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No crank/no start

mk2davis

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Messages
166
Location
Ventura, CA
I thought I had a dying battery, but it isn't quite that simple.
For the last few weeks, the car has been turning over lazily. I let it sit on the battery charger, and then it started more enthusiastically. But especially when it's warm, it turns over slower, and then today it decided not to start at all.
All interior lights are on, and everything seems okay. But when I try and start it, the only thing I hear is the fuel pump whirring. No solenoid. No cranking.
If I bumped the engine a little bit, it would try and turn over, but not enthusiastically, and it rotated maybe 1/2 way around. It seems like low voltage, but after a new battery, the source voltage is okay.
So maybe a ground or a bad connection somewhere? Even ECMlink (no DTC's) shows about .4v less than the DMM does on the battery, dont know if that is relevant?
So far, my plan is to check the electronic connections on the back of the starter, and then start to test what is outlined in post 5 of https://www.galantvr4.org/threads/mystery-no-start.28591/ .
When the motor is cold, it usually starts easier, so I might try and give it a whirl in the morning. But the trouble shooting will still be required.
Is there anything else I should be looking for? I'll clean the ground to the battery and track the ground for the start and clean that up.
I appreciate any and all advice.
 

gvr4ever

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 6, 2002
Messages
6,049
Location
central Indiana
Have you done anything to your engine prior to the problem? Interesting that it's a warm / hot problem. Aside from everything you are planning to check. When it won't start, I'd remove the spark plugs and manually crank it over to make sure you don't have any unusual resistance.
 

mk2davis

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Messages
166
Location
Ventura, CA
I haven't done anything significant to the car in a while, say 2 years. It's my daily, and I was just starting to feel cocky about her... The warm/ hot motor may have just been a coincidence, this am no crank no start.

I started testing at the triangular connector for the starter harness. Key in start position, .25 volts on the car side. Not good. Jumping the black/yellow wire on the starter side, I get solenoid clicks at least, but the starter still doesn't turn over. Maybe I have two issues, or maybe the jumper wire gauge is too small?

Disconnected the clutch down switch, no change
Tested the starter relay, it tested good. FYI, the posts labeled in the FSM were different than how the posts were labeled on the relay itself.
 

toybreaker

iconoclast
Joined
Apr 30, 2006
Messages
3,581
It takes a fair bit of power to pull the solenoid in
... you can kinda tell just by the sound it makes
... a soft click versus a solid clack

It takes a pretty hard clack to make the magic happen
 

mk2davis

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Messages
166
Location
Ventura, CA
TB, I've seen your name come up on a lot of these threads. Hopefully, you can help shine some genius my way.
The car side of post 4 at the starter relay isn't grounded. I grounded it with a jumper, and that relay clicks but I don't hear the fuel pump when the key is on start. Not sure if that is a step forward or not? The relay does not click when not jumped.
When I get back, I'll start cleaning these grounds (lifted from another post):
1) The passenger side right under the main battery box, to the fenderwell.
2) The square box just to the side of the battery.
3) Square box exactly opposite the one above on the driver's side, by the PS reservoir/ABS unit
4) The two wires going to the firewall, just to the driver's side of the VIN plate.
5) The transmission ground near the stock airbox and thermostat housing
 

mk2davis

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Messages
166
Location
Ventura, CA
I think the warm engine was a bit of a red herring. I think a suspect connection was made worse by the heat, and now is just open.
 

DSSA

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 16, 2002
Messages
578
Location
PA
Check your ground first. Measure resistance on it. These cars were bad enough in the late 90's/2000's with the grounds corroding and breaking off right where they come out of the sleeving. Also look at the "link" where it bolts (10mm) to the chassis behind the battery.

Barring that issue, check the connection at the solenoid trigger. I've often seen the wiring break right where it goes into the connector at the solenoid. They break here quite often, and sometimes the plug itself gets weak and pops off. If you're under there and feel like living on the edge, you can just jump the solenoid from the starter positive lug to the solenoid trigger to check the starter itself. I don't reccommend that unless you're sure you know what you're doing, but I have *ahem*..."heard of such things..."

