CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2004 pontiac bonneville

When it is hot outside,(I live in MN, so this is not often!), and I have errands to do, this means shutting off and starting the car, after about the 4th stop, I can not get the car to start. All electronics work, but no turnover. Have had it serviced 4 times, all in summer months, the car dealer service center always say they fix the “anti-theft” componet, but it is summer again, and right now it is in the shop again. HELP!!

Sounds like not enough battery power. That could be caused by either a worn battery or a bad alternator which is not charghing up the battery. You could also have a fuel system problem.

Take it to a good shop and have the electricals tested; don’t go back to the dealer; they are giving you the “sunshine treatment”.

I agree with Docnic (and I’m a very disagreeable person). We had a 1974 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that had the same problem–it turned over very sluggishly when the engine was hot and this was in the winter. It would start well at zero degrees, but then turn over sluggishly after it was warmed up. A new battery cured the problem. If your battery is the original, it is 5 years old and may not have the cranking amperage it used to have. Like your battery, I’m sluggish when its hot. I don’t have much output when it’s cold. However, I’m cranky all the time.

Why does the battery turn over about 4-6 hours later? Then it runs fine until another hot day when I do errands with shutting and starting?

Four to six hours later, the engine has cooled off. Components in the engine expand when the engine is hot and make it harder for the starter to turn the engine. The starter itself may be “heat soaked” and the bearings don’t have as much clearance. These things take more battery power which your 5 year old battery may not be able to provide.

To me, it sounds like a “heat-soaked” starter, an affliction that GM cars seem to be especially prone to. Some insulation to shield the starter motor from the heat of the exhaust manifold might be all that the car needs.

Dag–I must have been typing my response as you were typing yours.
Mental telepathy?

One way to know is to have a shop measure the current draw when the car doesn’t turn over or turns over sluggishly. I had a new starter put on a Ford Taurus that my son drove and it would barely crank the engine when the car had been driven. A Western Auto store did the replacement. When I took it back, they claimed that they couldn’t duplicate the condition. I drove the car around and stopped at an independent shop. The engine would barely turn over. He measured the current draw and wrote the values on a slip of paper and signed his name. He also disabled the ignition to make certain that the timing wasn’t causing the problem while the engine was being cranked. He told me to take this to Western Auto, and didn’t charge anything for his service. I did just that and got a replacement starter right away at no charge and no questions asked. This happened 15 years ago and the independent shop has had my business from that point on.

Triedaq,
Let me see that piece of paper. Was the current draw higher, or lower, than it shoulda been?
Voltage, during cranking, is important, also. If the voltage, supplied by the battery, falls below a certain value, the engine will be sluggish, or, fail to start. Compare the voltage value, of the sluggish starter, against the voltage, during cranking, of a car which cranks quickly. This way, you are, somewhat, comparing batteries.

The current draw was much higher than it should have been. I don’t have the paper. This was 16 years ago and the car is long gone. What happened was that the starter drive was going out and sometimes the starter gear wouldn’t engage the flywheel. I had the starter replaced at Western Auto and the new starter was the one that gave the hot start problem. The independent shop measured the current draw and the voltage when the condition occured. The technician then disabled the ignition system to be sure that the timing wasn’t overadvanced. He concluded that it had to be the starter. Western Auto replaced the starter and we had no more problems.

Cheap Checks

A couple of GM Technical Service Bulletins for this vehicle say to check a few bolts.

The bolts that secure the battery cables to the battery have been know to be stripped and will not hold the cables securely. You are supposed to replace the bolts if they won’t tighten (Also, you may be due for a new battery if you’ve not replaced it, yet). It’s under the back seat.

Also, on some 2004 Bonnevilles there’s a bolt hole in the engine block near the starter that may not have been drilled deeply enough. The bolt holding the starter ground wire to the block could be “bottoming out” and causing a poor connection by not securing the cable tightly enough. A shorter replacement bolt #11517862 is available for purchase if the cable is too loose.

CSA

Suzannie, Are You Still Here?

What is happening/has happened at the shop? Did they find anything?

I hope Suzannie isn’t a “drive-by”.

CSA

Even if Suzannie has left the building this thread has helped me. My ski boat has the same issue. Since you stop and restart the motor often when boarding skiiers I notice the motor cranks very slow when warm and cranks easier and faster when cold.

It is a few years since my last new marine battery and I think I’m due. The motor is a Ford 351 ci, 4 bbl Holly, converted to marine by PCM, '87 with 660 hrs. It got a new starter about 4 years ago.

Still here. A big thank you to everyone on this board. I have given all the info to those at the shop. Will keep you informed!!

Suzannie, Thanks! We Need The Feed-Back In Order To Fine Tune Our Free Advice.

Good Luck,

CSA

Uncle Turbo, I’ll Throw In 5 Bucks For Gas. I’m Grabbing My Life Jacket. Pick Me Up At My Dock!

CSA