Starts - turns over - runs for 2 seconds - dies. What the hell??
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Thread: Starts - turns over - runs for 2 seconds - dies. What the hell??

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    Starts - turns over - runs for 2 seconds - dies. What the hell??

    Opel has been running great. One day turned over the key. Nothing. Turned the key again and got a noise before it started like - putting a kitchen knife in an electrical outlet. Next few days no problems. Must have been the electrical gremlins (change in weather??) Taking it home before an unexpected shower at night (lights on) - turn the wipers on - wipers jerk but don't go all the way up - car dies like someone hit the off switch. WTF?
    Tried starting again - turns over - runs for 2 seconds dies. Over and over - same thing. Ignition turns the car over runs for 2 seconds - dies.

    I am assuming Electrical in the ignition over fuel system based on the above after reading similar threads but still cant find an avenue to explore first.

    Help??

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey My location The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Okay, let's see: New owner, lights on at night, the sound of a kitchen knife short circuiting an electrical outlet, and power problems.

    Question one: Have you done what every new GTer MUST do, which is to verify that the wires to the headlights have been replaced. This MUST be done by ALL GT owners. They used vinyl wrapped wires from the radiator forward on GT's and the stuff dried out as far back as the 80's and is now dust just waiting to blow away and cause a massive short circuit to the unfused headlight wires. This WILL destroy your car.

    Let us know what you discover.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Scifi Guy View Post
    Okay, let's see: New owner, lights on at night, the sound of a kitchen knife short circuiting an electrical outlet, and power problems.

    Question one: Have you done what every new GTer MUST do, which is to verify that the wires to the headlights have been replaced. This MUST be done by ALL GT owners. They used vinyl wrapped wires from the radiator forward on GT's and the stuff dried out as far back as the 80's and is now dust just waiting to blow away and cause a massive short circuit to the unfused headlight wires. This WILL destroy your car.

    Let us know what you discover.

    Really can't stress this advice from Gordon enough. Everything else about this car is secondary.....you almost want to ensure every new owner of this car gets this information and acts on it immediately, no questions asked.

    Everything else is secondary, the rust issues or the shimmys and shakes going down the road.....knocking noise in the timing chain area or cam lobes eaten for breakfast.....the wiring to the headlights must be inspected by the owner, accomplished only by physically unwrapping the wire harness tape to each headlamp plug.

    Trust me on this.....I thought my 73 GT's headlamp wires were okay; it was an unmolested GT and lived a semi-pampered light. Service invoices for near every service or repair job the car ever had, in my possession. What could be wrong on a car like this? Only when did I unwrap that wire harness (in preparation to installing the Hella halogen headlamps) did I discover to my horror the headlight wire insulation crumbled away, just ready to short out onto each other. How it didn't was just divine provenance or luck, I guess.

    Even if your issues are elsewhere, for peace of mind, unwrap that wire harness, inspect it and repair it, using the info contained on this site!

    Mike

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    7,000 Post Club My location wrench459's Avatar
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    Sounds likes the ignition switch "run" contacts are flakey.

    The ignition bypass on the starter will allow the engine to run for a few seconds.

    Si vis pacem, para bellum "If you want peace, prepare for war"

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey My location The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Holy Cow! Dan is a pretty smart guy. I never knew that little factoid.

    If only he had used his powers for good.


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    7,000 Post Club My location wrench459's Avatar
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    With the engine running off the resistor wire the current needs should be ~ 4.25 amps @14.25 volts.
    But who's counting?
    Last edited by wrench459; 10-09-2015 at 08:10 PM. Reason: added voltage

    Si vis pacem, para bellum "If you want peace, prepare for war"

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    Über Genius My location First opel 1981's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrench459 View Post
    Sounds likes the ignition switch "run" contacts are flakey.

    The ignition bypass on the starter will allow the engine to run for a few seconds.
    That's an interesting factiod.
    I'm impressed that the starter can do this, considering there's no capacitor anywhere near the thing.


    On another forum we decided that "orange" is the universal sarcasm font.
    Opel GTs are not GM products
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    Quote Originally Posted by First opel 1981 View Post
    That's an interesting factiod.
    I'm impressed that the starter can do this, considering there's no capacitor anywhere near the thing.


    On another forum we decided that "orange" is the universal sarcasm font.
    Orange or not , he is still 100% correct.
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    I have Petronix ignition and high performance coil and a 65amp alternator. I have checked all engine grounds and everything is good.
    *wires to coil are right and test fine
    *alternator is good and pumps out power
    * distributor spins when starting
    * I just replaced all sparks plugs as I thought this may help
    * while plugs were out I turned over the engine with carb open to get ll t fuel out of the engine
    * disconnected fuel line at carb and turned engine over and it squirts out enough gas

    Starts up fine runs for 2 seconds then dies. Even when it's started I can tap the throttle once or twice and can Rev it then it dies.