Hi again, Toybreaker!
 

mk2davis

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Messages
166
Location
Ventura, CA
I've fingered the connections on the starter, and they felt okay. Is there a better way to check these connectors without pulling the starter itself? I went in from top of the passenger side, and I couldn't see what I was touching. Is access any better from underneath?

I'll be back at this in a couple of hours.
 

toybreaker

iconoclast
Joined
Apr 30, 2006
Messages
3,581
If you're under there and feel like living on the edge, you can just jump the solenoid from the starter positive lug to the solenoid trigger to check the starter itself. I don't reccommend that unless you're sure you know what you're doing, but I have *ahem*..."heard of such things..."

... hey, can I borrow your screwdriver for a sec, please and thank you :bowrofl:

The usual cautions apply, and if you can, have a helper standing by
.... make sure they hold the camera sideways for the video :d70:

edited to ad this most important detail ;
MAKE SURE IT'S IN NEUTRAL BEFORE YOU TRY THIS
 
Last edited:

mk2dave

New member
Joined
Dec 24, 2021
Messages
4
I found a wire on the back of the starter that was slightly loose. I could only turn it maybe 1/4 turn more, but after some checks it STARTED!!!
Then I turned it off, started to put some tools away, tried to start it again, AND NOW I'M BACK TO SQUARE ONE.
But now, it won't turn the starter over by jumping the black/yellow wire. I'll have to poke around a little more.
 

DSSA

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 16, 2002
Messages
578
Location
PA
... hey, can I borrow your screwdriver for a sec, please and thank you :bowrofl:

The usual cautions apply, and if you can, have a helper standing by
.... make sure they hold the camera sideways for the video :d70:

edited to ad this most important detail ;
MAKE SURE IT'S IN NEUTRAL BEFORE YOU TRY THIS
I still believe in Darwin, friend.
 

mk2davis

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Messages
166
Location
Ventura, CA
At this point, I don't know whether I should be happy or not. It starts now, although it seems a bit finicky and I don't have a ton of faith that I'll make it home from where ever I go. But here's what I've found so far...

The clutch down switch is disconnected now. I'm not sure its necessary, because I can hear the difference when it's connected and the clutch is down vs isn't down. But it runs right now, and I'd like that to continue, so the leads will stay off.

The single male blade on the starter solenoid and it's related wire are fickle as fudge, and I don't know what it do about it. If it doesn't start, I can take the wire with the plastic terminal on and off the male blade 5 times, and then it will start. Not really easy to do when things are hot.
So I don't know what suspect component is most likely to be the cause; the wire, the blade terminal, or the solenoid. I'd like to start by replacing the end of the wire and terminal, but it's a bitch working down in that hole. Maybe I need to make a little extension and test that black/yellow wire for continuity while vibrating it.

Not a very satisfying win.

.
 

DSSA

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 16, 2002
Messages
578
Location
PA
At this point, I don't know whether I should be happy or not. It starts now, although it seems a bit finicky and I don't have a ton of faith that I'll make it home from where ever I go. But here's what I've found so far...

The clutch down switch is disconnected now. I'm not sure its necessary, because I can hear the difference when it's connected and the clutch is down vs isn't down. But it runs right now, and I'd like that to continue, so the leads will stay off.

The single male blade on the starter solenoid and it's related wire are fickle as fudge, and I don't know what it do about it. If it doesn't start, I can take the wire with the plastic terminal on and off the male blade 5 times, and then it will start. Not really easy to do when things are hot.
So I don't know what suspect component is most likely to be the cause; the wire, the blade terminal, or the solenoid. I'd like to start by replacing the end of the wire and terminal, but it's a bitch working down in that hole. Maybe I need to make a little extension and test that black/yellow wire for continuity while vibrating it.

Not a very satisfying win.

