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Does anything "kill" starter motors?


cheekychimp Galant VR4.org Moderator
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 1220176 posted 11/12/15 08:11 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Had one start acting up and after a few weeks of getting progressively worse it died a horrible death. I replaced it and within days the new one has started exhibiting the same symptoms. Could just be bad luck I guess but I wondered if there is any other possible issue I might be looking for.

Also I made the "assumption" it was the starter motor. Does any issue with the MPI relay prevent power getting to the starter? The 'symptom' I am experiencing is a 'clicking' sound without any turn over. Does it a few times then fires. Previous unit just gave up the ghost and wouldn't fire at all.



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Edited by cheekychimp (11/12/15 08:12 AM)

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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 1220180 posted 11/12/15 08:19 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Poor positive cable from battery to starter can cause your symptoms. It might have continuity, but once the starter demands 100amps to start it could fail to deliver the power.



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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 1220182 posted 11/12/15 08:50 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
^^^This and a bad battery. A dying battery/low charge can kill a starter. Normally bad connections for the battery to the starter ar the culprit though.



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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 1220238 posted 11/12/15 05:49 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Quoting prove_it:

Poor positive cable from battery to starter can cause your symptoms. It might have continuity, but once the starter demands 100amps to start it could fail to deliver the power.




^ +3 on this. Same goes for the ground side as well.



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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 1220249 posted 11/12/15 08:09 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
The solenoid is what usually goes bad on a starter, electrically speaking...They are usually pretty stout, but it's possible the inner leads could've broken/not tight...Sometimes you can tap the solenoid to get it working again, but the days are numbered then. Remote solenoids are nice, because they are easy to change and are away from exhaust heat. That heat makes the solenoid work harder to start and sometimes won't until it cools. This may not be an issue on our Mitsu's (trying to recall where starter is in relation to exhaust) but it can become a problem on say a SBC/BBC with header primaries that run too close. The solution is to convert to remote solenoid (relay)...that is what I did on my Chevelle to cure the problem of hot starts.

The heat thing may not be your issue, but just showing how intermittent starting problems can be possible.

If these are rebuild units, it can be a hit or miss. Not sure how it is there, but quality has suffered here tremendously throughout the years.

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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 1220255 posted 11/12/15 10:00 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
I killed 3 starters in 6 months due to a BS being out of phase. The bendix went bad in all of them, solenoid and motor still functioned as it should, but the pinion just wouldn't engage the flywheel.


Edited by MuffinMan7580 (11/12/15 10:01 PM)

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cheekychimp Galant VR4.org Moderator
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 1220264 posted 11/13/15 03:02 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Thanks guys. Battery appears good but will get a voltmeter on it to check condition and also charging. Will also check out the positive side cable and the grounds. I don't think heat is the issue with our starter being on the back of the block below the intake but might be worth checking that solenoid. Is it integral to the starter unit or at the connection to the loom? I cannot remember.



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Edited by cheekychimp (11/13/15 03:03 AM)

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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 1220268 posted 11/13/15 06:52 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
This doesn't sound like the symptoms you are having, but broken teeth on a flywheel can damage a starter motor as well. When it was working, did anything sound off?



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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 1220269 posted 11/13/15 06:56 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Quoting cheekychimp:

Is it integral to the starter unit or at the connection to the loom? I cannot remember.




The solenoid is on the starter.



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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 1220271 posted 11/13/15 08:18 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Do a voltage drop across your starter positive cable. That will tell you a lot. Anything over .3 volt indicates the cable is shot.



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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 1220335 posted 11/14/15 12:46 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Roger that, I assume running a thicker gauge cable to the starter would be a good thing then?

Once the starter motor turns, everything is good so I think the flywheel is fine.

Dave is the starter solenoid replaceable or does a faulty solenoid mean the entire unit is toast?



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Edited by cheekychimp (11/14/15 12:47 AM)

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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 1220341 posted 11/14/15 08:30 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Whole thing is best. You might source a solenoid, but if the solenoid electronics are failing then the starter will have similar wear. Cheaper and easier to replace whole thing.

You don't really need thicker wiring to the starter, just good clean wiring that doesn't have a voltage drop.



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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 1220342 posted 11/14/15 08:34 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
I was having similar issues to the OP when I was on a 2500 mile road trip over the summer. My car would not start I. The mountains and I thought forsure was a starter clicking. I popped started car till I could put a new starter in. Put in and same problem just clicks. My fix was a bad clutch switch. I unplugged it and haven't had a problem since.



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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 1220541 posted 11/17/15 08:29 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Quoting prove_it:

You don't really need thicker wiring to the starter, just good clean wiring that doesn't have a voltage drop.




Forgive my ignorance here but if the cable in question is damaged will it always show a voltage drop or can you still get intermittent failure where the voltage drop is only seen when the cable is 'separated' for want of a better word? We didn't see a voltage drop as large as you suggested would indicate a problem but we installed a new wire anyway and it seems to have cured the issue for now.



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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 1220546 posted 11/17/15 09:13 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
It may not be significant in a no load situation. Under load (i.e. pulling huge amps at actuation), the effect becomes significant, and cable functions like a resistor. Corrosion can also increase the resistance, not just breakage or separation. For this, it is all about current carrying capacity.



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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 1220549 posted 11/17/15 09:20 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Right, understanding OHMS law is very important. A small amount of resistance causes the wire to act like a load and this reduces the available amount of current to the real load.

When talking about the draw a starter pulls, any voltage drop over .1 is indicative of a problem. I didn't really phrase that right before. I also didn't mention to perform the voltage drop while attempting to start the car. That way you can see what the starter is really getting.

On the flip side, it's possible that the cable has multiple broken strands in it. If you test it without a "loaded" test, you'll find no voltage drop and perfect resistance. Once you activate the circuit though, the voltage drop becomes measurable and you can then see the problem.



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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 1220691 posted 11/20/15 06:32 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post   
Roger that! That was probably the problem then, I didn't check the voltage drop under load. Thanks for the info both of you. I know exactly what to do now.



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