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  • Corvette Wont Start Yet Has Full Power
  • Corvette Wont Start Yet Has Full Power
  • Corvette Wont Start Yet Has Full Power
  • Corvette Wont Start Yet Has Full Power

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  1. #1
    Member kirkeric's Avatar
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    Default Corvette Wont Start Yet Has Full Power

    Hello,

    I have an 87 corvette. Just fixed some AC stuff and took it for a ride last night. While stopped in a parking lot, I noticed dash lights flickering a tad (could be a coincidence). So I pulled into a spot and thought I would turn it off and back on and when I turned it off, even with full battery power it would not start. All power functions worked, windows, lights, radio. I even brought my second vehicle and already knew that jumping wouldnt work and it did not.

    I also noticed the security light flashing unless I shut the door while turning the key. Not sure if that is anything.

    It would not even attempt to turn over. There was no indication of a low battery.

    I had started it repeatedly before taking the drive.

    The only thing I can think of is the starter went out. It seemed to me just a little flaky but always turned over. Alternator seems to be charging fine.

    Also, along this same line of discussion, assuming it is the starter I need to get this thing up on some wheel ramps which has tossed in another wrench. The book shows where to jack the car up (between the little triangles), yet it sure seems weak and unstable.

    Is there a better point to jack. I am using a floor jack not the spare jack.

    THanks,

    Eric
    E. D. Kirk
    Kirk Productions

  2. #2
    Member SPANISHVETTS's Avatar
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    Default

    The jacking point is fine. Put your jackstands under the spot where the sub-frames attach to the side rails. If you use a lift put a hockey puck between the lift pads and the jacking points... not necessary but it makes things nicer.

    Odds are your problem is in the wiring. Usually the ground side but the Hot cable to the starter can go south as well.

    Usually the problem is a hi-resistance connection so a volt meter will do you no good. Use a test lamp that draws several amps or check the voltage with the starter engaged.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes.
    ĘTo be or to do? Which way will you go?" Col John Boyd

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  3. #3
    Member milehigreg's Avatar
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    Default VATS maybe?

    +1 with Spanishvetes on the jacking.

    I would suspect a malfunction of the VATS system for your no start. You have an ingition key with a resistor chip in it, right? I believe this became standard equipment in 86. If VATS is messed up, nothing happens!

    Do some searching on the subject to see if you agree and for some troubleshooting help. Try your spare key.

  4. #4
    Member jmccloud's Avatar
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    Default Won't Start

    Sounds like the cable to the starter 'went south' at either or both ends (broke or came loose). Sometimes the crimped end will corrode and loose good contact with the conducting wire-really difficult to see. Perhaps the starter itself died but check the cable first.
    Use 4 pieces of 2X12" or 2X10" to get the front up to start onto ramps. Two pieces about 4' long and two pieces about 2' long. Put the 4' pieces on the bottom and the 2' pieces on the top, staggered so their ends line up at the ramp beginning and touching the ramps. Nail together (top-to-bottom) to prevent them from flopping about.
    It's a good idea to put jack stands under the jacking points and block the rear wheels too after the car is on the ramps.
    Good luck.

  5. #5
    Member kirkeric's Avatar
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    Default

    I was planning/hoping to jack it up and instead of jack stands, use the ramps. Is there one preferred over the other? Something about having the wheels on a ramp makes me feel safer when I crawl beneath. I did block the rear ones though.

    SO, if it is the ground or hot cable, what is the fix? ANd will it be obvious? I mean a loose connection or disconnect, very obvious but not sure how to tell if it is just bad.

    Thanks,
    Eric

    Quote Originally Posted by SPANISHVETTS View Post
    The jacking point is fine. Put your jackstands under the spot where the sub-frames attach to the side rails. If you use a lift put a hockey puck between the lift pads and the jacking points... not necessary but it makes things nicer.

    Odds are your problem is in the wiring. Usually the ground side but the Hot cable to the starter can go south as well.

