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

No crank no start think it`s the battery

It`s too cold to be out there doing a through diagnostic so I figured maybe you could tell me what to check first.

it`s a 1999 suburban, when the key is turned to the run position the daytime headlights come on and all the dash lights come on like they are supposed to.
after a few seconds all the dash lights go off like they are suppose to, except for 3 lights. the daytime headlight indicator stays on like it is suppose to and 2 other lights stay on.
one is the check gauges light and the other is the battery light.

when I turn the key nothing happens no clicking, no cranking and all the interior lights and the daytime headlights dim and go off but the check gauges light and the battery light stay on.

so, i`m assuming the battery is no good. I checked the battery with a volt meter and it has 13 volts.

the battery was in the vehicle when i bought it last year but i dont think it`s the right size battery for the suburban but it has worked.

its a group size 75 battery with 600 CCA I think its suppose to have a group size 78 battery, not sure how many CCA`s it should have.

so, do you think it wont start because the battery finally died? it has enough volts still but maybe it doesnt have enough amps anymore?

what size battery should be in a 1999 suburban LT?

Even the Walmart web site will list the batteries that fit this vehicle. Apparently it is too cold to be out there messing with it. In my area I can have a wrecker service come with a battery pack and jump my car for $25.00. Do that and drive to autozone and you will have your answer. We could guess all day long.

i looked on google but nobody seems to agree on what size battery belongs in this vehicle.

sears,walmart all the major auto parts stores all show different size batteries for this vehicle.

i don`t want people who are just going to guess, i posted here because i figured someone here has had experience with the same problem and would know what is wrong. thanks for replying anyway.

The Walmart site showed several batteries that apparently fit. The difference was CCA, price and warranty. Not sure what the choice problem is. Frankly I choose the best and there are places that install for no extra charge.

Check Gauges and Battery light will stay on until the engine starts- that is normal.

You’re gonna have to get out in the cold and test if you want to figure this out.

First thing- Make sure your battery cables are clean and tight. If that doesn’t help, test the Battery volts as you’re cranking to see if it drops volts any, and how much.
If if doesn’t drop- the the starter isn’t engaging. If it drops below 10, it’s likely getting weak.

I don’t think the battery being a group 75 is your issue.


You have a battery with side terminals, which are notorious for corrosion problems. Remove the negative, then the positive. Clean them thoroughly. Reconnect the positive, then the negative. Be sure they are nice and snug.

While you have the terminals disconnected, check the areas where the cables enter the terminals. If the insulation looks swollen, there is likely bad corrosion inside the cable. You may have enough slack to replace just the terminals, or you may have to replace the entire cable(s).

i checked the fuses they are good, i swapped the starter relay with the A/C relay that didnt help. i tried starting it in neutral, that didnt work.

ill check the battery cables and the battery tomorrow then ill connect my battery charger up to it and set it on “55amp start” position and see what that does.

its suppose to be warmer tomorrow 38F with light winds, it was 35F today with 40 MPH winds, wind gusts up to 60 MPH i couldnt do much out there today.

If the headlights are going dim during attempted cranking, that means the starter solenoid is getting power and at least partially closing the contacts to power up the starter. The reason it doesn’t crank is there’s not enough voltage getting to the starter, due to resistance losses somewhere between or including the battery and the starter. It is very unlikely to be a common problem like a neutral safety switch, ignition switch, or small under-dash relay.

  • Battery connections to battery posts faulty
  • Battery internal resistance too high – new battery required. This would show up by measuring the battery voltage during attempted cranking
  • Alternator not properly charging up the battery – unlikely if it measure 13 volts
  • Starter solenoid contacts failing and have high resistance, replace starter

If you need to get it to crank & start the way it is, you could try charging up the battery overnight with a battery charger, then turning off everything you can including the daytime headlights prior to cranking. Might work.

If a jump start starts bad battery, my general rule of thumb go for the most cca, for my trailblazer that was 850 cca (cold cranking amps) They have the good better best kind of thing going on.

i was going to ask about that, i saw a 800 CCA battery for a good price.

When i checked the battery voltage it was jumping all around, ti went down to 6.40 and then up to 13 then back down to around 9,and up and down.

im going to take the caps off of it tomorrow and check the cells, im probably going to get a new battery anyway because that one is too small for that vehicle.

i`m going to go under there and check the voltage at the selinoid while someone turns the key.

Under what conditions was it jumping so much? If you were not doing anything at the time, like trying to start the car, it should not be doing that.

Or could it be that you were not making good connection with your voltmeter probes? I find that the chrome pointed probes sometimes take a lot of pressure to make a reliable connection.

1 Like

We have some 1999 Suburbans in our fleet, and they’ve always had group 78 batteries

That said, I agree with @eddo . . . he’s got some good advice . . . and the group 75 battery isn’t the problem

today, I removed the battery cables from the battery and checked the voltage directly at the side terminals on the battery, 13.6 volts, so the battery is good.

i checked the voltage at the starter on the battery cable, 13.4

i jumpered the starter relay, turned key to start,still no crank ,so the relay is good.

im going to check voltage with the key in start position at the transmission range sensor tomorrow. im going to check voltage at the starter solenoid with the key in start position, tomorrow.

I did find one of those flat copper ground straps had corroded and broke in half,it goes from the frame near the front passenger wheel to somewhere behind the starter,i`ll have to remove the starter tomorrow to see where the end of that broken strap connects to.

my neighbor said the broken ground strap wouldnt be causing the car not to start, i dont know if thats true but im going to replace it anyway.

ive narrowed the problem down to, the ignition switch, the starter or the neutral safety switch. ill find out tomorrow for sure which one it is.

No-load battery voltage doesn’t prove that the battery is good. What is the battery voltage with the ignition in the crank position at the battery and at the starter?

1 Like

given you found a failed ground strap, I would start from it.

starter needs not only positive path, but negative path sustaining these hundreds of amps during crank, so this strap will indeed affect the starting

you might have a number of these straps connected to the engine, at least 2-3, but if their condition is similar to the one you found… you see where this logic would go :slight_smile:

also think about making electricity to flow through the parts it is not supposed to flow through when strap is in place

1 Like

ive decided the first thing ill do is replace the broken ground strap and 2 other ground straps that are very brittle and see if that fixes the problem, if not i`ll go from there.

the broken straps goes from the back of the cylinder head to the frame.

1 Like