Must wait before starting

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Acobrajet321

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2011 Yukon XL 5.3 flex fuel. I had electrical gremlins/issues last spring that turned out to be a bad negative ground. I replaced the negative and positive cables with new AC Delco. Following recommendations I received on this forum, I also replaced the block to body ground strap (PITA to get the bolt on back of the block). I also cleaned the body to frame grounds (wires weren't corroded) and added an additional Block to Frame ground. That fixed the 'possessed' locks actuating randomly and the transmission getting stuck in gear situation.

However, since then I have been having intermittent starting issues. When I get in the truck and immediately turn the key to start, it doesn't start just makes a clicking sound like a dead battery.

The battery is new, installed May of 2022. I replaced the starter in June of 2022 when the situation continued, concerned that the starter was on the way out. We were about to go on a summer road trip and DID NOT want a total failure 1,000 miles from home. When I replaced the starter I also replaced the starter relay in the fuse block ($7 bucks, why not).

I have noticed that if I turn the ignition to "on" for about 4-5 seconds before attempting to crank, it starts up immediately when I move the key to the crank position.

It doesn't matter if the car is warm or cold, sitting for a week undriven or after filling up during a 2 hour drive, attempting to immediately crank (put key in, turn straight to crank position) makes a very fast clicking sound like the battery is dead and no start. It doesn't turn over at all, just a fast clicking sound.

After those no start situations, if I remove the key, reinsert, turn to on, wait 4-5 few seconds and then turn to crank it starts as its supposed to. The starter engages immediately, turns over, and engine starts within a second. It runs and drives smoothly, no issues once it's running.

I've gotten in the habit now of just waiting 4-5 seconds in 'on' position before attempting a start and it always starts. It reminds me of driving my brothers diesel and having to give the glow plugs a few seconds to warm up. Its almost like a capacitor has to energize. I'm not aware of any in the system though.

I know this is not a major concern as I've figured out a 'work around' by waiting a brief 4-5 seconds.

My lingering concern is that the bad ground/electrical gremlins from last spring may have damaged something. This is the family travel vehicle. We only use it when entire family is traveling on long road trips. I do not want to be stranded at a rest area or gas station hundreds of miles from home with 3 young children because something has finally decided to give-up and my 4-5 second wait no longer works.

I do not know if this related or not, but I also get "Low Battery - Start Engine" messages on the info display within a minute or two if I turn engine off, but leave accessories/radio on. The battery is new, I had it tested just to make sure it wasn't a bad battery. Battery tester said "Good Battery". Its rated for 850 cranking amps, and the tester read out 920amps. I've tested the voltage after car has sat for a few days and battery shows 12.7 volts.

Open to ideas/theories to test.

Thanks
 

mattbta

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The start routine sounds like a fuel pump issue as turning key to on for a few will let the pump prime. I'm confused by the other electrical issues. Would hate to tell you to replace the FP and it do nothing...been there, done that by myself. Good luck - someone will have some other things for you to check.
 

swathdiver

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I've gotten in the habit now of just waiting 4-5 seconds in 'on' position before attempting a start and it always starts. It reminds me of driving my brothers diesel and having to give the glow plugs a few seconds to warm up.
It seems like you have two issues to solve. I too always turn the key to the on position and wait a few seconds, just like in the glow plug days but now it allows the fuel pump to energize fuel rail.

The clicking is probably your new battery. If you are making multiple short runs, it never has a chance to get fully charged and if that is normal operating routine, you ought to put it on a battery tender. New things can be bad, a bad cell in a battery can pass tests and wreak havoc with the electrical system.
 

OR VietVet

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It's too bad it is so intermittent. To try and tie the two together, I would be leaning toward a failing ignition switch.


I could be way off though and is something else entirely. I would have leaned toward cables and grounds but it seems you addressed that.

When you addressed the grounds, were there any at the rear area? When doing grounds, don't just do some of them, do ALL of them. Some are a PITA but they just are needed, especially in the salt on the road areas.
 

Doubeleive

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I suspect a bad battery, but I would get a simple electrical meter and see what the voltage shows when you try to "quickly start" without waiting the 4-5 seconds.
the clicking sound is the starter not getting enough power, the low-battery warning is also associated with a exactly what it says.
I would see what the voltage reads at the battery terminals while doing the quick start (get a helper) and then check again down below at the starter poles.
then put the ground on the battery terminal and the positive on the starter positive and do another quick start and see what the voltage shows. doing that is a voltage drop test.
if the voltage is good at the battery and not at the starter then the cables need to be replaced.
the battery cables on these trucks can go bad "internally" even though they may look ok on the outside.
I have also had battery's "pass a test" at the store but still not work for diddly, even had one that was a month old show 12 volts but would not even roll a window down it would drop to 5v and then when not under load go back to showing 12v again.
 
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Acobrajet321

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Solution to intermittent start- it got worse after I originally posted and sometimes
I couldn’t start the car for 2-3 days. It ended up being two issues, which is why it was hard to nail down/diagnose. The primary no start when I would hear clicking sounds that sounded like a dead battery was due to the 175amp MEGA fuse. I didn’t know fuses could ‘go bad’, I always thought they worked or were blown. Changing that out ended the situations where I would get a clicking sound like a dead battery but the battery was charged and in good health. The secondary situation ended up being a failing anti-theft module. My guess is the 4-5 second wait was the excitor trying to energize and read the chip in the key, but the signal being weak. Once I got the MEGA fuse swapped, it got better but any intermittent no starts were associated with a ‘Service Anti-Theft System’ message. The dealership quoted close $600 to replace. Actual genuine GM part was $90 online and took all of 5 min to swap out. HOWEVER….I ended up paying $150 for the dealership to program it and our keys. So I was in it for $250 plus a few beers for a friend to use his car hauler to trailer it in. The module *can* be programmed following the 30 min process easily found online, however, it didn’t work for my yukon. Out of frustration, I called the dealership and the service manager informed me that you have to use a steady voltage battery tender while doing the 30 min re-learn. If there are any fluctuations in voltage it will get kicked out of the re-learn procedure. My charger is a digital one that changes based on the charge of the battery. Still no idea on cause of the ‘low battery - start engine’ messages. It’s not low, I even get the message while hooked to the charger getting 15 amps. I’ve read there’s a software issue, but it happens so often it’s just an annoyance and I don’t think it’s a real issue. I’ve sat for 45 min on accessories listening to the radio and gotten the message and it still starts no problem.
 

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