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Mystery no start

iceman69510

Turn Right Racing
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Mar 5, 2001
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Well today after work, the GVR4 would not start. Everything electrical worked like the radio, dash lights, blower etc., but absolutely no start attempt. I tried a jump to the battery, then directly to the cables. Nothing.

Disconnected the clutch interlock in case it had gone bad. Nothing. Finally had it towed (unfortunately I am in Michigan for training and not at home) to my uncles house. Tried it again when the two truck dropped it off, and it started up. Has started fine 4 or 5 more times now.

I am stumped, but hope it doesn't happen again.

My only thought is the starter had stuck on a dead spot.

Thoughts?
 

trunks

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 5, 2010
Messages
268
Location
Annandale, MN
That happened to me with my '99 Subaru. I stuck a screwdriver in there on the starter across the hot wire and solenoid and it spun a while and then started. Hasn't happened since either /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dunno.gif
 

toybreaker

iconoclast
Joined
Apr 30, 2006
Messages
3,581
Quoting iceman69510:

My only thought is the starter had stuck on a dead spot.

Thoughts?



Yeah, that *may* just be it, Dave.

An open in one leg of the windings will do definately give you that symptom.

How does it turn over when it does turn over?

Is it even or does it lag / speed up/slow down?


When it wasn;t turning over, did you get any noise / clicking or anything?

Sometimes the solenoid contacts get dirty and it'll click (quietly), but just won't get enough juice across the contacts to turn the engine over.

That little triangle connector by the fuse box can also be a problem source if you've been driving on wet roads, especially if they lay down mag chloride or salt.


I've got a spare starter I can drop in the mail if you need one.


... park on a hill 'till you get it sorted. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/devil.gif
 
Last edited:

FlyingEagle

Staff member
Joined
Mar 5, 2005
Messages
1,635
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THE Ottawa
Quoting iceman69510:
Well today after work, the GVR4 would not start. Everything electrical worked like the radio, dash lights, blower etc., but absolutely no start attempt. I tried a jump to the battery, then directly to the cables. Nothing.

Disconnected the clutch interlock in case it had gone bad. Nothing. Finally had it towed (unfortunately I am in Michigan for training and not at home) to my uncles house. Tried it again when the two truck dropped it off, and it started up. Has started fine 4 or 5 more times now.

I am stumped, but hope it doesn't happen again.

My only thought is the starter had stuck on a dead spot.

Thoughts?



You aren't the only one. This occurred for me, just this Sunday.

Full rebuild of the top half of my motor, major cleaning of all the iffy electrical contact points, all stock electrical starting components.

Got back from what would be maybe my fifth drive since the rebuild, and parked the car next to a snow bank. Couldn't get out my door because of the snow, and the passenger side was a big box containing a sandblaster cabinet. Tried to start engine to move car, and no cranking.

Voltage good on gauge (brand new battery), hear a nice click that is either the MPI relay or the starter clicking once, when the key moves forward to start mode. In start mode the fuel pump is priming .. (prime might be my new chip settings, but anyways). I had no tools other than a flashlight and my confirmation that my starter solenoid wire was still in place (I got my hand on it). Temp was -5 Celcius or lower, so nothing got hot on my highway ride home, nor the 5 mins off the highway to the driveway. I specifically cleaned or replaced connectors for the wires that connect inline before the chassis ground and starter, all the same circuit.

30-40 minutes later I tried the start function again, and it worked, and I parked the car shortly thereafter. Relieved but dismayed. I am going to check the wire in the connector that pushes onto the starter. After that, it's looks like starter related and not clutch interlock issues. I had problems when I first got it all back together, and it would do the same thing, except not click from the dash/firewall area to indicate any function of the MPI relay or starter being activated. Hmmm.... Gotta check for green on the starter solenoid connector, maybe I only cleaned the starter terminal itself?

Engine vibration could be a contributor to intermittent issues due to loose and or corroded connections. Starter also suspect, as mine if original to my car, is just shy of 200,000 km's by a hair. Spare in the basement, hopefully still good.

Maybe we both have a dead spot?

Nice post toybreaker, you got in there just a few seconds before me. Great info. In my case, starter always sounds the same when operating; consistent and what I assume is proper speed of the engine/flywheel. I have heavy gauge wiring front to back of my car, and a larger than stock battery, with no voltage drop issues.
 
Last edited:

toybreaker

iconoclast
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Apr 30, 2006
Messages
3,581
Tim, I found an old post that may help (from this thread

Quoting toybreaker:


On the passenger side unibody section in front of the strut are a few mission critical harness connectors. They are somewhat hidden by the airflow meter and other stuff, so they're hard to see.

Circled in red, the rectangular connector is the power distribution connector for the car.

Circled in yellow, the triangular connector is the connection down to the starter solenoid.



