Almost Everything Works, Car Won't Start - Pontiac Solstice Forum
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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Almost Everything Works, Car Won't Start

I drove to work today and stopped at a convenience store to fetch my breakfast and when I came out my Coupe wouldn't let me start it. Dash lit up like a christmas tree, no response from the starter, can't move the gear selector, radio won't come on, only the word SOLSTICE showed up on the right side gauge. Yet most everything else seemed to have plenty of power and work fine. Headlights, electric windows, door locks, all seemed to work just fine. I hitch a ride with someone to my job. Two hours later my boss is driving me back to my house to fetch my Ford Escape and we stop by the convenience store to try to get the Coupe going. I check that the back window is closed and I open and close the passenger door(I had started the car in the morning via the passenger side to warm it up and I thought maybe the door was ajar). I hop in the driver's seat and the car starts right up! We drive back to work, I figure the door must have been ajar. Three hours later I go sit in my car in the parking lot to eat my lunch and I figure that I'll start the car to make sure it goes. The problem is back. Turn the key, all sorts of lights light up in the Run position, but no starter activity. After 5-10 seconds in the Run position a yellow exclamation mark inside a horseshoe starts blinking. Amongst all the lit up stuff I see an indicator that I don't recall ever seeing before: A car with a padlock over it. Me and the boys start looking online for the warning light info and it seems that light means something to do with the security system. But my key fob on the key ring has been dead for a year, it doesn't do squat. Could I somehow have activated the security system with my dead remote? Like, if you lock the car with the remote, but then open the car with the key, does that piss off the security system? I used a guy's code reader to see if the car's computer had anything to say about the car not starting, but everything came up okay.

Rather than have it towed, I left the car at work and got a ride home. I plan on bringing my other working key fob and all my keys to work to see if maybe the working one will fix things. I haven't had any issues with this car. The battery is reading 13.4V and is one year old. Maybe my gas is a little low, I added a gallon while at work to no effect.

I'm stumped. Can anyone suggest what my problem might be?




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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 04:36 PM
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sorry to hear about your bad news Gordon.

The only time I ever had this trouble ( padlock light appears ) is when I
changed the ignition key myself. Then I had to go through the key re-learn procedure.

I wonder what part in the car remembers the key chip information.

( if the key fob is dead, then the solder joints probably need to be re-soldered
or just a new battery in the fob )

What kind of car battery did you buy ?
Unfortunately, if it is an autozone battery, it could be a goner after just one year.
Any other brand should be fine.

wr

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 05:19 PM
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Your battery is low or you have corrosion on the cables or the motor ground

Classic low voltage behavior.

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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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I tried replacing the fob battery a while back, but no go. It's probably the solder/terminals. I alternate driving my Coupe and Escape weekly for drives to work to give the Coupe some exercise. 13.4V should be plenty healthy for a battery. I'm pretty sure this problem is entirely the computer stopping the car from running and not a malfunction of the starter, ignition switch, etc. To top off my bad day, all the machines at work that I'm in charge of also had mystery glitches that stopped them from running with no explanation. Maybe that dang Google update that went out a few weeks ago and screwed up computer systems worldwide is the culprit. My Opel website was down for 2 weeks 'cuz of that. Just kidding, hopefully Google hasn't sunk it's tentacles too deeply into our cars.........yet. What gets me is that the car started after the first breakdown at the Wawa. If it was a security issue, then the car should have stayed inoperable.

Unless you guys have some clues, I plan on trying to start it at work tomorrow(after I play with fobs and keys). If it runs, I'll drive a big circle around the parking lot and park it. Then I'll repeat the process once every hour to see if it continues to work. I need to build up confidence in the car, this situation has really shook me. The thought of having my fiberglass body kitted car yanked onto a tow truck terrifies me almost as much as I was terrified about leaving my car at a freakin' Wawa with construction workers in pick up trucks coming and going all around it every 2 minutes.




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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob the elder View Post
Your battery is low or you have corrosion on the cables or the motor ground

Classic low voltage behavior.

I'll look into that. I've had that situation on previous cars. Good tip.



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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 05:31 PM
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I wonder what part in the car remembers the key chip information.
If'n I remember correctly, it is stored in the Body Control Module (BCM)



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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 06:37 PM
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The key info is hard wired into the key and retained in the BCM. But, it's very unlikely a key recognition problem. Much more likely low voltage

The key does not require the fob or any power source. The ignition reads the key code and sends it to the BCM. Low battery will show the security lockout randomly with no impact on the car starting and running
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 07:40 PM
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I would second Rob. Classic weirrrrrrrrd bad-battery behaviour.
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-07-2017, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SolstOpel View Post
Dash lit up like a christmas tree

Amongst all the lit up stuff I see an indicator that I don't recall ever seeing before: A car with a padlock over it.
The dash is supposed to perform a Key ON self-check , where it intentionally turns on all cluster indicator lights.

