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Pontiac Grand Am Starting/Stalling Problems

I've got a 1996, 4 cyl. grand am that will not start. I've replaced the battery and starter already and it's still doing the same thing. Basically it won't turn over fast enough to get the car started. It wears down a fully charged battery in one start, and the wires/starter get warm/hot to the touch as well. I've replaced the battery terminals when I put a new battery in so I would think it is making good contact. Even putting jumper cables on doesn't help. I'm wondering what would cause the battery to go dead after one start, could it be a short in the battery cables somewhere? Or a bad alternator? or? I've already put almost $200 into the car trying to fix the problems, so I'm getting desperate. Any help would be greatly appreciated. If you need more info just let me know.

Thanks in advance,

Steve
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Comments

  • slundyslundy Posts: 5
    I should've added this in the first post. If I turn on the lights, as you would think, the lights go out when I try to start it, that's why I figured the battery wasn't holding a charge. Also, it does turn over, until the battery is dead, but it's doing it REALLY slowly (I read online that this could be a bad starter), so I replaced the starter and let it charge for about 20 min. before trying to start, and it did the same thing, turned over a few times and wore down the battery. It's almost like the motor is "sticky", or stuck...It's got plenty of oil, and no shavings that I can see, and the oil still looks new, it's not dark brown or black, and has no water or foreign matter in it that I can see.

    Help?? :sick:
  • kmajorskmajors Posts: 17
    If the battery is charged and the lights still dim when you try to start it something else is draining the power. The wires getting hot means there is a lot of current flowing through them, this could be a short.

    Check all the ground straps on the engine and make sure they are in good condition and making good contact. Then look at the battery cables going to the starter and anywhere else they might go. Look for cracks, burn marks or any bare wire exposure. If you charge the battery and leave it in the car without trying to start it does it hold a charge? If not then either the battery is bad or you have a short.

    Check the cable going to the Altenator for any sign of wear, abrasion, etc. It is also possible the regulator in the altenator is bad and not switching correctly. You can have it checked for free at most auto parts stores.

    Hope this helps.
  • I'm telling u, i had the same problem, 2 years ago, it was this small fan under the front. its cheap and it worked. i could not be leave it, cause everybody was checking the big stuff, and this part is like 25.00
  • slundyslundy Posts: 5
    actually it turned out to be the ac compressor being locked up (made it almost impossible to turn the motor over) and a bad crank sensor. Found a friend how knew a mechanic and got it done for 200, works great now!

    Thanks for the help though!
  • Had 2001 GradnAm(4cyl.)fixed 1 wk. ago(new fuel pump)Ranx2days.2 days ago,after getting gas,car wouldn't start.Error code on radio panel.Battery/alternator ckd.x2~Ok.Charged battery overnight per mechanic.Today:Not only started(temp.),but then error code came back on radio,And..Trunk opened?!Died..Hubby frustrated..I'm mad(a an angry Grandmom not a good thing).Had the car since new,no problems till this past week.Any ideas?Was told to go to Dealer.Really want to avoid this.Thanks in advance all.Hubby works on road,uses GrandAm.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    It very possible that the wiring harness was pinched/damaged when the tank was re-installed after changing the fuel pump. That's the only thing I can think of that fits your description of the symptoms.
    You should probably have it inspected. If it was me I would have Pontiac look at it, that's the only place I have received continual competent service (when I need it). It may different for you though, depending on the dealer service in your area.
  • The whole issue from start to now:

    2 weeks ago, i had to work on my 2004 GA GT. Left the ignition in the ON position for 20min tops. Turned it off, tried to crank (click, click, click), had to then jump the car.
    Since then i've had the occasional day where it would hesitate to turn over right away, but giving it 2-3 seconds it would crank.
    Then just yesterday, I tried to crank and it took about 5-6 seconds to actually turn over and run.
    Next, turned it off, tried to crank it again and nothing turned. All light, interior, head, dash, all came on. I could hear the relays click, and the fuel pump engage. But no engine crank.
    I tested fuses all were good, I tested the battery..fine, replaced it anyway. Found the starter, Turned the ignition on, crossed the solinoid, heard the starter spinning. While crossing the solinoid, i tried to turn it over, but nothing happend.
    My conclusion is it could be the starter. Can anyone confirm i could be correct, or if there may be anything else i could check before replacing.