If they are both plugged in, and the car won't crank, (as in rotate when you have the key in the start position) unplug the starter harness and check for power at the car side of the harness while the key is in the start postion. (you're checking the black with yellow stripe wire)



If there's nobody home on the car side of the starter solenoid harness, unplug the clutch down switch and try again. The switches go bad, and the little yellow plastic button that depresses it also gets broken. This will prevent the starter from operating. Unplugging the switch opens the interlock circuit, and will allow the starter to operate any time the key is in the start position.

[edit]

found this old post

[/edit]





If you want a quick go/no go test, jumping positive battery voltage onto the mate of this ^^^connector^^^ is the easiest way to "jump" the system. Note it's position in the connector, and jump the mate to this connector using an alligator clip on the end of a wire. **I would be leary of doing this, as the current required to pull the starter solenoid in to actuate the starter motor is pretty large, and you may damage the pin in the connector. (once would probably be okay, but I wouldn't make a habit of it)


The hard way to "jump" things is to unplug that wire at the starter, then plug another wire onto the small connector, and then touch that to the positive terminal on the battery.

If you're feeling froggy, you can also just short accross from the positive starter feed wire from the battery to the small terminal with a small screwdriver, but there's gonna be sparks! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif

Make absolutely sure the car is in neutral before doing this!!!



Here's a pic of the whole starter sub-harness to give you an idea of what you're working with.

Good luck!

 

fuel

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 23, 2009
Messages
2,161
Location
Toronto, ON, Canada
carry a small hammer (or even a tire iron/power bar) in your trunk and next time it happens use it to tap on the starter solenoid. Most times it frees it up and it starts.
 

iceman69510

Turn Right Racing
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Messages
10,922
Location
Michigan
Thanks gentlemen. At least it confirms I am not crazy as I checked/considered all of these options. I did check the triangle connector because I had that loose once before (but no dice), and it appears the connector lock is fatigued as it does not hold together real tightly.

I need to get something I can hit the starter with to try that. Hopefully, a one time deal yesterday.

I have a spare starter at home, so no need for now John, but thanks for the offer.

I did end up getting a new battery last night as it showed fully charged, but with a dead cell. I don't believe that was the root cause though.

We'll see today... /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dunno.gif
 

iceman69510

Turn Right Racing
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Messages
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Michigan
I think I have a cable issue. Started this morning, made it to work. Then tried to restart when I arrived. Got 1 slow crank or two, nothing more. Will check again at lunch time.

Battery is fresh, btw.
 

toybreaker

iconoclast
Joined
Apr 30, 2006
Messages
3,581
Dave,

The solenoid feed is independant of the main starter power feed, so you *should* still hear an authoratative click when you hit the start position on the key.


Can you get an alligator clip for your voltmeter down onto the power lug on the starter?

Might be the best way to verify it's a voltage drop issue. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dunno.gif

... corrosion / connector issues / resistance in the wire will definately be more noticeable when things are warm/hot.


This also may be a good time to clean the cable/terminal stack on the positive battery terminal, as well as the legs on the fuses located there.

Hit the ground cable while you're at it.



Good luck

... and park on a hill /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/devil.gif
 

JCorbo25

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Joined
Oct 10, 2011
Messages
533
Location
Sacramento, CA
Quoting iceman69510:
I think I have a cable issue. Started this morning, made it to work. Then tried to restart when I arrived. Got 1 slow crank or two, nothing more. Will check again at lunch time.

Battery is fresh, btw.



This could be an alternator issue or dirty battery terminals.

When in doubt, roll start it.
 

iceman69510

Turn Right Racing
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Messages
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Michigan
Roll start/hill not really an option in a snowy, slippery flat parking lot.

Got one start at lunch, then nothing more. Maybe I will get lucky and get one at the end of the day.

Tried jumping positive battery terminal straight to the starter. Nothing, which surprised me. I can hear the solenoid operating. With the solenoid operating, and battery power right to the starter, it should turn, right? Also tried making another ground path also. Battery side terminals should be clean, as the battery was replaced last night. Can't vouch for the other ends yet though.

/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif
 

G

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Feb 24, 2004
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8,896
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zompton
Sounds like you have a loose or corroded solenoid/ trigger wire. Causing it to start intermittently. I would replace that wire. I think it's only a spade connector which are easily susceptible to corrosion and wiggling loose.
 

FlyingEagle

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Mar 5, 2005
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THE Ottawa
Thanks toybreaker, funny how that came full circle! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/applause.gif

Now let's get the iceman to some warmer thoughts!
 

iceman69510

Turn Right Racing
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Messages
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Michigan
OK, the continued saga. Yesterday it worked in the am, but stranded me again in the pm. Per further discussion with Jedi Master Toybreaker, we decided it had to be the starter. I rounded up three Marines (a few good men) from a local recruiting station to push start me, and made it home. Finally got ahold of a VOM and checked everything electrical. Tested the starter at Autozone 4 times, all good. Tested it back on the car (not fully installed, but wired in) and it worked 3-4 times, then stopped. Tried that method again tonight, worked twice then stopped again.

