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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been plagued with an intermittent no-start for over a year now and am running out of ideas. My car starts every time without hesitation when cold starting. When the car is at operating temperature (driven for 45 mins or so, or after having made several short drives and stops while running errands), it will no-start. This happens much more common in the summer, and is especially a problem on hot days it seems. Good power, nothing unusual on the dash, no theft warning lights or anything, but when I turn the key, nothing. Not even a click from the starter. If I jump the terminals on the starter solenoid, It'll spin, so the starter has sufficient power supply, but the circuit is not being completed somewhere. I swapped the starter relay and fuse out to rule that out. The shifter switch is good, changing gears has no impact on the start, and moving the ignition around doesn't make a difference, which makes me think it's not a mechanical issue with the ignition. Starter, battery were replaced about a year ago to fix a different electrical issue. For a while, it seemed like I could fix it temporarily by pulling the fuse and relay for a few minutes and then trying again.

After more than a year fighting this issue and cursing out my car in parking lots because I'm stranded at the grocery store for the third time this week, I gave in and took it to an electrical automotive specialist. He ran any tests he could, checked all the connections, but in the week he had it, he could never replicate the no-start situation and gave it back to me. I fought it for another month, then bit the bullet big time and took it to the dealer. They kept it for four days, test driving it, running it, and never replicated the no-start. I was suspecting the whole time that it was the component of the ignition that read the chip in the key and allows the car to turn over, because it wasn't mechanical (I've heard it called an immobilizer and a transeiver). The service rep agreed that it sounded like that might be the issue, and I caved and got them to replace it and the ignition for 500 bucks. Ran great for a few weeks. Now, a couple weeks later, I got a no-start again after driving for 30 minutes then parking for five. So I did the usual, popped the hood, pulled fuse and relay and let it sit, plugged it back in and no start. so I pulled it again and let it sit for about ten minutes. At this point the engine compartment was still hot as if it was running. after letting it sit with the hood open, it started.

Since this clearly wasn't an ignition issue, I am now wondering if it has anything to do with engine temp. It only happens on a hot engine and even more frequent in hot weather, and perhaps the shops couldn't replicate it because they weren't driving the vehicle enough to actually get it to the higher temps. My theory is that every time I pulled the fuses and let it sit, I was doing so with an open hood, thus letting it cool fast, and that my ETS is faulty and causing a no-start due to overheating. Does the coolant temp sensor have the ability to stop ignition if the temp is reading too high? My gauge in the cab is reading normal when this issue happens, but as I understand, that is not the same sensor as the ETS (oil vs coolant?). I think it's weird that the temp would cause a no-start, but without giving dash warnings. Another clue in my favour is that my cooling fans seem to engage way too often, any time the air temp is above 15 deg C or so even if my engine is cold; I investigated this a couple years ago but gave up rather quick because there didn't seem to be any consequences and I found different issues.

Anyone have a similar experience or know if a ETS can cause a no-start when the dash gauge is reading normal?
 

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Are you doing the work yourself ? , if so i'd check all the plug connectors and sockets and clean them with electrical cleaner inside , there's a few to do (all the sensors / the 2 mains / maf and all that stuff like the ECU main plug/socket , then after that if still no good fit a new temp sensor and just keep at it , good hunting .
 

