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Old 03-27-2013, 05:58 AM   #1
James614
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Default 2007 Ion startig issue (not ignition switch!)

Okay, so have a weird issue. The car was running fine until after sitting for 2 weeks where the battery died. I guess the passlock relearn had to be done afterwards, but in the process of troubleshooting the starter was replaced with a reman. Now, the car tries to start normally, but the starter spins without turning the engine. I had the starter tested and it spins rapidly and extends as it should. The teeth on the flywheel and starter are intact. Is there an electrical issue that could cause this?

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Old 03-27-2013, 07:09 AM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2007 Ion startig issue (not ignition switch!)

Replace the starter. From descriptions, this seems to be a faulty starter gear - the one-way bearing failed. You can test this yourself; with the starter off the engine, use a strong thumb to rotate the starter gear - one-way bearings will allow turning starter gear in one direction only and not in the other direction. Failed ones will allow the gear to turn in both directions. Its rare for it to fail but they do. The starter gear is recessed in its housing and can be pried out against its return spring without harm or by applying 12v to the solenoid (only) to pop the starter gear out too while manually turning the gear. 12v applied to the small terminal on the starter solenoid, ground on the starter frame.

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Old 03-27-2013, 08:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2007 Ion startig issue (not ignition switch!)

The starter gear doesn't turn with no voltage applied to it, in either direction from what I could tell. Should it only turn with 12v applied to the small terminal? I extends and retracts fine when you put 12v to it.

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Old 03-27-2013, 09:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2007 Ion startig issue (not ignition switch!)

Leave 12v on to power the solenoid; this extends the starter gear/one-way bearing to the engaged position as it would be in the engine to turn the engine flywheel. On good starters you should be able to manually turn the starter gear in one direction only - this is the released direction when the starter is left ON and the engine is running to prevent damaging the starter motor. The one-way bearing is a clutch to grab in one direction, the direction the starter motor is turning with the clutch engaged so the gear can turn the flywheel. As soon as the engine runs the flywheel will turn faster than the starter gear - the clutch disengages/releases and allows the gear to over run without turning the starter motor. The gear should be free to turn in one direction only. The other direction is against the motor and will turn the motor with difficulty.

If the gear is jammed in its one-way bearing then you found it this way and may be able to free it with force against the gear teeth. At this point the gear is already damaged. If you have a warranty, replace it otherwise another starter is needed. Replacing the one-way bearing/starter gear is possible but requires good skills to disassemble the starter, find the replacement, and reassemble everything back for final testing on the engine. This isn't for the average DIYer.
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Last edited by fdryer; 03-27-2013 at 10:00 AM..

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Old 03-27-2013, 11:36 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2007 Ion startig issue (not ignition switch!)

Thanks for the detailed and fast responses. I will test it out again when I get home. At this point I'm really kicking myself for sending off the old starter for the core when it wasn't the cause of the original issue, and this reman'd POS is definitely of much worse quality than I would have anticipated.

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Old 03-27-2013, 02:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2007 Ion startig issue (not ignition switch!)

Its unfortunate to buy a faulty reman'd starter when you're expecting good value but this does occur from time to time.

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Old 03-27-2013, 05:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2007 Ion startig issue (not ignition switch!)

Return your reman starter under warranty (I assume you got it at advanced-autozone-pep-o'reillys?) And just get your cash, pony up the extra and buy the "premium" (aka all new parts) starter. That way you aren't dealing with any reman parts problems and you can build from there

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Old 03-30-2013, 10:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2007 Ion startig issue (not ignition switch!)

Tested the starter today. I cant turn it back with my fingers, but a small 5" pair of pliers turns it easily. Are pliers too much to test the little one-way clutch with, or does his mean beyond a shadow of a doubt that the one-way clutch is the issue? I just want to be certain I know what the issue is before getting more expensive parts.

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Old 03-30-2013, 10:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2007 Ion startig issue (not ignition switch!)

The little one-way bearing is very robust as its a miniature clutch. The gear should turn freely without turning the starter motor. This is the disengaged part. The gear will be difficult to turn in the opposite direction as its now engaged and the starter motor is turning with it.

If the gear will not turn easily in the disengaged part of rotation then the starter is damaged. You can see how one works by examining a new or rebuilt starter.

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Old 04-03-2013, 09:21 AM   #10
James614
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Default Re: 2007 Ion startig issue (not ignition switch!)

Okay, got a replacement for the starter and it works great now. The "new" starter, aside from being over $100 more, would have taken over a week to order in. So I bit the bullet and took my chances with another reman'd unit, figuring that they wouldn't be in business if a large number of them didn't work out of the box. Plus, they already got me for my core.

This is actually the 3rd starter of the brand I put in. The first, the + terminal simply snapped off during install (the solenoids they use are NOT heavy-duty units by any means, but they work so whatever). The 2nd was giving me this issue with the one-way clutch. 3rd try is a charm, I guess.

However, now I know better, and when this one inevitably fails right after it's 1yr warranty period, I will spend the extra $$$ for a quality unit, even if it's reman'd I will make sure it's not the bargain economy brand.

Thanks for the help everyone.

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