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Old 09-08-2004, 04:44 AM   #1
robcarync
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Default bad starter maybe?

well...in the last few months...on my car...ive had a guibo replaced, an o2 sensor replaced, brakes replaced, inspection II service done, rear differential seal replaced, radiator hoses replaced, and a few other repairs done that i cant remember.

now my car is having trouble starting. i think its the starter (so does my dad and mom). but basically i turn the key, and it rolls over, but the engine doesnt get turned on. its a bad description i know, but its like trying to crank a car with a dead battery.

any way...assuming it is the starter...how hard is this going to be to replace, or should i take it to a mechanic (forget the dealership...im done with those goons). im only a beginner mechanic...but my dad has replaced the starter on previous cars (jap cars though)...so he has some auto experience. would this be terribly difficult to do it ourselves?

so i guess...anyone know where i can find a write up on how to change a starter?

anyone else have any ideas as to what else could cause this problem? i dont want to invest in a starter, and still have a problem cranking it. is there a sure fire way to tell if it is, in fact, the starter thats causing the problem?
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Old 09-08-2004, 03:09 PM   #2
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You say it "rolls over." Does that mean the starter is turning but the engine won't fire? If the starter is functioning, is it turning more slowly than normal?

I assume you have checked the battery charge?
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Old 09-08-2004, 08:35 PM   #3
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yeah i'd say have the battery tested if you havent yet. sounds like the most likely cause. and whenever you start it, push in the clutch even if it's in neutral. there's just less stuff to turn. (mine starts without pushing in the clutch, not sure if its normal or not)
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Old 09-08-2004, 09:29 PM   #4
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actually, i have not yet checked the battery...i forgot to mention i just put a new battery in less than 6 months ago...i dont think its possible for a battery to die so quickly.

mine is auto so i have no clutch to push in.

it lets me turn the key all the way you normally would when you start a car...and it sounds like its about to start...but the second you think you are about to hear the engine start up, it doesnt start.

it sounds very much like a dead battery, but i would assume its not the battery since i just got a new one recently.
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Old 09-09-2004, 12:26 AM   #5
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Batteries can die for lots of reasons. If the starter is turning over slowly, likely the battery. If it doesnt turn over at all, maybe the starter.

Repair shop can tell in about 5 minutes.
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Old 09-09-2004, 01:25 AM   #6
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its not turning over slowly. im pretty certain it is the starter now.

does anyone know where i can find a writeup on how to change a starter?
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Old 09-09-2004, 01:31 AM   #7
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its not turning over slowly. im pretty certain it is the starter now.

does anyone know where i can find a writeup on how to change a starter?

are there any more parts that could possibly lead to trouble cranking the car?

the dealer ship (aka $tealership...i finially undersand why they are called that) want 475ish to change a starter, yet the local german mechanic will do it for 350. pretty large difference there.

a new starter costs around 200 or so...so i figue ill either figure out how to do it myself or just take it to the local mechanic.
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Old 09-09-2004, 03:19 AM   #8
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its not turning slowly? well i'd say the starter is fine. its doing its job if its cranking at the right speed. if its not FIRING up right away, it could be a couple things. possibly low fuel pressure. possible worn spark plugs. try turning the key on and off a couple times before you start it to build up fuel pressure. or check a spark plug. or maybe the car is just racking up some miles and it takes a little longer to start.

btw just because a battery is new doesnt mean its good ive seen a couple brand new ones that were bad. but if its not cranking slow, it should be ok.
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Old 09-09-2004, 04:18 AM   #9
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well i just go an Inspection II service which should have replaced all four spark plugs and all that. ill try the fuel pressure thing next time...

i dunno i hope the car hasnt bit the dust already. im just gonna get it to a mechanic to check for a starter for peace of mind...maybe they can figure out what is up with it.

its so frusterating...i love this car so much, yet everytime i turn around something on it is breaking and needs work. i wish the car would just work at least for a while without needing repairs.

