intermittent starting problem

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I have a 98 Oldsmobile Regency with an intermittent starting problem. It first started on hot days after my wife left work coming home, and made a stop at the store. When she came out it would not turn over. All electric seemed to be working, AC, windows, seat, radio, but would not turn over. After about 5-10 minutes it fried up. This would happen about once a week, then maybe ever other day. We took it to the shop twice, and got the battery replaced and the starter relay replaced. This morning it wouldn't start. Later it fired up with out a problem, I drove it around. Turned it off then back on, no problem. This afternoon drove to pickup my daughter from work. The car sat for about 45 minutes while I waited, then would not start. After about 10 minutes of trying it fired up and ran fine.
Any one got any ideas what may be happening?

posted by  arant

Once again difficult to diagnose from a few hundred miles away. Based on your description and the parts you've already replaced I'll stick my neck out and go with a bad/misadjusted neutral safety switch or ignition switch.

One thing you failed to describe is when you attempt to start it is if you can hear the starter solenoid kicking or not. Also when you have a no start can it be started by jumping directly from the battery to the starter? Two very critical pieces of info.

Another thing not mentioned is if the shop you had do the work actually checked out the starting system or if they just assumed and replaced parts. It could be as simple as a dirty/loose connection.

posted by  vwhobo

The shop tested the electrical system. The battery was a bit low, so we tried that. The second time the oldsmobile dealler suggested the started relay. Once or twice there was a klicking sound, but most the 99% of the time it is completely dead, like no battery at all, except all the power seems to be there. The service manager said they tested the starter and it is ok. They checked all the connections and said they were good.
And for what it is worth, I have been dealing with these guys for a bunch of years and trust them.

posted by  arant

Could vapour lock be a problem on a new(er) car? or is it prettymuch a thing of the past?

posted by  84_Jetta_GLi

Vapor lock has nothing to do with the starter not operating.

posted by  vwhobo

Then I have a question for you, specifically about your last comment. Why are you on a forum looking for free advise?

posted by  vwhobo

Just cause I trust them doesn't mean I think they know everything. I had a problem similar with a Honda. We tried a bunch of stuff, but by checking forms like this I learned there was a problem on some Honda with something to do with the fuel system.

posted by  arant

Without the question in my first post of this thread being answered I stand by my first educated quess.

As for your last post what you're implying is that you trust them but don't have confidence in their judgement. They didn't fix your car so you have a good reason not to. At my shops we don't expect the customer to do our research for us.

You can read anything you want into this post but the bottom line is anything I tell you here is a guess, educated but a guess. I can't see the car they can. They've missed something and I'm willing to bet it's simple and you didn't need to replace the parts ($200 plus labor) that you have.

As a side note dealers (not all) are notorious for not thinking creatively and missing simple items to repair a malfunction.

posted by  vwhobo

I trust them as honest competent. Maybe not creative. I know I am better equipped to use the Internet as a tool then they are. I also believe keeping myself informed is the best way to protect myself.
So far your right. I am not sure what "testing the starter system" intales. I know he said he tested the starter. Replacing the parts didn't fix the problem. I plan on asking about jumping the starter directly and the bad/misadjusted neutral safety switch or ignition switch.

posted by  arant

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