'84 Ford Laser (1.5L) won't crank

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  #1  
Old 01-30-03, 10:13 PM
toadflax
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'84 Ford Laser (1.5L) won't crank

Hi -

I've recently started having trouble with my car refusing to start. No cranking sound, no clicking, no nothing. Just turn the key, all the warning lights go out and nothing else happens. It seems to do it after I've just driven somewhere and turned the engine off, however briefly - it's never done it first thing in the morning, for example. Whether this is a symptom, or a malevolent wish to strand me somewhere, I'm not sure. Perhaps the latter, as it never does it when I park on a hill either, only in flat areas.

I've called roadside assistance twice. The first time he checked the battery (fine even when I tried to start up) and diagnosed it as worn brushes in the starter motor. He suggested replacing it for $250Aus. and got me going again. I took the car for a regular service at my usual mechanic's the next day and also asked him to check the starter. He was unable to reproduce the problem and loath to replace the starter motor on that basis. The second time I called roadside assistance, it cranked a few times but wouldn't start and then refused to crank at all. By the time the guy showed up, the car had cooled down and started no problem. It's happened about once a week ever since (total of about five times), so I've taken to carrying a hammer and tapping the starter motor with it. So far this hasn't failed to work, although the most recent time took quite a bit more tapping.

My question is - should I just insist they replace the whole starter or just wait until it's a chronic problem or I get really stuck somewhere? Or is there something smaller we might try first? This car has never had a problem starting except on a few occasions when I've managed to flood it - it has a manual choke. Perhaps I should also mention it's been extremely hot here lately - hovering around the 100F mark. Not sure if that contributes, but it makes it much less pleasant to stand around in waiting for a mechanic!

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Cheers,

Anna
 
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  #2  
Old 01-31-03, 12:06 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Colorado
Posts: 431
Not knowing Laser here's my 2 cents. If I were checking this out I would make sure the battery and starter connections are squeeky clean and tight. Also the connections on the starter relay/solenoid. If the solenoid/relay is seperate from the starter you might try replacing it but I think I would tend to agree with the roadside assistance in that the starter is shot. Old starters due tend to get heat sensitive. How old is the starter? You could try something out of the way and pour some water on the starter when it wont work and see if that cools it off enough to crank, if it does than you have found your problem. The brief flood of water will not hurt the starter.
 
  #3  
Old 01-31-03, 06:11 AM
Joe_F
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I agree with Stevo, but I wouldn't put water on the unit .

If the starter is still acting up, replace it with a factory rebuilt unit. Make sure no heat shields are missing.
 
  #4  
Old 01-31-03, 04:12 PM
toadflax
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Thank you both for your replies. I have no idea how old the starter is - I bought the car second-hand a couple of years ago and believe the engine had recently been replaced with a reconditioned one. I know, it's terrible but we have no service history from before we bought the car. I'll check the connections and keep carrying the hammer until the problem becomes reproducible, I guess. I was kinda looking forward to trying the water trick though!

By the way, a Laser is basically a Mazda 323 in disguise. That won't mean much unless you're familiar with a 323, I guess, but it's what I've been told.


Cheers,
Anna
 
  #5  
Old 01-31-03, 04:18 PM
Joe_F
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Yes, we get that shoe here (Or we did). It's a cheap little tyke that's gone from their line as I recall.

My vote is for a bad connection or a poorly rebuilt starter. Again, if the heat shields (if so equipped) are missing, the starter will soak in heat and quit when hot. If so, replace the heat shield. The parts department of the dealership should be able to verify that for you.

Wow, that's hot . I just sent photos of my 1979 Trans Am to "roo land" as it is being featured in a book. The company is based out of West Perth Australia that is compiling the book.

I suppose you could hitch a ride with a kangaroo
 
  #6  
Old 01-31-03, 06:28 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Colorado
Posts: 431
If the water trick is unacceptable than you can always use an Electronic Freeze Spray that we use in the component test industry. It's available at your local Electronics supply store under many brand names and ranges of temperature reduction.

Quick Freeze Spray
Multi-purpose use a specially formulated
spray to reduce surface temperatures rapidly.
Aids detection of overheating and similar
faults in electrical equipment, PCBs,
transistors, condensers etc.
Can also be used for:
Checking dry joint connectors
Cooling thermally sensitive parts
Temperature range Reduces component
temperature to -50C


http://www.idc-ltd.co.uk/IDC%20-%20E...lectronic.html
 
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