the previous owner had all records and it was never in the shop this much...looks like i bought it at the time that everything was about to break
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Old 09-09-2004, 05:14 AM   #10
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Is it possible you started the car cold and moved it a short distance then shut it off? That happened to me once shortly after I got my ti and though I know what a bad starter sounds like, the sound the ti made not starting with fouled plugs sounded like it was spinning but not turning the engine. Almost as if it was turning over with no plugs in or no compression. At that time I took the plugs out, cleaned them with carb cleaner, dried them with compressed air, put them back in and it fired right up. I lived the next weeks in fear of starting and moving the car a short distance until I realized that if this happened all I had to do was floor the gas pedal while cranking and it always started and cleared itself right up. If you've been having this problem for a while and you've been cranking it without it starting, you may want to try flooring it while you crank and if it starts go out for along drive. If it won't start, try removing the plugs and cleaning them. Be careful not to overtorque them and use the little tool under the plastic spark plug cover to remove the wires without damaging them. Everything you need should be in your tool kit. Good luck.
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Old 09-10-2004, 12:36 AM   #11
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starter is spinning (not slow) ... but the motor isnt turning over.

my dad says its like the starter isnt engaging the flywheel to turn the motor on. he siad he can hear the starter motor spinning...but the engine doesnt even start to turn over.

does this sound like a starter problem to you guys?

like i said...i dont know much about cars...so my descriptions arent very good...listen to what my pops said above ^^^

phil mentioned cleaning spark plugs...i just got all spark plugs replaced about two montsh ago...so i wouldnt think they need cleaning.
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Old 09-10-2004, 01:36 AM   #12
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Yes, if it is not engaging, you need to get someone down there to figure out how this is happening.

Could be broken teeth on either flywheel or starter or simply the starter got loose and disengaged.
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Old 09-10-2004, 02:51 AM   #13
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wow i must have read something wrong. so its not even turning the engine at all? the starter itself must be spinning pretty darn fast if the starter isnt engaging at ALL then i'd have to say its a starter problem. a big question is, did it ever grind at some point when trying to start it? if it didnt, you MAY be able to get away with just replacing the starter. if it did grind while starting it for awhile, the ring gear on the flywheel (or flex plate in your case since its an auto) could be chipped or broken. its kind of funny how this came up because that happened to my 280zx and this weekend i am putting the new parts in. its a pain in the butt because i had to get the new flexplate and ring gear, which in order to replace, the transmission has to come out of the car. so it will be a good weekend for me.
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Old 09-10-2004, 02:56 AM   #14
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M42/M44 engines can "flood" or foul the spark plugs very easily, even if the plugs are new. What I asked was did you start the car cold and shut it off very soon after, like moving it only a short distance in a driveway before this no-start situation? If your Dad actually opened the hood and saw the engine not turning while the starter was operating, you have either a starter or a ring-gear problem. If it only SOUNDS like the starter isn't turning the engine over, humor me and clean the plugs. What have you got to lose at this point if the car isn't running and you're about to tow it to a shop. Save the tow and check the plugs. These starters are strange and their sound is whimpy if the engine isn't firing during starter operation. Read my previous description. Sometimes we have a semantic problem with the terms "turning over", "firing", and "catching". Just trying to help!
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Old 09-10-2004, 06:06 AM   #15
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well phill...the day it started doing this was the day we were going to flush the radiator...we moved it from the driveway to the street and back to the driveway again...so yes it was moved a short distance...interesting tid bit of information...i may have to check those spark plugs.

another random tidbit of information...it doesnt happen EVERY time...usually the engine will fire up after a few tries...sometimes it cranks first try...somtimes second....sometimes third...

and as of now, my dad has not actually looked at the engine...he just said it sounded like the flywheel wasnt turning...ill be sure to pass that information along to him...hopefully this will work phil.

and bimmerboi...you probably didnt read anything wrong...i just cant really give good descriptions because...well...as you know i dont really know what im talking about here...really the only stuff i know about my car is the stuff ive had to fix myself...so as i havent looked at this stuff yet, i dont know much about it.

also phil is correct when talking about semantic problems with terms such as turning over, firing, and catching and such...they can be kind of vague.

and i havent heard any grinding while trying to start it.

as of now...my situation seems to be remarkably similar to phils situation. although im not sure what relation starting the car for a short distance has to dirty spark plugs...but i shall definently check that out...it would be a nice way to save 400 dollars
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