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Old 11-26-2018, 10:12 AM   #1
DrewsBrews
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2004 VUE 2.2L
Default 2.2l starter and cables replaced, still have issue... flywheel?

2.2l 5speed with ~236k mi.

Started getting a no start no crank issue. Would just get click from under the hood. Often times I could just try turning the key again and it would start.. or after a few tries. Eventually it got worse and worse until one day it refused to no matter what I did.

Replaced the starter twice now. Each time it would start up fine with no issue for a month or two, then would randomly the issue would return. with a similar increasing frequency until I was left stranded. I also tried replacing the battery/started cables with no noticeable change.

During this time I found the starter would heat up from all the start attempts so it was getting power.

And most recently I've had luck first putting it in 5th gear and pushing the car a foot or two to turn the engine over a bit... Then it will start. This leads me to a theory the flywheel teeth are burnished on the side after the thousands of starts it's seen and the starter teeth have difficulty sliding into place. I imagine the starter doesn't begin turning until the shaft reaches it's full extension as to not damage teeth.

I suppose more investigation is in order. Anyone else having this issue?
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Old 11-26-2018, 03:20 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2.2l starter and cables replaced, still have issue... flywheel?

1-Cheap starters failing prematurely? Every starter using the standard configuration always begins with the starter solenoid powering up first to throw out the starter gear, engaging the flywheel teeth. As the solenoid pulls in, large electrical contacts close to allow battery power to the starter motor. With starter gear engaged (1st), power to the starter motor (2nd), starting occurs. Flywheels have hardened teeth to prevent chipping damage. Starter gears are also hardened for long life and cut at the front to allow easier engagement when meshing to flywheels. It would be rare to have starters chip and damage flywheels.

2-Are replacement battery cables the same gauge or less? If I'm not mistaken, battery cables are at least 6 gauge, better if 4 gauge. The lower the number the greater the amount of copper wires, to allow the highest current carrying high amps for the starter to run. Anywhere from 50-150+ amps are used for starting 4cyl engines. In addition, battery negative has two grounds. Battery negative may connect to the chassis first with an additional ground connecting chassis to engine block. Check both main ground connections. The starter and other electrical parts mounted on the engine needs a good ground connection to the battery - engine block is ground but it must be connected electrically to the chassis with either a bare braided wire or insulated ground wire to the chassis so battery ground is connected correctly.
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Old 12-04-2018, 05:08 PM   #3
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2004 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: 2.2l starter and cables replaced, still have issue... flywheel?

I guess it could be cheap starters failing early, but I'm loth to spend good money only to have the same thing happen. It just seems odd they are failing the exact same way the factory one did.

Wires I believe were the "standard motor products" brand which appear to be a combination of 4ga and 6ga like the factory ones depending on where they are connecting to.

For now if it doesn't start I can still get it to work every time by putting it in gear and rolling the car a bit to bump the flywheel.
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Old 12-04-2018, 05:36 PM   #4
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2.2l starter and cables replaced, still have issue... flywheel?

Unless a person has skills and some mechanical abilities, disassembling a starter may be the only way to determine a cheap low quality one from good ones. Starters made here in America may be higher priced compared to imported ones. The main differences in costs is manufacturing and labor. Labor rates in America are higher than China, the main supplier of low cost starters. Foreign made products are often blamed on low quality parts but we're discussing China manufacturing most of the electronics we use and of good quality while offering lower prices. An oem starter may cost several hundred dollars and may not be made in America but branding carries cache without any better performance than an imported one. I'd bet anyone to disassemble an oem made in America starter and a Chinese made one of much lower cost and point to poor quality. This scenario of cheap foreign goods was already played out after WWII when Japan was ruined industrially and couldn't manufacture goods. It was one of many Americans that helped Japan recover. W.E. Demmings helped Japan turn around after WWII and the rest is history. China clawed it's way from a third world communist closed society to manufacturing quality products at low prices. Mostly due to lower labor rates and importing/adapting manufacturing methods to run competitively with any nation. Education is the hallmark of any advanced society.

