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1991 Chevrolet Camaro:
Flywheel, Starter, Battery, Alternator

Alex Steele
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I was interested in your opinion on a recent problem I had with my 1991 Camaro that has 85,000 miles and an automatic transmission. It has had its share of repair bills, but this one is bothering me.


I came out of the mall a couple of weeks ago and the car wouldn't start, I would turn the key and all it did was make a loud grinding noise. They towed it to the dealer where I was told it needed a new starter and a new flywheel for approximately $450. After replacing these parts the service adviser called me to say I also needed a new battery for another $125. I wasn't happy, but I went ahead, paid the bill and picked up the car. One week later the car didn't start again. This time it just went "click, click" when I turned the key. It was towed back to the dealership and now they tell me the alternator went bad and all of these problems had nothing to do with each other. Am I being taken advantage of? Is the mechanic making a lot of mistakes? Or is my car simply falling apart?




Let's start by talking about the loud grinding noise at the mall. This usually condemns the starter and ring gear (flywheel) because that sound you hear is actually the teeth being ground off of the ring gear.


If the mechanic did make a mistake, such as condemning your battery when the real fault was in the alternator, then yes, they took advantage of you by not admitting to their mistake. The only way to prove that would be to get the old battery from the dealer and have it tested elsewhere. Believe me; this would not be worth the time and effort involved.


Let's say the mechanic was finishing the installation of your transmission after the replacement of the ring gear. Now the job is all done and he wants to start it, park it, and get another car to work on. But the battery's dead because the ignition was accidentally left on throughout the job. Next, the battery charger gets hooked up, but to no avail because that was the last hurrah for an elderly battery. They then install a brand-new Delco battery and the job is all done.


Before you know it that same Camaro is rolling back in the dealership's door. The mechanic isn't happy about this either, but does the appropriate testing which reveals a defunct alternator.


I'm just trying to give you an example of the possible circumstances. As far as the possibility of a Camaro falling apart, let's just say that it wouldn't be a first.

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20 Jun 2011, 20:34
Well, this reader is going back trying to correct a repeat no-start problem. If it was a seized engine it wouldn't have gotten out the door the first time around.

But I learned something a long time back. Whenever you get a car with a no-start problem and the starter goes click, click, click -- start by rotating the engine with a breaker bar to eliminate internal damage as the cause.

As a matter of fact, I had a starter that went click, click, click, and it turned out the alternator was seized, not the engine.
20 Jun 2011, 16:54
I picked up a 1991 Camaro from a friend for free, it just didn't start. When we tried to start it, it just made a "Click, Click" noise. It kind of sounds like what you're going through. Turns out, the motor shot a rod through the oil pan. I'm not saying this is the problem (There's a lot of things that it could be; your mechanic is probably trying to eliminate the possible problems and he just hasn't found the right solution), but it might be worth looking into.


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