Put in reman for now, and everything is working. I guess that says the no-load test at AZ is not really a good indicator of health for cold weather and cold oil load.

Anyway, looks to be healed, so thanks to everyone who had input, and to my cousin and uncle for helping me as well as loaning me a car for a day. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/worthy.gif
 

FlyingEagle

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Mar 5, 2005
Messages
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THE Ottawa
I backburnered this until I could glass bead an AWD (I presume, but will confirm numbers) starter, that I had lying around from a partout.
That car started back in 2008/9 when we stripped the car in the laneway.
Been sitting in boxes ever since.
My Colt is FWD.

My engine was failing to roll over at appropriate speed, battery should have been good and was sitting in the house till this afternoon.
I suspect an original starter motor with almost 200,000KM's on it.

Got all over 3 seconds of crank out of it, before I stopped cranking.
Key forward again and nothing but the MPI relay.
Starter ignition feed is mint, wiring had a thorough going over when I got the car back together around christmas.
I suspect the Bendix/solenoid not moving over.
This time my battery may have been low, or a combo of both issues directly.

I charged the battery at 6 amps for maybe 4 hours.
Installed the AWD starter.
I have the fuel prime mod in my chip, which primes the fuel with the key forward, regardless of CAS movement.
Engine fired so fast, I almost thought something was wrong.

Condemn the starter, just as Iceman did.
If any change, I will post back here.
 

FlyingEagle

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So, this is when you have a moment of reflection and say to yourself that you maybe should not have hosed down the engine bay while certain elements were torn down and just hanging in the way.
Despite good intentions, and cramped quarters, my starter is apparently not water proof.
Who knew?






 

idreamidrive

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Oct 10, 2012
Messages
430
Location
Murray, KY
I am going to bring this back from the dead as my problem is similar, but I think different.

I will check in to what Toybreaker has already stated, but I have a comment that is baffling me.

I am getting an intermitent no start. It sounds like a low battery no start (clicking a bunch some times) and then sometimes it is a bad starter sounding no start (no click or just one). The clicks all come from what seems like behind the dash on the passenger side.

What is baffling me is that the battery is fine, don't know about the starter, but I am pretty sure it is fine, but when this situation happens the clock restarts. To me, this is telling me that I am dropping voltage when I try to start the car. Sometimes I have no power after trying to start the car. Then a key cycle to start it again brings it back. I swapped ECUs just to make sure it wasn't that. Different ECU same problem, and then a try to start it four minutes later started her right up. Has been starting fine for the last 30 minutes.

The battery ground cable connects to the frame under the battery and to the engine from what I remember. What else should I be looking at?
 

eric819

Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
13
Location
Dayton, OH
I had a similar issue about a year ago, pull the starter and have it tested at an auto parts store. And have them test it like 5 or more times.

Mine was a dead spot in the starter, would work some times and not others. Did the same symptoms as yours.
 

thomcasey

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Joined
Sep 24, 2014
Messages
907
Location
Indianapolis, IN
Also check your Ground wires. They may be connected, but they may not be in good shape. They are often overlooked. Old wires are poor grounds. Also make sure you have good continuity (no paint) between the ground connector and the chassis. Normally there will be a small ground from the chassis to the Transmission, a large one from the battery neg to a starter bolt, several smaller ones from the battery to the battery neg to the firewall.cowl, one from the firewall/cowl to the accelerator cable mount and a small clip from the throttlebody to a throttlebody mount stud.
 

383mazda

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Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
61
Location
Gainesville, TEXAS
Bumping this back up...

I just tossed the motor and tranny back into by car (new trans + balance shaft delete and timing belt). Car cranked up fine while listening / looking for anything out of the ordinary on the lift, I even putted around the yard a few times. Once I felt confident in it's road worthiness I made the 20 mile trip back to my house one evening. Next morning I started it right up and the idle was all over the place and my throttle input had little effect. Car died right about the time I figured I had a huge vac leak. Confirmed: the BOV recirc tube had popped off. Hooked it back up, went to crank and everything died??? No starter click or attempt to start or anything, just completely dead. About 2 min later the key will work again and electrical stuff will come back to life, but when I try to crank - everything dies again.

No fuses blown, battery has good voltage and passes my volt meter's load test, no wires loose that I can find. I can't figure out why it would crank / start fine ten times, and then nothing on the 11th try + kill power to the entire car for a minute or two each time I try??? Jumping off a battery charger in "start mode" has the same result.

I was hoping to get the 500 miles put on my new clutch so I could take it to the track this last open week to race my wife in her subie!!! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bawling.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bawling.gif
 
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