My 2000 Olds Bravada wouldn't crank.
There was 12V present on one of the coil terminals with the key on.
There is a small module next to the coil with a 4 terminal plug. It
looks like it's on a heat sink with silicone grease. I don't know if
this is an ignition module but it also had 12V on one of the
terminals as well with the key on. I checked all the fuses relating to
"ignition" and swapped the starter relay in the fuse box in the engine
compartment with another of the same type but it made no difference.
When you turned the key to start there was a soft "click" sound like a
relay, which seemed to come from under the dash on the passenger side.
Don't know what this is. The starter is oriented so that the solenoid
switch is inaccessible and therefore it's impossible to get a meter
onto the coil terminal. I removed the two bolts holding the starter,
(this is the smallest starter I've ever seen on a car, so at least
it's light), and I was able to turn it a small amount but the wires
are so short and up on top I still couldn't get a meter on it. And of cours
didn't want to try to crank it while it was hanging. That could have been a
disaster if it just decided to crank. So I thought that I'd have to
remove it to test the solenoid coil wire and then bench test the
starter as well, but I wasn't sure if I could have gotten these wires off.
I was really stumped until I called my son.
Mike came over to take a different look at this thing and he
realized that you get to the starter terminals by lifting the rubber
flap in the wheel well. I remounted the starter and we monitored the
coil terminal on the solenoid while holding the key on, and it was
dead. So while I was going to get a small alarm battery to put 12V on
the coil to see if it would energize. Mike double checked the fuses. I
heard him say: "Dad, I thought you said that you checked the fuses"?
Well I did check everything that mentioned "ignition," overlooking the
10 amp fuse that said "crank". That fuse had opened up and it appears
for no reason. I haven't measured the current through that new "crank"
fuse but since replacing it the car has been started at least 20 times
without a problem. So I get the dummy of the month award for sure. But
it does beg the question what opened that fuse?
Now I know from dealing with high inrush current circuits in some TV
sets that we'll sometimes find an open fuse for apparently no reason.
The theory is that repeated heavy instantaneous loads will sometimes
weaken a fuse element and then it may fail as in this case for no
Well I thought that this was what might have happened until my wife
called me from a supermarket parking lot the other day where she was
stranded with apparently the same symptoms. I picked up a box of
10 amp fuses along the way and upon arriving found a blown crank fuse
again. With a new fuse the car started right up and has been OK for
two days now.
I have asked her to describe the symptoms and the events leading up to
them exactly as she remembers them each time this has happened. She
tells me that in each instance there was no sound from the starter.
Apparently not even a momentary attempt to crank when the key was
turned. That suggests to me that what took these fuses out was a dead
short between the ignition switch (output) and the solenoid wire in
each case that the key was turned. The problem is that it seems to be
an intermittent dead short. I have no wiring diagram for the car but
I’m thinking that 12V must go from the 12V bus, through this 10 amp
crank fuse, through the ignition switch, then possibly through a relay, and
then to the solenoid terminal on the starter. So if that is correct then p
erhaps the problem is a chafed wire that could be anywhere beyond the ignit
For the time being I’ve showed her how to change the fuse in a pinch,
but naturally I have to fix this. I’m almost ready to wire a starter
button with a separate ten amp fuse from the battery right to the
solenoid. I know about neutral safety switch concerns and so naturally I’
d rather not have to but I’m not sure how to find this otherwise.
Can someone please take a look at the schematic if they have it available a
nd please tell me if I’m correct in my guess as to how the starting circu
it is actually configured? And if you have any other ideas I’d appreciate
your input. Thanks for any assistance,