Yes, there are cheap and low quality starters but a person must research to separate low quality from good general purpose ones lasting more than a warranty. Made in China doesn't necessarily mean cheap low quality. Members in the S-series forums swear by a cheap low cost starter. Guess where it's made? It's cheaper than many but not low quality.
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Old 12-04-2018, 07:56 PM   #5
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2007 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: 2.2l starter and cables replaced, still have issue... flywheel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewsBrews View Post
I guess it could be cheap starters failing early, but I'm loth to spend good money only to have the same thing happen. It just seems odd they are failing the exact same way the factory one did.

Wires I believe were the "standard motor products" brand which appear to be a combination of 4ga and 6ga like the factory ones depending on where they are connecting to.

For now if it doesn't start I can still get it to work every time by putting it in gear and rolling the car a bit to bump the flywheel.
I wouldn't try another starter until:

(1) I was certain battery positive and negative cables are in perfect condition and cleanly connected - including both engine and battery ends.

(2) I was certain my battery had a good charge and didn't have some sort of intermittent problem keeping it from delivering full amperage for each and every crank cycle.

Regarding battery voltage - I can't speak for 2.2 but I've tested a couple of 3.5 Vue's and found if I had 12.6 volts battery voltage (considered fully charged) the voltage dropped to 8.2 on one Vue and 10.5 on the other while the engine was turning over to start.

I replaced the battery dropping to 8.2 with new battery and voltage during start was 10.5.

I'm just wondering if nudging your Vue in gear (great idea by the way) is simply loosening engine parts and pieces to allow a marginal electrical supply to spin an otherwise good starter to spin the engine?
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:37 AM   #6
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2004 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: 2.2l starter and cables replaced, still have issue... flywheel?

Well I replaced the cables myself and didn't see a reason to doubt the connections.

I am having no other issues currently in an electrical sense. Also it never acts like it is struggling to crank. When it does try to crank it does so as if there is no problem at all.

Initially before replacing the factory starter I replaced the clutch switch since it was only a couple dollars, and the ignition rotating switch. No change at all

It seems as if the solenoid is not able to fully extend the shaft so it does not make contact internally to engage the motor itself. Maybe over time it is not powerful enough to do so unless the teeth are better lined up, hence why it works after the crank is turned a bit. Something difficult to actually see since it is all enclosed when installed. And I bet it will work fine when removed for testing.

I wish I better knew the exact working of the solenoid.. If it is powered directly through the start signal wire, or if it is internally switched via relay? perhaps a low signal voltage not giving enough juice to force the shaft to extend in all circumstances?
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:08 PM   #7
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2.2l starter and cables replaced, still have issue... flywheel?

There are many YouTube tutorials about car starters. Some are animated, others are more detailed. Detailed explanations when googling 'how starters operate'. Your descriptions seems to point to intermittent starters. Where did you buy them and do they have branding?
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:38 PM   #8
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2005 VUE 3.5L
2007 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: 2.2l starter and cables replaced, still have issue... flywheel?

I consider the solenoid a large relay with two functions.

The start segment of ignition switch sends battery power to the clutch interlock switch - which when closed - sends power to solenoid.

Power to solenoid causes it to energise which (1) slides the small starter gear to engage flywheel teeth, and (2) once teeth are mated heavy contacts in solenoid provide a path for large start current to spin starter.

I've encountered a problem where a starter bolted to engine might not be perfectly aligned for the starter gear teeth to engage the flywheel each and every time. In this case you would hear a click as the solenoid slides the start gear but since gear does not slide far enough to engage the flywheel there's no path to run the starter motor.

I had this problem on a Corvair around 1965 and my financial status at the time forced me to modify the starter by elongating mounting holes so I could
slightly offset the starter to ensure the stupid thing would engage the flywheel 100% of the time.

