Question about 1997 Oldsmobile Aurora

3 Answers

Has 4.0 engine I bought this car 8 days ago. It started fine till yesterday. Now it won't start, When you turn the key it would crank over like only one revolution. I've pulled the battery and starter and had them checked out at my local autozone. They tested out okay. I still have the starter out because it sits underneath the intake manifold. I don't want to reinstall it until I'm sure of the problem. I think I may have a problem with the lock and tumbler or my ignition switch. When I check the two wires that connect to the starter. My hot wire has 12.6 volts when the key is turned. The resistance on the other wire is OL or out of limit of multimeter. How do I test my ignition system? lock&tumbler,ignition switch or neutral safety switch?

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  • 1 more comment 
  • arklahoma123 Nov 15, 2009

    I'm unsure if I should install the old starter or install new starter that cost $160 that I can't return once used?

    Is there not some testing I could now while the starter is out to maybe identify the defective cable?

  • arklahoma123 Nov 15, 2009

    Please read my above problem and advise solution

  • arklahoma123 Nov 15, 2009

    please read above

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3 Answers

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  • Oldsmobile Master
  • 76,132 Answers

When the key is held in the start position do u have 12 volts to the starter solenoid? if you do have the 12 volt signal then I suspect the starter solenoid is bad, but I doubt that is the problem, it is more likely the actual ignition electrical switch that is actuated by the ignition lock cylinder, the switch is located just behind the key cylinder inside the steering column, to replace it you must remove the column trim covers the switch is attached to the back of the ignition lock cylinder Assembly. Base on what i have read this switch is a common problem. here is a picture.
Has 4.0 engine I bought - 378c25d.jpg

Posted on Nov 15, 2009

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  • Master
  • 11,896 Answers

Test with an ohmmeter. If low or null reading, the sensor or switch is bad.
The out of limit wire you tested shows that that device it is attached to is faulty.

Posted on Nov 15, 2009

  • Nate Stansfield
    Nate Stansfield Nov 15, 2009

    This next test will tell you if the primary ignition
    system is supplying an electrical trigger pulse to the

    ignition coil
    . To test the ignition trigger pulse remove the small wires
    from the coil. Using a

    voltage multimeter
    connect the leads to both wires and set the multi meter
    to DC voltage. Next have a helper crank engine over and observe the voltmeter,
    if the meter jumps from 12 volts and then to zero in rapid succession the trigger
    system is working properly. Next check the ignition coil for corrosion if no
    corrosion exists use the

    voltage multimeter
    to test the coil primary and secondary circuits for
    continuity and resistance. This testing procedure will work for most automotive
    coils. With all wires disconnected from the coil,

    use a multimeter
    switched to ohms and check the resistance between the
    small side terminals of the coil. You should get a reading of 0.75 to 0.81 ohms
    of resistance. Then check the resistance between on either side terminal and
    the center high output terminal. The ohms reading should be about 10,000 to
    11,000 ohms. Any significant deviation from these numbers would indicate the
    coil is shorted and needs to be replaced. If there is no primary ignition trigger
    output then test and replace the CKP (crankshaft position sensor) Let me know if you want more info on this.
    Check the

    ignition system
    basic output voltage, this will test the ignition system
    by observing the spark from the ignition coil. This is done using a test light
    and inserting the sharp probe into the end of the plug wire boot allowing a
    sizable gap from the inside plug wire terminal and the test light probe. If
    the engine does not run and you are testing the
    ignition system output continue with this test. If you are testing the ignition
    system to troubleshoot an engine cylinder misfire you will need to disconnect
    the fuel pump fuse or control relay and bleed off fuel system pressure to stop
    the engine from starting. (note: sometimes the engine will run slightly until
    excess fuel is burned) To locate the fuse or relay for the fuel pump located
    in the fuse box or power distribution center, if you cannot locate the fuse
    or relay consult your cars owner's manual or an

    online repair manual
    for their locations.
    Your neutral safety switch is equipped on every automatic transmission
    made, and keeps the starter control circuit open when the shifter is in
    a neutral position. If you notice that your car or truck is not sitting
    in neutral, will not shift into neutral, or is stuck in neutral, this


    -->
    could be a problem to look at before you pay for a new transmission.

    To
    begin, you should always have your wheels chocked, and allow time for
    your car to cool completely. Now place your shifter into the park
    position so the car or truck does not move, and turn your key over to
    the start position. If your starter works properly, then the park
    position on your column will work right. Now that you know that park is
    correct, move the shifter to the neutral position until the lever at
    the end drops off the neutral stop in the selector window of your dash.
    If your starter works again when you start the vehicle, then your
    linkage in the gear shifter is aligned and properly adjusted now. This
    small test will test not only your neutral safety switch, but it will
    also help you to check the adjustment of the switch; which is crucial
    to its operation. If you find that your car does not turn over when you
    place your gear selector in either position noted, then the neutral
    safety switch is not working right, or the gear selecting linkage
    should be fixed or replaced.

    So you knocked out two birds with one stone with this test.
    For Lock & Tumbler, check the resistance in the wiring. Check to see if one of the wires is warm or hot.
    I do believe replacing your ignition will surely fix the problem


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  • Oldsmobile Master
  • 6,826 Answers

When you turn the ignition switch,with the starter back on,check the connections at the battery,and make sure they are shiny clean,battery connections on battery also.O k,now when you turn the ignition switch have some one feel the battery cables,and witch ever one heats up,is bad,just replace it,but make sure the starter is really bad,it needs to be tested on a machine that can load the starter and see how it acts .But I do believe a cable,is bad,most likely,a bad ground cable ,check that first,if you have 12.6 volts at the starter,then the ignition switch,and neutral safety are o k.

Posted on Nov 15, 2009

  • 3 more comments 
  • Ronny Bennett Sr.
    Ronny Bennett Sr. Nov 15, 2009

    No,but the auto parts store should have a way of telling how many amps the starter is pulling to make sure this is not the trouble.Loose connections,and cables,can affect the way it is doing,Make sure the battery connections are shiny clean,no corrosion,or film on them,and the cable ends also,it will be in the cables,or connections,I am sure,unless the starter is bad.

  • Ronny Bennett Sr.
    Ronny Bennett Sr. Nov 15, 2009

    If the auto parts store tells you your starter is fine,no doubt,then it is all you can go by,I know it is hard to reinstall the stater,but unless you know if the starter is bad or not,it is hard for you,to diagnose the problem.Let me know if I can help.

  • Ronny Bennett Sr.
    Ronny Bennett Sr. Nov 15, 2009

    Have the starter re tested to be sure you,are satisfied,and go with that,then do the test on the cables by holding them to see witch one is heating up,now if you have found corrosion,on the cable ends,or a black film,then this might be a good sign that the corrosion,is the source of the problem,

  • Ronny Bennett Sr.
    Ronny Bennett Sr. Nov 15, 2009

    Just let me know,I won`t leave you hanging.

  • Ronny Bennett Sr.
    Ronny Bennett Sr. Nov 15, 2009

    You can hook jumper cables up to the battery ,by putting washers and a bolt in the side post on the battery,then hook the booster cables to the starter,and to the starter>Hook the ground to the ear of the starter,and the hot(positive)to the large post on the post on the starter.it will start turning as soon as you attach it,if the starter kicks out,and turns really good,then it is a good chance,the starter is good,but remember,there is no resistance on the starter,and that plays a big part

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