Mystery! Lumina APV won't crank

1993 with 196,000 miles, 3.8 V6. Well maintained since new and was running fine and using minimal oil. Never a problem with starting our drive train until now.
Here is the story. One week ago on cold start the starter made an unusual but very brief noise but the engine fire right up and I drive as usual for about 15 miles and stopped to do some shopping. The store was closed so I attempted to restart after less than a minute. The starter would engage but would not turn the engine. I attempted to jump the battery with another vehicle with same result. The next day I returned and still could not get the engine to turn even with a 200 amp charger/started so I had the van towed home.
I replaced the starter and solenoid. Nothing! Despite the fact that the battery appeared to have a normal state of charge per digital volt meter I took it to a parts store and had it checked: bad battery. Bought a new one, installed it, added a new positive terminal as thee old one looked corroded, and made sure the new battery was fully charged. Engine still won't turn. Tried jumping the solenoid, same result. If the ignition switch is held in start the starter begins to hum as if over heating.
At this point I can think of nothing else to try and am about to assume my engine is seized, although I cannot conceive of how that could happen given the circumstances. Is there anything I might be missing in the starting system that could cause this?
Is there a way to determine if my engine (automatic transmission) is seized?
Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Bob Chappuis wrote in alt.autos.gm

Did you try the starter with the starter out of the car? That would tell you if the starter is any good or not. Believe it or not, you can get bad starters, either new or rebuilt.

Bad starter, for one. Poor connections for another. Bad cable, you said you replaced the terminal, I assume you meant the connector, as the terminal is on the battery itself. You could have a bad cable or connector at the starter end. You could also have a bad ground, and your starter might not be lined up correctly. And lastly the fly wheel may have lost a couple of teeth.

Sure, pull the plugs out, making sure you know exactly which cylinder the cables go to. Make a diagram or buy those little string tags from a stationary store and tie them on each cable. Then put a wrench on the bolt on the Harmonic balancer and try to turn the engine. Did the engine itself make any strange noises, such as squealing or grinding when you last ran it? If not I doubt that it is seized. And from what you described I would suspect the starter, either bad or needs to be properly shimmed and lined up, or possibly the fly wheel lost a couple of teeth.

-- Dick #1349 Damn it . . . Don't you dare ask God to help me. To her housekeeper, who had begun to pray aloud. ~~ Joan Crawford, actress, d. May 10, 1977 Home Page: dickcr.iwarp.com email: snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net
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Bob, my son had a similar problem with his Grand Am. The bearings on the Air Conditioning compressor has seized and the engine couldn't turn over. Check the pulley on the A/C compressor and I'll bet that it's seized. When it's seized, the belt can't turn and thus the starter can't turn the engine over. Let me know if that's it. Good Luck!
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Many thanks to both of you for your very helpful replies. Following Sting Ray's tip I removed my sepentine belt this afternoon and the engine started right up. The A/C compressor pully was indeed frozen solid. Looks like I bought a starter and battery for no good reason but I probably got my moneys woth out of the old ones. Starter was original and the battery was 5 years old.
I may be back soon with questions about replacing the compressor. Thanks again for your help, Bob
On Tue, 02 Mar 2004 03:57:17 GMT, "Sting Ray" <Sting_Ray(no

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I'm happy to have been able to help Bob. The starter & battery always seem like obvious culprits when this happens. In my son's case, he had replaced both within the previous six months, so I looked for something less obvious. - Sting
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Chappuis wrote in alt.autos.gm

Glad you found the problem, and doubly glad it was relatively easy to find, unfortunately, problably costly to repair. A normal battery only has a life span of 3 to 5 years, so yours was due for a change anyways.
--
Dick #1349
Damn it . . . Don't you dare ask God to help me.
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