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Old 04-02-2012, 04:06 PM   #1
papoopeepoo
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2001 SC1
Dizzy Intermittent Starting Problems

Hello everyone,

I tried searching but couldn't find a thread that matched my starting problems, except one mention of starters having "heat stroke"

I'm the second owner of my 01 SC1, behind my sister (who followed all recommended service schedules from the dealer for the 10 years she had it). Since getting the car last year, I've replaced the ECTS, thermostat, radiator, water pump and battery. I have no codes, the last code was for the TTS and eventually settled itself and hasn't come on since then. Motor runs great once spinning.

Last night (3:30AM, of course) was the second time I ran into the problem where I drove for close to 30 miles no problem, parked, turned the engine off to unload people, then tried restarting 5 minutes later with no reaction from the starter. I get no sound, clicking or cranking. The battery is fine, voltage rests at about 12.5V (stereo system still bumps). I have not checked the fusible link, but since the problem is so intermittent I'm not sure where else to start. All the dash indicator lights come on when in "run" and the fuel pump can be heard.

I'm a click away from overnighting a new starter, but If there is a way to save this $100 I'd like to know.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 04-02-2012, 04:42 PM   #2
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1996 SW2
Default Re: Intermittent Starting Problems

Can we assume, from the mention of the TTS code, that it's an automatic? If so, have you tried starting it in Neutral, and tried moving the shifter around while turning the key? Beyond that, you'd have to check the voltage at the purple wire at the starter at the moment it's failing. But the prime suspect, at its age, is the starter. How many miles on the car?

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Old 04-02-2012, 04:49 PM   #3
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2001 SC1
Default Re: Intermittent Starting Problems

Should've mentioned that stuff: automatic, 130K miles.

Yeah, I tried park and neutral. I don't remember a light dim when turning the key, I'm not 100% there.

Last edited by papoopeepoo; 04-02-2012 at 04:56 PM..

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Old 06-04-2012, 02:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: Intermittent Starting Problems

The problem occurred again about 20 minutes ago. First start of the day was clean and normal. First, 1 mile trip, turned off for 2 mins, turned back on no problem, then another 5 mile trip. Turned motor off for 5 mins, came back out the store with my lunch ready to eat, all accessories worked fine (DMM read close to 13V at battery), but engine would not turn over. The starter made no attempt to turn over. For the next 10 mins, I tried the ignition every few minutes with nothing. I tried moving the shifter between P & N and trying starting in both with nothing. The brake pedal seemed especially stiff.

Finally, after doing nothing differently from the first 20 tries, I turned the key and it started right up in Park.

I will check connections on the starter when it dries out a little outside. Does this sound anything like a problem with the sensor that tells the computer the tranny is in Park or Neutral? How difficult is this to diagnose with a DMM or similar tool?

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Old 06-04-2012, 02:25 PM   #5
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1996 SW2
Default Re: Intermittent Starting Problems

You'd have to wait until it happens again. There's a purple wire on the starter solenoid. At the time of failure, you have to check for voltage on that wire while someone hits the key in the START position. If there's voltage there, then the starter is the prime suspect (and they do often fail hot). If no voltage, the problem is upstream, and the neutral safety switch is one possible suspect. It's sounding more like the starter, though; the NSS usually doesn't fail based on temperature, and if it fails, it either completely fails, or goes out of adjustment (and the shifter jiggle usu. indicates that).

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Old 06-04-2012, 02:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: Intermittent Starting Problems

I think I'll replace the starter, the motor has too much life in it (because of this site) to think otherwise.

I think the starter clutch gets caught sometimes and causes rough starts. Does this sound accurate? By rough starts I mean I hear a clunk as soon at the motor starts, before I can release the key from START.

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