Engine won't turn over


Old 10-24-06, 08:19 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Canada
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Engine won't turn over

Hi All,
I have a 91 Firebird with a V8 305 automatic. It has been sitting for about 5 months and I want to sell it. I went to start it and the starter would not turn the engine over. I assumed a dead battery. I replaced it with a new one. Same issue.

I had never previously had an issue at all with this. My lights, etc all come on when I try and the accessories seem to come on. Its almost like the starter is unable to crank, but I have no idea why. I can hear it engage to try to turn it, but it wont.

I even tried starting it in neutral. I also tried rocking/moving it. No luck with any of that .

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Old 10-24-06, 08:33 AM
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Has it sat for 5 months without being started? Though the gas still should be ok, you might have gotten conensation in the fuel lines. Also, make sure you have gas. Sounds stupid, but some people don't realise they are emtpy. Check all your vacuum lines to make sure none of the hoses are missing, disconnected, cracked, etc.
Old 10-24-06, 10:16 AM
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The starter might be froze up. I'd take it off and see if it will spin. If you can get it to work on the bench it should work on the motor. I usually like to squirt a little oil in each cylinder when they have sat for a long time but 5 months isn't all that long.
Old 10-24-06, 10:59 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: USA
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WITH THE KEY OFF, use a large wrench on the crank to make sure the engine itself is not frozen and can spin.

Stupid question #1: Have you checked the fuses?

Remove the heavy duty leads from the battery first, and then the other end from the starter. Clean both ends of both cables ["+" and "-"), the starters' cable connection post, and both battery posts. Reconnect securely. Make sure the wires attached to the starter solenoid are secure. You'd be surprised how many "starter problems" are actually corroded, dirty, or loose connectors.

Try this, it works on some starters when they are starting to fail.

With a known good battery installed, have someone hold the key down in the 'start' position, and someone else hit the starter with a plastic mallet. Whoever does this will have to VERY CAREFUL and be SURE to be clear of belts, fans, etc that could be a hazard if the motor goes ahead and spins. Also be careful not to touch the hot wire from the batttery where it attaches to the starter.

If this works, its time to replace the starter.

Another idea: Use an INSULATED piece of wire to energize the starter solenoid directly from the battery cable attached to the starter, essentially bypassing the keyed switch on the dash. If this works, then you have a fault in the starting circuit.

Last edited by aq_guy; 10-24-06 at 11:16 AM.
Old 10-25-06, 04:54 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 76
Excellent suggestions here

Thanks for the input guys. I will try this all out when I have a day to commit to finishing it up (Saturday likely).

A stupid question that I think I know the answer to....I need to jack the car up to play with the starter, correct? If so, which side would I find it on? Drivers? passenger? Dead center?

I have a Haynes manual to help, plus your help, plus limit knowledge of these things from my farm equipment.

Someone had suggested to me the other day about cleaning the leads and fuses in passing, so I may try that first. I will also ensure the battery connections are clean and the battery is charged. I will start there and keep the rest of these suggestions you all gave me handy. I'll post the solution so you can know what worked.

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