    Anyone with any other ideas or faced similar problems? Don't want to put it on the flatbed of shame to the garage yet if it's something I can sort out in the driveway.
    *

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey My location The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    I have had this problem when my Opels had vacuum leaks at the manifold/block and carb/manifold.

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    Über Genius My location First opel 1981's Avatar
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    You won't solve the problem yourself unless you can identify if the problem is Mechanical, Electrical or Fuel.

    We can rule out mechanical because you haven't told us of anything bizarre sounding.

    Now, for fuel. Electric pump or mechanical?
    If it's electrical then your fuel line is clogged somewhere.
    If it's mechanical then it's probably not fuel related.

    Now, electrical. The hardest to diagnose but easier with ONE test.
    While inside the car, start it. Watch the tach. Does the tack drop to dead zero when it "dies" or does it drift down with engine speed?

    If it drops dead then the problem is related to the pertronix. If it floats down with the engine then the pertronix is likely fine.

    If that test shows pertronix is "fine" then the problem is coil related. You can hotwire the coil to see if that fixes anything or makes it worse.

    Let us know what's happening.
    Opel GTs are not GM products
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    Quote Originally Posted by First opel 1981 View Post
    You won't solve the problem yourself unless you can identify if the problem is Mechanical, Electrical or Fuel.

    We can rule out mechanical because you haven't told us of anything bizarre sounding.

    Now, for fuel. Electric pump or mechanical?
    If it's electrical then your fuel line is clogged somewhere.
    If it's mechanical then it's probably not fuel related.

    Now, electrical. The hardest to diagnose but easier with ONE test.
    While inside the car, start it. Watch the tach. Does the tack drop to dead zero when it "dies" or does it drift down with engine speed?

    If it drops dead then the problem is related to the pertronix. If it floats down with the engine then the pertronix is likely fine.

    If that test shows pertronix is "fine" then the problem is coil related. You can hotwire the coil to see if that fixes anything or makes it worse.

    Let us know what's happening.
    Fuel is mechanical.

    Tach does drop but it's hard to tell as a comes down as fast as I dies.

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    Über Genius My location First opel 1981's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newbieGT View Post
    Fuel is mechanical.

    Tach does drop but it's hard to tell as a comes down as fast as I dies.
    Then get one of these and watch from under the hood

    Inline Ignition Spark Checker
    Opel GTs are not GM products
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    Humans are not an endangered species!
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    https://youtu.be/k1oOP7dGxYs

    Video of the start (starting for the first time today and its 12c here today)

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey My location The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    It sounds to me like you have a fuel problem in the carb. Were you pumping the gas between start attempts?

    Another thing that occurs to me is that your "Run" position on your ignition switch or the wiring from it to the engine may be malfunctioning. It seems that as soon as you ease the key back to the Run position the engine dies.

    Try leaving the starter engaged for a couple of extra seconds and see if that allows ignition to continue past your 2 second run/die symptom.

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    Über Genius My location First opel 1981's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newbieGT View Post
    https://youtu.be/k1oOP7dGxYs

    Video of the start (starting for the first time today and its 12c here today)
    Run a jumper wire from the battery to the + side of the coil. Then start it and see if it stays running.

    If it still dies then it's a fuel issue. If it doesn't then it's a connectivity issue between the fuse block and the coil (faulty resistor wire).
    Opel GTs are not GM products
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    Humans are not an endangered species!
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    Senior Contributor markandson's Avatar
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    I say you have a fried ignition switch and also either too much advance or bad/low battery or bad connections at the battery or starter or both or bad starter. The way it cranks is why I say all of this. If you try the above (hot wire the coil) and the engine stays running then it is the contacts inside the ignition switch. If that is the case you may want to consider putting a relay in the starting circuit so that the relay contacts switch the higher current and the key switch doesn't take the big hit when cranking. Was the electrical sound you heard inside the car or in the engine bay?
    Also did the wipers ever return to their proper position or did they never move again?
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    mine did exact same thing when coil wire is on wrong fuse block lug.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Scifi Guy View Post
    It sounds to me like you have a fuel problem in the carb. Were you pumping the gas between start attempts?

    Another thing that occurs to me is that your "Run" position on your ignition switch or the wiring from it to the engine may be malfunctioning. It seems that as soon as you ease the key back to the Run position the engine dies.

    Try leaving the starter engaged for a couple of extra seconds and see if that allows ignition to continue past your 2 second run/die symptom.

    Your right!!!! Leaving it engaged keeps it running!!! Now how do I fix that????

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    Short run time

    First opel is correct. I have seen this problem before. American cars use a ballast resister to drop the running voltage, to be kinder on the points. When you start the engine you deliver full voltage to the coil. When the ignition switch returns to the run position the voltage is directed through the ballast, in Opels case the resistor wire, to the + side of the coil. If you run a wire to the coil you will bypass the resistor wire that appears defective.
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