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  1. #1
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    Apr 2008
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    Calgary, AB
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    Default starter relay behind dash

    Hey guys,

    I bought an 85 vette a few months ago with a knocking motor. Replaced motor and been driving it around for a few days and having some fun/working the bugs out. I did a lot of modifications/rewiring (put a rem start solenoid under the drivers headlight), etc.

    Anyhow the other day the car developed a sudden no start issue. When I turn the key, no start.

    At the same time there is a clicking sound that happens under the dash. I thought it was the aftermarket cd radio that was in the car (old junk, dont even know if it works right) but I think it has to be a relay of some sort.

    Car starts/runs fine when I manual jump the starter solenoid.
    So to me it would have to be one of the following:

    Key switch, vats (dont think 85 has it), neutral safety switch (still no start in neutral or when shifter moved), start relay if one in car, starter soneoid.

    Given the fact that solenoid works fine, dont think the car has VATS, and I doubt its the neutral safety switch, that leaves the key and relay of some sort.
    Also given the fact that there is a "clicking" sound behind the dash, it leads me to the next question:

    IS there a relay under the dash close to the radio somewhere?
    IF so what is it called and how common is this problem?
    "clicking" leads me to belive a bad ground, or a faulty relay.
    Dash goes out sometimes, so if on the same circuit, could be bad ground.

    Thanks guys!

  2. #2
    Member Baldie88's Avatar
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    Mar 2002
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    Corvette(s)
    1988 Bright Red Coupe

    Default

    I had a similar no-start issue with my 88. There is a "starter enable relay" behind the center DIC. Not sure of the exact placement but it is by the a/c vents. Dealer replaced it.

    In my situation I checked all the grounds, replace the starter enable relay and bypassed the VATS and still had an intermittant no-start. Ended up replacing the starter and problem solved. I did lightly hit the pellet in the key with some sandpaper just to make sure it was clean even though the VATS was bypassed just to be sure. I never did hear a clicking sound but hopefully that is your only problem and maybe will solve your issue.

    Good Luck!

    Ron
    "Baldie88"

    Born on date May 31, 1988. This car did one lap of Indy in May 2006 for opening day ceremonies. Member St. Louis Corvette Club. NCM Member Number 518453.

  3. #3
    Member
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    Jan 2004
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    Not in Kansa anymore
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    1,558
    Corvette(s)
    1990

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Baldie88 View Post
    There is a "starter enable relay" behind the center DIC. Not sure of the exact placement but it is by the a/c vents.
    Remove the DIC fasia , the relay (#14078902) has two thick yellows, a green / wht and smaller green.Pull the plug and jumper the yellow and green/wht together. That will bypass the relay.Colors for my '87 , yours may be different
    If this doesn't work , remove the shifter console cover and check the inhibitor switch mounted on the shifter
    Either units can be bypassed as a get you going quick fix.Just remember to put in park before starting

    Last resort is the ign / starter switch located at bottom of column base.
    No VATS in 85

  4. #4
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    Default

    Thanks guys.

    What is the exact reason/function of this relay? I have no problem bypassing it, but also no problem fixing it if its important.

    I rewired 1/2 the stuff under the hood on the motor swap, moved a lot of things around (like starter solenoid), etc. The starter is new (torque master) ministarter. It works fine for now, as I said the car starts/runs fine when jumped at solenoid. Reason I put a remove start solenoid in the nose of the car is to keep it away from header heat.

    I need to pull the current radio in there anyway and replace with something more modern.

    I may also pull the instrument cluster at the same time and run a new ground to it (its intermittent but not bad). So its a great time to tackle this relay.

    This is my first corvette and it has been fun. I bought it with a broken motor that turned out to be a broken flex plate.... That was good news other then the fact I built a 406 for the car. Car came with headers/exhaust/super ram.
    I am an Fbody guy and had some early 80s G bodies, but the extra wiring in this car is a little anoying. GM should have kept the vette one notch simpler....and lighter.

  5. #5
    Member
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    Not in Kansa anymore
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    Corvette(s)
    1990

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    Quote Originally Posted by Igor View Post
    What is the exact reason/function of this relay? I have no problem bypassing it, but also no problem fixing it if its important.
    Usual reason for a relay is to switch a higher current load or save having to run a larger wire to a remote location (voltage drop ) like the key.

    In the VATS equiped cars it performs the function of controlling the starter lock out.
    In yours I have no idea because in the '87 wiring diagram , it shows the power that operates the starter from the same source as the power that operates the relay???? so it is only there for the VATS function

    If you are getting as deep as you are , get the FSM and wiring supplement.Much easier having the circut details in front of you.

  6. #6
    New Member streetrodder's Avatar
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    Corvette(s)
    1984 BRIGHT RED COUPE

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    my 84 has this same intermittent cranking issue. I can leave it and come back it will start right up. just no idea when this might happen. It is a 4+3 any ideas on this someone told me tonight to check theft deterent device cost him 20.00 to bypass??????

  7. #7
    Member Baldie88's Avatar
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    1988 Bright Red Coupe

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    If it is an intermittant no-start, I would doubt it is the VATS. I did the bypass as you described on my VATS and still had the intermittant no-start. After replacing the starter enable relay, checking all the grounds and bypassing the VATS it ended up being the starter.

    Hope this helps.

    Ron
    "Baldie88"

    Born on date May 31, 1988. This car did one lap of Indy in May 2006 for opening day ceremonies. Member St. Louis Corvette Club. NCM Member Number 518453.

  8. #8
    TedC's Avatar
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    Corvette(s)
    1989 Red Coupe

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    On my 1988, the starter enable relay was indeed intermittent, causing random no starts. A VATS bypass is of no value if this relay acts ups. It took 1 hour to isolate the issue, and 2 hours to replace. Don't think a 1985 uses the VATS system (lucky you), but still may have the starter relay in the center dash (source of clicking??). Isolated the problem using long probe wires from starter to DVOM. Once I isolated that the starter was not seeing any power I worked backwards to the starter enable relay. In my case the VATS was sending the right signal to the relay, but the relay was not engaging. I jumper the relay and the starter cranked. Someone with a 1985 FSM can help verify the wiring on your 1985.

  9. #9
    TedC's Avatar
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    1989 Red Coupe

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    This may help...

  10. #10
    New Member streetrodder's Avatar
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    Corvette(s)
    1984 BRIGHT RED COUPE

    Default c4 starting issue

    I replaced starter and it has cranked everytime since. Thanks guys.

  11. #11
    Member
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    Default

    Gentlemen,

    I have the 85 service manual with all wiring which is very helpfull.

    I fixed my car. The starter is new (high torque mini) and that was not the problem. There was no power going to the solenoid to signal "start".

    The horn relay on the car was shot...Since I am a novice corvette owner, i didn't know much about the 85 theft system. It had tripped but no horns so i had no clue.

    Now that I fixed the horn relay and know how to operate the non vats 85 anti theft system, life is good.

    Thanks for all the help!

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