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Discussion Starter #1
Background:

2020 has not been kind to my girlfriend's 2012 Terrain SLE 2.4L. First, her engine crapped out due to the weak piston rings, got that replaced under an aftermarket warranty since the factory extended warranty (for the piston rings) had just expired for her car. Car ran fine for a month or two after getting that back. Fast forward to 2 weeks ago, and we began having an intermittent starting issue that has progressively gotten worse.

The Issue:

About 2 weeks ago, my gf tried to start the car, and all it'd do is click. Upon trying to start again, it fired up, but sputtered a bit and died. Tried to start again, and it fired and ran but was showing the security light. After some research, I put a new battery in her fob, and the car ran fine for a few days. Then it did it again, but this time it threw some codes (P0036 and P062F). Her car has 90K on it, so I replaced the O2 sensors, due to the P0036 code. Ran great for a day after that, then did the same thing. I read that a low voltage situation could cause both of those codes, so I replaced the battery. Started and stopped several times just fine for that evening. Following morning, it wont start and throws the same codes again, but eventually fires up.

Now, this morning, my GF leaves to go to the store, starts up fine, gets down the street and it dies. She gets it to fire up again and brings it home. She takes my truck to run her errands and now I'm trying to figure this thing out. Right now, it won't even try to turn over. When I put the key in, I get the radio and lights just fine, but when I turn the key to start, absolutely nothing, no radio no lights, and the tach goes to 1500 rpm even tho the motor is turning. Let the key go, I get a "Service Stablitrak" message on the DIC. I hook up my OBD2 scanner, and I can't connect to the vehicle, even thought the radio is on.

Solutions:

What do you think this is? As I type this, I have the battery disconnected to see if a reset will change the situation. I'm guessing the following in order:
1. Completely crapped out key fob
2. Bad ground somewhere causing intermittent problems that finally let go
3. Bad ECM
4. Techs at the stealership installed something wrong when swapping the motor under warranty

Am I on the right track? Anyone else have these issues that have been solved?

Thanks in advance, I'm going to check grounds and such until I get some replies.

Bweiss
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Well, I hooked the battery negative back up, and no change. I put another new battery in the fob, and no change. I pulled the ECM connectors, inspected, plugged them back in, and nothing for 2 turns of the key, then on the third turn, fired up like nothing had ever been wrong. I drove it around the block a couple times, parked it. Let it sit for a minute or 2, then I fired it right back up. Ran fine, no codes, no stabilitrak warning, just running great.

I'm getting tired of this vehicle. 2012 and 91K on it, should not be having issues like this.
 

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1 more piece to the puzzle. I came back in to do some more research, and after 10 min or so I went back out to try it again. This time, with 1 turn of the key, it clicked quickly clicked twice, then turned over and fired up.

Starter or starter relay?
 

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1 more piece to the puzzle. I came back in to do some more research, and after 10 min or so I went back out to try it again. This time, with 1 turn of the key, it clicked quickly clicked twice, then turned over and fired up.

Starter or starter relay?
My suggestion would be to take the vehicle to a good mechanic with an expensive scan tool that can collect live data. Low voltage or a bad ground can raise havoc on these vehicles with so many computer modules. Another thing that could possible cause the issue is a bad ignition switch. Other than that, you really need someone with a very good scan tool to diagnose these problems. It is maddening. 😬
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the insight. I'm hoping to have to avoid taking it in, and I'm about to have a new key cut and programmed, so we'll see if that was the issue of not. I'm hoping so.

And yes, maddening is the correct word. The issue hasn't come back the last handful of times I've driven the car, but I did move around some of the relays in the fuse box. So, fingers crossed.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So, after a few days of working just fine, it did it again. This time it died when my GF was trying to leave Costco, just a total no start like before. Radio and everything comes on, but nothing when I go to start. I was doing yard work at the time, and had to get back home, so we locked it up and let it sit all day, and went back to retrieve it later. I unhooked the battery to reset the system, let it sit, hooked it back up, but no start. But, this time I noticed something a little different though. There was an audible click coming from the shifter not only when I turned the key, but also when I stepped on the brake. I could shift it still, but whenever the key was turned or the brake pedal was pressed, I heard this click.

So now I'm thinking maybe a neutral safety switch? I put the car in park, got out, and rocked the car back and forth until the transmission stopped it in each direction. Did this 4 or 5 times, got back in, and it clicked once then quickly started up. Coincidence that it started up, or am I on to something?

Next time I'm not in so much of a hurry to get it started, I'll get a video for the dealer, so when they can't replicate the problem, I can show them this.
 

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Why not just put in a new neutral safety switch. I am guess that it can't be all that expensive, nor that hard to install. Just a thought...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I was hoping someone may have had this problem, and could pin point a solution. While a neutral safety switch might not cost that much, and not be hard to do, if that's not the solution, then chasing it this way can become expensive and time consuming.

I'll be getting a new key cut and programmed soon, especially since she only has the one key now anyway.
 
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