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Old 05-07-2007, 06:27 PM   #1
The Critic
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1996 SL2
Default Urgent!! Starter ???

It seems like my Saturn wants to start about once every twelve tries. It got a lot worse today.

I turn the key, and just hear the solenoid engage, once. Click.

That's all that happens. Each time I turn the key, that's all I get. Connection is fine at the battery, everything seems tight.

Is it really a starter???I'm about to run out right now and pick-up an Autolite Platinum starter and slap it on as I'm getting worried...

Thanks.

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Old 05-07-2007, 07:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Urgent!! Starter ???

How's your charging system and battery? Do you have 12 volts going to the starter?

I'd say the starter solenoid is bad. Just get a reman and throw it in there.

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Old 05-07-2007, 08:15 PM   #3
Ryan from Ohio
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Default Re: Urgent!! Starter ???

Why buy the whole starter?

Just buy the solenoid!

Take the starter OUT so you can have it tested. If the starter motor is good, just buy the $20 or less solenoid and install.

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Old 05-07-2007, 09:43 PM   #4
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Default Re: Urgent!! Starter ???

12.9 v- engine off
14.0 v- engine on

So I think my battery and alternator (somewhat new) are both OK.

They only sell the solenoid and starter motor as once piece. So it looks like I'll need to get a $143 Autolite Pro new one.

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Old 05-07-2007, 11:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: Urgent!! Starter ???

I've had two starters go bad, it was the starter definitely not the solenoid. The bearings go bad and bind up under heat, sometimes it'll loosen up as it cools sometimes it won't. When you have the starter tested listen for noisy bearings, most likely it will work just fine on the bench after getting jostled around during removal. Why buy a whole new starter when you only need bearings? Because like the solenoid bearings are integrated with the starter, neither the bearings or solenoid are user serviceable. Regardless of the problem you need a new starter.

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Old 05-08-2007, 01:00 AM   #6
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Default Re: Urgent!! Starter ???

Quote:
Originally Posted by kornphlake View Post
I've had two starters go bad, it was the starter definitely not the solenoid. The bearings go bad and bind up under heat, sometimes it'll loosen up as it cools sometimes it won't. When you have the starter tested listen for noisy bearings, most likely it will work just fine on the bench after getting jostled around during removal. Why buy a whole new starter when you only need bearings? Because like the solenoid bearings are integrated with the starter, neither the bearings or solenoid are user serviceable. Regardless of the problem you need a new starter.
Come to think about it, my problem only occurs after repeated starts after many short trips during the course of one day. If I allow the car to sit overnight, it starts fine. If it sits for say, four hours after a drive, it'll start fine. It's only when I go from the store to the school and to say, a restaurant, will it act up.

Any tips for starter r/r? What tools do I need? The instructions mention something about an "obstruction wrench." ???

Thanks.

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Old 05-08-2007, 02:15 AM   #7
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Default Re: Urgent!! Starter ???

Only need a 13mm deep socket and some extensions, and the ability to contort your arm to start the upper bolt, since it is buried behind the starter.... Not hard, but tricky to get the top bolt in....

BTW, if it just clicks, most of the time, it is a solenoid failing. It draws more amps than normal, and wont leave the starter enough to turn. If it turns over a few times then quits, then it is bad starter motor, with bad brushes or windings, or a "dead spot" as often referred to.

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Old 05-09-2007, 09:32 PM   #8
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Default Update on situation

So, my dad has been driving the SL2 for the past week. He starts it up once in the morning to go to work, and once in the afternoon to return home. Only two starts per day, and each start is after the vehicle has been sitting for 8+ hours.

Guess what? No problems, at all. Not a single starting problem.

I have a Fri afternoon appointment to use the school shop to check the electrical system...but this has me really stumped now.

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Old 05-11-2007, 05:21 PM   #9
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Default Re: Urgent!! Starter ???

It sounds exactly like the problem I had, it's the bearings binding when hot. Replace the starter, at most it'll take an hour and a half.

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Old 05-12-2007, 12:29 AM   #10
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Default Re: Urgent!! Starter ???

Back to square one.

Today, I did a voltage drop test. All connections tested out to < 0.1 resistance, so don’t have a voltage drop problem at least according to my findings.

However, I then took the car for a drive to fully charge the battery, and had my buddy at the local Kragen perform a battery load test. The tester displayed “CHECK FOR BATTERY CORROSION” on the screen multiple times. I take that I have an invisible corrosion problem somewhere, as I’ve checked every connection and all are clean and tight?

Or should I even trust the tester?

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Old 05-12-2007, 01:03 AM   #11
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Default Re: Urgent!! Starter ???

All the computerized displays in the world won't substitute for hands-on work; remove both battery cables, negative cable first, and visually examine the battery posts for cracking then the cable for corrosion under the heavy insulation especially the positive cable. Simply removing the cables from the battery posts and flexing the ends where the wire strands are covered by the insulation may reveal powder corrosion under the insulation. If there's corrosion the cable(s) may need replacement. Have you checked the other ends of the cables going to the starter and frame ground? Is the battery more than 4yrs old? Simple voltage drop tests tell you voltage is at the measured site but won't tell you if corrosion destroys wires that prevents large current from reaching the starter during starting. No one can say for certain what the voltage drop means when measuring voltage during starting; is it 100% from the starter motor drawing the large current and not from wire resistance? Or is part of the drop from the battery discharging large amounts of current in such a short period of time? Figure in poor cabling from corrosion/loose connections and an aging battery and it becomes a puzzle unless each component is taken into consideration as to how it plays in this electrical circuit. Is the starter the original one? Any starter can fail for any reason but most likely from daily use and the number of years put on them may be one way of determinating whether its time to replace or not. The other alternative is to have the battery/charging/starter system tested free at your local auto shop providing this service. It may help to isolate the problem if you're puzzled about which way to proceed but ultimately you or someone will have to remove items for closer inspection before finding the cause of your intermittent problems.

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Old 06-03-2007, 02:22 PM   #12
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Default Re: Urgent!! Starter ???

Well, here's an update:

I traded cars with my dad for a few weeks, and he did not have the problem, not even once! I think it's because he only starts the car twice a day versus five, six, seven, or maybe even more times during the course of several hours like my mother does.

I had some time last night, so I took the battery out and had it bench tested by my buddy at the parts store. They have this tester that simulates day-to-day use and puts the battery through a series of charge and discharge cycles. The battery failed the test. In fact, it was leaking and "hissing" when the test was complete.

I went to Walmart and bought their $69 Everstart-MAXX battery. It has a three year free replacement and nine year pro-rated warranty. Time will tell if this was my problem, but for sure, it was one of my problems.

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Old 06-03-2007, 09:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: Urgent!! Starter ???

Its the starter motor. Get one from the JY or eBay. Much cheaper.

and you will also need a 10mm socket for the thick purple ignition trigger wire.

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