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Non-starting Corvette

Been fighting a starting problem for months with a 1976 Corvette. Car starts fine on first try, but if I shut off the engine, it won’t crank again for hours, usually overnight. All I get is a buzzer noise when I turn the key - no starting motor noises. This happens no matter how long the engine has run, be it 30 seconds or an hour, so I don’t thing the starting motor is getting hot. Car has a new battery and alternator - that didn’t solve anything. Does anyone have an idea what to check or replace next? Starting motor? Solinoid? Ignition switch? By the way, the car has a manual transmission. Please help before I roll this car off a cliff!


Do you know if this has a neutral safety switch trans so the starter will not engage when in gear? Maybe bypass it and see if you get something different. Is the buzzing ever heard before this issue started? Meaning was it part of the design but you haven’t heard it because the starter is usually turning. It could also be the solenoid you talked about but the ones I have had fail just made no noise at all. It would just not spin the starter at all either.

The loud buzzing noise is in the dash, definitely not under the hood. I can’t recall hearing it before, but I may be wrong about that. I’ve only had this corvette for 36 years!!! I believe the neutral safety switch is controled by depressing the clutch pedal. Ric

Maybe that switch is sticking so it works the first time but sticks closed for the subsequent events. Can you find it and temporarily bypass it? Outside of that it could be the solenoid on the starter or the ignition switch on the top of the steering column under the dash. The ignition switch will usually have burnt contacts that if you twist/wiggle the key differently when in start position it will find a spot that lets the current flow.

Get a multimeter and see what the voltage on the starter is. The fat lead likely has 12V all the time. The thinner lead should be 12V when you turn the key to start it. If you don’t see that, check into interlocks and ignition switches, etc.

One thing to look at in Corvettes is the grounding. Since this is a fiberglass body…Chevy put grounding straps all over that vehicle. A car this old…a strap might have rusted out or broken off.

The 1976 Corvette was the most cheaply built Corvette I think there was. Mike is right about the ground straps. When I worked at a Corvette shop when a 76 would come in we would cringe. From door panels that would fall off to the wiring. The problem with yours is the starter heat shield has come off. The starter is getting hot from the exhaust pipe. Put a new starter and heat shield on it. Also if it has not been done put new battery cables on it. I did read that it now happens even if its sill cold. The I think the was cooked and now has a bad spot. Both pos and neg and make sure the wires that connect to the starter have good clean connectors. You can get a good aftermarket heat shied from any hot rod Chevy parts supplier. Just has to be for what you have, a small or big block Chevy.