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2001 Eldorado Question

750 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  RedPeppers
I used this board in the past and found it to be extremely helpful. I keep having an intermittent problem with the car not starting at various random times. The dealership can’t find anything wrong, but every so often when I turn off the engine and sit in the car for awhile, when I go to leave and start the car up again it will not turn over.

It’s not the battery, as everything else still has power. If I take the key out and wait a few minutes it usually starts right up. It happens most often when I remain seated in the car and stop for a short period of time. Sometimes when I stop to get gas, or stop to eat something quick.

I read my owners manual and thought it might be a security feature having to do with the keys or key fob, but the dealership says no. Any ideas of what could be causing this?
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intermittent problems are always tough
because you can only run accurate tests WHEN the problem is occurring -

start by checking for DTC's - Diagnostic Trouble Codes -
if you don't know how - go here -

post any codes you have -

include whether they are C-Current or H-History -

for code definitions - go here -
when I go to leave and start the car up again it will not turn over.
assuming this means the engine does not crank -

your eldo still uses the VATS resistor chip in the key -
there are several issues that come to mine -

the contacts on the key could be dirty -
this could cause a change in the measured resistance or simply no contact at all -
use a pencil eraser and clean the contacts on the key -
try a new/different key -
you can buy a new - uncut key on ebay for $12 with free shipping -
any hardware store will cut the key for a couple bucks -
NOTE - you'll have to measure the resistance of the chip to get the correct blank -
there are 15 possibilities -

the contacts within the key reader in the ignition lock could be dirty -
get a spray can of electrical contact cleaner and spray/flush the inside of the lock cylinder -
let it sit for several minutes - and spray it again -
let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes - then give the lock cylinder a couple quick shots of WD40 -

a solution to BOTH possibilities above would be to bypass the VATS system altogether -
by tapping into the system and installing the proper size resistor -


another possibility is a faulty starter solenoid -
or maybe just a loose connection at the starter -
unfortunately - the starter is under the intake plenum and simply out of reach -

could also be a failing starter relay -

yet another possibility is a faulty NSS - Neutral Safety Switch -
with the shifter in PARK -
keep your foot on the brake - hold the key in the START position - and wiggle the shift handle -

if that doesn't work - shift into NEUTRAL -
keep your foot on the brake - hold the key in the START position - and wiggle the shift handle -
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I am a complete novice, so I need a lot of direction. When you say clean the Lock Cylinder with electrical contact cleaner, does that mean I just spray it right into the ignition where I insert the key?

The ignition has never been cleaned and there have been a lot of smokers in the car, so I am thinking this could be the cause of my problem.
Please advise. Thanks so much BassCatt. You are so knowledgeable!!!
I am a complete novice, so I need a lot of direction.
no problem -

there are 2 contacts in the lock cylinder - where you put the key -
the 2 contacts on the key must make a good connection with the contacts in the lock cylinder -

the electrical contact cleaner spray should have a little straw with it -
look at the key - note where the resistor contacts are -
note how far the key gets inserted into the lock cylinder -
now estimate where the contacts are within the lock cylinder - hint - not too far in -

next - the electric contact cleaner spray is a strong solvent that leaves no residue -
spray around the area -
you don't need to flood the area or empty the whole can - several 2 or 3 second shots should do the job -

while you're in there - you can also clean/flush the lock tumblers -
pull the straw all the way out -
aim the straw at the key hole -
hold the spray button down while SLOWLY inserting the straw all the way in - then back out -
this should take about 3 seconds going in and 3 seconds coming out -

let everything sit for 5 minutes -
this should be long enough for the cleaning fluid to evaporate/dry -

last -
the lock tumblers NEED a little - light - lube -
a couple quick shots of WD40 will do the trick nicely -
then insert and remove the key several times to disperse the lube -

NOTE - have a couple paper towels handy during this process -
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