Mailbag: Solving Inconsistent Ignition in a 1991 Chevy Camaro Z28

1991 Chevy Camaro Z28

Q: I have a 1991 Chevy Camaro Z28 with a 305 TPI engine and a 700R4 transmission. The car occasionally has some serious problems when starting up.

Once in a while, I’ll turn the key and the starter will just make a clicking noise. It sounds like the starter gear is hitting the flywheel and stopping. If I keep turning the key on and off, it will repeat the sound several times before starting. Sometimes I’ll turn the key and nothing happens. At one point, it wouldn’t start at all for two weeks.

I’ve changed the ignition switch in the steering column and the neutral safety switch, made sure all the battery cables were clean and secure, and I’ve even changed batteries and starters. There’s definitely power to all electrical components. The only thing I haven’t tinkered with is the computer.

I’ve had GM dealers and dependable mechanics check it out, and they can’t find anything. I’ve spoken to a few other Z28 owners, and they report similar problems. I’ve been living with this issue for over 12 years. You are my last hope!

A: Well, it could be the starter (we know you said it’s new, but still, we have to check), a bad ground from the frame to the motor, or possibly low battery voltage. Since it seems to fix itself, we’re leaning toward a flat spot on the starter or solenoid, or a bad ground.

Here’s how to figure out which problem you have. Next time this happens, put a test light or voltmeter at the starter to make sure it’s getting power. If it is, run a jumper cable from the starter to the frame to make sure it’s grounded. If it still doesn’t start, then there has to be something wrong with the starter.

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  1. Dan Schaff says:

    I have a 91 Chevy Z28,305TPI,with a 5 speed,And it will not want to start,it will spin over good. After it sits for a while, it might start, I have changed fuel pumps,coils,batteries starters,checked voltage still will mess up sometimes don’t know where too look now!

    • Have an auto parts store check your HEI IGNITION MODULE. My car was hard to start cold,changed the ignition module and starts right away.

  2. Lazershow35 says:

    Starter Abendix or Flywheel teeth could be chewed up or starter may need to be shimmed.

  3. The posotive stud was loose in my starter on my 86. Although the nuts were tight , i loosened the nuts and found the stud was loose. Yightened her up and has been great for the last 25 years

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