.
Eliminate that connection...working from beneath, you should be able to trim it back to where it's still flexible and then just extend (if needed) and replace the connector with an insulated female spade connector (test it before this point, but it should fit nicely, and tight).
 

mk2dave

New member
Joined
Dec 24, 2021
Messages
4
Let me ask this:

the trigger wire lead by the starter is very short, and after crawling underneath the car yesterday, I'm not sure I could extend that wire from where it leaves the wire loom. I have 3-4 inches to deal with, and I think any connection would be suspect.
Can I extend the wire from just after the triangular connector by the airbox? To my knowledge, the black/yellow wire at the connector only serves to trigger the solenoid. It would be much easier to replace this whole leg of wire, abandon the factory wire, and zip tie the new wire with it's own split loom to the factory harness. Thoughts?
 

DSSA

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 16, 2002
Messages
578
Location
PA
You could trigger the wire from the relay output itself if that's what you wanted to do.

If you disconnect the battery and just pull the starter out, that will give you access to work on the wire at the loom if that's what you prefer to do.
 

tyeler18

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
130
Location
Casa Grande, AZ
It sounds like you should pull the starter and inspect the terminals on the back regardless, but yes you can extend the solenoid wire from the 2 wire connector at the air box, it only runs from the connector to the S terminal of the starter. At 190k-ish I began having intermittent starting issues with 736 and I could wiggle the starter wiring to fix it. After 190k and 25 years the unmolested factory B+ terminal had wiggled loose similar to what you're describing and the heat from the poor connection melted some of the solenoid plastic and left it down in the wiring making for a poor connection despite tightening the wires back up. I ended up just swapping a spare 1g starter in and haven't had issues since, my galant start is sitting in a tote for a rebuild when the day comes I need it again, but it did torch the plastic on the starter solenoid pretty fair.
 

toybreaker

iconoclast
Joined
Apr 30, 2006
Messages
3,581
If you disconnect the battery and just pull the starter out, that will give you access to work on the wire at the loom if that's what you prefer to do.

I think this is the best way to solve problems like this.


img.jpg
If you pull the starter with the loom attached, you can deal with the whole system once and for all

If you look carefully at all the connectors in this picture, you can see they all need some love.

Pulling the whole system out in one piece only takes a little effort and will allow you to address any and all problems on the bench.

Fix it once, fix it right, and you will never have to worry about again

... sorted ...img.jpgimg.jpgimg.jpg

img.jpg
Edited to add;

... had a lil trouble with my picture yesterday
...when it didn't load correctly i hit the button a few more times
... looks like staff fixxerated it for me ... thanks, ... I think ... :hahano:
.... gonna roll with it

If'n I told you once, I tole ya four tymes, yolk dat biatch out an do it right :roflugh2:
 
Last edited:

DSSA

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 16, 2002
Messages
578
Location
PA
^^^^ 100% as above.

I just did this to mine. The starter is a simple, two bolt procedure (three, if someone grounded the main ground to a transmission bolt instead one of the starter bolts).

Not only can you address the starter wiring in there, but you can also replace/update/clean the main grounding points.

The car that I'm working on now had such bad grounds that sensors were reading off, and the idle switch wasn't getting enough of a ground to even work. If you took a meter to the negative terminal and then the other end to a strut bolt, you wouldn't get any continuity at all--it was THAT bad.
 

mk2dave

New member
Joined
Dec 24, 2021
Messages
4
Ordered some black/yellow wire from Moore Parts Source. Once that comes in, I'll pull the starter and replace anything that is suspect. Car is still starting, but the piece of mind is worth the effort.
 

mk2dave

New member
Joined
Dec 24, 2021
Messages
4
OK, I lied. Fibbed? The truth changed. After getting stranded getting breakfast, I took out the starter. I had some suspect grounds and the wiring appeared to need a little help. Took care of that, and tested the starter. It always works almost half the time without a bit of a jostle. New starter is on the way. Thank you to the community to help me stop being lazy. Assuming no surprises, I think this issue is wrapped up.
 
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