    Usually the problem is a hi-resistance connection so a volt meter will do you no good. Use a test lamp that draws several amps or check the voltage with the starter engaged.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes.

  6. #6
    Member kirkeric's Avatar
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    So you are suggesting building these ramps to slow scoot under as I lift? Or can I simply use the jack, lift and slide the ramps under?
    I've heard a lot about the security key and have not had much luck there. I am told there is supposed to be a distinct set of wiring coming from the steering column. I found all the wiring, most of which feeds into one main large connector.

    Only one seperate set of wires are yellow going into a connector then yellow and brown coming out. Some say, avoid the yellow because they are for airbags. well, I don't have airbags and that set seems to be the closest to the description.

    I have a number 9 key and I checked the resistence on the key and even got a little variable resister to set the same resistence just to check that set of wires. NO luck.

    I see the security light flashing but when I close the door it stops and I can't recall exactly what it did before this. When I fully engage the ignition, the security light no longer flashes but everything else lights up as usual.

    Kind of stumped on the security part.

    Eric

    Quote Originally Posted by jmccloud View Post
    Sounds like the cable to the starter 'went south' at either or both ends (broke or came loose). Sometimes the crimped end will corrode and loose good contact with the conducting wire-really difficult to see. Perhaps the starter itself died but check the cable first.
    Use 4 pieces of 2X12" or 2X10" to get the front up to start onto ramps. Two pieces about 4' long and two pieces about 2' long. Put the 4' pieces on the bottom and the 2' pieces on the top, staggered so their ends line up at the ramp beginning and touching the ramps. Nail together (top-to-bottom) to prevent them from flopping about.
    It's a good idea to put jack stands under the jacking points and block the rear wheels too after the car is on the ramps.
    Good luck.

  7. #7
    Member kirkeric's Avatar
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    This is what I found on the VATS and havent had any luck identifying the correct wires. There is a reference to either a 2 wire option or 48 wire option. Neither match what I have and Ecklers says they have never seen anything other than 2 wires, covered in an orange jacket, with white wires...small.



    http://www.usautomotive.co.uk/tech/anti-theft.asp



    Quote Originally Posted by milehigreg View Post
    +1 with Spanishvetes on the jacking.

    I would suspect a malfunction of the VATS system for your no start. You have an ingition key with a resistor chip in it, right? I believe this became standard equipment in 86. If VATS is messed up, nothing happens!

    Do some searching on the subject to see if you agree and for some troubleshooting help. Try your spare key.

  8. #8
    Member jmccloud's Avatar
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    Default Raising to ramps

    The 2X10's are to lay on the ground in front of the ramps so the front end gets up a little before hitting the ramps - as you drive forward - and the ramps don't hit the air dam or fender. That way you don't have to jack the car at all.
    If it's VATS, the solenoid won't activate (no click as you turn the key). Use a voltmeter on the small wire at the solenoid to confirm. It should go to +12v when the key goes to 'start'. If there's no voltage, it could be VATS.
    While you're under there, measure the voltage to the stud where the 'fat' wire is attached. It should read +12 all the time. If the car is not cranking when the key is to 'start', check the fat wire voltage while having someone try to start it.
    When trying to start;
    No voltage to small lead=likely vats or starter enable relay.
    +12 to small lead but No voltage to fat lead=likely bad cable.
    Some years have a 'start enable relay'. You'll need a Helms service manual to find out and where it's located for your year (& whether you have one). Don't bother with the 'other' service manuals as they won't have that level of detail. The Helms is year specific so be careful when buying. Later years have two red books. Some people say early C4's only have one book but I've only seen two. Preliminary manuals were white and single volume with lots of addenda.
    Good luck

  9. #9
    Member kirkeric's Avatar
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    Default

    This is a good run down. Now if I can only get under this thing. I just bought some ramps and jack stands. I have a 2 ton llift jack but each time I put it at the lift point, it just seems plain scary.

