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GM Tech (Cam)
GM Tech (Cam), Chevy Technician
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 29427
Experience:  GM Grand Master Technician 2007. 14 years experience.
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I have a 1999 Silverado that has electrical problems. About

Customer Question

I have a 1999 Silverado that has electrical problems. About 1-2 times week it refuses to turn over. The gauges light up, etc., but it doesn't start. I also had problems with the speedometer and tach not working for the first 2-10 minutes of driving, then they would come on - sometimes after hitting a bump, sometimes for no apparent reason.
I replaced the ignition switch with a new AC/Delco one. The ignition seems to be fixed , but now I have no fuel gauge, wipers, heater, cruise control, and the speedometer is still intermittent.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Chevy
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

I am sorry your having this problem

can you check and see if the fuse called WS WIPER a 25 amp fuse in the drivers inside fuse box shows for volts at it with the key ON ?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
All the fuses are good - as in not blown. Is that what you mean?
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

no

with the key ON does that fuse show 12 volts at it testing it with the fuse in place through the little openings in the tops of that fuse ?

and can you also be sure the big 50 amp fuse called IGNB shows 12 volts on both sides of it testing it in place through the openings in the tops of that fuse in the under hood fuse box ?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will check that ASAP.
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

ok if the BIG 50 amp fuse shows 12 volts on both sides of it and the wiper fuse in the inside fuse box does NOT show 12 volts when the key is ON then we need to get to the ignition switch and see if BOTH big red wires show 12 volts at them at the ignition switch next

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I replaced the 50-Amp fuse which fixed the wipers, cruise, and heater; however, the tach, speed, and fuel gauge do not work all the time - usually about 50% of the time.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, the ignition is back to the point it was before I replaced the ignition switch cable. Sometimes it will not turn over the starter. (new battery with clean, tight posts)
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

when the speedo and tach are not working with the truck on what does the fuse called IGN1 in the drivers side fuse box show for volts ?

when it will not crank over the engine does the fuse called CRANK in the drivers side fuse box show 12 volts at it when the key is held to crank and the engine is NOT cranking over ?

can you also check the ground connection at the back passenger side of the intake manifold is clean and tight ?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have not forgotten you. I can't get the speed/tach/fuel gauge to not work when I have my meter and the time to check it. Early in the morning as I'm leaving for work is when it is worse. It will not come on until I'm almost at work (8 minutes or so). More frequently, the those things turn off and on as I'm driving down the road - like a kid turning the light switch on and off.
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

these usually end up being bad ignition switches or the wiring to the back of the inside fuse box or at this point possibly the gauge cluster itself doing this

going to be very hard to nail down when we cant test it when its acting up

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok. I was able to check the crank fuse spot this morning as I was leaving for church. I did NOT have any voltage at that spot while my son held the key in the start position.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
By the way, the ignition switch was replaced last Friday (10/10) with a new AC/Delco ignition switch cable.
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

and this is a brand new electrical ignition switch you installed ? not the ignition lock cylinder ?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Correct. New cable not lock (key hole).
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
After turning the key about 40-50 times, it started. This is the worst it has ever been. Usually, it starts after turning the key 15-20 times (when it acts up).
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

with it not cranking can you see if the big red and the big orange wires at the ignition switch show 12 volts at them

this was replaced here ?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Key on or off when testing? Can you test without disconnecting it? This is the end at the firewall, correct?
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

no at the ignition switch itself

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Key on or off?
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

key off

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The picture you sent was the end nearest the firewall. Is that where I'm checking for voltage or at the key end?
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

i was just making sure the complete ignition switch was changed with the 1/2 picture i sent to be 100 % sure

you can check it the fire wall and also

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am in the truck now. Red wire has 12.6 volts. Big orange wire goes into back of fuse block has no voltage.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Key is off
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When key is on position but not running, orange wire has 12.6 volts and it will start
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

i am out of ideas lets see if another expert has any ideas

hang on another expert will replay back to you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok
Expert:  GM Tech (Cam) replied 1 year ago.

