Desperate 2 Drive!!! 96 Lumina won't crank, just clicks. An idiot clipped a yellow wire....

15

Asked by Feb 02, 2017 at 10:49 AM about the 1996 Chevrolet Lumina 4 Dr LS Sedan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Help! I may be a chick but I expect nothing for free, especially car repair! With
that being said, I'm hoping to get some answers ASAP so I can drive again -
its been 3 weeks and I'm pregnant so a working vehicle it vital.

My car was having problems starting for the past 3 months. Eventually it just
stopped cranking; it just clicks. All the power; lights (interior & exterior), radio,
power locks/windows, etc. work. Checked starter and solenoid. Starter could
be jump started so I had the solenoid replaced. Nothing. A friend told me to
check wiring under the dash but was vague and there was a yellow wire with
a peach colored plastic end to it that was loose. Pushed that in (was plugged
in near a similar plastic piece containing a black and red wire set) and the car
started. Few weeks later it happened again and I'm stuck. have had a few
acquaintances stop by and it seems to be only getting worse. The first person
suggested charging up battery and I did so w/a portable charger and it was
fine (it was prior). Battery & connectors seem to be in good condition, same
goes for starter and solenoid wires. 2nd person is good at car electrical and
went under dash and also went to the same yellow wire & black/red set. He
said yellow one needed new plastic ending so he cut it off and left it hanging.
He never came back the next day. Mechanic friend who has no time to help
me said to replace ignition switch, which I did with person #3. WE ARE
STUCK. same wires have no home to be plugged into. We failed to take
pictures as we were going along (I'm just a flashlight and tool assistant) and
when we went backwards we missed a couple things. where those wires go
and also a cable that clips into a plastic part. I have pictures. It would only let
me post one. I'll see if I can comment on this and post another.

Anyone have diagrams or can give me any useful information? I apologize for
my jargon, I am smart but this is not a field of interest. I've spent more than
double what this car is worth in the 3 years I've owned it. Thank you in
advance to any of you car wizards out there who help!

96 Lumina, Base Model
3.1L
198,000 miles

20 Answers

27,125

Where are you located? I'm asking on the long shot you live near enough to any dedicated members here who might tackle this job in person. Electrical issues are hard enough without being able to lay hands on them, and a multimeter is likely going to be needed to trace out wires. Good wiring diagrams are also going to be needed: http://www.autozone.com/repairguides/GM-Lumina-Grand-Prix-Cutlass-Supreme-Regal-1988-1996/WIRING-DIAGRAMS/WIRING-DIAGRAMS/_/P-0900c152800680c1

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
27,125

It would also help to know if this car is VATS1 or VATS2, which is the anti-theft ignition type, and whether you had a remote start put on car? Do you have an owner's manual for the car by chance?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
52,625

I see several non factory wire connectors in that picture. This may be fun to fix. I am like Ken if you live close by I might be willing to take a look at it to help you out. What state do you live in?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
52,625

Ohh, keep your idiot friends away from your car. They are doing it no good.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
27,125

That's what I was trying to figure out, if a remote starter may have been added to this car at some point that is interfering with the VATs or ignition switch. It was common for remote starter installer to cut the yellow wire in the ignition.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
15

Sorry I was thinking I would have gotten an email if anyone replied! I am in Kelso, Washington, just north of Portland, OR. I do not have an owners manual but is there a way I can find out using my VIN # on the Auto Zone website, etc.?

15

Where does that wire clip to? BTW, it was my roommates friend from her high school days. They are no longer talking because of this. Problem solved!

15

I can walk out to car & take a pic real quick if that would help!

15

@Ken F.... idiot guy that was working on my car cut the yellow wire. I'm not sure where to look so I can put it back... or exactly what those 3 wires are used for. I should have went to car mechanic school at age 18 and not became a flight attendant! Cars always need fixed. Airlines go bankrupt! Anyway, previously it looked like this:

27,125

Brigitte, I'm in Ohio so can't help you personally lol, I would if I could tho. You should get an email alert when someone replies to your post, but if not just keep checking in here. Can you recall if this car has or ever had a remote starter put on it? Also your key should have a little resistor on it, which is how the VATs system works (VATS = vehicle anti-theft system). Two leads from the ignition switch must make contact with the key in order to take resistance reading from key to unlock start ignition. Those wire leads wear over time and ignition lock cylinder can intermittently fail. But for now, we'll see what we can do about just getting the wire harness put back together, THEN trouble shoot what failed to begin with.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
15

I keep coming across "remote starter" when I research my issues. Excuse my ignorance, are we talking about a remote engine starter (gets your engine started & seats warmed up from a distance via key remote) or are we talking a car alarm/door unlocker via remote? Or am I just way off? Heres a pic of my key and I don't believe there was an alarm on my car but there is another interesting wire thingy going on there.... I'll go take a pic.

79,655

Double check the battery connections. Make sure they are clean and tight.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
15

Done that a few times but I was told that giving it a jump anyway wouldn't hurt!?! Would that accomplish anything other tha strand me at point B (going from point A to point B)? lol

15

@Ken: I have all those diagrams in the Haynes book but I appreciate it cuz now I know I have backup copies on here in case I don't have the book with me! thank you

15

What it looks like right now... Given we did cut off the zip ties so it looks extra messy.

79,655

If jumping the car works then you either have battery issues, alternator problems or bad battery connections. Some battery connection problems are not obvious. If there are replacement battery cable ends on your car they are suspect as they collect corrosion inside which makes for a bad connection.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
79,655

By all means try jump starting the car. It won't hurt anything. Make sure you always carry jumper cables!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
27,125

Problem is with jumping is that the harness is pulled apart, so she needs to get that back together again before trying anything like that.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
27,125

Brigitte by remote starter I mean an aftermarket device that can start the car from a distance, usually so it can warm up without you having to go outside to start it. The installation of one usually meant modifying the ignition wiring, that is why I asked, as that could be the mystery wire you had hanging down.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
15

Ahhh so I was right about the jargon! lol. I know there are a lot of aftermarket wires/connections after talking to an auto parts man the other day. I just hope I can get this figured out because I really need my car! I slipped and fell in the ice 2 weeks ago, rupturing my Achilles Tendon and it took me 4 hours to find a ride to the hospital.

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