Firebird will not crank

Hello i have a 1989 formula firebird 305 v8 automatic that im having an issue with. I drove to the next town over, on my way back it stalled 7 times, started back up everytime. On the 8th time it completely died. I have power to my lights and everything still just no cranking and starting. Most the time it was stalling was when i started to slow down for a stop it would shut off. Got it pushed home. Had my battery and starter checked, battery was bad, and starter solenoid was bad. changed both and still nothing. The security light dont come on (just when you first turn the key like usual it turns on, but right back off) I have not a clue where to go from here. Any help would be appreciated.

As much as I hate to advice a battery disconnect to reset stuff, it might be in order. Try unlocking the door with the key after setting the locks, is there an after market remote starter, security, radio? Security sys looks suspect as my first wag.

Oil level

Can you manually crank the engine over with a 1/2" breaker bar and large socket?

Have you verified you now have power at the solenoid when turning the key to start position?

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!!!


Maybe a faulty neutral safety switch?

Check for power at the small wire on the starter solenoid when the key is turned to the START position.

You might go to the AutoZone site and register. There are some wiring diagrams for your car. Scroll towards the bottom for your model and part two of body wiring on the lower right.
It looks pretty straightforward and shouldn’t be hard to sort out.

It could be the VATS system, your Key and your ignition and the security system…Had this happen before…

Try putting the key in the ignition. Don’t turn the key to start it, just stick it in and turn it to the position where your warning lights come on.
Look for your Security light. Normally it will flash a number of times maybe 5-6 times then stop if you leave the key in that position. If the light continues to flash then it’s “likely” your VATS (Vehicle Anti Theft System) system. Either your VATS system is faulty or the ignition switch isn’t giving it power possibly because of the chip in the Key. Your key still has the chip in it right? They have been known to fall out…

A dealer will be able to help if you take it to there and tell them its triggering the VATS system and you think you need a new key with a new chip. They have a box that has a number of settings that they hook up with resistors in them to see if you can get it to start.

It could also be the Ignition Switch itself in the column. Not the Lock Cylinder… Is the column loose and wobbly? 3rd gen Firebirds (82-92) and Camaros are well known for the inexpensive and fairly easy to install ignition switch failing.

And finally - I have had this happen also in my 75, the ignition modules fail. That can manifest itself a few times as stuttering. misfires, or stalling…not starting, before they fail. Or the wire harness that plugs into the distributor (and the module) is loose. Check that plug on the Distributor, Check your Column for looseness that might signal a worn or broken ignition switch and check the Security light issue.
Good Luck, all the other posts are good pieces of advice.

It is my experience that an antitheft problem will cause a no start, not a stall

One the PCM has received a valid code and allowed the engine to start, it won’t look for another code until the next ignition cycle

I’m just talking in general, and not about any particular brand

It sounds like you may have two problems. The first, whatever’s causing it not to idle correctly, and the second, when you replace the battery and starter solenoid, something about that is preventing it from cranking and starting. I guess you have to start on the second problme firstr, to at least return it to the way it was working before.

It’s possible for example the starter got replaced askew, and it is now hanging up and jamming against the flywheel. Or the security system thinks you are trying to steal the car for some reason. Or replacing the battery caused a transient in the electrical system which damaged some electronic part or another. When a car battery is disconnected, the negative should be disconnected first, then the positive. When installing the battery, it is done in the reverse order, so you connect the negative last. Was it done that way? Is it possible during all this the battery was reverse connected, even briefly?

Sounds to me that you just witnessed either the DEATH of your Alternator…AND OR your battery.

You need to have the Power issue FULLY SORTED OUT…PRIOR to any of our advice taking root. YOU MUST HAVE PROPER BATTERY POWER… To Run the starter and all the other Electrical Subsystems that vehicle needs in order to run.

Check your alternator…check the battery and if I had my Druthers…I’d throw a KNOWN GOOD BATTERY in there and see what happens…also see if it is properly charging the batt while running…

A Failed or weak battery will start making you look at all sorts of things as the problem. The started itself DEFINITELY NEEDS PLENTY O POWER To function properly. The Solenoid will seem to be the issue with a weak batt.

POWER POWER POWER MAN…YOU NEED A HEALTHY BATT BEFORE YOU TRY TO DIAGNOSE ANYTHING…and if I am NOT mistaken that vehicle uses a battery with STUPID SIDE POST CONNECTIONS…THOSE CAN BE A NIGHTMARE TO GET PROPERLY CONNECTED AND POWER FLOWING…Those side terminals can sometimes LOOK or FEEL TIGHT…and then you remove the connection only to find A LOT of the rubber encasement on the connector is coming between the batt and the ACTUAL metal connector on the cable. Ive had to slice OFF a LOT of those rubber covers on the batt connection before i could get ANYTHING working to my satisfaction. START THERE AT THE BATT

You can test all this theory if you had a STRONG BATT JUMPER PACK…Preferrably one made By the NAME BRAND "“BOOSTER PAC” ES5000 is the one that I have…and it is HEAD N SHOULDERS Better than ANY OTHER TYPE. It is truly A PROFESSIONAL Grade tool