1994 GEO PRIZM STARTING PROBLEM

  • Tiny
  • sfreeland
  • 1994 Geo Prizm
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • manual
  • 170 miles

There's a faulty component in my ignition system. Turn the key and the car always cranks strongly. Normally, the car starts easily. Once started, it runs perfectly. The problem? About 15% of the time, turn the key and it won't start. Because fortunately it has a standard transmission, a short push with a pop of the clutch and away I go. This means that I always park the vehicle with the perspective that it may need a push start. Where's the weak link in the chain? Ignition module? Thanks for your input.

Friday, January 28th, 2011 AT 1:28 PM

5 Answers

  • Tiny
  • KHLow2008
  • Expert
  • 41,938 posts

When it does not start, were you able to crank? If not, it could be a failing starter solenoid which intermittently fails.

Was there any clicking noise when key is turned to start?

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Friday, January 28th, 2011 AT 1:51 PM
  • Tiny
  • sfreeland
  • Member

I appreciate your response. As I mentioned in my initial inquiry, the car always cranks strongly when the key is turned. Thanks for considering my problem once again

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Friday, January 28th, 2011 AT 3:01 PM
  • Tiny
  • KHLow2008
  • Expert
  • 41,938 posts

Your question was not clear.

You mentioned it cranked strongly when it starts but then it would not start so I need to clarify that I understand you correctly.

You then mentioned it would start with a push so it could be that the starter was not cranking.

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Friday, January 28th, 2011 AT 3:37 PM
  • Tiny
  • sfreeland
  • Member

I apologize for the apparent want of clarity on my initial post. When I state that the car always cranks I mean that the starter motor always strongly turns the engine over. Normally, this means the engine starts up readily. However, about 15% of the time, the engine does not fire up even though it is being turned over well by the starter motor. When that happens, a push/pop the clutch alternative for starting the car must be used. Again, once started the engine runs fine. I hope this clears any confusion as to the exact nature of my problem. Thanks again

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Friday, January 28th, 2011 AT 3:44 PM
  • Tiny
  • KHLow2008
  • Expert
  • 41,938 posts

Symptoms indicates a most likely fault with the ignitin switch.

When problem occurs, you need to perform test to find out if battery voltage is being transmitted to the ignition module and other related components.

If charge indicator turns off while cranking when it fails to start, that would indicate a faulty switch. The link shows what to look for.

http://www.2carpros.com/articles/car-cranks-but-wont-start

At the ignition switch wireharness, test for battery voltage at the Black/Orange wire while cranking and if voltage is not available, the ignition switch is bad.

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Friday, January 28th, 2011 AT 7:46 PM

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