Won't even turn over

Tiny
DON TIMM
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 CHEVROLET SILVERADO
  • 5.3L
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 162,000 MILES
I have a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado LS.4WD non HD with a 5.3L located in Northwest Washington State. 3 weeks ago I went to start truck and it worked fine. Last weekend I went to start it and it would not even crank. Dash lights, radio, headlights all fine. Replaced the battery anyway because it was getting old. Truck still would not even turn over. Took the starter and had it bench tested. It passed and I am also getting power to the solenoid. I checked all my fuses and relays associated with starting or ignition. All were good. I am figuring at this point it is the ignition switch. I have a Haynes Repair Manual so started looking at the wiring schematic. Tore my dash apart to get to the ignition switch in the steering column but before I just replaced the ign switch I ran a few electrical tests. When key turned to the start position it supplies power directly to a 10A crank fuse located in the left hand side bussed electrical center. The test light lights up when the key is in the start position then goes out when in the run position, lock or accessory position. So as far as I can tell the ignition switch closes the circuit and allows power when trying to start. Following the wiring diagram further it goes to a Park/Neutral Position Switch which ultimately leads to the starter relay in the under the hood bussed elec center. I am baffled at this point. Anybody any thoughts?
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Monday, January 13th, 2014 AT 1:46 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
You said you had power to the starter solenoid. Are you referring to the battery voltage that is always at the large battery cable connection or the smaller solenoid wire that gets 12 volts from the starter relay? If voltage is showing up from the starter relay, you should be hearing a single, rather loud clunk from the starter each time you turn the ignition switch to "crank".

Here is a guide that will help you test it.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-replace-a-starter-motor

Most starter circuits can be broken down into four parts, and each one has a test point at the starter relay socket. GM's circuit complicates that just a little, but you already started down that path. The "crank" voltage you found at the fuse goes to the neutral safety switch next, then to the relay. Check for voltage at the relay socket terminals. You should find 12 volts on one of them all the time. The other terminal on the same side will have 12 volts in the "crank" position. If it does not, suspect the neutral safety switch, or more commonly, a broken wire near it or the gear shift is out of adjustment.

To double-check the other two terminals in the socket, move the ground clip of your test light to the battery positive terminal, then probe the two remaining terminals in the relay socket. It should light up on both of them. One is the ground wire for the coil inside the relay and the other one will read to ground through the starter solenoid coil. The clue there is whether or not you hear or feel the relay click when you try to crank the engine.

Be very careful when you poke your test light into the relay socket terminals. GM didn't waste any money there on quality. The slightest poking with a probe or pushing on the relay will stretch those terminals resulting in an intermittent no-crank condition when there is no other problem in the system.

Please let me know how it goes,

Best, Ken
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Thursday, January 19th, 2017 AT 6:34 AM
Tiny
SKHOKIE22
  • MEMBER
I am not sure how long ago this topic was posted. But I am having an issue that sounds like yours. Except for when I rapidly attempt to turn the key over to the crank position and then off and then on and then off rotating quickly one of those times the motor will start turning over and fire like normal. The weird part is I have owned my 2002 Silverado since 2009 and I've had no issues with it. About 3 weeks ago I purchased a 2005 Chevrolet Expres. The next morning I went to turn it on and it had that issue. The issue with my 2002 Silverado appears to be the same exact issue but the problem began two weeks after I bought the Chevy Express. That sounds like some kind of crazy coincidence to me but both of them have the same symptoms and they both turn on when I rapidly turn the key from ignition to off back and forth multiple times.
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Tuesday, February 13th, 2018 AT 3:27 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
GM redesigned their starters and generators for the '87 model year. The field coils are gone in the starters. They use permanent magnets now that are glued to the housing.

When you hear a single, rather loud clunk from the starter each time you turn the ignition switch to "crank", the real common cause on other brands of starter are burned copper contacts in the solenoid. This always starts out as an intermittent problem and gets progressively worse over weeks and months. The starter will eventually crank after cycling the ignition switch repeatedly. GM solenoids are not known for that problem, but two other things commonly happen. One is the solenoid housing warps, then the metal plunger can't move far enough for the contacts to turn on for the motor. A potential clue to this, if you can keep the starter from engaging, is to connect a wheel-type battery charger on a mid-level charge rate, THEN try to start the engine. If that works consistently, it's because the higher voltage makes the solenoid's magnetic field stronger, so the plunger can slide through the warped area easier. That also instantly proves all the rest of the circuit is working.

A second problem can occur when the starter is hit with a hammer, like we used to do to get an intermittent one working. That is very likely to break the bond on the magnets. If a magnet sticks to the armature, it may try to spin but it will crank too slowly and with excessive noise.
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Tuesday, February 13th, 2018 AT 6:28 PM

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