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Dan, Technician
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 26184
Experience:  Independent Shop Experience, 2 Year Automotive Diploma, & Access to Information Database
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My daughter's 1999 Olds 88 has an intermittent starting

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My daughter's 1999 Olds 88 has an intermittent starting problem. Every once in a while, the starter will not turn on when the key is turned all the way.
JA: Can you turn the steering wheel at all? And what about the key? Is it worn or damaged?
Customer: We have two keys; they both look OK. I checked the resistance; one is 3.6K and the other is 3.5K. Neither one works when this problem shows up.
JA: Are you fixing your 88 yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: In the past (last 8 months or so), we just waited and it usually started the next time or two. We have gone through sub-zero temps with no issues this winter.
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: I just want to know if this is a VATS problem or if I can troubleshoot this on my own.

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I'm here to help get your problem solved.

During problem do you hear starter click?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I can hear a relay click somewhere under the right side of the glovebox. I don't think the start relay is engaging.

Thanks, ***** ***** a few minutes to type up testing instructions for you.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I've checked the battery voltage during these attempts, and it does not dip at all when trying to start.

The most likely cause is the ignition lock cylinder. Next time problem happens check to see if it starts in neutral if so replace the park/neutral switch. If not, remove starter relay and check to see if pin 86 has power with key in start position and if pin 85 has ground with key in start position. If missing ground then the ignition lock cylinder will need to be replaced, if missing power the ignition switch will need to be replaced. If both are good then starter is likely problem and at that point you will need to monitor power going to small wire at starter. If small wire has at least 11v while trying to start but starter is not engaging then you need to replace starter. Here is a wiring diagram of system to help with testing. The 2 wires going to the ignition lock cylidner should show same resistance as key during prolem with key inserted in switch and in on/start positions if not this verifies ignition lock cylidner as problem.My goal is to provide 5 star service so make sure to let me know if you need anything. Thanks.


Customer: replied 7 months ago.
It will not start in park or neutral, even moving the shifter a little each way.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
How do you check to see if the issue is with the key?

They key itself definitely isn't the issue as that wouldn't be intermittent. But if the two wires going to the ignition lock cylinder show different resistance then the key this proves the lock cylinder is the problem. Let me know if you have more questions, thanks.

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