Starting problem on '99 Deville base model
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Cadillac DeVille 1985 to 2005 including:
1985-1992 Fleetwood, 1993 Sixty Special, All FWD Forum Discussion, Starting problem on '99 Deville base model in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; Any help would be greatly appreciated! Here's what's happening. This evening I visited a friend in a nearby town. After ...
  1. #1
    mvrk1 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Starting problem on '99 Deville base model

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Here's what's happening. This evening I visited a friend in a nearby town. After about 1 1/2 hours, I got into my car to leave. When I turned the key, the car began to turn over, then stopped turning over. However, while the key was turned I could still hear what I thought to be an electronic noise almost like a whining sound. A few more attempts yielded only this noise with the engine not even trying to turn over. Praying it was something as simple as a weak battery, I tried a jump start. Again, only the electronic sound. So my friend tapped the solenoid while I turned the key with the same result. I'm baffled and have exhausted my limited knowledge.

    By the way, the noise being made is not a "clicking" sound. It is continuous as long as the key is held in the start position.

    Also in case it's relevant. I've owned the car for about a year. From day 1, it would sometimes fire up immediately and sometimes have to turn over for a bit before starting. But it has never failed to start.

    Love this forum! Saved my bacon when I purchased the car last year and had to immediately do some brake work. Please help if you can. Thanks!

    ----------

    I've been searching for answers and know that I need to check the FPR in relation to the hard starting problem I mentioned near the end of the post. Have yet to find anyone post a similar non-start problem to the one I'm experiencing though.

    ----------

    I learned about the FPR regarding the secondary problem of hard starting. I'm as of yet unable to find a problem similar to the one I experienced today though, where the car wasn't turning over at all.

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  3. #2
    JimD is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Starting problem on '99 Deville base model

    Quote Originally Posted by mvrk1 View Post
    ....So my friend tapped the solenoid while I turned the key with the same result. I'm baffled and have exhausted my limited knowledge.
    Whatever your friend was tapping, it was not your starter solenoid. Your starter motor/solenoid assembly is buried under the intake manifold.
    It might be time to consider that your 14 or 15 year old starter motor/solenoid assembly has reached (exceeded?) its normal service life expectancy.
    CadillacLuke24 and mvrk1 like this.

  4. #3
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    CadillacLuke24 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Starting problem on '99 Deville base model

    Quote Originally Posted by JimD View Post
    Whatever your friend was tapping, it was not your starter solenoid. Your starter motor/solenoid assembly is buried under the intake manifold.
    It might be time to consider that your 14 or 15 year old starter motor/solenoid assembly has reached (exceeded?) its normal service life expectancy.


    I would venture to guess you're in the market for a new starter. When my battery died, there was a distinct click as the starter was goin' but the battery wasn't.

  5. #4
    mvrk1 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Starting problem on '99 Deville base model

    thanks, JimD! Your statement makes sense. What he said was the solenoid looked nothing like the one on my jeep that had to be replaced, but I didn't know what the part was either, so I took his word for it. My thought was that it might be the starter, but in any other vehicle I've had with a bad starter, I got either a clicking sound or no sound at all when I turned the key. When I turn the key on this car, it makes an noise with which I am unfamiliar, but it is not a click. I read in another thread that the northstar cars don't "click" when the starter is going. To your knowledge, is this true?
    Thanks!

    ----------

    CadillacLuke24, I appreciate your input as well! I'd like to make sure I understand what you meant. Are you saying that your starter clicked but wouldn't actually start the car because your battery was junk and wasn't supplying enough power?

  6. #5
    JimD is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Starting problem on '99 Deville base model

    Quote Originally Posted by mvrk1 View Post
    ....I read in another thread that the northstar cars don't "click" when the starter is going.
    Blanket statements like that are a reminder that the flat earth society is alive and well.

    The presence or absence of a 'click' depends on how the starter assembly has failed. The solenoid can move far enough to engage the starter gear with the flywheel but the contactor can be burned/pitted badly enough that the starter motor is not properly connected to the battery. Hence the starter motor does not crank the engine. And that is a common failure mode.

    Your first diagnostic step is always always always confirm the battery is in good condition (will pass a load test).
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  7. #6
    mvrk1 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Starting problem on '99 Deville base model

    Lol on the "flat earth society". Your reply makes excellent sense and has once again expanded my mechanical knowledge. Thank you, Good Sir!

  8. #7
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    Re: Starting problem on '99 Deville base model

    If you hear a whirring noise, your starter is fine. That's what you hear spinning (the pinion gear). It is just not engaging the flywheel. That's a bad solenoid. That said, at that age and for the additional cost, it may not be a bad idea to just replace the whole thing.

  9. #8
    mvrk1 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Starting problem on '99 Deville base model

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger View Post
    If you hear a whirring noise, your starter is fine. That's what you hear spinning (the pinion gear). It is just not engaging the flywheel. That's a bad solenoid. That said, at that age and for the additional cost, it may not be a bad idea to just replace the whole thing.
    Best answer so far, Ranger! Thank you very much!

    ----------

    One more question, if anybody has a moment: do you know if it's possible to bypass the solenoid problem by making a connection with a screwdriver on this car? I did that on my jeep when the solenoid went, but it was easy to reach. I need to get the car home from where it is so I can work on it and would rather not have to pay for a tow.

  10. #9
    MoistCabbage's Avatar
    MoistCabbage is online now Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    If the solenoid is bad, the pinion gear can't engage the flywheel teeth, and it can't crank the engine.
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  11. #10
    mvrk1 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Starting problem on '99 Deville base model

    I know the starter is under the manifold, but I'm wondering if I can reach it from underneath in order to start the car with old screwdriver method in order to get it back to my house from where it's stranded. Does anyone know? I can't check cuz I'm in a different town from where it pooped out on me. Wanna be prepared when I get back to it tomorrow.

  12. #11
    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: Starting problem on '99 Deville base model

    No that old school starter bypass method will not work on the Northstar. Can't get near it.
    Attached Images
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  13. #12
    mvrk1 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Starting problem on '99 Deville base model

    Well shucks about that. But thanks so much for the information, Ranger, especially the photo! It really gives a clear picture of the situation, no pun intended.

  14. #13
    mvrk1 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Starting problem on '99 Deville base model

    Just wanted to follow up and say thanks to everybody, especially Ranger! Put in a new starter with solenoid and all is well. It is kind of pain compared to doing a starter on other vehicles I've owned, but it wasn't as difficult as I expected.

  15. #14
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    Re: Starting problem on '99 Deville base model

    It is kind of pain compared to doing a starter on other vehicles I've owned
    BUT, you weren't on your back working upside down and you don't have any dirt and rust in your eyes.

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