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.