: Starting issue -- 91 Eldorado

01-27-12, 06:33 PM

For more than a year now (maybe two?) I have been living with a slightly annoying starting problem that so far my (otherwise excellent) mechanic can't seem to solve: occasionally when I turn the key in the ignition I just get the "click" (that I think happens anyway when the car starts normally), but the starter motor does not engage. In almost every case, I try it again and again get the same click -- but then on the third try it starts up just fine. This does not generate any DIC codes. My repair shop has twice replaced the starter motor -- and the motor cranks just fine when it does engage.

As I say, it's more annoying than anything, but I'd love to resolve it. It has been happening more often recently -- like about once a week. Any thoughts?


01-29-12, 01:51 PM
That car has a VATS ignition key anti theft system. Do a search for "bypass Vats" on GOOGLE. That might be your issue. or have a new key made a a GM dealership. Also corroded cables can cause this. look closely at the cable ends for any evidence of white powdery corrosion. A car this old can have connection issues and corroded cables are often overlooked.

01-29-12, 11:47 PM
Thanks for the reply. Actually I needed to have the VATS sensor wires replaced in the steering column and got a new VATS key about six months ago -- this problem preceded that and is following it, too, for what that's worth. I have had VATS starting problems before, but that typically generates the "Wait 3 minutes" message, etc. Which cables should be checked for corrosion?

01-30-12, 02:42 AM
The Battery cable ends.

01-30-12, 01:25 PM
I picked this up from somebody here, don't remember who;

On these cars is is VITAL that the security light in the lower left driver information center briefly come on
then go back off when you turn key to ON (before turning to start) If the light does not come on at all, or comes
and stays on, the car is not going to start or even try to. If the light in fact does not come on at all chances
are it is the passkey module buried in the lower passenger side under dash, directly BEHIND the relays and fuses.
If the light comes on and stays on, chances are the loop from the passkey module to the ignition lock cylinder is
breached from either a bad wire or a faulty key pellet.

If the light comes and and goes right back off as intended, then you can normally rule out a security issue and
the problem is basic like battery or cable. I also have experienced a weak ground from engine to body on these
cars. Try running a jumper cable from the battery to a strong clean metal contact such as one of the upper strut
mounting bolts. The buzzing and clicking in dash is usually a sign of low or intermittent voltage.