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1999 Chevy Tahoe won't start after several months of hit and misses

Greetings folks,

I have a 1999 Chevy Tahoe which was working perfectly for the 2 years I’ve had it until suddenly several months ago, it wouldn’t start at all, just a loud click as if it were dead, but the battery was still working. I was stranded, had it towed, and fully charged it at home with a pack. It started up just fine after that (having completely disconnected the battery). A week later the same thing happen so I found a lot of issues regarding the passlock, so went through those steps to bypass it, and it didn’t seem exactly to be what the issue was, but would start eventually sometimes an hour after fussing, even the next day at times. This has been going on for months until finally last week in our driveway it just did the click, all power working, but no crank and no turnover. For days we’ve attempted various passlock bypass solutions, even buying and installing a new ignition switch, but alas, the same click and whirring sound no matter what we do. We hooked our battery pack directly to the vehicle so we know it’s not the battery as the same symptom occurred. Is it the starter? And is that the norm for a starter to gradually waste away until it works not at all? I’d like some advice before spending the money on a new starter if that is in fact the glaring problem. Thanks guys!

A click and a whirring from the starter indicates either the starter Bendix isn’t engaging the flywheel or there are teeth missing from the flywheel. The starter needs to be removed. Then the starter can be tested, and the portion of the flywheel currently at the starter position can be checked for missing teeth. A bad starter is more likely.

More than likely you have a parasitic loss going on that is draining your battery. I fixed one not long ago that was related to the power seats in my Trailblazer. Just an example, it could be almost anything. You need someone that can diagnose if you have a drain going on and then isolate the cause. Its not hard to do but can be tedious…

Battery connections are the first place to begin when you have a “No Crank” situation. Even
if you have a new battery, if the connections are loose, dirty or corroded, you will not be
allowing the full flow of current to pass thru the connections. The connection may be
enough to turn on the lights, but not enough for the huge flow that is needed to operate the
starter. This is where many people say that they know the battery is good….”because the
lights come on”. This is no more a battery test than licking a 9volt battery. It only tells you that there is electricity…not how many volts or the amperage that flows from the battery.
Jump starting may have wiggled the terminal just enough to allow the current to pass and start the engine, but tomorrow you have the same problem.

First remove the cables from the battery and use a wire brush to remove any corrosion and dirt from the battery posts and the cable terminals. There is a tool with a round wire brush for this purpose, found at any auto parts store for less than $10
Before connecting the cables, apply a coating of di-electric grease to the battery posts this will keep oxygen away from the connection so that it will not corrode as fast.

It is just as important that the other end of the cables also have a clean connection. Remove the positive cable from the battery again so that you do not short anything out. Follow both cables to their far ends, remove this connection and wire brush the connection and the cable terminal clean and retighten these connections.

If there was work done recently, there may have been an “engine to body” ground that was not installed following the work. These grounds normally run from the rear of the engine to the firewall and are uninsulated and most are a braided wire. If any of these are found unattached…reattach them.
Remember….this is not a “Sherman Tank” don’t over tighten the connections.
Tight…tight………………too tight…broke!!!


1 Like

Well their a bad thing with them Tahoe it sounds to me like that security system is acting up in it try taking try taking the positive battery terminal off and touch it to the post and take it back wait a few seconds and do it again and then wait a few mins and then put it back on but before you do all that make sure you turn some light on and key on then do the battery thing. Lol I know it sounds crazy and stupid but it resets the security system in them I know I have one that was doing the same thing

Let me know if it works for you no joke it sounds stupid but just turn you dome light on and key and do the battery like that and then see if it want start mine does the same thing