Truck won't start


Asked by Jul 13, 2013 at 01:21 PM about the 1988 GMC Sierra 1500 C1500 Standard Cab SB

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Recently I have experienced starting issues.  One minute it starts and runs great, next
time I try to start it it turns over but won't start.  Let sit for awhile, turn key, won't start, turn
key off, turn key again, starts up and runs great.  A week later, same issue.  I went to
work everything great, went to go home, wouldn't start.  Tried to turn key a few times,
won't start, let sit about 15 min., turned key, started up.  Stop to get gas 15 min.  later,
wouldn't start.  Stranded for 2 hours.  After several attempts, won't start.  Tried to jump
start battery level at 9 volts by now, no start.  Called tow truck.  Tow truck shows up,
turned key one last time, truck started.  Drove home, 78 miles worth, ran like a champ, no
issues.  5.7; TBI 350; 2WD ;A/T; w/AC.  Any suggestions?

34 Answers


sounds like starter

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

What about the starter. You would think, if it was the starter, it wouldn't start after many attempts. It did and then ran perfectly. Need more solutions

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Your starter should be good. A faulty starter will not cause both issues. I would look at the ignition switch in the column, they fail from time to time. You can test both the crank lead to the starter and the hot wire to the coil with a multimeter or test light to confirm. Because it works intermittently I would think it's the contacts on your ignition switch, on top of the steering column behind the dash. The key operates it with a small rod.

13 out of 13 people think this is helpful.
Best Answer

Got in my truck today at 2 different times. Both times it started right up. I can't figure out the problem. What can be the issue?

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.

I'm having the same problem with my 1988 GMC 1500 I was told its the starter I'm going to replace it I guess that will determine if its the starter ornot just wwish I had a for sure wayof knowing

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.

Having same issue. Changed out starter two days ago. Still is a hard start. Sometimes I need starter fluid


Mine does same thing 1995 gmc 1500

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

You definitely need to check voltage readings and make sure you don't have a bad block make sure you clean every part under the hood you can. If it has a computer plug go tow it or buy one online. Check exhaust as well.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I cant get mine to start change fuel pump and still wont start please soneone help me with this

20 out of 20 people think this is helpful.

Same thing was happening to my 1995 gmc 1500. I figured out that it was the throttle body going bad. I replaced the throttle body with a good used one and now my truck runs fine.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

I am having similar problem, mine turns over, no fuel coming out of injectors, sometimes it does sometimes it does, when it does it runs fine but if you turn it off, chances are that it won't work again. I replaced the fuel pump, ecm, distributor, throttle body and injectors, still same issue. Could it be in the ignition key? The key is worn down and little flecks of metal come out of the key hole when you tap the column. Does the key ignition have anything to do with power to the injectors?

40 out of 40 people think this is helpful.

starter is missing heat shield . starter gets hot and swells up because its too close to exhaust manifold

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Check wires, cap, plugs. No fuel or no spark stops all engines. No fuel/ bad pump, bad filter. Spark/ old bad wires, plugs, cap etc. Having same issue, 94 gmc Sierra. Happened before, I gave it air, it started, thought bad filters, then noticed no umph in acceleration, leads me fuel line or bad plugs, not burning fuel. Checked carb, It's not wet this time, leads me to fuel. Have very old wires etc too, seems to stop while turning over, as if it hits a bad plug, some discontinuance.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

I had a similar issue with a 99 GMC suburban. The engine would crank but would not start. Before it got to that point it would run rough in the rain. SOLUTION. I rubbed of the deposit built up on the contacts of the distributor cap with my finger nails to prevent damage. Then I used a hair blower for 3 min on the cap and rotor. Assembled the cap/rotor and it fired right up! Turns out moisture was getting into my cap n rotor, plus at 4 years old it was time for a new cap & rotor.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Jbird 163 just tap the starter its finna go but wen u tap it it will loosen the gears in it


