Edmunds Answers

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  • flash87402 11/14/10 10:26 pm PST

    Two possible things are going on one with a subset. Inorder for the car to continue running you must have a
    spark through the spark plugs. Most old style ignitions have a coil condensor a cap and a rotor. You need a test lamp or a multimeter
    put the key in the run postion and in park. you should see voltage on between the two primary wires of the coil
    or the test lamp should light. If this is working then good. Check your cap and rotor and wires. they should also be in good repai
    good repair.

    the other thing I thought of was maybe your compression is bad that might account for why it starts up when you drop the clutch
    the pistons are warmed up and it has compression. But really it probably has something to do with the ignition
    source. Make sure all wires to the coil are clean and functioning. Also check the ignition switch it self and if there is a mucule on the distributor change that as well Maybe you have a loose connection on your ground wires.

    good luck

  • zaken1 11/14/10 11:17 pm PST

    All 1990 Geo storm models have breakerless electronic ignition; so the other poster is apparently unaware of the fact that ever since the first Geo came out (in 1989) Geo never sold a car with points and condenser. GM imports stopped using points and condensers many years before that.

    The fact that the car starts when it is bump started; but does not start with the starter motor usually indicates that the battery is not supplying enough power to both run the starter and to also run the ignition system. When you bump start it; the starter motor is not drawing power from the battery; so the ignition system is then able to receive all the power it needs to produce strong sparks.

    There are three possible causes for this problem: One is that the battery may be worn out. Another is that the alternator may not be charging the battery sufficiently when the motor runs; which would lead to the battery being partly discharged all the time. The third possibility is that the battery cable clamps are either loose or corroded where they contact the battery posts; so they create an excessive voltage loss across that point during operation of the starter. (The starter draws far more current than the ignition system; or any other electrical item on the vehicle). One way to to sort out this puzzle would be to disconnect the battery cables and thoroughly clean them and the battery posts with a tapered reamer type battery cable service tool; then reinstall them and tighten the cable clamps until they cannot be moved by hand pressure. If the car consistently starts with the starter after that; you have cured the problem.

    If that procedure does not fix it; connect the battery to a battery charger of at least 6 amps rating overnight. If the car starts with the starter the next day; the alternator is probably defective. If the car still does not start with the starter; turn on the headlights and watch their brightness while you try to run the starter, If the headlights dim way down or go out when you run the starter; the battery is worn out and should be replaced.

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