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Old 08-24-2011, 09:01 PM   #1
MKR
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1997 SC2
Default Click click crank

I think I just drained the battery by starting too much and using too much power, but it can't hurt to ask.
  1. Drove to get a haircut
  2. Drove 500 feet to Wal-Mart
  3. Drove 2 miles to the grocery store

I also had the fan and AC running at full blast the whole time. It clicked once when I turned the key at the last stop, then clicked again on the second turn. It cranked on the third try.

This was after it sat for 2 days. Is this a symptom of putting too much on the battery without giving it time to charge up?

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Old 08-24-2011, 09:50 PM   #2
td1238
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1999 SL2
Default Re: Click click crank

If it otherwise cranks at normal speed, and your headlights are fully bright with the key 'off,' then the problem likely lies within the starter solenoid. You can merely replace the solenoid (which requires removal of the entire starter motor), or you can replace the entire motor. The brushes are likely worn, too. These are special order from NAPA, and they come from Virginia. The brushes and solenoid are likely much cheaper than a new motor, but might not be as convenient.

If you do rebuild the old motor, be sure to clean up all external connections.

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Old 08-24-2011, 09:52 PM   #3
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Default Re: Click click crank

Removing the end cap will disclose the condition of the brushes. If they both look like they have plenty of wear left, then you can probably just replace the solenoid and get plenty more miles out of the motor as-is. Perhaps order the brushes now so that they will be handy later. If you by chance agitate or remove the brush holding assembly, be sure to reinsert the phenolic insulators that go between the brushes and the brush tension springs. If these are not put back in place, a direct short will occur through the tensioning springs, and the motor will not work.

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Old 08-24-2011, 10:28 PM   #4
MKR
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Default Re: Click click crank

Would that explain why it occasionally wont start after sitting a couple of days?

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Old 08-25-2011, 12:56 AM   #5
Fingolfin
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Default Re: Click click crank

Could be starter... just as likely you've got a dead alternator that's just not charging the battery. Go to AutoZone or someplace similar to get your battery tested, just to make sure you don't have a bad one.

On the car with the engine off, your battery should be giving 12 to 12.5 volts from the battery posts. With the engine on, it should be in 13.5-14.5 volt territory. if it's lower than that, chances are your alternator is shot. If it's testing as good, then you've got to look at your starter.

Just went through this myself!

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Old 08-26-2011, 11:45 AM   #6
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Default Re: Click click crank

The lights dimmed a little bit when I turned the car off, but it was barely perceptible. I'm also pretty sure the alternator is fine because I hear something kicking in when I hold the window button down after it's fully open and when I turn the lights on.

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Old 08-26-2011, 12:03 PM   #7
Fingolfin
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Default Re: Click click crank

The alternator doesn't kick in... it runs off the drivebelt on the engine. What you're hearing is the relay kicking in to drive the power window motor. And it's totally possible for the battery to have enough juice to operate lights and the windows but not enough to crank the car... especially if the alternator is failing and delivering some charge when the car is on.

You won't really know until you check the voltage on the battery posts with the car on and off. If it's not that or a bad cell in your battery, then it's probably the starter.

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Old 08-26-2011, 03:40 PM   #8
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Default Re: Click click crank

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fingolfin View Post
The alternator doesn't kick in... it runs off the drivebelt on the engine. What you're hearing is the relay kicking in to drive the power window motor. And it's totally possible for the battery to have enough juice to operate lights and the windows but not enough to crank the car... especially if the alternator is failing and delivering some charge when the car is on.

You won't really know until you check the voltage on the battery posts with the car on and off. If it's not that or a bad cell in your battery, then it's probably the starter.
I know it's run by the belt. I assumed it worked like the AC compressor and only engaged when needed. If it's not something engaging in the engine area, why do I only hear it when I press the button when the window is already fully closed or open? And what about when I hear it after turning the headlights on?

The sound I hear is a change in RPM (confirmed by the gauge), not a switch.

The battery would have run down months ago when this first started if it were the alternator.

Last edited by MKR; 08-26-2011 at 03:54 PM..

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Old 08-26-2011, 05:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: Click click crank

It's always on. Your just asking for more from it, so it puts a larger load on the engine. Bigger load & same throttle = lower RPM.

...
The proper way to fix a S-Series automatic is to replace it with a 5spd O:)

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Old 08-26-2011, 06:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: Click click crank

I'll go and have Advanced Auto check the voltage some time next week. What should I be expecting for prices on a used or new {starter, solenoid, alternator}?

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Old 08-26-2011, 09:43 PM   #11
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Default Re: Click click crank

I had to put down about $110 or so for a reman alternator from O'Reilly a couple weeks ago. I had close to this same problem... oddly, I called a shall-not-be-named place that does rebuilds, and they wanted to charge me $165 to rebuild what I already had. I paid the $110 for a reman with a limited lifetime warranty; you'd think it'd be cheaper to rebuild the thing.

Cheapest starter I found on RockAuto.com was $116 for an ACDelco reman starter (part 3361176A).

Pick your poison cost-wise I guess!

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