay is ~0.160 amps (~75 ohm coil). In an AC relay coil, the resistance does not solely determine the current flow through the coil because the coil has inductance. The inductive reactance along with the DC resistance work together to limit the current flow through the coil.


So if your getting 8v or more consistently at yellow wire of relay, that should rule out any worries about ignition and neutral switch.

What is the general state of you battery Jim? You have experience, would you say it is in good condition? Well than more than enough amps to crank that new starter?
 

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#14
OK, let's get simple.

Run a small wire from the small wire connection on the solenoid up towards the positive battery terminal. When you have the clicking problem, touch the loose end to the positive battery terminal. If it starts every time that eliminates any starter or flywheel problem and points to the ign sw, relay, neutral safety switch or other wiring.

If you still get the click it is the starter or flywheel lock up.

I have that wire on my car and leave it on there all the time. That way if I have a starter problem I can either quickly get started by bypassing all that stuff without going under the car . Or , if it won't start, I have some good diagnostic info pointing to the starter itself..
 
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#15
Well Jim said it all started about a week ago. I don't know where Jim lives but for about the last week where I live it was extremely cold and that in my opinion extreme cold and bad connections don't mix very well. If Jim lives in a warm area, that idea went out the window.