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Old 07-21-2019, 06:38 PM   #1
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Default 2008 Astra XE Starting Issue

Recently picked up this Astra for my husband to use to commute to work after moving further away from work. We bought it from my old boss so I knew of this starting issue before we bought it, but it has gone from just not starting once in a while to not starting 4 times just yesterday. I found out that if we unhook the negative cable and put it right back on it starts just fine. Anyway, when it doesn't start the CEL light flashes and there is a noise that sounds like a solenoid trying to engage over and over even in just the On position without trying to start it, and it won't even try to engage the starter, just keeps making that noise. But, unhook the battery and it starts like nothing was ever wrong. My husband has also said that while driving the battery light will come on and it'll lose power but I haven't experienced that. I've tried using different keys, it came with 3. It's got a new battery, cables and terminals look good and aren't loose. The CEL does stay on while driving, they are all evap system leak codes. Just tested the alternator on the car and it is bad, only pushing out 12.5 to 13.5 volts, so we are gonna tackle that shortly. Could that be the source of the issues or could there be another problem? Tomorrow we should finally be getting internet at the new house so I can upload a video of the no start condition. Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-21-2019, 10:26 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2008 Astra XE Starting Issue

Hmmm. Tough to diagnose from afar.

It is possible that with the bad alternator, your new battery drains quickly and won't have the power to start the car. You could try trickle charging the battery at night and seeing if that gives you the power to start.

If you are living in a salty area, the main electrical connections get corroded. You can run voltage drop tests to determine if there is a lot of resistance in the main connections and grounds. I typically clean and retighten the battery terminals and clamps, the main grounds (there are three under the battery box, a few under the hood fuse box, maybe a few in side that fuse box, at the engine, if I recall correctly). Also check all connections at the alternator and at the starter.

The underhood fuse box tends to get wet and cause weird issues. Check the cover clips are well fastened and that the o-ring is bone dry/in good condition. You can remove the circuit board and look for moisture. Not sure if water might enter from below. There are DIY videos for this and it is not too difficult.

You don't want to be deep discharging your battery at all as that is the best way to shorten battery life.

Be very careful near the battery as they do explode rarely and have a lot of power. I try to avoid sparks as much as possible.
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Old 07-22-2019, 08:30 AM   #3
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2008 Astra XE
Default Re: 2008 Astra XE Starting Issue

Is it the original alternator? Mine had similar starting issues when the alternator was going bad last year around 100k miles. When the Astra's battery is low (from the alternator not fully charging it or from an old battery) it won't even try to spin the starter, it only clicks the solenoid like you said. Might be some kind of built-in protection that senses low voltage. A new alternator fixed my issues.
'08 Astra XE 5-speed
'72 Chevrolet El Camino
'31 Ford Model A pickup
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