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Thread: Intermitent starter failure

  1. #1
    Beyond Help Napalm's Avatar
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    Default Intermitent starter failure

    Not sure what else to call it.

    Recently I have this issue where if I remote start the car - it will click (clunk, or some louder noise) like the starter wants to engage - but doesn't. Unlock - get in car - turn key - same thing. Click etc. Battery seems good - lights stay on - none of the relay clickclick of a weak battery.

    Now the odd part. I can - lock the door, unlock the door - and usually turn key and it spins over like nothng happened.


    This has happened sporadically for a few months.


    Last 2 days however it's now happening when I turn the key. LIke this morning - tried 3 times with the key in a driveway - nothing. Tried the lock/unlock pattern - nothing.

    Opened the door - closed the door (cycle the lights and accessory power) =- locked and unlocked - started right up.


    My thoughts. First was that it was a bus comms issue with the OBD module I keep plugged in most of the time - pulled that yesterday. Second is - started solenoid is going south and just happens to catch right.

    What confuses the issue - some reason the lock/unlock works fine. Makes me wonder if the securty system is not happy with the key and it's acting up.



    Do I need to replace the battery in the key fob?
    If Guns Kill people, then Spoons Cause Diabetes

  2. #2
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    Probably the starter(solenoid) like you stated. Had the same symptoms but mainly when the motor was hot. It did happen on cold starts occasionally though. Heat from the headers deteriorates the starter especially if the heat shield is missing.

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    Beyond Help Napalm's Avatar
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    mine is stock with that regard. So 85 dollars for just the solenoid - 172 for a new starter. SO I ordered a new starter.

    Of course no body near me as one on hand - there are a few rebuilt ones that are supposed to work the same - I is not trying that. OH and they cost more. 250 with core charge, return of 60 dollars - still more than rock auto for a new part in hand. smurf you autozone.

    Is the starter hard to get at and replace?
    If Guns Kill people, then Spoons Cause Diabetes

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    Quote Originally Posted by Napalm View Post
    mine is stock with that regard. So 85 dollars for just the solenoid - 172 for a new starter. SO I ordered a new starter.

    Of course no body near me as one on hand - there are a few rebuilt ones that are supposed to work the same - I is not trying that. OH and they cost more. 250 with core charge, return of 60 dollars - still more than rock auto for a new part in hand. smurf you autozone.

    Is the starter hard to get at and replace?
    Its a bit of a pain, esp if you have headers and the heat shield is bolted onto the starter. They use 2 torx(maybe 3) head bolts to hold the shield onto the starter, removing it gives some more clearance. I Also removed the knock sensor and crank position sensor right above the starter. With battery disconnect, and wires off starter you need to wiggle it out.

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    It is a pain, even with stock exhaust. I had mine off in order to lock the flywheel when I needed to remove the balancer bolt to pin my crank. Those heat shield bolts are torx bit. I think 25s? Make sure you have those handy before you start. Removing the heat shield from the starter will be a must. Good luck and give yourself a few extra patience minutes to do the job.

  6. #6
    Beyond Help Napalm's Avatar
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    well damn - so tested some more fuses - and put another car with jumper cables in the mix to see if the battery was weak/flat. NO dice - so starter or starter solenoid is the culprit.

    meh and smurf a duck.

    top that off my damn box hasn't arrived yet
    If Guns Kill people, then Spoons Cause Diabetes

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    Moderator, Retired -Ray-'s Avatar
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    When we were finishing Travis' stroker build, we got a good clean start. Ran a few minutes, you know, check oil pressure, leaks. Second time we tried to start. No go. One of my GM tech buddies came over and traced it to a loose power wire.
    Rest in Peace Charlie!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RichsGreyGT View Post
    this site is hardcore modding central.

  8. #8
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    power wire where? at the starter itself? Like I said I hear the solenoid click and nothing.

    Sort of makes me think the solenoid doesn't fully engage (damage, worn, dirty, etc) or the motor is worn to where the brush doesn't get solid contact on the commutator.

    but I won't know till I open it up. I finally got my starter yesterday
    If Guns Kill people, then Spoons Cause Diabetes

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    Moderator, Retired -Ray-'s Avatar
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    Yes, at the starter.
    Rest in Peace Charlie!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RichsGreyGT View Post
    this site is hardcore modding central.

  10. #10
    Beyond Help Napalm's Avatar
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    Nothing was loose that's for sure.

    So ended up calling in some help and while I'm not proud of that I just didn't have the time or apparently the right tools.

    Book says to pull the catalytic converter to get the starter out and that would make excellent sense. except I don't have the right extension/whatever to get the bolt out of the top by the engine. so I decided to call a buddy that does more of this than me and has more tools. He has done this on a vette or 2 and said it's got to be easier than that.

    so taking the plastic cover and the heatshield and starter all at once worked out fairly well - the cables are mostly long enough to accomodate this. you are having to hold up the starter to remove the cable but meh. Bending the heat shield helps by the way.

    Old one was indeed dead or rather had dead spots in the commutator as best as I can figure. New one spun stronger, faster and I guess easier - you'd expect that after 10 years and 168K mile (most of which are city miles).

    Getting the new one it was a pain is the azz. He got under there and once starter and plastic cover were up in the hole - after some meddling - bolted in the plastic cover first and then with some persuasion the starter got up and in. This has lead me to decide 2 things - 1 I need an actual 2 ft extension and 2 I need some ratcheting metric wrenches.

    Starts faster and a bit smoother now - which again you'd expect. Hopefully this will be one my repair this year.
    If Guns Kill people, then Spoons Cause Diabetes

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