Likely Y2K Glitch in my car : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

On New Year's Eve, my venerable old 1984 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser refused to start. It has a nearly new starter, alternator, battery, etc., plenty of gas (I filled it to the brim earlier in the day) and a full charge on the battery. I turned the key and got a little click and then nothing. I tried it for awhile and then gave up, figuring it was a bad solenoid or something like that.

Then yesterday I think it was, I saw a post here by someone whose older car wouldn't start after the rollover. He disconnected the battery, which rebooted the computer when he reconnected it, and lo and behold! the car started. I got to thinking about this so today I disconnected my battery for a few minutes and when I reconnected it, the old girl started right up! Was this a minor Y2K glitch? Who knows for sure, yet it did occur at the right time to be Y2K related. Anyone else run into this kind of thing?

-- Richard (, January 04, 2000


Your vehicle's computer does not care what day,month, or year it is, This sounds like a coincodink. The onboard computer serves for fuel and other timing effects that have nothing to do with the date. They are there to give you better gas mileage and better performance only.

-- CulturePill (, January 04, 2000.

yes 1988 olds. samething.

-- kim (, January 04, 2000.

The clicking sound let you know that you
didn't have enough power to kick in the
solenoid. This time of year corrosion
builds up on the battery posts. You fixed
the problem by getting a better contact.
You should also clean your posts and clamps.

-- spider (, January 04, 2000.

My battery is brand new with squeaky clean connections. I have plenty of power; the headlights are bright. All I know is that the car was starting fine until New Year's Eve night, then it inexplicably would not start, then when I disconnected and reconnected the battery (which was a tight, clean connection, by the way), it started right up. Y2K? Who knows?

-- Rich (, January 04, 2000.

I ask you this, WHY would the onboard computer care what day it is, is it supposed to run shitty on sunday? Or perhaps faster on Monday the 23rd. Ludicrous. Even the onboard clock is independent of the onboard computer which primary functions "Again" are for engine performance only. I'm a doomer but man I have enough common sense to draw the line. I am also a computer tech "6 years" on the job. My best friend is an "ASC" Certified mechanic. who has answered this question for his costumers more times then he can count.

-- CulturePill (, January 04, 2000.

I like that....costumers! a play on words, or a freudian slip?

-- Jay Urban (, January 04, 2000.

Let's see. your battery is brand new, on a 1984 car, and your car didn't start on new years eve, So you disconnected the battery to "reset" the clock to give yourself another 16 years. See the connection here? or rather the BROKEN connection when you got a new computer? A car is not like the human body. Changing a battery is not like a heart transplant. Your car was not kept on "life support" while they changed your battery. So, I hate to tell you this, *IF* your car even cared about the year, as far as your car was concerned after getting a new battery is that it was now 1985.

-- Mojo Risen (, January 04, 2000.

Richard, this is what I posted earlier:

By the way, I'm a Senior Software Engineer, and I even have a little hardware experience.. I don't know what the relationship between Y2K and this is.. but it is one hell of a coincidence.

Just when I thought the embedded chip issues were baloney.

I've owned an 88 Chrysler Lebaron coupe. (2.5 liter, fuel injected) since it was new. It's been a very reliable car that now has 188K miles on it. I've always taken good care of it, and I've never had to change an alternator, a starter, or do any major work.

I tried starting it Saturday, cranked and cranked with not even a sputter, (usually turns over right away). Then I tried it six hours later, same thing.. I tried it this morning, still nothing.

Then I flipped the ignition on three times (this is how Chrysler's display the computer fault codes).

After three successive tests I got the same results: Code: 12 : Memory standby power lost. (no, I didn't disconnect the battery..) Code: 15 : Vehicle speed/distance sensor circuit. Code: 55 : End of message.

My wife (a smart lady) suggested I try disconnecting the battery to reset the computer. I disconnected the battery, waited five minutes and then reconnected it. The car started immediately.

I'm happy that this didn't take time or money, but I'm kind of shocked. Like I said, I've owned this car for 11 years, and I've never had to do anything like this. Coincidence? I don't think so.

BTW, both my Fords started just fine.


-- bryce (, January 02, 2000

-- bryce (, January 04, 2000.

Dear Richard---- I'm convinced--if our '87 F150 goes down I will try this. Sometimes trying things that technically make no sense fix the problem. I'm an engineer, Husband Jerry is a PhD&PE in engineering controls theory. When my washer or dryer have gone down, I know that if I wait 24 hrs they usually start again and run fine for a long time. Makes no sense. The first time I said this to my husband he was sure I was nuts. It was obvious we needed a ned controller. Obvious to me too. But 24 hrs later I tried again and it worked. This is a repeatable phenomenon. Don't ask me why. Don't have a clue why disconnecting the battery and reconnecting would make vehicle work---who cares. It works. Pam

-- Pamela (, January 04, 2000.

To quote Robert Cook, PE who warned us a long time ago that "things would fail in wierd and wonderful ways."

-- Chris (, January 04, 2000.

Got me a 90 Dodge Caravan that died on me on Sunday Morning, I'll try this fix and tell you tommorrow if it's an issue...

-- Billy Boy (, January 04, 2000.

Had problems with my '96 Explorer also. Weird one. Just lost power for several hours Sunday Afternoon. Problem seemed to resolve itself.

-- Carol (, January 04, 2000.

Spooky how these things kind of rear their heads and then disappear innit? When I came to work yesterday, Excell did a BUNCH of odd things. They seemed to resolve themselves after I restarted the program and life went on as before, but I was mildly startled.

I know this an automotive post, but it seemed fitting somehow.

Computer...heal thyself!

John Ludi

-- Ludi (, January 04, 2000.

Probably no one will read this, it'll be in the achive though. Confirmed last nite that the Caravan, after having yanked the juice from it for about ten minutes reset or resolved whatever issue the car had. Got me jumping for joy. This's saving me a buttload of cash, as I thought it was a fuel pump issue or something even more disastrous. Just thought I'd add the two cents...

-- Billy Boy (, January 05, 2000.

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