It's not the starter if it starts sometimes. I've fixed this issue several times myself and it's almost always the connection of the wire between the starter and the battery. Check the wire on the positive battery side post. Unscrew the post, clean it with sandpaper, reattach and make sure the screw is tight. Failing that, use a multimeter to test that the voltage coming through that wire is 12 volts. If those don't work, then it could the be the ignition as said in other reply. Also, it's not the neutral switch, fuel pump, exhaust or anything else past the battery if there's no crank.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2000 Gmc Yukon denali, 5.7 litter, it cranks but won't start it does have spark in coil, but No spark in #1 sparplug I put new distributor and new coil new sparplugs, new plug wires,checked out fuses there all good, does anyone know if it can be the Timming belt? By the Timming being off cause it not to spark?? Anyone? I would highly appreciate the help

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

jalcantar69 If your timing belt is broken cam cam valve valve train... no start. Pull a spark plug and have someone turn the engine will hear air being forced out of the spark plug hole if the valve train is spinning. Another way would be to pull the cap off the distributor and see if the rotor spins while cranking. The distributor is driven off of a gear on the cam spin... no distributor spin... no start...


@Jbird163 Original poster. Jaybird stated very clearly that his 1988 GMC Sierra 1500 turns over perfectly, crank no this is not a starter motor problem...which would be described as a no crank situation. This is an intermittent fuel delivery problem or an intermittent electrical connection problem or possible engine management component intermittent Jbird163 mentioned your battery dropped to 9 volts after several attempts to start. Was your battery back to 12.6 volts after driving home? Test fuel pressure - Gauge required. Test the EEC - Check the electronic spark control module, the ignition control module and all related connections.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I have a ? I just replaced my starter on my 93 chevy silverado 2wd 5.0 350....and it turns on but when i turn it on it makes a scratchy sound once i turn it on can anyone help me?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Replace my steering wheel colum but truck won't start

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I had a 1984 GMC Sierra 1500 with an intermittent "Cranks over no start condition" very similar to @jbird163. The intermittent no start component failure was traced to the ignition control module located in the base of the distributor. Yes this electronic module can provide intermittent operation. To test for this failure without throwing new parts at your vehicle you need to perform several tests. Find the procedure here: Once you eliminate fuel delivery, ignition coil, distributor cap, leads, plugs and pick up coil you are left with the ignition module as the culprit. You cannot test the module directly but only through a process of elimination of the ignition system components. PS: If your vehicle has not had a basic ignition system tune up in a long while check the resistance of the HEI ignition leads. Very high spark plug wire resistance from worn out leads can stress the ignition module to a point of failure. Always be sure when testing for spark that it has someplace to HEI spark plug tester is preferable to trying to jump a spark across a wide gap.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I am having the same problem with my 1977 GMC Grand Sierra it ran great today and I parked it in my driveway came back to put it into the garage and I turn it over and it made no sound at all my battery is fine the headlights were working fine and the radio I'm wondering if mine is the starter as well


BWTKS - Your GMC is not turning over? This condition is known as a "No Crank" which basically means the starter motor is not spinning the engine when you turn the key to the ignition's start position. Your battery may seem fine because the lights work...ect...but that doesn't confirm the battery is delivering enough amps to turn over the engine. Clean and tighten your battery terminals. Load test the battery or have it tested at your local garage. Try lightly tapping the body of the starter motor with a hammer. (Sometimes as the tolerances within the starter get a little sloppy and it causes the armature to bind.) It is helpful to have an assistant turning the key while tapping. You can also measure for voltage at the starter with a multi- meter to confirm that the starter is receiving some battery current. This will confirm that the wiring is delivering some battery power. Lastly you can try bridging the starters heavy terminal to the smaller terminal while the ignition is in the "Run" position. This by passes the ignitions start contacts which may be worn. If none of the above steps engages the most likely needs to be replaced.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I have a k3500 4x4 carbed.It will run like a sewing machine and then without warning just shut crank,no pw .but have all lights horn etc.. Thus far i have checked the starter All wires going to the starter for OHMs all within spec Battery and the rest of the chareging system got it down to where i thought it could be nothing else the ign switch on the columns NOT the key and tumbler After the switch was installed ran great ( but it always ran great) started right up.went to do something backing out of the parking spot and nothing. Any ideas would be great,i just dont trust the ol' girl anymore.


