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Instrument Failure

I have a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am and it is cranking up, but the electrical system fails to startup (i.e. gauges, A/C, lights) After a few minutes the electrical system kicks in. Any ideas?

There may be a problem with the ignition switch, a fuse connection, or a power wire connection to those areas. Look for the trouble between the fuse panels and the ignition switch wiring.

Are you saying that initaly there is no spark (verified by an assistant) and then after some time cranking spark returns? Have you followed the crank-no-start flow chart in the manual?

There doesn’t seem to be a problem with the ignition the car is cranking up, but the electrical system fails to start after the car cranks up. I have a feeling it is electrical but I am just trying to narrow down where to look first.

Based on a very similar problem with my POS Volvo, I think that the problem could be a bad ground connection.

Once things heat up and expand a bit, the interrupted ground connection could become a more secure connection.
An auto electrical specialist shop should be able to find the problem–if you leave the car overnight at their shop.

For your knowledge Spinx, there is a difference between the system that cranks the engine and the system that provides the energy that allows for a spark between the sparkplug electrodes.

In short,the ignition system is not the cranking system(but to make use of an ignition system you need a cranking system, even if it is just a push start). A car can crank just fine, but not have any ignition (more commonly called “spark”).

If a person cannot explain the difference between “my car will not crank” and “my car cranks but will not start” they cannot fix a car by any other means besides dumb luck.

I think it would be easier to use phrases like:

  • Cranking, but not starting
  • Cranking, trying to start, but not actually starting
  • Starting and running

Too many people have too many different ideas of what cranking is. Mechanics typically call cranking as the engine going round and round, but not much else happening.

Clarity. Makes all the difference.