Hi there, I am Cam. I read through and see a lot of things happening. What we need to do is pick one issue that happening and follow that. Can you tell me at this moment what the only issue is remaining?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok. In the mornings (usually), the truck will not start until I turn the ignition on and off multiple times. After that, no problems the rest of the day.Second, speed/tach/fuel gauge do not function for the first 8-10 minutes of the day; however, even during the day, they will turn off and on at random.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
These may be related because when truck starts first time, the gauges work.
Expert:  GM Tech (Cam) replied 1 year ago.

Ok, I realize some of this is repeating what you and Gary talked about but I think a fresh approach is needed.

So when you turn the key, do you hear a click from the engine or the fuse block?
Is there a remote starter installed?
Does putting the shifter in neutral make it work?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No remote starter, no low battery click, and don't remember trying to start it in neutral. Currently, it is starting. I've driven already to church and back.
Expert:  GM Tech (Cam) replied 1 year ago.

Good place to drive on a sunday!!. So then I realize it will take time. WE need to see what it does in neutral when it does not start.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When not starting, I hear the fuel pump primer and the dinging sound
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Probably won't not start until tomorrow morning - if the pattern stays true.
Expert:  GM Tech (Cam) replied 1 year ago.

OK, but the signalling sent to the starter relay through the neutral safety switch is what I am curious about. And confirming you have the old style 1999 with the 350 vortex not the newer 5.3L system.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Newer 1999 with rounded body and 4.8 liter engine.
Expert:  GM Tech (Cam) replied 1 year ago.

Ok, perfect, you listed a classic which can means old. So lets see what happens tomorrow, In the meantime I suggest you check some ground wires.

-under the drivers door on the frame, take those grounds off, clean them to bare metal and put them together.
- Firewall to engine braided ground strap
-engine to battery ground.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I only found one ground under the drivers door. I found and cleaned the others.
Expert:  GM Tech (Cam) replied 1 year ago.

Ok, Let see what that does tomorrow when it acts up and connect from there.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok did not start-not even in neutral. Big orange wire and big red wire showed 11.6 volts with the key on. Took about 40 flips of the key to get it to start.
Expert:  GM Tech (Cam) replied 1 year ago.

Ok, Have you tried swapping out the starter relay yet?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is that in the fuse block under the hood?
Expert:  GM Tech (Cam) replied 1 year ago.

yes it is.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'll try that after work
Expert:  GM Tech (Cam) replied 1 year ago.

Ok. Sounds good.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I bought a new starter relay last night. It started just fine this morning, but it does from time to time anyhow. I will check it again in the morning. The last time my gauges quit working I used my voltage meter to check every fuse dealing with ignition and accessory in the dash fuse panel. Everything except the one dead center (10A) was fine. THe middle one then registered the proper voltage after prodding with my meter. I replaced the fuse and the gauges started working again until this afternoon. Not sure if this particular fuse is even related to the gauges. BTW, the "Message Center" has been dark for some time, and the dealer could not get any readings with his OBD computer. Are all those things related somehow? Is there a main fuse somewhere for the instrument cluster?
Expert:  GM Tech (Cam) replied 1 year ago.

The message centre may be dead, it is common. AS for the fuse, what is the Label?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
IGN 1
Expert:  GM Tech (Cam) replied 1 year ago.

Is that fuse dead now then?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. It has not been blown. Since I replaced that relay, it has malfunctioned less than before; however, it still turns on and off driving down the road.
Expert:  GM Tech (Cam) replied 1 year ago.

Ok, try this. On the data plug, top Center of the plug there are two pins together. Use a wire to jump those 2 together and see if that makes it work.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I put a jumper wire there and nothing happens with truck running, off, or in on position.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there a main wire that powers most of the instrument cluster? I noticed that when those gauges go off, so do all other warning lights (service, air bag [usually on due to a wreck by previous owner], etc.). These are lights that are on when gauges work.Since that relay seems to be working for the starting, could one of those other relays be failing for the instrument panel? Maybe there isn't one. Just wondering.
Expert:  GM Tech (Cam) replied 1 year ago.

There are 3, the cruise fuse, Ign 0 and Ign 1 fuses are all the main fuses in for power and the radio fuse is the main battery power input.