04 Sub Starter Keeps on Going wont shut off

Discussion in 'Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)' started by andylester, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. andylester

    andylester New Member

    I have a 2004 Suburban 1500 4WD with the 5.3 auto. A couple of weeks ago, after I start the engine, the starter would try to re-engage to the flywheel and it would make a heck of a racket. Now when I turn the key to the run position, it tries to start the engine. I don't even have to turn the key all the way to start for it to engage the starter.

    Any ideas? I need HELP fast and Bad! I do not think it is the starter, but that it might be in the column. Has anyone else had this problem, and if so how do I fix it?

    I am in Kentucky and I have to leave to go to Boston this Thursday in my Suburban. The quicker the better on any help would be appreciated!


    Andy Lester
    Florence, KY
  2. Applegeek

    Applegeek New Member

    This sounds like it could be the age-old GM starter problem...This usually occurs when you turn the key to Start OR if the starter relay is shot (in the relay box in the engine copartment) this can happen when the switch is just turned to RUN:

    The starter solenoid is mounted on the starter itself, also operates the flywheel starter gear (Bendix). Normally, when you hit the key, a small current is sent throught the iginition swith to a starter relay (which also makes sure the tranny is out of gear, among other things) which sends a current down to the starter solenoid on the starter. The solenoid electromagnet turns on and trhows out the starter pinion gear into the flywheel teeth AND at the same time engages the heavy-duty contacts that connect the heavy battery cable to the starter. The starter motor turns the poinion gear, which is engaged into the flywheel teeth, and the motor is cranked.

    When you let go of the key from Start position the starter solenoid releases, turning off the starter motor and pulling the pinion gear out of the flywheel.


    The problem is, the dim-bullbs at GM have never corrected the problem of what happens when the starter solenoid gets stuck in the ON position. The starter motor continues to try to crank the engine and the pinion gear stays engaged in the flywheel. The contacts can literally weld everything into position locking the system ON. This is usually caused by low voltage at the solenoid.

    This usually results in the clattering noise you describe, or broken flywheel teeth, or in case the engine doesn't start the engine can keep cranking until the battery dies. I have also seen overheated batteries that cracked and dumped electrolyte all over the engine compartment.

    You are lucky in the the fact your starter still stops at some point.

    Here is what I would do: Your rig is 5 years old, so its probably time to look at the starter. Remove it and take it to a good electrical shop to test it. If the starter turns out to be bad, DON'T buy a cheap discount unit. Get a good starter, preferably Delco or Delphi. If you're lucky like me, I have access to an excellent local starter remanufacturing facility - these are almost expensive as a brand new unit, but last longer.

    You can also look at the starter relay, mounted in the engine compartment. Does the starter still turn on when the starter relay is removed?? If it does, then its a starter issue. If the starter stays OFF when the relay is removed, then either the relay itself is shot or whatever is turning the rleay on at the wrong time is broken.


    Don't stop there. Your starter solenoid or relay failed because you've got possibly low voltage at the starter. A cruddy battery terminal, bad battery cable, or a marginal battery or weak alternator can cause this problem. Low voltage at the starter relay can also weld ITS contacts together.

    FIX the problem that caused the starter solenoid or relayto fail BEFORE you waste another decent starter assembly on this rig.

    Been there many times....

    It _could_ be something in the column, but it is usually a starter or relay problem caused by something else in the battery, battery cable or alternator area. If your unsure, take it to a good electrical shop for testing before you start throwing time and money at this. I've owned lots of GM trucks, and I know it sometimes it seems like its in the column, but I've always had it turn out to be the starter system itself - in the engine compartment.

    ALSO: One other thing I had happen was mice chewing on the starter circuit wires causing all sorts of weird problems. Check all connections very carefully.

    Just my take...
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2009
  3. andylester

    andylester New Member

    Thanks for the information. I had to leave on Thursday and found out late Wednesday that there was an electrical short close to the ECM. At least that is what the mechanic told me. They spent the better part of day diagnosing the problem. I am glad they did not just start replacing parts for the heck of it. I must say I lucked out on this one.

    Thanks again for the help. I am going to print that off and file it away for future reference.

    Andy Lester
    Florence, KY

Share This Page

Newest Gallery Photos