    I did the search for C4 lift methods and there were a lot of competing opinions. Some were talking about the A bar or frame (not sure exact name), others talked about something way up front. I have no idea where. ANd then many talked about the lift point right behind the front wheel.

    When I look, it is more of a "ledge" there. So I can't tell if everyone means lift ON that ledge or what the heck. No clearly defined spot to place the jack and then the jack is in the way for jack stand.

    I jacked it up and got the front tire about 2 inches off the ground but it just didnt feel right and I needed 6 or 7 inches for that ramp.

    So at this point I cant even SEE the starter, solenoid, wiring or anything.

    Eric

    PS: I am a little frustrated here after this thing wouldnt start last night off in a parking lot, then a down pour of rain, then I worked more, then called tow truck, got it home around 11PM and up bright and early this morning. So far, I've got nothing to show here



    Quote Originally Posted by jmccloud View Post
    The 2X10's are to lay on the ground in front of the ramps so the front end gets up a little before hitting the ramps - as you drive forward - and the ramps don't hit the air dam or fender. That way you don't have to jack the car at all.
    If it's VATS, the solenoid won't activate (no click as you turn the key). Use a voltmeter on the small wire at the solenoid to confirm. It should go to +12v when the key goes to 'start'. If there's no voltage, it could be VATS.
    While you're under there, measure the voltage to the stud where the 'fat' wire is attached. It should read +12 all the time. If the car is not cranking when the key is to 'start', check the fat wire voltage while having someone try to start it.
    When trying to start;
    No voltage to small lead=likely vats or starter enable relay.
    +12 to small lead but No voltage to fat lead=likely bad cable.
    Some years have a 'start enable relay'. You'll need a Helms service manual to find out and where it's located for your year (& whether you have one). Don't bother with the 'other' service manuals as they won't have that level of detail. The Helms is year specific so be careful when buying. Later years have two red books. Some people say early C4's only have one book but I've only seen two. Preliminary manuals were white and single volume with lots of addenda.
    Good luck

  10. #10
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    here is some VATS info.....


    http://vats.likeabigdog.com/

  11. #11
    Corvette Wont Start Yet Has Full Power rascal_rascal_99's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkeric View Post
    SO, if it is the ground or hot cable, what is the fix? ANd will it be obvious? I mean a loose connection or disconnect, very obvious but not sure how to tell if it is just bad.

    Thanks,
    Eric
    Spanish had the same idea as me I think when I first read your post, so the fix may be as simple as tightening up then ends of the cables. Even if it feels snug by wiggling the battery/starter cables by hand, put a wrench on them and see if they tighten some or not. How they manage to come loose exactly I have no clue, but no telling how many times I've seen the negative battery cable loosen its self just enough to cause a starting problem. Best of luck, hope it turns out that simple for you!
    rascal

  12. #12
    Member kirkeric's Avatar
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    Default

    Freddie,

    I appreciate this. I had actually thought of the exact same thing and bought a variable resistor at Radio Shack. I simply measured the key, then turn the dial until the var resistor read the same.

    My one problem....why did I seem to get the ONLY corvette that does not have the special Orange wire along the steering column that houses the VAT lines?

    Unbelievable. Coming down the steering column is pretty easy to see. There are roughly 10-12 wires, with only two smaller sets. One is yellow (which as I mentioned earlier, are supposed to be airbag, though I have no airbag). The other, housed in black to a connector which splits off into like 5 smaller wires.

    The bulk of the wires head into one primary connector that is very large.

    I was told by ecklers that they have never seen any other color than orange jacket, with 2 small white wires. I do not have such a thing.

    If ANYONE might know the answer here, please call me at 443-206-1347 - I will check routinely but a call would be nice if you have the time.

    Also, to confuse matters more, see this site which says it could be found on the 2 wire connector or a 48 wire connector. http://www.usautomotive.co.uk/tech/anti-theft.asp

    It is the largest paragraph on the link.

