Car starts but after a few tries


93 rs 5 speed. The car has an alarm and remote starter installed.

The problem is sometimes when I try to start the car, it won’t start. When trying to start all the accessories go on and turn off when I try to start it, like it normally would, but I hear a click and thats it.
So I thought it was the clutch interlock switch that must be compromised. Initially, I started playing with the clutch while turning the key and this would start it. Today, I tried pushing the clutch all the way to the floor and giggle the key a little bit and it started.

The remote starter does not work any more, from the outside I hear it crank for a milli second but then does not start. I am confused I was thinking that if the problem was the ignition switch, the remote starter would have no trouble staring the car. I was guessing the clutch interlock switch since the remote starter is somehow attached to it.

What am I looking for if its the clutch interlock switch? How would I test the iginition switch? Could it be the wiring of the remote starter?

thanks guys.

If you can hear a “click” inside the car when you try and start it that would be the starter relay, if the “click” is from the engine bay that would be the starter solenoid.
If you can hear either “click” it indicates that both the ign. switch and “Clutch Interlock Switch” are both working, the “CIS” supplies the starter relay with a ground, [to the relays coil] if you take your foot off the clutch you will not hear the starter relay “click”, although just because you can hear the starter relay “click” does not mean its good.

The “CIS” has 2 wires, black, [input from ground] and black/blue, [ground output to starter relay] again if you can hear the starter relay the “CIS” is working.

The starter relays coil gets it power, [12V+] from the ign. switch starter output, [black/white] again if you can hear the starter relay “click” the ign. switch is working, [maybe, more on that later]

If it is the starter solenoid, [on the starter in the engine bay] that you hear “click” then the “CIS”. ign. switch and the starter relay are all working, [maybe, but again more on that later]

Do you have or can you borrow a multimeter?

Here are a couple things to try/look for, [next time it will not start]
Leave door open so dome light stays on try and start the car, does the dome light go completely out or dim almost all the way off and then come back on as soon as you release the ign. key from start?
If so it indicates a poor power or ground connection, most often found at batt. terminals or batt to starter motor solenoid, [thicker gauge of the two connections to the starter motor/solenoid] or at the batt. to under hood fuse box or the main fuse(s).
That includes the batt. ground terminal, the batt. to chassis and chassis to motor/transmission grounds.

The power and ground connections going bad is a common problem on older cars and the main symptoms are intermittent starting and a cutting of all power while trying to start, [dome light going out and coming back on]

The other thing to try the next time it will not start is to bypass the “CIS”, ign. switch and starter relay, makesure car is not in gear, turn ign. to run, using a jumper lead, [12ga or thicker] jump from batt. pos.(+) directly to starter motor solenoid, unplug starter lead, [black/white] from starter solenoid and touch jumper lead to the solenoids terminal, if starter and solenoid are good the motor will turn over, [start if ign. switch is in run] eliminating them as the problem.:idea: 94

Nice detailed post fcm. That’ll keep Tegger busy for awhile…


Thanks FCM, helpful as usual.

There are definately clicks from the outside and inside. The dome light does go completly off when I have the key at the cranking position. I thought this is normal though. The light comes back on when the car fires up.

I will have my friend check it out with a multimeter to see whats going on with it. Whats wierd is that the auto start is working again. The weather is a few degrees warmer but not sure if that made a difference. When is does start it starts right away.

Check those power and ground connections, make sure batt. terminals/posts are clean and tight.

If everything is working correctly the dome light would dim some but not go out completely, or almost so, also temp. will have an effect on connections.

Hearing the starter relay and the starter solenoid both “clicking” but motor still not turning over is definitely a “high current” connection problem, it can be the batt. terminals, the batt. connection to starter motor solenoid, the solenoid itself, or the batt. to chassis/chassis to motor grounds, those are the connections I would check first.:think:94

FCM… thanks for all your input… im having the same problem on my DB right now… I did all the tests that you mentioned above… i hear the CIS under the dash clicking as well as the starter when i turn the key… so im thinkin the starter solenoid is out…I took the starter out last night and brought to Autozone to have it checked…turns out it passed… at first i thought it was the starter cause i did the trick where you get a 12+ gauge wire from the starter to the solenoid…thing was the starter just clicked, engine didn’t fire up… So now im off to checkin the battery connections today…hopefully this will cure it… also how can the CIS go bad… and where is it located? Thanks

“i did the trick where you get a 12+ gauge wire from the starter to the solenoid…thing was the starter just clicked”
Actually that is the solenoid you hear click, I would check the batt. to starter motor connections at both the batt., [batt. terminal/clamp]and the connection to the starter motor, make sure they are both clean and tight.

When you are making the connection to the starter motor/solenoid, [batt. cable] be very careful that you are not turning the whole post when you are tightening the nut, that will misaligne the high current contact resulting in only a very small contact point, that burns to the point of intermittent and no conductivity over time, and even though the solenoid is working, there is no contact between batt. and motor.

Your ground is just as important, so remove clean and inspect the batt. ground terminal/clamp the batt. to chassis ground and the chassis to motor/transmission grounds.
A good indication of a poor batt./chassis/motor ground or batt. pos.(+) connection is things like lights that work, but will shut compleatly off when you try and crank the motor.:corn:94

Oops, almost forgot the “CIS”, it is a NO, [normally open] on/off switch that supplies a ground, [when clutch peddle is stepped on] to the starter relays coil, there is not a lot of things that can go wrong with it.
With that said, it is not your problem, if it was not working you would not hear the starter relay click, [under dash, around ashtray lighter area] and if the starter relay was bad you would not hear the starter solenoid click.

FDM… I just emailed you… as a side note…I cleaned all the battery terminals… there is no residue what so ever… I did notice some green residue on the positive cable,…not very much…I cleaned it out as much as i could…but Ill give it one more shot,…

Case solved guys… FCM is correct…turns out my positive terminal was corroded just used a wire brush and bought a new brass terminal and started right up… thanks for all your help…