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1997 Chevy 1500 - Issue with my truck not starting

Discussion in 'Chevy C/K Truck Forum' started by tai62, Apr 30, 2013.

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  1. tai62

    tai62 New Member

    1997 Chevy 1500, 5.7L, 4x4, X Cab. 3 year hold AC Delco engine (brand new)

    This is my first post (and hopefully not my last as this seems like a great forum). I'm having issues with my truck not starting. The first time I had issues was last week. It "clicked" when I turned the key, but does not even attempt to turn over. It's not the battery because I just purchased it a couple of months ago and all the "power" works fine in the vehicle (windows roll up quickly, stereo works, lights come on full brightness). I pulled the starter and took it to a local auto parts store (Auto Zone) to have it tested. It passed and they said it was as if it was a new starter. I had actually replaced it about 2 years ago, so I expected it to work fine, but this confirmed it.

    I brought the starter home and put it back on the truck and then it started right up. I had figured it was an issue relating to maybe my battery cables not being tight enough. The next morning I went to start it to take it to a muffler shop (I busted the muffler the prior weekend while camping) and it wouldn't start again. I talked to my brother about it and he said to pull the starter again and get a second opinion. I pulled it off today and took it to another parts store (O'Reiley) and got the exact same response as before (it tests just fine; as if it were new).

    I'm just not sure what to do from here. I've inspected the positive cable from the battery to the starter and it looks just fine. I've checked all the fuses and none of them seem to be blown. Any other suggestions of things to look at before I spend $500 for someone to comb through it?

    Here is a link to a short video of me trying to start it for anyone wanting to get a view of what's frustrating me. It's acting as if the starter is the problem.

    Thanks in advanced for considering helping me with this problem.


  2. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    I can't tell in the video, is the solenoid on the starter kicking the starter gear out or is that click noise just the sound turning the key? If it is kicking it out and just not turning you may have a shimming issue with the starter causing the gear to bind on the flywheel and not spin. The new one should have come with shims. Sometimes you need them sometimes you don't. (after listening again it sounds like the solenoid is kicking out, the starter is just not turning, I think that you have a binding issue and need to add some shims. If it is not kicking out I would look at the starter relay. Do you have a remote starter or alarm system installed?
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
  3. grampy

    grampy New Member 100 Posts

    My '97 2500 did the same thing a couple years ago. For what it's worth, my problem was the ignition switch.
  4. tai62

    tai62 New Member

    Thanks for the response. The clicking sound is just the ignition. The starter isn't attempting to turn at all; however as I said I've pulled it twice and had it tested at two places that said it's just fine.

    UPDATE: I was putting the starter back on the 2nd time and I broke the positive terminal, so I purchased a new starter today (not rebuilt) and the truck obviously started on the first turn. I'm not totally convinced I'm in the clear, but I'm certainly hoping this will do it.

    Just so I'm prepared, if the battery is fine and the starter is fine, what could be the next thing? You mentioned the starter relay. Is that square box in the fuse box? Any way to test if it's good or not?

    I do not have a remote starter or an alarm system, however it did have a keyless entry system that I no longer use (it stopped working; might just need batteries for the remote).

    Thanks again for the response.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Someone else mentioned the ignition switch. Where about is this located? Maybe that's too vague of a question or possibly too complicated to answer.
  5. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    the ignition switch is where you put the key in. You said that it does not attempt to turn. To help with a solution I am going to give a quick run down of how a starter works. The solenoid on top is connected to a fork shaped lever. When you turn the key to the start position the solenoid engages and pushes the the gear on the starter towards the flywheel, then the gear spins, turning the flywheel and starting the truck, when you let off the key the solenoid disengages and returns the gear to the starter. Some times if the starter is not shimmed correctly when the gear kicks out it binds with the flywheel and will not turn. So, the question is, if you are still having the issue after the new starter of course, is it kicking the gear out and not spinning or not even kicking the gear out? When it kicks the gear out you will hear a loud click. I think on the 97' The relay should be in the fuse box under the hood. There should be a diagram on the bottom of the lid. If you think it is bad, pull another one like your A/C or horn relay and put it in the starter relay spot. (just make sure that they have the same number on them.
  6. K15 Blazer Guy

    K15 Blazer Guy New Member 100 Posts

    sounds like the ignition relay
    the key is getting the voltage to the solenoid, but not letting the big juice get through to turn the gear.
    get a volt meter and start tracing the problem at the starter

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