    Eric

    Quote Originally Posted by Fast Freddie View Post
    here is some VATS info.....


    http://vats.likeabigdog.com/

  13. #13
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    Default

    I have jacked my car and placed jack stands under it so many times in the past few yrs I feel like a NASCAR pit crewman. I jack mine between the triangles as mentioned. Put your stand at the lowest setting and place it under the angle that runs forward from the side rail towards the center of the car. These flimsy looking pieces of metal are actually your frame and will support the wt of the car. I usually place mine so it is very near the catalytic converter. Let the jack down on the stand making sure the stand is squarely on the floor at all contact points. The car will seem shaky and may even rock as your rear tire may even be off the ground at this point. Dont worry, take your jack over to the other side of the car jack it up and place your other jack stand at approximately the same location on the other rail. Your car should now be stable and safe to crawl under. Now if you need it higher, jack it incremently a couple of notches at a time alternating between sides. When you lower the car, if you had raised the stands, I suggest incremently lowering one side then the other, when 1 stand is at its lowest setting you may then safely remove the other sides stand. I've had all 4 corners up so high using this technique for transmission removal and complete suspension and rear carrier removal. Its rock solid if you place the jacks on the frame.
    As for starting woes, a few simple tests can be done to check for voltage drop at the starter ruling out cables, ignition switch and relay. My shop manuals are buried from a recent move but a library may have the info you need. I'm betting your starter just gave up on you. You mentioned it had been flaky. I recently had to replace mine. It was the solenoid but you cant just buy the darn part for my yr. so I went with a powermaster reduction starter, which has replaceable parts.

  14. #14
    Member Edmond's Avatar
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    Get yourself a set of Rhino Ramps from Pep Boys for $20-25. They will do wonders. They gave enough clearance for me to get under there to remove the starter. Only two bolts holding it on. I think they were 14mm's. The tougher part will be wiggling the starter around the metal lines underneath the car.

    It's so simple to pop it out that I say just pop it out and have it tested. In my limited experience, starters can poop without any warning.

    If you insist on jacking, what I do is open both the windows and even take the removable top off. I would even open the hatch. I had one of the bolts holding the top on snap one time when I back out of my driveway on an angle.

  15. #15
    Motor head!!!! vigman's Avatar
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    Default Things to consider

    The VATS line is an ORANGE JACKET with 2 white wires on the column side.

    This plugs into a 2 pin ( small connector ) under the dash ( not part of the turn signal stuff ) these are 24 gauge little bitty wires on the column side.

    then we go to a Brown & yellow pair on the other side of the connector.


    Now I do not like the whole VATS system.. at the time I'm sure it was the best effort.. but today it stalls more owners then stops theifs.

    NOW

    Find that connector. seperate them.. measure the coulmn side for the proper resistance.. while your doing that.. wiggle the key... slide it in & out
    and watch the meters reaction.. if the connection is not solid.. you will have JUST enough EXTRA resistance to Trip the Vats.

    Next test.. use the radio shack pot.. set for the same resistance measured ON THE KEY.. not via anything else.

    Hook that on the SEPERATED Brown & yellow wire
    Dissconnect the battery... wait 10 min

    Try to crank... No crank>?

    There is a starter enable relay that the VATS controls BEHIND the center Driver info panel..

    the circut is the following
    Yellow off key switch
    To + of Starter enable relay Swinger pin E & Coil Pin C
    Coil to Vats ( pulled to gnd when HAPPY ) Pin B

    Other side of relay ( Normally open )
    Dark green/White pin A. ( To starter VIA Clutch switch or Auto Park Neut switch) this is the BIG BOY cable.

    The Dark green/White goes to the particular inhibit switch.. come out a Purple.. goes thru the firewall connector ( C-100 ) and bada bing goes to the coil of the starter solonoid.

    Easy peasy

    Vig~

    I did ALOT of Vats posts.. a long time ago.. they MIGHT still be here

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