Oldsmobile Bravada

I have a '97 Olds Bravada. Runs great! Well until recently. The car won’t start! It is in park but when I turn the ignition key, no lights come on but it cranks but does not start. Then afte a few times, it does. Well, when it wants… Any ideas?

Yep, I’ve an idea. I have a 99 Bravada that is an embarassment to GM. I will never buy another GM product again. To save yourself trouble in the long run, trade the darn thing in. But until you want to do that the first thing to do is check your battery connections. Make sure they are tight and clean. Clean on both mating surfaces is a must, and anyone can wire-brush these surfaces and they still wont be clean - scrap the the surfaces with a knife or screwdriver. If that still doesn’t work, because you might be getting enough voltage to only crank the engine intermitantly, have the ignition switch replaced (They eventually ware out unless you own a Ford). Don’t allow a shop to sell you the key lock assembly. The switch and the key are two different things. The key is on the steering column and the switch is actually next to the steering column underneath the speedo cluster. Good Luck

Well, it looks like that’s what we are going to try. We have a brand new battery, a complete tune-up, everything has been checked and serviced and all the connections work fine. We will let you know what the results are. Never had any problems with it. Runs great! 178K miles! First glitch.

The check valve in the fuel pump may be bad, allowing the system to de-pressurize when it sits. Or there could be too much gas in the intake from a failed fuel pressure regulator. Is there any smell of gasoline when the problem occurs? Is the engine still running smoothly once you manage to get it started?

I would perform a fuel system check. Get your hands on a fuel pressure gauge. They are hooked up usually on the top of the engine, towards the back (near the firewall), on top of the intake manifold just about in the center. There is a capped Schrader valve-type connector. Once you get the cap off, sorta like an oversized tire valve dirt cap, then place a rag over the exposed valve and relieve the pressure by gently pressing down on the valve until all pressure is relieved. Catch as much fuel as you can in the rag. About 2-3 tablespoons of fuel is typical. Wear glasses or goggles. Those pressures get up to somewhere around 40 psi. Now connect the pressure gauge to the valve. Have someone turn the key to the ‘ON’ position. You should be at the rear of the vehicle to listen for the in-tank fuel pump humming. It stops after a few seconds. Now go read the pressure on the gauge. It should be something above 30 psi. If it isn’t, suspect a faulty fuel pump system. It can be as simple as a partially or fully clogged fuel filter. I don’t know about your specific year and model, but a lot of GM cars have the fuel filter near the left-rear wheel well. Relieve the pressure again after you ensure that the key is in the ‘off’ position. You’ll probably need a special little plastic tool (about $5), to remove the filter hose connections. Change out that filter. It could also be a partially or fully clogged fine mesh screen attached to the fuel pump itself. Try the easiest fix first. You might avoid having to drop the fuel tank to work on/replace the pump or mesh. If the wheel well filter change causes your pump to operate better, and the pressure under the hood is better, now you have overcome the fuel system possibilities. Now it’s back to an electrical situation. It typically takes a few seconds to pump fuel to full pressure but residual pressure should remain in the system after the last shut down. There is also a fuel regulator under the hood. It controls the ‘on-off’ operation of the fuel pump and has a check valve in it, also. A check-out of that will tell you if it’s bad or marginal. When you first mess with it again, just turn the ign. switch to the ‘on’ position for about 5 seconds. Then turn it to start. It should start and run fine. If it doesn’t, then do the checks above. Either a Chilton’s or Haynes manual will give you a good idea on how to do these checks. I prefer Hayne’s, but for my '92 Olds Cutlass Ciera, I bought both. What one lacks in info in a certain system, the other seems to have the additional info. I would continue doing what you’re presently doing–checking out the ignition switch, etc. Then move on to the fuel system checks. Betcha it’s the fuel filter.