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Old 08-21-2008, 11:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Starter went out

So, my starter went out the other day.
I checked/swapped the starter fuse - fine.
I checked the little wire running to the solenoid to see if it was tight - seems OK.

I haven't done anything else, but I've been push starting it all this week. It's really not that hard! Park on a slight down slope and maybe give it a small push and jump in (even the slightest slope will get you going), then let the clutch out in 2nd gear. Pump, pump, pop! And you're off.

Still, I'd hate to do this in the pouring rain. :P Maybe I should cut the floor out and flintstone-start it!


It's been especially interesting because it's absolutely FORCING me to keep some momentum to bump start once the light turns green or the traffic gets out of the way. Otherwise I just 2nd or 3rd gear it at 15mph before I have to stop, and idle 'til the light turns. Ugh.

I think it's a good learning experience though in how to be gentler on my starter while still hypermiling.

The car's got 140,000 miles on it with the original starter, so I'm not really that surprised. *shrug* I'd rather not have to rely on my starter anyway, in case I end up getting stuck at a light on a busy highway (or an uphill!) I can bump-start in reverse but if there are cars stuck behind you, that's not really an option.

Anyhoo, A new starter is $84 (a little too rich for my tastes) A used or rebuilt one should be less. I'll look into it this weekend.

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Old 08-21-2008, 12:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 08-21-2008, 03:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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interesting loss. It brought me back to inlines I used to run. they go through starters. The old hondas are gentle, but still an inline. they be stubborn, and dry as a vertical cylinder could be...
My old sube is going on 22 years. I pondered what over a million of times starting is to its third worn ignition key, ready for a fourth....
I do have one standing by, doubt I'll need it for a few million more starts...
I learned.
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Old 08-21-2008, 05:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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this is a concern of mine now that Im starting EOC my 200K mile 98EX. Maybe its worth looking into an auto parts store brand that offers a lifetime warrany? Probably wont take more than an hour to change them out.
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Do you hear the selenoid clicking?

I had a chrysler 3.0l that the selenoid would get corroded. There was a big copper washer that made the electric contact to engage the starter. Sand paper it and off she would go for another 6 months. ---This car had the starter mounted WAY down on the front, taking all the abuse the road salt could throw at it.

...Might as well take it off and see what's going on.
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ESmooth View Post
this is a concern of mine now that Im starting EOC my 200K mile 98EX. Maybe its worth looking into an auto parts store brand that offers a lifetime warrany? Probably wont take more than an hour to change them out.
And keep a spare in the trunk...
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Old 08-21-2008, 10:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Strange...

I tried to start it today, and it did. Barely... But it did start.

Then, I went out this evening to try to rule out other possibilities. I hooked up a set of jumper cables to another car and tried it - cranked up and started happily... 5 times in a row. Then I removed the cables and it started up again a few more times with no sign of problems...

So I have a new theory. I think the starter is probably OK, but I think my excessive Engine-Off Coasting is draining my battery. I almost always bump-start, but I sometimes have to run the headlights (coming home from late nights), and the alternator DOESN'T ACTIVATE RIGHT AWAY after starting the car.

So I think what's happening is I'm not getting enough juice back into the battery to run the accessories while the engine is off, and the ignition/engine before the alternator re-energizes after a bump-start.

And when I say excessive EOC, I mean it. I ONLY have the engine on for acceleration - about 25-50% of the drive it is OFF.

It's an old-ish battery too (~3-4 years), so it might not be up to snuff anymore.

Am I totally full of crap, or might I be on to something here?
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Old 08-22-2008, 06:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Take the car to Checker Auto Parts they will check your charging system and battery for free with a machine built for such tests. They can tell you what if anything is wrong with the charging/battery system, and all it will cost you to find out is the gas to get there and the time to run the errand.

Later,

Allan Greenblazer
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Old 08-22-2008, 10:23 AM   #9 (permalink)
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milleniumtree, you might be on to something with the EOC.

I had the same problem on my bike, I have to basically manage the headlight usage now and I bumped up the charge circuit so it charges more when the engine IS running. Still it gets a little low at times (tiny bike battery).

I also use trolling motor batteries in my small cars, just shoehorn them in and adapt, whatever They seem to provide adequate starting power and don't mind being depleted nearly as much as a standard starting battery.
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Old 08-25-2008, 12:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Nope, it's the starter.

I had it happen again this weekend - couldn't start so I hooked up the jumper cables to my xB... Still wouldn't crank! So it has to be either the starter or solenoid. Alas.

I think I am draining the battery a bit too on the drives, so I picked up a battery charger from Harbor Freight. I'll plug it in once a week to top it up.

While I was at Harbor Freight, I also picked up a cheap timing light and finally timed up the ignition properly (It's been off for years, apparently by more than 5 degrees...)

Funny story. I started the engine and idled it up to operating temperature, attached the timing light and couldn't see the marks (covered by dirt/corrosion), so I shut the engine off to see if I could find them (nope).
Tried to push-start it down the driveway... AND FAILED!

The car was stuck, half-way sticking out into the road (quiet road thankfully). So I grabbed a chain from the garage and fired up the ugly truckling ('86 Toyota Pickup) to tow it back up the driveway...

I tried to push start again... AND FAILED AGAIN!
Back on with the chain to drag the thing back up the driveway...

Push start worked this time, and I got it back up the driveway under power... ONLY TO SHUT OFF THE ENGINE!! D'OH!!

Push start once more and left it running this time...

I hope the neighbors weren't watching all this.

I touched a wrench to the spinning crankshaft pulley to clean it and I could then see the marks. It took me well over an hour to do the timing, but the test drive proved it was worth it. A bit more acceleration/power and a happier engine I'm sure.

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