Solstice won't start, but has full power - Pontiac Solstice Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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Solstice won't start, but has full power

Hello all,

Recent issue with my '07 GXP, having an issue starting the vehicle up. When the key is in the middle position it has full power and acts normally, but when turning to start it goes dead. Doesn't fire the plugs or turn over at all, just nothing. Put in a new Optima battery a couple days ago and added new terminals as the stock ones had oxidation on them. Fired up nicely at first but now goes dead every time, need to jump it each time to start it. But it will start with jumper cables or battery charger. Could be a connection issue?

Now seeing that is has full power in the middle position, I'm wondering if it is a ground cable, starter, or ignition switch. Back in Feb. I had the ignition switch swapped as there was a recall on it through GM. That's about when this began to happen, but now it won't start any time at all. I'm in Boston so it's pretty cold here, could be a factor I suppose.

Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys.

FYI--has just over 60,000 miles and bought it with 12,000 back in 2012.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 12:51 PM
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 01:43 PM
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When you say "it goes dead" do all the gauges and lights come back up when you let the key back to the on position from "start"?

Manual or automatic transmission?

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 02:00 PM
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You said that it won't start with the battery, but will when you jump it. Where are you connecting the jumper cables?

If you are connecting them directly to the battery you may have a bad battery. Even new batteries can be bad.

Depending on where else you are connecting the jumper cables the problem is likely to be between the battery and that point, either ground or positive side.

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 02:37 PM
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Can be any of those things you mentioned. Did you test with a meter your old battery or new battery for holding a charge or was it even good? The ground can also cause that even have headlights but not start. Can clean all the grounds on the car its cheap. If it does it again not the best way you can wack your starter with a hammer a couple times outside chance it will work if thats the problem. On modern car can be ECU problems from draining the battery to not letting it start. Try your spare key. Last ditch resort get a quick battery disconnect if draining is the problem
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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@chickenwire Yes, all the gauges come back normally when you come back to on position after attempting to start.

And it's the 5-speed manual. Trying this mainly in neutral, but also attempted in the gears.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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@JohnWR I am connecting the jumpers/charger to the terminals, not the battery posts. Before I swapped them out there was a significant amount of oxidation on them--actually ended up snapping the stock one in half when tightening it so I cut the off and added brass ones.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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@chickenwire Yes, all the gauges come back normally when you come back to on position after attempting to start.

And it's the 5-speed manual. Trying this mainly in neutral, but also attempted in the gears.

@JohnWR I am connecting the jumper/charger to the terminals, not the battery posts. There was a fair amount of oxidation on terminals before I swapped them out. I actually snapped the stock terminal in half when I was tightening it, so I put new brass ones on.

@ TireKicker Tested the old battery I had on there, an Interstate Battery that was 5 years old, and it came up as bad on the meter. Need to check the new battery, I suppose, as well. Definitely am going to clean and tighten all the grounds first. And I'll give it a go with the spare key as well.

Any chance there is a ground/electrical diagram on the forum to make sure I get the correct ones? I'll do some searches for it as well.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-25-2018, 08:32 AM
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As usual, you're getting solid advice from the members - ground strap is known to get oxidized. As John said, if it's starting with the jumper cables it's likely a battery connection. Again, new batteries can be bad or weak.

I missed the fact that it started when jumped - was thinking it might be your clutch switch.

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-25-2018, 10:11 AM
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When was the last time the battery was replaced? You yourself said it starts when you jump it.... It might be time to replace the battery. It might also be your starter. Not that I've heard anyone have a starter go bad on these cars. Could also be your clutch switch. I've heard more of these going bad on our cars then the starter!!

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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-25-2018, 02:42 PM
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If it was the clutch switch, or the starter, it wouldn't consistently start with a jump. An intermittent switch failure wouldn't be correlated with the battery.

Once it's running, does it keep running without issues? If so, the alternator is working properly.

I'd venture that it's either a bad ground, or an internal issue with the battery. As has been mentioned, even "brand new" batteries can have issues. Some battery problems can present as an intermittent ground. (I've twice had bad batteries that tested "good" at the local parts store.)

If it was one of the other grounds, it wouldn't consistently start with just a jump.

I strongly suspect the battery is the root of the issue.

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Last edited by raygun; 11-25-2018 at 03:25 PM.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-30-2018, 01:43 AM
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What I would do is put a volt meter from the chassis to the jump start terminal near the fuse block. While cranking monitor the voltage. If it's low then trace the bad connection back to the battery. It could the the ground or hot lead. Keep moving the meter back toward the battery till you find a good reading while cranking. If it is good there then take the meter all the way to the starter and while cranking take a reading. It has to be low there if you still have the issue. Trace back the bad connection.
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-01-2019, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Alright, so after several months of being pretty frustrated with seemingly random starting fails and replacing the most presumably common causes, I finally took my '07 GXP to the GM dealer here in Boston. They ran a diagnostic on it and said they would find the issue regardless for $130, so after my troubles this seemed super reasonable to me.

Turns out it is the clutch starter switch that has been causing the issues. There is a short which is not letting the ignition fire when the clutch is down. So a $15 part after all this trouble. Just ordered one and will update once I install, seems like a pretty simple job, just need to get under the dash.

It's a labor of love!
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-01-2019, 08:42 PM
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I am happy that you found the cause, but it doesn't really seem consistent with the early discussion, since it doesn't make sense that the switch was bad except when jumping. Regardless, congratulations on getting it fixed.

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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-01-2019, 10:01 PM
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Makes no sense. If it is the clutch switch then why should a battery jump start even work? I'm confused.
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