RE- K3500 What year is your vehicle? OBDII? Any fault codes? You may have a bad ground, short to ground or a loose connector causing problems. Do a visual inspection of ALL the wiring harnesses... looking for bare or burnt spots and loose connectors (starting with the ignition switch connector(s). Check the battery ground to chassis/block and all other grounding straps you can locate. . If the visual inspection doesn't turn up any obvious problems and you can get the K started... flex the harnesses trying to get the engine to stall. If you can't mimic the fault while idling in park, a wiring schematic for your specific truck will identify the suspect ignition wiring for the under-hood fuse/relay center (starter relay) and motor, harness connectors and ground positions. PS: The lights and horn get power directly from the fuse block and are not switched...they are always hot.

I also have same like problem, have 85 GMC C1500 305. starts,,, runs,,,, went to walmart other day about 5 miles, pulled in parking lot it shut off, wouldn't start again, waited about 2-3 hrs later it started ran back home about 5 miles ran fine..Today it did same thing again, just turns off like ya turn key off. no missing, no running rough, just shuts off whenever it wants. have checked distributor, button, cap, rotor was replaced, still same thing. any ideas what else to check? Thanks


RE - Phil_613 If a vehicle has spark, compression and fuel it will run. We know you have fuel and compression as your engine did run, crank and start (when it was cold) but dies without warning (like running out of fuel -stumbling) Did it start right back up today? or did you have to wait for the engine to cool down? Does your motor fail to crank over? or does it crank over fine but fail to start? Check the engine to frame and battery grounds for tight clean connections, battery positive terminal, starter motor wiring and harness connectors for good contact. The ignition switch (located on the steering column under the dash) could also cause a temporary loss of power. I have had mid eighties GMC trucks that run, are turned off and then when the owner returns a few minutes later the engine cranks but will not start, but this symptom has never been reported to kill an engine while driving down the road. So basically I would look for loose, corroded connections, I would look at the wiring harness for any signs of over heating and I would check the ignition switch. Let us all know how you make out.

I have a 1992 GMC Sierra 5.7 that will not start. If I dump a little gas down the throttle body it will start and run fine. I replaced the Ignition control module today and it did not help. Any Ideas??


Hello ckeipper...There is an adapter to connect a fuel line pressure test gauge to the fuel delivery line. You need to see 12 PSI More info at the link below:

I have a 1992 GMC Sierra with a 5.7 litter. Battery is new, plugs and wires are new, alternator is also new. It has recently started the cranking intermittently thing. When it does crank, it runs great. This is the second time that it has not cranked for me. It may be pure coincidence, however, it has been on about 1/4 of a tank of gas both times. Any suggestions?


Hello HotRodGMC, If I understand this correctly, your truck will occasionally not turn over..."No Crank" Turn the key and nothing happens. If this describes the intermittent problem you are encountering I would look at the ignition switch (located on the steering column not in the actual lock cylinder) and if your truck is a manual transmission, the safety start switch located above the clutch pedal linkage. The safety start switch prevents starting while the tranny is in gear. Unless the clutch pedal is depressed the vehicle will not turn over. The ignition switch is controlled by a rod actuated by turning the ignition key which can require adjustment or replacement. Let us know how you make out with your efforts.

I'm working on a 1998 Chevy pu put a new motor in it.... went to turn it over to bring #1piston up to tdc. It wouldn't turn over... found the ground wire on right side motor under alt. Unhooked... grounded it and it works great

I have a88 silverado with 350 AT has TBI the injectors will not fire. We have replaced the fuel pump with an ACDelco unit have 12PSI pressure new fuel filter. The pump will come on for the 2sec run then quit. we have spark at the plugs (have tested several different ones on both banks, have 12 volts at injectors and pump with key on. The SnapOn scanner is showing no codes. The first try after the new pump the injectors did well and ran for about a min then it was as if some turned the key off. Distributor wires and plugs are new. if we put a little pit of gas in the TBI it will run. We have checked the pump and lines out and they are clear. I plan on using a Noid today and I even tapped the ECM to see if that would help. Any other ideals?

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