Thanks legitimate007 for your advise. I did try starting the car in neutral and it started up with no problem. The positive battery connection at the alternator is a bit difficult to get to without putting the car on a hoist, so I will check the tightness as soon as I can. The negative cable from the battery to where this cable connects to the body for ground is only about 11 inches long, and the bolt that provides this connection wasn't super tight, but I was able to tighten it just a tad.
One other detail that seems to bring about this problem is that if I listen to the radio in the car with the engine off with the key switch turned to the accessory position for 20 - 30 minutes, about 7 out of ten times, this will cause the car not to start. If I come back in about an hour or so, it'll fire right up. I'm beginning to also suspect that there is a bad connection somewhere.
The Delco spec battery for this car has a reserve capacity of 90 minutes, so listening to the radio for 20-30 minutes shouldn't be a problem.
Thanks again for your reply.
Monday, March 15th, 2010 AT 5:45 AM