You shouldn't have to do anything like this in 2018 but if you're confident your electrical supply is working properly you may need to try another starter and I'd probably try to find one out of a wrecked 2.2 Vue.
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Last edited by far2grumpy; 12-05-2018 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 12-11-2018, 09:09 AM   #9
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2004 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: 2.2l starter and cables replaced, still have issue... flywheel?

Well it finally went out Friday. Last time it started on it's own it I had to move the car 5 times or so and it eventually kicked in. Stopped to have a drink with coworkers and had to be push started in order to get back home.

Ordered a new ACDelco part. We'll see if that makes any difference. Even if it ends up the same as the others, at least it should give me a few months trouble free before it starts acting up.
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Old 12-11-2018, 03:55 PM   #10
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: 2.2l starter and cables replaced, still have issue... flywheel?

Can you jumper the starter directly to start it. i.e.

Make sure the car is in N and the parking brake set.

On the starter motor, use a screwdriver or large jumper wire to jump between the BATT connection and the S (the small terminal, purple wire) on the starter itself.

The start control (the purple wire) goes through a lot of stuff, This would bypass all of it.
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Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.
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Old 12-12-2018, 11:10 AM   #11
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2004 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: 2.2l starter and cables replaced, still have issue... flywheel?

Yes.. well the first time around I tried on the original starter before the replacement. I saw little crackles in the exposed braided power cable going to the starter but nothing else happened so by that point I figured the starter was just plain shot. (this was all after trying the clutch switch, ect)

But that was before the other starters failed so by that point I didn't know how strange things would get.

The new starter shipped in this morning.. If I can muster up the effort to replace it in the cold darkness after work this evening I'll give it a shot to short the solenoid and see if the current one spins up.

Last edited by DrewsBrews; 12-12-2018 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 12-21-2018, 11:35 PM   #12
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2004 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: 2.2l starter and cables replaced, still have issue... flywheel?

the starter on my 04 2.2L quit a few years ago

The braided wire from the solenoid to the motor had degraded to nothing. I thought I might be able to replace the braid, but the stud on the solenoid snapped off and took a handful of plastic with it.

I got a cheap replacement from Amazon, it works most of the time normally, but every once in a while it cranks for a split second, then stops, and all the dash lights and the cabin light go completely dark. If I keep holding the key it starts in a second, or if I let it off and turn the key again it will start.

I think its just the starter hitting a weak winding on the peak of a compression stroke. Maybe its a ground wire issue that makes it look like the battery voltage is dropping to zero... but since it happens randomly I tend to think its a bad winding in the cheap starter.
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Old 12-31-2018, 11:04 AM   #13
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2004 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: 2.2l starter and cables replaced, still have issue... flywheel?

After replacing the starter again with the new AC Delco unit all is well currently.

Only time will tell if the issue will slowly come back like the previous cases.
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Old 12-31-2018, 01:22 PM   #14
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Default Re: 2.2l starter and cables replaced, still have issue... flywheel?

It's unfortunate to have a replacement starter fail, if it is a faulty starter, and replace it. Hopefully this replacement lasts the life of this Vue. I cannot understand how a starter can fail unless low quality parts were used. Perhaps this is an exception.

While not related, a similar experience occurred to me. A supposedly good replacement alternator failed about a year into its lifetime warranty. Rockauto made good on a replacement. This was two years ago on a replacement to the replacement with zero issues. I won't mention the brand but I've used its products when I repaired my ac system without issues.
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Old 07-08-2019, 08:37 AM   #15
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2004 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: 2.2l starter and cables replaced, still have issue... flywheel?

Update:

Been doing fine except recently every once in a while it will give one crank then quit. I try again and it cranks and starts fine. Hope it isn't the same failure mode all over again.
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Old 07-08-2019, 01:12 PM   #16
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: 2.2l starter and cables replaced, still have issue... flywheel?

I'd say clean the grounds and the battery connections.
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