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Car Starting Problems
Starters and Ignition Systems
Chevy Silverado

Is your starter bad if you can start your truck at the solenoid but if you try to start it with key nothing happens?


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2010-11-10 08:11:45
2010-11-10 08:11:45

it sounds like either the selenoid or the switch is bad.

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Is the solonoid mounted to the starter? If it is mounted to the fender, near battery, I presume you have a ford truck. Check for voltage at small gauge wire while cranking, this wire goes to ignition switch> If you have no juice, check switch on steering column, if you have juice, make sure all wires are clean and tight at sol. Apply voltage to small gauge wire conn. at sol,(wire disconnected), if the starter doesn't engage, you likely have a solonoid issue.

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Take it to the autoelectrician and get him to wire a relay onto the solenoid to give it a bit more juice. This is often a cheap fix.

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Sounds similar to a problem I had with a '97 Neon. After going off the road and landing in about 12 inches of water starter began to give problems. It would go with a boost but once the ign was turned off it was dead. A friend showed me how to short the solenoid and after 10 or 12 times the problem fixed itself. With a STEEL (not chromed) screwdriver against the post of the solenoid and booster cables off the pos terminal of the battery have someone crank the engine. Only drawback is this requires 4 hands.

Again, it seems like you suddenly had this problem. everything above can be the problem. But "don't put the cart in front of the horse". It can just be fuse,or a fuseable link. There are about 3 fuses, and 1 fuseable link that can cause this. DO THE EASY THINGS FIRST. Also make sure your key itself is OK, and that the chip inside the key is good before going to the above answers.

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If it is the solenoid just take a small jumper wire and jump out the two small terminals on the front of the solenoid and the starter should try to start the engine. If nothing happens then it is bad. Or you could take a volt meter and go from ground to the starter side of the solenoid and get some one to take the key and try to start it ,if you get 12volts and the starter doesn't try to engage then your starter is bad ,if you don't get 12volts then your solenoid is bad.

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If the starter is engaging and the starter is able to turn the engine normally, there is nothing wrong with the solenoid. Instead, I'd look at fuel, ignition and compression.

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You should locate and test the solenoid. Most have three connections. There is a large cable from the battery to the solenoid, from the solenoid to the starter and from the start switch to the solenoid. The power terminals to the battery and the starter are large and have large cables. The starter switch connection is much smaller. Turning the key to 'start' provides a low current voltage to the solenoid causing the solenoid relay to close and power from the battery cable to connect through to the starter. If that voltage is present then the solenoid or the wiring between the solenoid and battery or solenoid and starter is suspect. If that voltage is missing then the starter switch or solenoid feed line may have failed.

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A solenoid is a type of magnetic switch responsible for helping your starter motor turn on the engine. When the solenoid sticks, the ignition struggles to start. When this happens, usually your key will "catch" in when you turn it to start the vehicle.

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Start by cleaning the battery cables. Dead battery. Dirty/loose battery connections. Not fully in park or neutral. Blown fuse. Bad neutral safety switch. Bad starter. Bad starter relay. Bad starter solenoid.


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