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Starts Ok, Won't, Starts OK, Won't - '90 Reatta


ReattaInAustin
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Over the last month my 1990 Reatta starts fine only 50%? of the time. At other times, NOTHING. Radio comes on instantly (car turned off with radio on) and headlights will come on, but engine doesn't even turn over. No noises whatsoever, no clicking, absolutely noiseless (after mindfully turning off radio). So, I'll turn key off and wait a few minutes. Meanwhile plenty of "juice to operate headlights, interior lights, radio, etc. Sometimes it will then crank right up and be fine, sometimes must wait an try over and over again. So far, it has always started up just fine (eventually) but might have to wait 15 -20 minutes while trying to start car 5-8 times.

No rhyme or reason as of yet. It doesn't matter the weather (no severe temp changes), rain or sunny (no humid conditions), doesn't matter how long it's parked (10 minutes into the icehouse or overnight) doesn't matter the time of day (mornings or nights). New Sear's DieHard Gold just installed 3 mos. ago. I've had a second key made and it doesn't matter which key is used...same results.

Thanks in advance for sharing any similar experiences.

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It might just be worn out. Brushes down to nothing. A starter for that isn't very expensive, unless you have the mitsubishi starter. 90 Reatta used a delco and a mitsubishi starter from the factory. If you have the mit. starter replace it with the delco. They interchange. The mit starter is expensive if you can find one. If the brushes are low and you have been starting it that way for a month the armature is probably burnt too.

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When the system doesn't recognize or acknowledge the code from the key it will shut itself down for 15 minutes. Each attempt adds to the delay that's why the time between successful starts is different. If the two keys make no difference it's probably a problem with the module.

Do you have working remote fobs? Unlocking with the fobs disables the anti theft as does unlocking with the key but fobs that don't always work can confuse the system.

Next time after the 1st unsuccesful start attempt remove the key and try unlocking and locking the door with the key a few times and try again.

I ran a Buick dealership when they were new and even then the system could be disrupted by multple attempts.

Ernie R

Edited by ErnieR
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  • 4 months later...

i have a 1990 buick reatta , wow when something goes wrong seems like everything does . it will start everytime. but sometimes when i drive , it will act like its out of gas . sometimes it will just die . if it just cuts out i can put in nutral and rev the gas and be fine till it wants to do it again . if it dies it takes a minute or to and will start . when it start, sometimes its fine , other times it will jump rpm up and down then finally equal out . i can drive it for the rest of the day . some days it doesnt even do it . plz help . they said mite be ignition module . duzz anyone know

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Over the last month my 1990 Reatta starts fine only 50%? of the time.

Thanks in advance for sharing any similar experiences.

Does this car have the VATS anti theft system? Does the ignition key have a small resistor chip in it? It's possible that the contacts in the lock cylinder that mate to the chip are dirty or worn. I have the same problem with my 1993 Allante. It's possible to bypass the VATS module or you can replace the lock cylinder.

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If the cars has the passkey system with the resistor in the key, it can be easily bypassed. Simply measure the resistance of the 'chip' in the key with a digital meter, check it several time to get an accurate reading, then go to radio shack and buy the necessary resistors to duplicate your reading. this will cost you about $3.00. Then cut the wires that go up the strg. columb to the ign. lock cylinder, these most likely will be 2 very small white wires wrapped together in an orange shrink wrap. Solder the resistor across the harness side of the wires (eliminate the lock cylinder) and no more problems.....provided the passkey is the source of your trouble.

If I remember correctly the security light on the dash will flash when the engine does not crank, indicating a passkey problem.

I have performed this bypass several times to eliminate the need of replacing the lock cylinder, which is a rather expensive repair.

Good luck

Chris

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I had a similar problem with my Buick LeSabre. At an unfortunate time and place, It had a dead starter, but the lights were strong. I optimistically suspected loose/dirty cables, so I cleaned and tightened them. That cured the problem, I thought. The next day, off to Hershey 2007. 5 days later, when I loaded the car and prepared to leave, no start! Same old story, strong lites etc. I put on cables and was going to get a jump, but for the heck of it I gave it another try, and it started! Needless to say, I went all the way home without shutting down. It was pretty clear to me at this point that it was the starter or solenoid, so off they came (it wasn't easy) only to find that the starter tested out fine. So, narrowing things down, it had to be the solenoid. Surprize; it wasn't. IT WAS THE BATTERY! There was a weak connection inside it between the side terminal connection point and its internals. This was a universal type replacement battery that had conventional posts on top in addition to the side terminals. I adapted the cable and attached it to the post on top. That cured it, and it's still going strong. I guess you could say the moral of this story is that trouble is sometimes where you least expect it to be.

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