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Need Help with my 2001 Aztek

grantkat

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I recently replaced the alternator. The battery is good as well, charges and passes all load tests. The car ran fine for a short time after putting in the ALT, but my daughter says that security and battery lights came back on after a few days however the battery seems to be charge and starting was not an issue until yesterday. Yesterday when she came tot he stop sign, the RPMs went up and then down and then up again and the car stalled. I have dash lights etc when i turn the key I get nothing. I was going to pull the starter and test it, however the starter would have nothing to do with how it stalled. This may be unrelated however the RPMS seem to go up and down alot. in park the rpms run at 2500 to 3000 in gear they drop down but can vary a little.

Any thoughts as to diagnosing this?

2001 with the V6 3400
 

melsg5

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what is the current battery voltage reading with the engine off?
will the car start with a boost and if it does what is the battery voltage reading with the engine running?
the stalling could have been a result of the battery not having sufficient voltage to power the car's computer.
after the new alternator was installed did you have a check engine light on?
after the new alternator was installed did you have the issue with the high rpms in park? If so you may have a vacuum leak or an issue with the IAC, idle air control valve.
 

grantkat

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what is the current battery voltage reading with the engine off?
will the car start with a boost and if it does what is the battery voltage reading with the engine running?
the stalling could have been a result of the battery not having sufficient voltage to power the car's computer.
after the new alternator was installed did you have a check engine light on?
after the new alternator was installed did you have the issue with the high rpms in park? If so you may have a vacuum leak or an issue with the IAC, idle air control valve.
This weekend I did the following:
Battery Voltage is 12.52v. I pulled the battery and took it to a shop and it passed every test, load, voltage and charge.
The car does not behave differently when you try to jump it.
I read codes prior to pulling the battery and there are no codes.
The RPM issue existed before the alternator replacement.

I pulled the started and took it in and the starter passed all tests. I made them test it twice.

When you put the key in the ignition and turn it nothing happens. it behaves like a fully charged vehicle. The only difference is when you try to start it you get nothing.
 

grantkat

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ok all the fuses are intact. I pulled the ignition relay and tested it and it is good as well.

any suggestions at to where to look next??

question: the relay need to be orientated a certain way?
 

melsg5

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did you test the socket to confirm the starter relay is getting power?
usually the relay will only fit one way.
do you hear the relay click when you turn the key to the start position?
 

grantkat

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i tested the relay with a power source on the bench. I have tested to see if the relay clicks upon turning the key. The relay will fit in 2 different ways 180 deg orientation all blades are flat and orientated like this = = ... i think the answer is it doesnt matter because the poles are reversed and the relay still operates.
is it possible the connection under the fuse box has come loose? i think they all lock on place so not thinking it likely

i can listen for a click when someone turns it or put a mutli meter on the connections and see if it gets energized
______________________________
 

grantkat

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ok here is an update.
the car has a new alternator and starter and a new ignition module (steering column).

When i turn the key to "ON" i get all dash lights, head and tail lights etc. When i turn to start I get a "clunk" sound and the dash lights go out. the dash lights do not come back. When i turn the key to on the check engine light illuminates but flickers a tiny bit. no other lights whatsoever and nothing happens when i turn to start. eventually the car "resets" and i can get all lights until i turn to start an then i lost everything again.

i checked the engine with a wrench and it turns over easy.


any thoughts on what to test or look at next?
bypass the ignition ?
 

melsg5

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sounds like you have a bad electrical connection at the battery, the starter or the battery ground. What is the voltage reading on the battery, 12.5 or better?
 

grantkat

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sounds like you have a bad electrical connection at the battery, the starter or the battery ground. What is the voltage reading on the battery, 12.5 or better?
yes battery voltage is 12.5

how many wires connect to the starter? is there a dedicated ground wire connected to the starter?
 

melsg5

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the wire coming off the negative battery terminal grounds somewhere on the engine or chassis, that is the connection that should be checked. You should also check when turning the key to start that you have 12.5 at the starter solenoid.
______________________________
 

grantkat

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Problem solved!!

The battery ground looked fine, however after tracing it I found corrosion under the connection causing intermittent connections. I disconnected it cleaned it and used a brand new bolt in place of the corroded one
 

grantkat

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So here is a longer explanation of this and why it was so hard to find.

Obviously I have been fighting this for weeks. The behavior was weird and intermittent. I would try to start it and everything would go dead.. AT some point the lights would come back but never right away. Sometimes I would have strong bright lights and other times nothing. When I test the battery its good. The the treads were clean on the battery connectors. When i would put probes on the terminals I got good readings. A load tester showed within the CCA specs for load.
Also at times I would get weird noises inside the car. I now know that this was due to the ground making contact, losing contact, making contact etc etc.

How I found it. I had decided to remove the ignition switch to bench test it. It was only 2 months old but i had not bench tested it yet. So I went to remove the battery cable and as I was turning the wrench the whole car came to life. Lights turn signal etc etc..That when I decided to take another look at the battery cables.
I popped the terminal bolts out the of rubber retainers., pulled the retainers off and there it was. rust and corrosion the under side of the black one was rusty and the underside of the bolt where it should be making contact was rusty as well. I went and bought new bolts, put a wire wheel to the ring tabs that the bolt holds against the battery. reassembled and bam. everything worked and car started right up....

the tests worked because whenever i was probing, charging or load testing, I was pushing on the terminal bolt which then made enough contact to establish ground. As soon as I stopped again little to no contact....

hopes this helps anyone else...pop the bolts out the connector and pull the red and black sheaths off..thats how i found it.
 
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