Re: 1990 240 won't start sometimes, now all the time
<email@example.com> wrote in message
> Help -- I know nothing about cars...I have a 1990 240 w/180K on it - I
> bought it 1.5 years ago and have had no work done to the car. End of
> last winter, it would often not re-start if it had been turned off for
> less than one hour. Then the weather warmed up and the problem went
> away. Since it's cold again, this intermittent restart problem has
> returned. This week, my husband drove it to work in order to open her
> up on the highway, and after about 15 minutes, all the power went out
> -- lights, dash, radio. He parked it at work and would not restart for
> several hours. The next day (yesterday) it would not start at all. Dash
> lights come on but won't even turn over.
> Is this an electrical problem? Could it be the fuses and if so, is it
> easy enough for us car dummies to DIY clean them? Battery? I'm afraid
> to bring it to a mechanic due solely to my ignorance and lack of cash.
I think it is two separate problems. The first is the "crank but no start"
problem which sounds like a classic failure of the fuel pump relay. The
solder connections on the circuit board inside crack and it doesn't like to
work when warm.
The other failure - all lights going out and now won't crank - is very
likely at the battery. It could be the battery itself, but I suspect the
cable connections to the battery. Cleaning those (take it apart,
clean/scrape, and put it back together) is a real good place to start.
Batteries made since about 1980 have a frustrating failure mode where they
will become intermittent. Whacking the posts with a hammer, about like
cracking a hard nut (flick of the wrist, not a heavy blow), will often make
the connection inside come together enough to get to someplace the battery
can be replaced.