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She wouldn't start....until....


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7 replies to this topic

#1 soobiefreak85

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 08:13 PM

Hey guys, 

 

So, the craziest thing happened this weekend.  I jump in the car, turn the key and CLICK....turn the key again and CLICK!  My initial thought was...205k it has to be the starter.  Solenoid clicks, starter won't spin, it must have went bad.  

 

So, I ran all the normal checks to be sure:  

 

Battery have enough power?  Yes.  

Continuity to the starter?  Yes.

Grounds all good?  Yes.

All the fuses good?  Yes.

Continuity from the switch to the starter?  Yes.

Relay?  No, the solenoid wouldn't get any power if the relay was faulty.

Ignition Switch?  No, the solenoid wouldn't get any power if the switch was faulty.

Took the battery and starter connections off and made sure they are all clean and tight?  Done.

Jump start, to ensure it is getting max power...still nothing.

 

What else is there?  It's getting power obviously, the solenoid is clicking, the starter has to be bad.  So, I run up to my friendly Advance Auto and pick-up a starter, and throw her on there.  I turn the key and CLICK....  What the heck????  So, I pull it out (they come out so easy) and run it up to Advance to have them check it.  I figured, maybe I got a bad re-manufactured starter.  Nope, runs great....gosh what the heck?  

 

I figured I checked everything, so I called my Dad and asked him what I missed.  He went through the all the checks he would do and concluded it has to be the starter.  Finally he says, "Humor me, run one of those booster cables from the battery to the starter."  I replied, "But we already checked the continuity, it was good."  Again he says, "humor me".  So, I do it and she fires right up.  

 

In conclusion, the continuity was there, but an unseen break in the middle of the battery cable allowed the solenoid to activate but not let the starter spin.  It makes sense, the starter draws a lot of amps, it needs as much of that wire as possible.  I found it interesting, a whole afternoon of checks and pure frustration....and it was a freakin $8 battery cable.  She is 25 years old, so I went ahead and replaced the ground too.  :)

 

I thought I would share my experience, in case you run into the same issue in the future.  Best of luck my friends!

 

 

-Wes

 



#2 mikaleda

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 08:29 PM

Yep that is part off wiring diagnostics I have seen ground wires that looked perfectly good but had a line of corrosion right down the middle causing all sorts of problems. A set of jumpers can be a handy diagnosis tool.

Edited by mikaleda, 01 April 2013 - 08:29 PM.


#3 soobiefreak85

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 09:45 PM

Yep, I have done a lot of diagnostic in my life. Every time in a case like this, it was the starter. You learn something new every day. I will add to my checklist next time. :)

#4 MR_Loyale

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 09:48 PM

Wow. I would never have thought of a battery cable going bad like that! Thanks for sharing. Looks like another thing to note in a checklist if I ever experience something like that.



#5 jj421

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 04:10 PM

I had a similar experience in my thread "Random Coolant Leak." Details are in that thread, but I ended up realizing one of my spark plug holes was full of coolant, leading to probably a cracked head. Of course I had a coolant leak, then the car wouldn't start, but something to put in the checklist for future experiences--pull spark plugs and check.



#6 88wacaroo

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 10:13 AM

The Original EA-81 Batt. cables were Aluminum :o So they have issues...Whenever I have the click issue it usually is right at the cable and clamp <_<



#7 Gloyale

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 11:14 AM

I hate to say, but the issue will probably come back

 

These cars are known for weak ignition switches.  They conduct, but not enough amps to hold the solenoid closed and actually operate the starter.

 

It's even happening now on the 90's legacies and outbacks (they use the same switch, and they are all getting old too.

 

The standard fix is to add a pushbutton starter switch.  I personally preffer a relay.  If the switch fails totally, you can add a pushbutton later.

 

9 out of 10 times, adding a relay triggered by the original starter wire will fix it.



#8 mikaleda

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 11:49 AM

The Original EA-81 Batt. cables were Aluminum :o So they have issues...Whenever I have the click issue it usually is right at the cable and clamp <_<

i had the same problem on my 80, so i replaced them with #4 gauge welding leads, solid copper it solved alot of problems.






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