I think the Padlock Warning is directly related to your issue:

- 2006 pontiac solstice lock symbol on the dash is on I try to start it won't cran - 2006 Pontiac Solstice

- Solstice won't start ... engine lock out?

- What does this dashboard light mean? Car with a lock on it?

- Lock/alarm warning light - Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon

- Car / Lock Icon on Dashboard. Truck doesn't start up when Blinking | Chevy Truck Forum | GMC Truck Forum - GmFullsize.com

?? bad Key Cylinder, bad BCM, bad Battery ??
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-07-2017, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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I had the car towed to my excellent repair shop.

I brought all my keys, tools, jumper cables, etc. to work and when I got out I set to work on the car in the parking lot. Wouldn't start with the keys or with supplemental juice from my Ford at various locations. I checked and tightened power connections, but no go. I work at a Post Office main processing plant and an endless procession of motorheads and dudes from the Postal vehicle repair department came by to offer help(I fix the letter sorting machines). One of the Postal vehicle techs was a former Pontiac repairman and he said it's the key codes. Everything I've read and observed with the car was pointing towards the security lockout function. It was all getting way beyond my knowledge/skill/experience/interest level and I decide to let the pros take care of it. The tow guy was VERY careful and gentle with the car, so I'm happy.

I'll let you guys know what the cause(s) turned out to be.




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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 03:29 AM Thread Starter
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I also just bought a couple of these remote fob repair pad thingies:

GM Factory Key Fob Repair Pad-INSTANT Button repair! | eBay



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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 05:40 AM
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One other item nobody seems to have mentioned is the grounding strap on the left front (driver's side) of the motor that tends to come loose.....

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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 01:05 PM
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I had the same strange behaviour last year. The Solstice was dead a random few times and when I tried to start it just got weird lights blinking and clickety-click sounds. The battery terminals appeared pristine from the top but one was very corroded on the underside. The terminals looked so good, I assumed it was the battery. I didn't discover the corrosion till I removed terminals when replacing the battery. I put a new gel mat battery in and sold the good battery. I used the full fender removal method to change the battery.
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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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I get a call at work today, the car is fixed! I go to pick it up after work........it doesn't start.

I talk with the mechanic, he says there are two "body control modules" in the fuse box and that they control the communication between the car's NINE major computer systems. One module talks to 4-5 of them and the other module talks to the rest. Half the car's computers weren't communicating. He had unplugged one to fix or fiddle with a wire or a connection and when he plugged it back in the car started. He started, drove, and turned off the car a few times during the day and all was good. But when I showed up and tried and it didn't start. So, he thinks he'll maybe try replacing the module and hope that fixes the problem. The module may also be why my fobs don't work, he said.

I sure am glad I don't have to fix this problem. I have to deal with this carp all day every day at work. One machine has 28 pc computers all talking to each other at the same time, when a glitch happens you're basically forced to guess and imagine how they accomplish this fete and where the problem lies(which computer or intermediary gizmo to reboot/reset). My car's problem is the bane of all auto mechanics: The Intermittent Problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roesterman View Post
I had the same strange behavior last year. The Solstice was dead a random few times and when I tried to start it just got weird lights blinking and clickety-click sounds. The battery terminals appeared pristine from the top The terminals looked so good, I assumed it was the battery. I didn't discover the corrosion till I removed terminals when replacing the battery.
Yup, you're symptoms and really clean looking terminals sound just like mine. I'll have to give them a call in the morning and mention your terminal fix and the engine ground strap also mentioned. My friend in Germany also had some kind of related issue and he replaced his cable clamps with solid brass ones.



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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Oy! This is turning out to be quite an interesting problem. I stopped by the shop after work yesterday and the mechanic was hard at work on his knees in the passenger footwell with probes, laptops, etc. He tried to explain to me that he found a wire that wants 2.7 volts, but is only getting 2.3 volts. He gives it 2.7 and everything works, even my key fobs start working again!

But the stereo didn't boot up. This may be the clue. The only things electrical I have messed with on this car are swapping the seats and door panels, LED tail lights with resistors, a new battery, and I had Best Buy install my stereo. Within the first week the decent stereo with built in GPS would randomly turn itself off. Nothing would make it come on. Then, randomly within 1-5 minutes, it would turn back on. I took the car back to BB and he checked everything and couldn't find a problem. The problem has continued, off and on, for the past 2 years. Maybe every 4th time I drive to work in it, it might happen. I've written it off thinking that I got a lemon for a stereo and that some internal self-resetting circuit breaker must be tripping.

Of course, in this wacky car, everything seems to need to get the computers' permission to do anything. The stereo is one of those things.

I'll bet this starting problem somehow relates to the stereo problem.

Any tips or diagrams as to the proper way to hook up a stereo in a Solstice?



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