12.55 volts.... no amps?

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Old 05-04-09, 10:01 AM
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12.55 volts.... no amps?

Is it possible for a battery to show 12.55 volts but have little or no cranking amps? I have a 96 cutlass supreme 3.1l that wont start. All the electrical seems to work fine but when you go to start the car it's dead. I turned the head lights on while trying to start & the lights stay on. My assumption is the starter is bad. Any ideas?
 
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Old 05-04-09, 10:29 AM
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If the headlights are staying on (not dimming or anything, then yes, you need to check the path for current down to the starter. Are you even getting a click from the solenoid when you turn to the start position?
 
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Old 05-04-09, 10:30 AM
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It could very well be the solenoid on the starter, but one thing you said interests me. You say the headlights stay on when you turn it to "start"?? The headlights should go out while starting on most modern vehicles. Of course, the first place to start looking is at the fuse panel. Check them all as well as the relays to make sure your current from the switch is going through them and on to the solenoid.
 
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Old 05-04-09, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45 View Post
If the headlights are staying on (not dimming or anything, then yes, you need to check the path for current down to the starter. Are you even getting a click from the solenoid when you turn to the start position?

Gunguy45,

Yes, I get one little click when I turn the key to the start position. That's it... nothing else.
 
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Old 05-04-09, 12:54 PM
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Well, most parts stores will test batteries and starters for free, but it sounds like you could have just a bad connection. First thing is to check all cables for corrosion and tightness. If you can reach it, dunno on your car, check the voltage at the back of the solenoid on the big lug.

Could be just the solenoid..it is 13 yrs old...
 
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Old 05-04-09, 01:06 PM
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Hey chandler...they all must be different. My 2001 Mazda SUV the lights don't go off when starting..and my 2004 Suzuki they don't even come on if the engine is off. Though on the Suzuki, if I hold the Hi beams in the "flash" position, they do stay on when starting.
 
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Old 05-04-09, 01:16 PM
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Hi resistance connection

Since you say the headlights work, I'd say the battery is OK.
The starter draws more current than anything else in your car. Corrosion at a starter connection would have the effect you speak of. Check all wiring to the starter. Don't just tighten connections; remove and inspect for corrosion. Good luck! Remember: Volts= amps x resistance (E=IR)
Assuming a 12v constant, if the resistance is high(corrosion), then the amps are very low. The starter needs a lot of amps!
 
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Old 05-04-09, 01:57 PM
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good connections....

Hey guys thanks for all the feedback. I did go through the connections & cleaned them first. First I did the cables at the battery. The ones on the starter didn't look bad at all. After cleaning & putting it back together I have the same problem. The other problem is I took the starter off on Saturday & in that process I cracked the solenoid housing into little pieces. I'm thinking the solenoid is bad (it is now because I broke it). I can get a new solenoid for $20 bucks or a new starter for $120. Just not sure if it was the solenoid or not.
 
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Old 05-04-09, 02:08 PM
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Hey wait..you broke the solenoid on Sat..but only posted today? Or was the problem happening before?

Since the solenoid is broken anyway, you could tear it apart and look at the contacts inside. Back when I was a kid and had NO money, I actually disassembled a GM solenoid and reversed the contacts (which had been eaten away by arcing), and it lasted until I wrecked my GTO 3 yrs later.

If your local shop can't check starters, you can actually do it in a bench vice with a little bit of wire, a battery and a set of jumper cables.

btw..did this happen all at once or did you occasionally turn the key and it didn't crank?
 
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Old 05-04-09, 04:49 PM
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Question

The car actually died last week & I didn't get to it until Saturday. This car has had a starting problem for a while... for instance, if I drive the car to the store, shut it off, then try & start it 15 minutes later it will crank over 1 time & very slow. If it doesn't start on that try you have to wait for a while longer... then it starts. I'm thinking the solenoid is bad.
 
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Old 05-04-09, 05:11 PM
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With your voltmeter and a friend, wife, child, girlfriend etc do a volt drop test on the solenoid
Hold the red lead (Positive) on to the connection where the large hi amp cable from the battery connects to the solenoid.
Hold the black negative lead to the part where the current leaves the solenoid and goes into the starter. Have the assistant turn the key to start and watch the voltmeter.
Should be less then 1/2 volt. If over then there is a lot of resistance in the solenoid and it needs changed.
All that would be done with all precautions of safety addressed.
Safety. safety, safety. Period.

If that is difficult to do then I would just gamble and change the solenoid. They are a common thing to go.
 
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Old 05-04-09, 06:12 PM
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Yeah, GG, I think it is the ones with the DRL's where the switch cuts out the lights when it goes to start. Regular headlights probably won't extinguish
 
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Old 05-11-09, 11:17 AM
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I replaced the starting solenoid yesterday, the started & ran 4 or five times. This morning I went to start it for work & it did the same thing. I have power to everything. I'm thinking the battery may not have enough amps to run the starter?
 
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Old 05-18-09, 06:35 PM
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Well, I'm at a total lose. I had the starter tested & it's ok. I had the battery tested & it's no good. I put a new battery in & nothing..... so the car is back together & it doesn't work. I need some help....
 
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Old 05-18-09, 07:13 PM
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Just one comment. Maybe I missed it, but I don't recall you saying you cleaned the ground connection. The neg goes right to ground and has to be just as clean as all positive connections.

back to my corner,
Bud
 
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Old 05-19-09, 04:28 AM
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Might be worth changing the battery cables, some factory cables look like a large gauge(low number) wire, but are mostly insulation, and only take a little corrosion inside one of the ends to mess up the works.
 
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Old 05-21-09, 08:20 AM
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Ok, here's the deal. I had the battery tested & it failed. Had the starter tested & it passed. I put a new battery in & it still didn't work. All the connections are good & clean; I checked the power to the solenoid & it is also good 12.53v. I smacked the started with a hammer & it started. I'm not sure why the starter passed the test at the auto store... I put a new starter in & it works great. Thanks for all your help guys.
 
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