    TIA!!
    ADAM
  • I have the above car, it has 126680 miles on it. It started having problems about 2-3 weeks ago. The car kept wanting to stall out and the RPMs were fluctuating, meaning the engine was really trying to keep it from stalling out, when that car was idling. I replaced the idle air control sensor and that fixed the stalling out problem but the car still doesn't run right. The car does not want to start, it takes about 2 times to start it with the key, and I have a remote start in it and that takes about 5-10 seconds to start and it seems to choke on, same happens with the key. The engine does sputter, slightly when I idle and the RPMs go up about a line (small lines) or two occasionally. When I am driving at higher speeds (50-60mph) it takes a little more gas to get it to gear down and when I let off the gas it takes a little while for it to gear up. Also, when the car shifts out of overdrive, it seems that its forcing itself to gear up and it slightly jerks the car when it does.

    My boyfriend thinks the throttle position sensor needs to be replaced, my friend, Marvin, thinks its something else, maybe a transmission electrical relay problem, the engine is getting too much gas, etc. I have noticed that the car is using more gas than normal but the RPMs are a little messed up due to this problem so that might explain the extra gas usage. Worst case scenario its the fuel pump but the problem doesn't seem to be that. We replaced the spark plugs and the boots and the fuel filter and that nothing for the problem.

    Any help with this would be great!!!
    Thanks
    Kat :sick: :confuse:
  • burdawg:Thanks for the suggestion.You were close.When the mechanic(not dealer)replaced the fuel pump one week earlier,he did not tighten the battery cables.The dealer found/fixed the problem free of charge!(never happens,smile)Also,(dealer did not know this in beginning)the "error"code that came up on radio panel should've told them that was the problem.Thanks again.It's running like a charm. :)
  • erc2erc2 Posts: 1
    I'm having a similiar problem. I'll go to start the car and it won't turn over. It's almost like something isn't firing but then if I give it a little gas while trying to start the car, it will fire up fine. The car is at the dealership now. They can't duplicate the problem although they can see that there is an error on the computer but the error isn't registering. Any ideas? :cry:
  • gb_ninagb_nina Posts: 1
    My 2003 Grand Am doesn't like to start either. And the problem has gotten worse recently, which concerns me.

    Sometimes the car starts normally, but most of the time it doesn't. Sometimes it just needs a little gas to start (much like what erc2 described in post #11). Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 tries before the car will start. Recently, however, the lights inside of the car (dash, radio, etc) have been doing strange things when I try to start the car (sometimes blinking, sometimes coming on and then going out, sometimes not coming on until I've put the car into reverse or drive).

    The car runs fine once I manage to get it started....

    Any ideas what the source of the problem could be? Though I know I should take it to a mechanic/dealership, I'm a little concerned about what the price tag that's connected to the problem/repairs might be....
  • '97 Grand Am SE 4Cyl 2.4L 4-door 85,000 miles:

    I just bought this car a few days ago for $900, and I thought I was getting a good deal because the body and engine seemed decent. When I test drove it the only problem I noticed was that the instrument cluster was inop. Every light is stuck on, none of the guages work, but the odometer does work.

    The day after I bought it there was what I thought a major tranny slip, so I put some Lucas Trans Fix in, no go. Put new plugs in, no go. Every single time when I accelerate from a stop or park I get some major sputtering and misfiring, but then it catches and is fine until I get around what I think is 60-70mph (speedometer is inop) and it sputters/misfires some more. Once I'm driving for 15 minutes+ and come to a stoplight, the car idles really low/really rough and will shutoff. It does start right back up, but I just have to crank the ignition a little longer than normal. Now when I come to a stop I put it in neutral and do a brake stand to prevent it from shutting off, but it still sputters when I start to accelerate. Is there a dial somewhere that regulates how much gas the engine gets while idling? Would notching that up help?

    I took it to the local GM dealership to get diagnostics done, and all that showed up was:
    P0300 Misfire, P0335 Crankshaft Sensor, and P0341 Camshaft Sensor. They said to replace those sensors I'm already up to $220 and that wouldn't guarantee a fix, not to mention the cluster problem they said would cost $300+, so I paid the $80 diag fee and left. At autozone the cam and crank sensors are $19 each. I called a junkyard and they told me $30 for the cluster, but they said that it could just be bad wiring or a ground.

    Now I do have a buddy who will put all 3 of those in for "50% of what a shop charges." For you mechanics out there, about how much is that? He is somewhat of a rookie mechanic, but he can do it if he knows exactly what to replace. Is there anything specific I can tell him to look for regarding fuses or the wiring and grounds behind the cluster so I don't have to drop that $30? Neither of us really know much about electrical problems, but is that rather simple?

    Sorry for the long post, but I just don't want to spend hundreds of dollars for nothing. Is there anything else it could be? I saw a post here that was similar to my problem and a new EGR valve and vacuum hose fixed it. I really don't want to replace hundreds of dollars worth of stuff if I don't have to.

