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Old 08-22-2009, 03:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Intermittent problem w/ Ignition - 89 Metro LSI

My 89 Geo Metro LSI is having intermittent ignition problems. By intermitant I mean that sometimes when I turn the key the starter turns over the engine, and sometimes it doesn't.

I pulled off the plastic around the steering column today and took a peek. Blew everything out with the ol' compressor. Everything looks solid under there. There is some play in the wheel when it's locked... but otherwise the whole assembly under there appears solid.

I got it to NOT start and turned the key a couple times. I can hear the starter engaging (makes a click noise)... it's just not turning the engine. I'm not sure yet, exactly, what I do to get it to start. I lock the wheel, turn it back and forth, clutch in and out, key in and out, whatever. Seems kind of random but eventually I can get the starter to turn the engine over.

Any thoughts on what the problem might be. I'm not sure how to pinpoint the issue in order to resolve the problem.

Thanks!

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Old 08-24-2009, 12:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sound to me like it is your starter motor going out. The click of the starter engaging is the solenoid, so that means you are getting power to the starting circuit and therefore the parts in the steering column should be working correctly.
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Old 08-24-2009, 01:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree - less likely a keyswitch problem, and more likely a starter problem. Might be a bad battery cable connection as well.
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Old 08-24-2009, 03:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I agree also. Start with the easy one first though. Battery and cable/connection. I see this all of the time when someone has this symptom. If it starts every time with a jump start (try this). A loose connection can make is so the battery won't fully charge and can't engage the starter robustly.
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Old 08-24-2009, 03:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Once I found corrosion inside a terminal lug. It checked out fine for continuity, but wouldn't pass enough amps for a starter. Look first for things that have gotten hot, and then try cleaning all connections.

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