• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.
  • Welcome to iHelpForum - the place to get help from knowledgeable techs in all areas of Tech, Home and Auto help. Consider checking out our Guides or Registering an account to post on our forums today.

Solved Starting issue - 1998 Olds Bravada

DCiAdmin

Always room to learn a bit more
Administrator
iHF Legend
WCG Team Member
#1
My Olds Bravada is having a difficult time starting these days. I've had the battery replaced and the alternator tested. Replacing the battery did help, but starting continued to be difficult for the old thing. Alternator tested good.

The starter doesn't sound like it's missing brushes - been there done that with a different vehicle. The sound is very much like a dying battery - slow turnovers, a couple of quick "almost starts" noises, and then back to slow turnovers. Once the truck has been started, subsequent starts in the same day are decent but still not immediate.

Is there a test for starters? Do I consider possible fuel line issues?
 

Cameldung

I Like It Here
iHF Veteran
Advisor
WCG Team Member
#3
A simple test before you pull things apart. Get a slave battery or jumper leads and another vehicle. You have to do this when you know yours will be hard to start though. Hook up the vehicle and/or battery with the leads and see if it starts ok. Plenty of people who should know better have been caught out by this. Some suspect, including new, batteries will provide power to turn the vehicle engine over but leave almost nothing for the sparky bits. Not saying this is definitely it but its more common than people think. Start with the easy things to check:D

A really rough check is to turn the headlights on and try to crank it over. A good battery should start the car with the lights on. If the lights really kill the cranking over, the batteries flat or gone to god. Also after you've tried to crank it, feel the battery cables and terminals, if anythings warm or hot you got a bad connection.

I can give you detailed instructions on how to check for voltage drops at your main connections but try the above first.
 
Last edited:

veeg

Live Long And Eat Bacon
Moderator
WCG Team Member
#4
Terry...does the car still have much of the original equipment on it? I was getting some weird starting issues on my 99 gmc and it has a lot of original equipment on it...So i had my mechanic come over and showed him what it was doing...turned out to be the distributer cap...it was so worn out when i tried to crank the car it would fire across a lot of the contacts at the same time...He ask me how long the cap had been on there i said since 99...........:whistle:
 

Arctos

Beware of the Bear...
iHF Veteran
Advisor
WCG Team Member
#5
Give it a good squirt of Aero Start, this stuff would start the most recalcitrant engine I have had,

I used it on a big Evinrude outboard motor that was mongrel to swing over either on the battery, or a length of rope. I used it on a five litre Ford V8 engine that was just as bad to start also.



Disclaimer: have a fire extinguisher handy just in case... :caution:
 

Cameldung

I Like It Here
iHF Veteran
Advisor
WCG Team Member
#6
Give it a good squirt of Aero Start, this stuff would start the most recalcitrant engine I have had,
Aerostart or the equivalent is good stuff, but Ive seen more than one engine with broken pistons caused through careless use of this stuff. A little squirt goes a looooooong way. Treat it with upmost care and it definitely works. In DCI's case it would only mask the real issue.
 

Lord Chance

iHelpForum Jester & Door Greeter
iHF Veteran
Advisor
WCG Team Member
#7
It is possible that the starter solenoid is going bad. If the contact areas become carbonized by arcing then the resistance becomes high enough to cause the started to turn slower that it should. The graphic illustrates how the solenoid works. The contact plate creates a path from the battery to the starter motor.

SOL.jpg
 

DCiAdmin

Always room to learn a bit more
Administrator
iHF Legend
WCG Team Member
#8
A simple test before you pull things apart. Get a slave battery or jumper leads and another vehicle. You have to do this when you know yours will be hard to start though. Hook up the vehicle and/or battery with the leads and see if it starts ok. Plenty of people who should know better have been caught out by this. Some suspect, including new, batteries will provide power to turn the vehicle engine over but leave almost nothing for the sparky bits. Not saying this is definitely it but its more common than people think. Start with the easy things to check:D

A really rough check is to turn the headlights on and try to crank it over. A good battery should start the car with the lights on. If the lights really kill the cranking over, the batteries flat or gone to god. Also after you've tried to crank it, feel the battery cables and terminals, if anythings warm or hot you got a bad connection.

I can give you detailed instructions on how to check for voltage drops at your main connections but try the above first.
So if I experience the same issue with a known good battery, then my problem lies further in, correct?
 

Cameldung

I Like It Here
iHF Veteran
Advisor
WCG Team Member
#9
So if I experience the same issue with a known good battery, then my problem lies further in, correct?
Yes that would be correct.
The next step is to check for voltage drops.
1: Between the earth terminal of the battery and the actual engine block.
2: Between the Positive battery post and the main starter motor cable terminal.
Very quick and simple to do, no good getting another starter and finding you got the same issue.