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I would put in a new ignition switch. The 2008 for sure and I think some newer models had a problem where the switch would not make contact after years of use. Some can make it work by pushing the key/lock cylinder into the column when trying to start. Some have modified the lock cylinder housing(bore) to allow a bit more rotation of the lock cylinder than stock, which in turn causes the switch contacts to make contact.
The symptom is: Nothing. nothing happens when you turn to START.
The switch can be installed without dropping the steering column, I believe, but could be mistaken.
One other option is to make the rectangle at the end of the lock cylinder thicker by cladding it in soft metal(? something). The plastic the rectangle is inserted into, which causes the switch bits to rotate, wears, and then it no longer turns far enough... The other option is the 'stop' inside the lock cylinder housing(bore) that prevents rotation past a certain point. Get a Dremel type tool and grind away at the physical stop.
In case you want to pull the lock cylinder, you need to rotate CCW as far as you can, key in the cylinder, and then push a paper clip or similar into the small release hole in the key 'surround' while rotating CCW a bit further. There's a small spring-loaded pin that pops into place when the cylinder is installed that keeps it from turning far enough to be removed without extra effort. The pin is about the diameter of a regular pencil lead. Or the center of the letter 'o' right here.(likely a bit smaller, but close). The cylinder installs by aligning the drive rectangle with the switch slot, stuffing the cylinder into the housing, and rotating towards START. It will snap a bit, and be retained.
tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Are you doing the work yourself ? , if so i'd check all the plug connectors and sockets and clean them with electrical cleaner inside , there's a few to do (all the sensors / the 2 mains / maf and all that stuff like the ECU main plug/socket , then after that if still no good fit a new temp sensor and just keep at it , good hunting .
Yeah I hope to do all the work myself whenever I can. That’s a good idea, I’ll have to try that. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would put in a new ignition switch. The 2008 for sure and I think some newer models had a problem where the switch would not make contact after years of use. Some can make it work by pushing the key/lock cylinder into the column when trying to start. Some have modified the lock cylinder housing(bore) to allow a bit more rotation of the lock cylinder than stock, which in turn causes the switch contacts to make contact.
The symptom is: Nothing. nothing happens when you turn to START.
The switch can be installed without dropping the steering column, I believe, but could be mistaken.
One other option is to make the rectangle at the end of the lock cylinder thicker by cladding it in soft metal(? something). The plastic the rectangle is inserted into, which causes the switch bits to rotate, wears, and then it no longer turns far enough... The other option is the 'stop' inside the lock cylinder housing(bore) that prevents rotation past a certain point. Get a Dremel type tool and grind away at the physical stop.
In case you want to pull the lock cylinder, you need to rotate CCW as far as you can, key in the cylinder, and then push a paper clip or similar into the small release hole in the key 'surround' while rotating CCW a bit further. There's a small spring-loaded pin that pops into place when the cylinder is installed that keeps it from turning far enough to be removed without extra effort. The pin is about the diameter of a regular pencil lead. Or the center of the letter 'o' right here.(likely a bit smaller, but close). The cylinder installs by aligning the drive rectangle with the switch slot, stuffing the cylinder into the housing, and rotating towards START. It will snap a bit, and be retained.
tom
I had the ignition cylinder replaced when I had the chip transceiver replaced a couple week ago and unfortunately it didn’t provide a permanent fix. Thanks though!
 

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Yeah I hope to do all the work myself whenever I can. That’s a good idea, I’ll have to try that. Thanks!
Well good luck as all its going to cost is time and who knows it might do the job , be careful and go slow and don't forget to disconnect the battery 1st , some can be a bit of a pain to get at and also undo the plastic locking clip but it can be done!
imo , over a 6 pack job :)
 

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I do not know what an 'ignition cylinder' is. There are two(at least) parts to the ignition control. The lock cylinder and the ignition switch. The former deals with controlling movement that actuates the latter. If you can use the key to move the lock cylinder to all the positions, then like the problem is in the switch itself.
If the lock cylinder was replaced, that's nice. It still would not fix a failing ignition switch. ELECTRICAL SWITCH, which sends power to the things that operate the starter motor, and so on. The SWITCH can be worn, or have worn internal contacts that cause intermittent failure.
tom
 

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Take a look at this video:

Take the covers off your steering column. Next time you get the no start condition, wiggle the ignition switch (the thing that he is pointing to @5:01) with your left hand while you are holding the key in the start position with your right hand. If it starts up, then you have found the problem. Replacing the ignition switch/lock module will fix it.

I replaced mine with a Dorman part: Dorman Products - 989-019
I was able to replace it without removing the steering wheel.
 

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Any answers on this? I am currently experiencing the same exact symptoms. Although I have already replaced the ignition switch, the ignition module, starter, relays and fuses. Lock cylinder or a new key/ignition is the only thing that I don’t think I’ve tried yet.
 

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Are you getting any lights on the cluster? I had one of my keys go bad and the theft light (on the lower left - the car/padlock icon) would blink and the vehicle would not crank when turning the key. My second original spare key worked fine however.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I’ve been out of town for a few weeks so I haven’t been able to try any of these repairs, I will this week and I’ll post here if anything works. Thanks for the advice everyone!
 
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