ignition switch or wiring?

Discussion in 'Chevy Trailblazer Forum (GMC Envoy)' started by dancraig, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. dancraig

    dancraig New Member

    I have an 03 Envoy. 4.2I. For the past couple months, very randomly I would go to start the truck and I would get nothing. No sounds at all. The lights and electrical would all be fine, warning lights on, only battery light on when key is in "start" position. I would usually try turning the key a couple times (twice, sometimes 3, very rarely 4 times) and it would start.

    Well, I'm dumb and should have taken car of it before thee coldest month on record...but I digress...The other day I went and there was all the same lights, but the car wouldn't start at all...well I checked the battery terminals...checked fuses...no problems...

    II remembered hearing people used to whack their starter with a hammer to get it going when it quit...welll reluctantly I gently tried this and hazah...it started up just fine...I drove it for the day, kept starting every time without an issue (brought hammer just in case lol). I went to work that night and got out of work at 330am KNOWING that this would be when it wouldn't start again. and it didn't. I tried hitting the starter gently, and nothing...I asked a co-worker to turn the key while I tapped the starter, he turned it before i got to the starter and nothing...I asked him to crank it again, tapped the starter a couple times on the end, then on the solenoid part of it and it started right up again...

    So the next day, got a starter from the wreckers, got a local garage to put it in...iit worked great, seemed to start quicker and better than before...drove for the day, the next morning went out to start it to be at work for 7am...NOTHING...this time it was exactly the same lights only you heard 1 "CLICK" then nothing at all...Well I cabbed it to work...called my dad...he suggested it might be the ignition switch and to wiggle the key or try to heat up the ignition with a hair dryer...after work I tried...put a hair dryer on it for about 1 minute, turned, nothing...put it on for another 1 minute, turned, nothing, turned again while wiggling (I KNOW, i'm dumb) and it started up...let it sit over night and it started right up again in the morning...

    -newer battery
    -new used starter
    -still randomly not starting
    -1 click when key is in start position then nothing
    -all lights on dash fine

    Ignition switch or do I have to trace all the wiring (huge pita)?

    Thanks folks!
  2. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    it could be the starter relay also. or it could be a security system issue, if that were the case I would suspect that the security light would come on. Maybe your new/used starter is no good. I start by pulling it out and having it tested. You could look at the relay diagram in the box. I am sure that there are other relays that are the same (maybe ac compressor relay) pull that one out and switch it with the starter relay and see what happens.
  3. dancraig

    dancraig New Member

    Thanks Pikey...
    I took a look. There's no other relay that's anywhere close to the size of the starter. I looked in the fuse box under the rear seat too...I did take the starter relay out and test it with my multimeter...seems to be fine...(correct me if I'm wrong, but if it was the relay would it work intermittently? or would it just die?)

    I agree it could be a bad starter, but they did a load/draw test on the starter and "said" it was good...this is a very reputable recyclers too, but I guess you can never rule it out...

    I also think it maybe it could be dirty terminals on the starter, but it looks clean from the outside...
  4. RayVoy

    RayVoy Epic Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts

    I had an Envoy, it was a great truck, but the ignition switch was a known problem. A new one is $30, or less, and easy to install.

    If a new one does not fix the problem, your only out $30 and you have a spare switch; But, I think it will fix the problem.

    It can be a little tricky getting the teeth to align, if it doesn't work the first time, re-position the teeth and try again.
  5. bigdawg33

    bigdawg33 New Member

    Had same problem with my gmc sierra and my brother in law had same problem with his Maxima.It was the ignition switch in the steering column. Mine was 100 bucks and not to hard to change.His was 40 bucks and very easy to change. Hope this helps you out.
  6. dancraig

    dancraig New Member

    Well I bought an ignition switch yesterday...$65 (wreckers even wanted $50 for a used one..damn Canadian prices)

    I'm a little put off, cause it's been 3 days...it only happened once after I put the new starter in...and nothing has happened since...temperatures haven't been drastically different...ugh, very frustrating...
  7. edsmagichands

    edsmagichands Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    Trust me on this! you were right to replace the starter motor. tapping on the starter is a valid and accepted diagnostic test more accurate than bench testing. bench testing is worthless!!!! NEVER USE USED ELECTRICAL PARTS UNLESS YOU OWN A TOW TRUCK AND ENJOY REPLACING THE SAME PART OVER AND OVER AGAIN!!!! get a new one or a quality reman starter. the one you got from the JUNK yard is JUNK!
    PS: tapping on the starter moves the armature slightly so the brushes contact is better allowing enough current to flow and turn the motor.

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