To do this you will need a multimeter, or voltmeter. Ill find a pic and post how to. Got some here somewhere from electrical course notes I wrote yonks ago.

This pic shows checking voltage drop between a battery post and terminal, you'll notice one probe is on the post and the other is on the terminal. We set the meter on the DC volt scale, say 5 volt scale if you can. If the meter is autoranging then just set it to DC volts. The engine is cranked and the reading checked. It should NEVER be more than .3 (that's point three) of a volt.

Image00001.jpg

Let's check point 1 above, for voltage drop between the NEGATIVE BATTERY POST and ENGINE. Hold 1 probe on the NEGATIVE battery terminal and the other probe on a good clean EARTH point on the ENGINE BLOCK or HEAD. Meter on DC volts, crank the engine for say 5 seconds and note the reading. If the reading is more than .3 volt you have found a potential cause of your problem. If the reading is above .3V then test each connection point individually

Engine block to earth cable connector
Negative battery terminal to negative battery cable terminal
If they check out ok, less than .3V but you have more than .3V overall you have a dicky cable.
It is also a good time to repeat the same test from the battery negative post to the vehicle frame/body.

For point 2 above, to check for voltage drop on the positive side of things, put 1 probe on the battery positive post and the other on the starter motor main cable connector not the battery cable connector but the actual threaded starter terminal. Again crank over and ensure the reading is not more than .3 of a volt. If so work your way back as in the previous earth test.

Another great use for a multimeter is to check the battery voltage drop whilst cranking. With the meter on DC volts scale say 20 Volts, or again if autoranging leave it on DC Volts. One probe on the negative battery post and the other on the negative post crank the old girl over for say 10 seconds. If the voltage drops below 9 volts forget it. I don't know the specs or anything about Oldsmobiles being Aussie, but Id be willing to wager, and I would win, if the battery voltage dropped below about 8 to 8.5 volts the computer (for want of a better word) would go out to lunch. You would need the battery to hold at least 10 volts for a good 15 seconds to say you have a good battery.

Having said that of course a tired old starter CAN pull battery voltage down pretty quick but its not that common. A bad starter motor however will NOT cause voltage drops at any points mentioned earlier.

Very difficult to diagnose these things from a distance, but a good auto electrician would definitely check the above as a first point of reference.

Good luck, and I hope you can understand my scribble, if not holler.
 
Last edited:

DCiAdmin

Always room to learn a bit more
Administrator
iHF Legend
WCG Team Member
#10
Perfect! I had planned to pick up a multimeter anyway. Now I have an excuse :)
 

DCiAdmin

Always room to learn a bit more
Administrator
iHF Legend
WCG Team Member
#12
Ugh - the fuel pump went bad. I loan this truck out fairly often to my niece. She's hell about keeping fuel in it and has run it out of fuel a couple of times. She also poured a gas can of water (!) into the tank once. These things combined to cause an early end to the fuel pump.

So, quick resolution? Paid for repairs and will NOT be loaning out the Bravada again. I can't freakin' afford it!
 

Lord Chance

iHelpForum Jester & Door Greeter
iHF Veteran
Advisor
WCG Team Member
#13
Ugh - the fuel pump went bad. I loan this truck out fairly often to my niece. She's hell about keeping fuel in it and has run it out of fuel a couple of times. She also poured a gas can of water (!) into the tank once. These things combined to cause an early end to the fuel pump.

So, quick resolution? Paid for repairs and will NOT be loaning out the Bravada again. I can't freakin' afford it!
Funny this just came up. I was having coffee this morning with a friend who is a mechanic. He had a GMC Yukon come thru his shop. Seems the owner didn't know how to keep plenty of fuel in the tank. This caused the fuel pump to over heat and short one of the fuses to the ECM. This caused the Yukon to act like a dead battery or starter. Sound familiar M'Lady? ;)
 

Cameldung

I Like It Here
iHF Veteran
Advisor
WCG Team Member
#14
Running any fuel injected vehicle out of fuel is never a good idea. Petrol fuel unlike diesel does not lubricate, but it certainly keeps the pump at a safe temperature. Running a petrol fuel pump dry can kill it within a VERY short period.
 

DCiAdmin

Always room to learn a bit more
Administrator
iHF Legend
WCG Team Member
#15
Funny this just came up. I was having coffee this morning with a friend who is a mechanic. He had a GMC Yukon come thru his shop. Seems the owner didn't know how to keep plenty of fuel in the tank. This caused the fuel pump to over heat and short one of the fuses to the ECM. This caused the Yukon to act like a dead battery or starter. Sound familiar M'Lady? ;)
Very :(

Water isn't good for it either. My niece is an expensive relative to maintain....
 

Cameldung

I Like It Here
iHF Veteran
Advisor
WCG Team Member
#16
Well at least her drinking habits are cheap, and just think you wont have to worry about her driving your car very far either:banghead: