97 Tahoe Intermittently Not Starting


#1

Okay, this problem has plagued me for awhile, turning to all y’all! So, I have a 97 Tahoe that I love! The problem is that, every once in awhile, it simply won’t start. Won’t start, won’t crank, won’t do anything. I turn the key and nothing happens, similar to having the truck in gear and trying to start it. The REALLY frustrating thing is, when I take it to the mechanic, they can never recreate the problem. This last time, the mechanic had it for a couple of weeks, couldn’t ever get it to not start. I had it for a week, and it stranded me an hour and a half from home. It’s getting really irritating, so I’m looking for some advice.


#2

Does this Tahoe have an automatic transmission? If it does…just shift to neutral and see if it starts when the problem happens again. If it starts in neutral instead of park…you need a new neutral safety switch. BTW…this problem is as common as dirt with all makes and models of vehicles.


#3

When it doesn’t start, what does it do?
Does the starter turn the engine over?
Does it make a difference if you just keep grinding away at the starter, or stop for a couple of seconds and try for a couple more?
Have they checked the fuel pressure?
What things has the shop tried?


#4

I think @missileman has probably got it. No sound at all means even the starter solenoid isn’t getting powered up. The most likely cause for that would be the transmission safety switch. For the manual it is called the “clutch safety switch”. Less likely is the ignition switch. There’s others, but common sense would dictate checking the most likely first.


#5

Next time this happens, have someone tap the side of the starter with a screwdriver handle while holding the key in the start position. If it then starts, you know the starter is bad. Do not use a hammer as these gear drives on these starters are made of plastic and can be easily broken with the tap of a hammer.