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Old 01-31-2015, 11:05 PM   #1
eddacker
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1995 SL2
Question 1995 SL2 starter motor spins but does not engage

I have been reading several "starter" related threads on here and watched a couple of richpin videos. I have learned things from both. Thanx.

My 1995 4-door, white, SL2 has 152K on the clock and runs fantastic. Until I left my cell phone on the kitchen counter. I had started replacing the rear speakers, but time ran out. I had to go. I started the car and then remembered the phone. I turned off the car and went in and got the phone. When I got back a minute later the car wouldn't start. That was Friday, noon. It is now Saturday night.

My battery, charging system and, really, all electrics seem fine. Bright headlights and all the instrument panel lights come on. Warning bells ding and everyone seems happy. My code alarm arms and disarms correctly. But I don't think this one does a starter lock out anyway.

If I turn off all the chimes and the radio I can hear the starter motor (electric) spinning quite fast when the key goes to the 'start' position. When I do this there is no dimming of the headlights or any changes in the instrument panel lights and the radio comes on as normal (muted). I try to only spin the electric starter motor for very short periods.

If I shift to anything other than Park or Neutral the electric starter motor does not spin. I assume the lock out switch is working correctly. It is an automatic.

I think it must be sudden solenoid death of the original OEM starter and went and got an identical replacement starter; remanufactured and (hopefully) tested at the factory before reaching the shelves of my local parts store. This starter displayed the same behavior. I assumed a faulty replacement starter, a common occurrence, and returned it. The second starter, installed, displayed the same behavior. YIKES! Maybe it isn't the starter?

This circuit seems so simple yet I must be missing something?
1. start key sends current to coil-1 which moves the pinion out towards flywheel.
2. current continues on to coil-2 that closes the solenoid contact.
3. full battery voltage is sent to the armature through the contact and starter motor spins.

Could someone tell me where I have skipped a step? What is preventing my spinning starter motor from engaging the flywheel? There certainly were no noises that would even hint at physical damage to any gear teeth.

TIA
Kind regards,

...
thanx,

~eddacker 2015

1995 SL2 152K
White, clean, lovely, cc, ac, code alarm, pwr windows, traction control, anti-lock 4wh disks,
alloy stock wheels, sunroof, automatic, SAE bolts and nuts

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Old 01-31-2015, 11:09 PM   #2
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1998 SC2
Default Re: 1995 SL2 starter motor spins but does not engage

You need a new starter, that one has thrown in the towel. It is either the plastic gears or teh pinion clutch that has failed. Low cost replacement.

Price includes shipping and it works with al years and all models. http://www.dbelectrical.com/p-1009-n...02-satrun.aspx

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Old 01-31-2015, 11:40 PM   #3
billr
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Default Re: 1995 SL2 starter motor spins but does not engage

Wow, I'm in the SF E. Bay, and just had the identical problem with a '94. Do you suppose there is something in the air that is eating Saturn starter clutches??? Seriously, since you have already tried two "rebuilds" and they both seemed bad, I understand your concern/confusion. However, it still sounds like the bad starter-clutch syndrome. With the starter (any of them!) out, you could try turning that little gear by hand. One direction it should turn much easier than the other. One direction the clutch should release before the armature has to turn, but in the other direction the armature should have to turn and that takes a lot to do because you will be back-driving though the planetary gearing.

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Old 01-31-2015, 11:43 PM   #4
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1998 SC2
Default Re: 1995 SL2 starter motor spins but does not engage

Pinion clutch failure in just about any rebuilt starter is very common and almost 33% failure if they are not tested before assembly.

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Old 02-01-2015, 10:24 AM   #5
eddacker
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1995 SL2
Default Re: 1995 SL2 starter motor spins but does not engage

Alrighty then, two dips in the same pool and I still come out wet?
I guess I will avoid buying auto electrical parts remanufacturado en México from our local parts store.

I cannot believe, which is why I went with the second item from the same place, that these are not tested before leaving the factory. I can believe that parts stores find it too expensive to have testing available in-house.

...
thanx,

~eddacker 2015

1995 SL2 152K
White, clean, lovely, cc, ac, code alarm, pwr windows, traction control, anti-lock 4wh disks,
alloy stock wheels, sunroof, automatic, SAE bolts and nuts

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Old 02-01-2015, 10:34 AM   #6
OldNuc
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1998 SC2
Default Re: 1995 SL2 starter motor spins but does not engage

Rebuilt anything such as starters and alternators use recycled parts of dubious condition and knockoff copies of the original parts if any replacement required. This is why the new Asian import is a better deal as it is probably actually tested and someone knows what the put into it. The final seller is sanding behind the warranty as well and they are lower cost as well.

It takes 30 minutes or less for a minimum wage worker to dismantle, clean, inspect, replace obviously defective parts, reassemble, run no load test, and box an alternator or starter. What level of quality do you suppose this will yield?

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Old 02-01-2015, 10:57 AM   #7
eddacker
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1995 SL2
Thumbs Up Re: 1995 SL2 starter motor spins but does not engage

I believe I now know!
Always great advice Oldnuc, I will take it.

...
thanx,

~eddacker 2015

1995 SL2 152K
White, clean, lovely, cc, ac, code alarm, pwr windows, traction control, anti-lock 4wh disks,
alloy stock wheels, sunroof, automatic, SAE bolts and nuts

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