    I think the dealership's diagnostics were a ripoff. They didn't even look into the cluster problem, they just told me to replace it. I think I'll try Autozone's free diagnostics. If something comes up I'll post it shortly.
  • sheil2sheil2 Posts: 4
    Hey there i was just reading your post message issue. I got to say i am having the same problem but a little different then your's. I got a 2002 pontiac grand am GT, it really sucks' i've been having starting issues with it as well, an i can't seem to get it started. It first started off with a couple of seconds of not starting then it got worse to where it tock several minutes. And now it has not started since yesterday morning. I don't know what it is. The car clicks but that is about it. I tried to fiddle with the key but that does ot work even left it on an that still does not work, fuses an hose to battery are okay. I just don't know what to do anymore. What's wrong with it does anyone know or can someone help me. Um in germany rite now an it's hard to find someone who knows how to fix an american car????? :mad:
  • slundyslundy Posts: 5
    Clicking usually means a bad starter solenoid. Try tapping it with a hammer if you can get to it, or it means it's not getting enough juice.
  • sheil2sheil2 Posts: 4
    Does anybody know what it means when you get a ticking click noise from inside or beside the fuse box for electrical system....underneath the hood? Well that is where one of the many reasons why or associated with my car not starting up. I tried to check the cable connections to the battery an also the fuse box underneath the hood as well as having help jumpstarting the car but still nothin...i'm about tired of it! I don't know what to do anymore i am so fustrated...I dont' know if i need a new battery or what? But i don't know, but the clicking noise is a faint noise not so loud but the light's an interrior stuff work inside the car. If anyone could help in determing what might be please do help, i don't really know anything about cars. thanks...
  • slundyslundy Posts: 5
    To find out if the battery has enough juice, turn your lights on when you try to start the car, and have a friend try to start it, if the lights go dim then either you don't have enough juice, or something is keeping it from turning thus draining the electricity. The clicking is the shaft inside the starter not engaging because the solenoid is bad. We had an old 1970-something car that did that but the solenoid was mounted on the fender so we'd just jump the terminals with a screwdriver to get it started, but on a car as new as yours I wouldn't do that (it can spark and fry things now too), plus it's probably buried under the exhaust manifold, so it's hard to get at, unless it's got a totally different motor than a '96. Haven't had a chance to look at the newer ones. Try the light thing, if the lights stay bright then it's the starter. Where is the starter located on your car? Is there an auto repair store or shop nearby that you can take the starter to, to have it tested? Have you checked all of your fuses as well, inside and outside of the car? Perhaps we can get an expert to weigh in on the subject. I'll check another forum I've posted on and see if there's anything there for you as well. Also, to find out if perhaps it's a relay in the fuse box, have a friend try starting it and put a finger on the top of one of the relays, if you feel the clicking on one of those then that could be it. I'm by no means an expert, more of a driveway mechanic. But give those things a shot, and you can at least start narrowing it down.
  • bill442620bill442620 Posts: 1
    My car wont start...If you turn the key the lights come on and the battery has a good charge, but it doesn't make and sound when you turn the key to start...I tried jumping the starter with a screw driver and the car will turn over and try to start but it wont fire...Any ideas
  • paul78paul78 Posts: 3
    If you have not yet had this fixed - It sounds like the catalytic converter is starting to go bad. When the inside of the converter starts to go the exhaust starts to get restricted so the faster you try to go the worse the engine will run (the exhaust gas has no where to go like a drain getting clogged up) also you get worse gas mileage when the converter starts to go. You can go to several parts stores (like checker) and get free use of a code scanning tool. This will tell you exactly what is wrong. To me this does sound exactly like the problem. Trying to make any repair by trial and error will get very expensive and time consuming. Most dealerships will charge $750.00 and up but if you ask around you should be able to find a good local muffler/repair shop that will do it for $350.00 or less. Since the inside of the old catalytic converter is plated with precious metal you can recycle it and get at-least $30.00 for it. Good Luck!
  • my car will start allmost every time the first time i turn the key over, but some times it takes me trying to start it 2 or 3 times. it's like the gas isn't getting were it needs too.i have to turn the key over and hold it there for about three seconds and it will start up.i haven't had clicking or light's acting up yet...(knock on wood) :confuse:
  • My car will turn on and run for about 15 mins and then it will shut off and I know it's not the batt. and I took it to a garage and they said I have to hit the gas tank in the middle and wait for a noise and then it will work. I have a new fuel line and everything in those lines. I just need some advice on if that is what it is and how much would it cost for my kind of car? I really greatly appreciate someone helping me! ALSO, I live in Lancaster,PA so if anyone see's this and knows anything around here it would help.

    THANKS!!!
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