Car starter dies abruptly after repairs. Battery measures 14 volts when off

I have a 2001 gmc sonoma with a 4.3. I just replaced the water pump and intake manifold gaskets. After I reassembled it I turned the ignition heard the starter for a brief seconds then only clicking. The battery is showing 13.96 volts. I did disconnect the alternator. Anyone have any suggestions where to start? Thanks in advance.

On a 2007 GM product I would start with the side terminal connections at the battery, next I would clean up and re-tighten the battery ground connection at the body.


I would recheck the voltage readings and then check with another voltmeter if they are still that high. 12v batteries don’t show over 13 volts. I don’t believe your voltage readings.

Sounds like a dead battery or a poor connection to me. I would expect to see 13.96 volts at the battery while the car is running, but not when the car is not running and won’t even start.

You were right it was the multimeter. My battery is at 12.6 volts.

So a fully charged battery… start chasing the voltages down the cables. Does the other end of the battery cable at the starter show 12 volts? Is there zero ohms resistance from the battery to the engine block? To the end of the negative battery cable. Work the basics here. Chase the grounds and battery power connections from the device that doesn’t work back to the battery.

I tested the wire going to the starter. It was reading 10 volts without keys in the ignition. When I cranked it the voltage dropped to 8 volts.

That wire going to the starter is a thick bundle of copper that should have zero voltage drop to the starter when not cranking. Yours lost 2.6 volts with no load and that is unacceptable. There is the first problem you need to solve.


Replace the positive battery cable assembly.