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FIXITMAN, Mater Technician
Category: Pontiac
Satisfied Customers: 17406
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I have a 1998 Bonneville. It randomly will not start.

Customer Question

I have a 1998 Bonneville. It randomly will not start. Sometimes you can wait an hour sometimes next day then it will start. Battery has full charge, I replaced the starter and am still having the same problem. I am wondering if it could be the starter relay but I can not find where it is.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Pontiac
Expert:  FIXITMAN replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is Bobby. Thank you for the question. Just to confirm the engine is not cranking over at all when this occurs?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That is correct. It does not crank at all.
Expert:  FIXITMAN replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. Most of the time this is either the starter relay, the ignition switch or the transmission position sensor. The starter relay is behind the driver side of the dash right next to the steering column. I would start by seeing if when this happens if you put the vehicle into neutral if it starts right up. If it does then it is the transmission position switch. If not then you will need to either test the circuit or replace the solenoid next. Please let me know if you need more help.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Does the dash have to be removed to get to the relay? I am not following you on your replace the solenoid comment. Did you mean relay?
Expert:  FIXITMAN replied 1 year ago.

Sorry. I meant relay. You can access it from under the dash once you remove the lower dash cover.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can you tell e the process for removing the lower dash cover and once its removed with the relay be on the right or left side of steering column? Thanks
Expert:  FIXITMAN replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunately I do not have any directions about this vehicle in particular due to its age. The panel should have 3 small screws that attach it to the upper dash. You can then remove it. Once it is removed the relay is to the left of the column.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have been traveling all week for business. I will take a look at it this weekend and make sure I can locate it before I provide rating. Thanks for help so far.
Expert:  FIXITMAN replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the update. I will look for your response. Please also note that even after eating my service we can continue as needed.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
HI, can you please provide a more detailed discription of the location of the relay? I have purchased the part I dropped the lower dash and have searched along both sides of the steering column and can not locate the relay to replace it. Thank you
Expert:  FIXITMAN replied 1 year ago.

I am away from my PC until the morning. I will see if I have something to send over to you once I have access to my manuals.

Expert:  FIXITMAN replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunately I do not have a picture of this. Have you noticed if the security light is on inside of the vehicle when you try starting it and it will not start?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have not noticed the security light on but that does not mean that it wasn't lit. I just don't recall. Why do you ask? What does it mean and what would be the fix if that was the case?
Expert:  FIXITMAN replied 1 year ago.

If your key has a small black chip in it then you have a security system that detects the key. If the sensor in the key cylinder fails or more commonly if the wiring to the sensor in the column fails then this same thing would happen. When it will not start though the security light would be on inside of the vehicle when holding the key in the crank position.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Wouldn't that be constant then? Or would it not start randomly as well? Because now it will run good for several starts and then it won't start. Let it sit a day or so and then it starts right up.
Expert:  FIXITMAN replied 1 year ago.

It is always very random. Even when the wiring fails it continues to make contact off and on and will cause this.