Question about 1990 Chevrolet Caprice

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The car will not start. Battery is charged. I turn the key and get a single click and a slight hum for about 3 seconds. All the lights stay on except the radio when i try to turn the car on. Ive cleaned and reconnected battery terminals. I also am having trouble locating the starter itself due to the fact that the fuseable link runs into wire clusters that are hard to follow.

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  • Chevrolet Master
  • 3,204 Answers

Could be the starter motor solenoid is stuck the click can be the the ignition relay and the hum is the fuel pump. sometimes works if you hit the solenoid with the a hammer then try to start the engine if this work then change the starter motor or have it fixed.

Posted on Oct 10, 2013

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6 Suggested Answers

6ya6ya
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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FRANKSFIXIT
  • 72 Answers

SOURCE: s-10 won't start

My Answer:

Being a Degreed expert in this Electronics field this should be fairly easy. See my professional references posted at the end.

First of all - It appears (notice I say appears) that your charging system is functioning OK if you did the QUICKIE alternator/regulator test and that part appears to be fine. Did you?

Next - Never ASSUME you have a good, fully charged, or even a NEW battery whatever the case may be. I've seen brand new batts fail a few months after purchase for no known reason at all. Water level should be topped off esp during Hotter weather as water level will drop as the batt ages.

AND - when in doubt - Always do a hydrometer test on each cell, and make sure all cells read equally at approx 1.285 to 1.290 - indicating a fully charged batt.

Next - do a batt LOAD TEST.

When doing a LOAD TEST with an external 100 Amp Load Tester make sure you disconnect the POS terminal cable (or better yet both batt cables) on the batt before doing a good Load Test on a "supposed" fully charged batt.

Batt voltage on a good fully charged batt should never drop much below 11.4 to 11.7 volts doing a 10 second load test using a 100 Amp Load Tester similar to say one bought at Harbor Freight Tools for like $15 when they are on sale. If the voltage drops below 11.4 volts, or even say 10 volts - then your batt is NO GOOD. That is - if it indeed is FULLY charged??

If the top of the batt is wet (for whatever reason such as dew-point or leaky batt acid) this will cause the batt to self-discharge right across the top of the batt. Just like putting a small light-bulb across the batt posts and causing a drain. It happens more times than you care to know. When I worked at SEARS I seen it day in and day out......trust me I know this for FACT!

If the batt posts are very very dirty then that very possibly is your problem right there (you'll need to remove both cable clamps, and clean both the clamps and the batt posts until the lead is nice and shiny and then re-tighten again!).

If your batt is being run down for any reason you'll need to do a few more checks below:

Next - you'll want to check for a couple things at night, or else daylight will work as well - if you have good eyesight. You want to check and make sure your "backup lights" aren't ON when the Headlights Switch is turned OFF and the Ignition Switch is OFF as well. Sometimes a SHORTED Transmission Backup Light Switch will cause a battery drain with everything shut off. Sometimes!

Also - If you have any Interior Lights left on when the SUV doors are all closed that will surely drain the battery down.

A radio/stereo left ON will do the same as well.

A shorted tail-light (or any marker light) will also cause a battery to drain over time.

Any vehicles that have an under the hood light Mercury Tilt Switch for the Engine compartment sometimes can have this switch mounting come loose and when you shut the hood the light will actually stay lit thus draining the batt down as well. Make sure you check it at NIGHT during darkness as it will show up better.

If any of the above proves indeed to be a batt drain related problem, then we nest need to isolate the related problem.

In which case you will have to do an actual DVM in-line amp meter test to see just how much current leakage (shorting) you have. A fuse block isolation test will next have to be done to isolate from which circuit leg the short (or current drain) is coming from.

Once that circuit is isolated then it's just a matter of finding the shorted device or shorted wire(s).

If you just added anything new electrical wise to the Jeep recently- then that is a good starting point - for if the problem wasn't there before that time, and now it is - then there is your culprit!

If you are using an external battery charging PV (Photo-voltaic) panel, and it's bad for any reason - then it will drain your battery down as well, esp if the blocking or back diode goes bad.

Also - If you have a dual battery system with a BATTERY ISOLATOR installed you might want to double check all your wiring there as well - as I've seen them go bad and cause many a battery problem!

Having said that above -

Some Ford models also have/had a dual SOLENOID system with one being right near the batt, and the other one (normally) mounted on the starter.

Both solenoids will need to be checked in that case, as the starter solenoid might be good but the "ignition" solenoid might be bad - as to having bad LOAD contacts inside or else loose Batt +12 volt cables!! Cables can get loose or else go bad at the crimped lug ends!

It's rare that the starter itself or the starter solenoid has a bad ground, as then the solenoid mounting bolts or starter mounting bolts would have to be pretty darn loose. It happens but not that often. Usually the flywheel will make a GRINDING sound first and that is a BIG indication something is terribly WRONG there!!

If all the above proves NOT to be the apparent cause, or seemingly not related to the starter problem itself, then very well the starter brushes are shot - as in worn out! At which point a replacement starter is needed. Providing this is the OLD starter indeed, and not a rebuilt one to begin with that just has been replaced recently. Is it the original, or OLD starter?

If so and if it's had over 100-150,000 miles on it - chances are it's SHOT.

It's gotta be something I just went over here - as I covered everything......

Let me know what it was OK? Post a reply here and please rate my troubleshooting fix.

Thx,

Frank

Posted on Sep 01, 2008

MrScary66613
  • 1990 Answers

SOURCE: clicking noise when trying to start car,battery is ok, wont start

That Clicking is the Battery causing it not to Start. You need to Replace that Battery or at Least put a Charger on it for a Couple of hours to see if you can Salvage it for a While.

Posted on Jan 19, 2009

  • 850 Answers

SOURCE: Car won't turn over

check wires or in right order! & that the small exciter wire has a good connection

Posted on Jul 26, 2009

  • 750 Answers

SOURCE: 94 z wont start

check the ignition fuse, fuseable link and starter relay

Posted on Sep 08, 2009

Testimonial: "thank you - i'll check"

  • 118 Answers

SOURCE: Car has good battery doesnt make any noise after turn key

YOu may just have a bad starter relay or solenoid switch both will run you under $30 bucks to replace. Good luck

Posted on Sep 24, 2009

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