Question about 1991 Pontiac Grand Am

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I figured out which wires went where on my starter. It started fine and then it would only start a few times until it eventually didn't work at all. Returned starter just in case and the new starter doesn't crank. I get power and all accessories work. Starter just won't turn over and maybe just get a slight click from it. What else can be the problem?

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It could be a loose ground connection check the battery ground connection and the starter ground connection aswell

Posted on Mar 17, 2011

  • tpwbus Mar 19, 2011

    I finally got it started while walking it slowly through the gears and turning the ignition. Now I need to know how hard it is to change the neutral safety switch since that seems to be the problem. I think I see it where my gear shift lever connects to the trans. I looked at the part and it seems to match what sits on top of the trans right at where the linkage connects. Is that it? I saw there is some sort of neutral safety switch position sensor they sell for my car as well. Where is that located and could that be the problem instead of the switch itself? Many thanks for your help and advice my friends.

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Assuming you were parked on some sort of hill, the jolt was the car moving and applying pressure to the park gear in the transaxle which is normal.
There is a neutral safety switch on the transaxle to prevent you from cranking the car in drive or reverse. Something may have happened to that switch when the transaxle moved.
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I have a fully custom truck 80's style chev reg cab short box with a 454 in it, and i have full power to everything but it will not turn over. the solenoid makes one click. why wont it start?


Try smacking the starter with a rubber mallet, sometimes they brushes will stick if it doesn't get used a lot, other times the solenoid will stick (but still click). A good smack will loosen them up, usually anyway.
I just went through this on a '71 Chevelle that had a new starter on it, the solenoid had started to fail and every time my neighbor tried to start it the starter needed smacked. He eventually replaced the solenoid and didn't have any problems after that.

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04 grand cherokee limited. Started at home fine. Got to gas station and filled up, went to re-start and it clicked once with no restart. Power is fine(lights, radio, power windows, horn) everything works....


You might want to check the starter if you can try tapping it hard with something then try to start it again if it starts then all you need to do is have it changed out if nothing happens then you might also want to check and see if there is a broken fuse link going to the starter I know some vehicles have a fusible link in line with the starter it acts as a fuse but looks like a wire it will burn in half interrupting the voltage to the starter and like you stated everything else will work lights radio horn but the starter will not turn over hope this helps you.

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97 Subaru Impreza Outback Wagon Occasionally Will Not Start


Hello, I was a Subaru tech for a few years and I agree w/ the other tech about the bad starter. Subaru starters are known for this exact kind of behavior when they are close to the end of their life. Forgive me, but I have to assume that everyone I help knows nothing about cars. You sound like the kind of person that is not convinced until you know exactly what is happening, So here's the breakdown. What happens, is when the starter engages the internal motor causing it to rotate. the positive and negative points (Brushes) make physical contact w/ a cylindrical shaft w/ separated plates providing power and ground to the copper wire windings surrounded by permanent magnets. Considering the enormous drag/load on this system from the engines resistance to rotate due to each compression stroke, a very high peak Amperage is channeled only through those two little brush contacts. They continuously spark inside of the starter, eating away at the brush contacts until they eventually wear away causing them to ground out. What's most likely happening w/ your starter is that whenever you start the vehicle, occasionally, by chance or (kind of like a roulette table) the brush contacts land on one or more of these grounded out spots. Even when you try to start the vehicle and nothing happens, the starter is still being influenced by amperage is trying to turn past this dead spot only very very very very slowly. This is why after you try to start it a few times it will eventually start, especially when you let it sit your actually letting the starter cool down. The more you try to start the vehicle the more the starter will become useless. The easiest test we techs have come up w/ when we get a no start concern, is to go out to the vehicle w/ a 3ft long bar, have someone sit in the vehicle and try starting it. If the starter brush contacts are stuck on a dead spot, we give the starter a good thud and if the starter starts working immediately we know it needs one. Some times it takes a few bonks to get it to work. If the starter is too far gone however, this test will not work and other procedures need to be performed in order to rule out all else as the cause for the concern. I hope this info helps...(subytech1)

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I'd like to ask first, what service did you have done?

My best suggestion to you would be to have a automotive place check your starter, it sounds like you are having a problem with the starter itself, not the battery, not the alternator. I recently had a similar issue a few years ago on a 1994 chevy cavalier. Starts just fine, but once in a while I'd turn the key, "click" and the engine would not even turn over, trying it a second time got it started. Eventually, it got so bad, it never started again. I took it to a auto parts store that offered a free electrical system diagnostic service. They told me that I had a "dead spot" in the starter that if the starter stopped spinning in just that spot, it would not work when I tried to start the car.

If you are not hearing a "click" but you are hearing the starter "whirrr" then it's a problem with the starter solenoid. This part pushes a gear into the flywheel of the engine to start turning the engine over. So (because it's hard to type sounds) the correct sounds you should hear when you turn the key are..."click"(followed immediatly by) "rrrr...rrrr...rrr...rrr" and of course "vrooooommm". If you hear...(no click), "whirrrrrrr"(sounds like an electrical motor spinning) then nothing else. That is a problem with the starter. If you hear, "click" then nothing else, it is a problem with the starter it self or the wiring to the starter.

Please, excuse the very descriptive "sounds" as it is the best way to describe what you SHOULD be hearing every time you start the car.

Some less common problems include the voltage regulator, starter relay, and corroded or loose wiring to and from the battery and/or the starter. Checking wires and any electrical repairs can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing and I have to ask you to talk to your local shop if you have any questions about fixing the problem. If you want to do the work yourself, I'd recommend buying (autoparts store) or borrowing (some libraries) a Chilton or Haynes Manual for your specific make, model, and year car. They've saved me thousands in repairs so far b/c I like woking on my own vehicles.

I hope that I could help you narrow down your problem so you can look up the repair and parts online. Or if you do take your car to the shop, let them check these parts first for the most likely source of the problem. Good luck, and if you still have questions, please write a comment and I will try to respond with a more specific suggestion. Don't forget to rate my solution! Thank you.

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There is a another starter solenoid, Fords have two, look on the passenger inside fender, it is there.

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