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1999 Silhouette starts than dies, sometimes

I have a 1999 Olds Silhouette with about 110,000 miles on it. I bought it used about 2 or 3 years ago with about 103,000 miles on. I rarely take the car out of town, so most of the mileage is slow and rarely more than ten miles a trip. In general, the car has been reliable and I am pleased with it.

About a 18 months ago, intermittently when I would go to start the car, it would start, run for a second then die. Usually, I can get it started after a few tries.

This started to happen in the summer and I thought it was something to do with an electronic component overheating. Once I got out, raised the hood and thought I would let it cool down. I got back in the car it started right away. After doing this several times, I discover that if I just pull the hood latch and try to start it, it will start EVERY time. (I mean EVERY time, it hasn’t miss once.) It is like the jolt from the hood latch shakes something lets it start.

This went on through summer and into winter. I got kind of use to it and it didn’t bother me because I never got stranded. It always started after I popped the hood. (Note: I didn’t have to raise the hood, in fact, I would just pop the hood, start the car, drive, then reclose the hood at the next stop. I wouldn’t even get out of the car.)

Anyway, in March I had the transmission fixed to the tune of $1700. After getting the transmission fixed the starting problem didn’t happen again - until last week. This is nine months later.

The hood poping part seems really strange since nothing should happen. To my knowledge, the “under the hood light does not come” on and it doesn’t make enough of a jolt that sould shake something into working correctly. And, it would seem that if something was partially defective, the jolt would not be enough to make it work, at least, once in a while.

I have two questions, what is the starting problem, and more importantly, could it be related to the transmission? I still have three months warranty left on the transmission repair and don’t want to wait too long and have to pay another $1700 if the two are related.

My wife has witnessed this on many occasions. To answer your next question, I was a college student during the 60’s, I did not fully participate, therefore, I remember most of those years.


I think you have an electrical fault here. (Although a fuel pressure drop may be present, a leaking regulator or bad pump)

Possibly a security hiccup in the anti-theft system, a poor ground or other connection in the ignition system.

As far as a tranny fault? A faulty neutral switch can cause a no start. Does this start/stop occur only when starting in PARK?

The slight jarring from the hood popping open to the second hood latch is sometimes enough for a broken electrical contact to reconnect by touching.

If I may voice a safety concern here: Driving with the hood only latched to the secondary catch is not a wise idea.

Here’s an example why: Last year our daughter was on a highway on-ramp when the hood flew up and almost took out the windshield.

Fortunately, she wasn’t moving fast when it happened.

Earlier, she had checked under the hood and had added windshield washer fluid to the reservoir bottle and closed the hood thinking it had locked properly.

This only happens in park. I’ve never tried to start it in another gear. I have noticed that the “Pass Key” light goes on while I’m driving then goes off. I’ve never noticed the “Pass Key” light being on during a no start situation.

I guess I will start putting the hood down right away, it does seem like a good idea. I didn’t do it before because I didn’t want to add other variables like lights going on, doors slamming, hood slamming, etc.- also, being lazy

Your referral to the ‘pass key’ light coming on then off while driving may be an indication of a poor electrical connection as I previously mentioned.

At any rate, intermittent problems can give you a headache.