Symptom: Engine starter will not engage -an intermittent situation: (*NOTE: This study does not apply to conditions of non-starting when the starter engages and the engine turns over without firing.) The battery usually seems fine, and the engine may have just been running, (possibly at a high heat level). The engine is turned off for a brief period. When the key is turned to restart the engine, nothing happens. Usually, the engine will restart after some short period of inactivity. Some have reported that after giving up on starting attempts and towing a car to the shop or home, the engine would then start with a turn of the key from then on as if nothing were ever wrong. Another diagnostic clue will be if you have interior lights, power windows, dash cluster and gauge readings or not.

Possible causes and corrective measures

First, make extremely certain that the clutch pedal is ALL the way down to the floor. Push it very, very hard. Make sure there is no obstruction of floor mat or debris. This seems to be the most common of the problems encountered in a no start situation. Many ZR1's that just experienced a no start have been subsequently started by those who knew the procedure by mashing the clutch pedal to the floor and starting the car to the amazement and disbelief of the frustrated owner who had tried so hard and given up.

It is plainly described in the owner's manual, that the VATS or PASS-Key security system will shutdown the starter and fuel system for about three minutes after a failed start situation occurs. There are reports that this time can be more like 5 of 6 minutes in some cars. This further compounds the frustration as the driver tries again and again to turn the key hoping for luck on his side - in that special way holding one's mouth just right as the old story goes. But each time the key is turned or another key is used before the shutdown period ends, the shutdown time starts all over again, and again. Disconnecting the battery will NOT change the time period of shut down since it is stored memory in the CCM's EEPROM. If the CCM sees a wrong resistance, (or no resistance) when the key is turned to START, a code 54 will be set. If there is any CCM code set, your cluster will flash. If the VATS system fails, it will not turn on the fuel pump when you first turn the key to ON you should be able to hear the silence. Attempts to jump start are also futile within this VATS security time constraint. It is best to just walk away or wait about 10 minutes before trying again.

Stories have been circulated about the infamous purple wire from the clutch switch to the starter motor that rubs on the engine or chassis and shorts out. Replacement of this wire has had varying degrees of reported success with some owners claiming full recovery, and others claiming it did no good. Bypassing the clutch switch with a wire splice has been reported to end this problem for some - (although it is dangerous since the car can then be started in gear). The switch is WAY up there under the dashboard as Gordy Bates describes it, so you will need to be supple. The black connector with a purple wire is the target to find coming from the clutch switch (part# 10045822) - Unplug it and jump across the two male spade connections with a #10 wire with a female connector crimped on each end . The Black Connector itself may be part of the problem with a high resistance (poor) connection where both halves snap together. By bypassing it with new crimp connectors you are certain to get a good connection.

Also: There is an easy way to check the clutch safety switch, assuming the starter isn't starting. Set the parking brake, put the shifter in neutral, and watch the voltmeter while you turn the key to the start position. The voltage will drop slightly. While holding the key in start, release the clutch pedal. If the voltage goes up and down in response to clutch pedal movement, the clutch switch works.

Some reports of faulty ignition key wires within the steering column have been reported. The wires have a tendency to rub with each startup as the ignition key is turned from off to start, and occasionally short out. (DTC53or52) See your dealer for replacement.

Reports of wet or contaminated key resistors has been cited, noting that the SECURITY light will come on in such instances. But if cleaning and drying the key does not work, and another key is available, the owner's manual says try the new key. Always check the fuses too.

Many claims of the poorly drained starter motor position and/or wiring being affected by water intrusion / corrosion under the plenum make this one of the most frequent diagnoses. But there are others who report that this is not an absolute cause or fix.

A low battery due to age, climatic conditions, or electrical system inadequacies may play a part in the dilemma because those with brand new batteries never seem to report a no-start situation. Always have your battery checked by a professional before tearing down engine or clutch pedal parts. It is characteristic of some batteries to have a tendency to only partially charge after full discharge situations. It is necessary in some cases to slowly charge the battery for extended periods in order to reach the optimal charge level. Remember, your LT5 is a high compression engine that requires a good amount of battery power.

In emergency situations (or if you just will not wait any longer), the car can be pushed by hand with a helper or two to about 5 miles an hour with someone in the driver's seat - with the ignition key in the RUN position the clutch in and the gearshift in the second gear position then, while rolling along - letting out the clutch quickly will start the car. Of course, we want the starter to always work, so this is a temporary resort; but, it seems to work for all reporting this condition. Of course, if it is a VATS problem or wrong key (DTC61), the car will not start no matter how far you push.

Another possible curative measure - if the VATS system is the problem, try unlocking the driver's door with the door key a couple of times. The door key switch deactivates the UTD alarm and this switch is known fail after time.

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