Looking for opinions before I buy a a new starter

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Old 12-07-08, 01:21 PM
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Looking for opinions before I buy a a new starter

I think I have narrowed down my starter problem, but I have little experience in automotive electrical repair and experienced advice would be very appreciated.

My 1995 altima w/auto. trans and 185k miles has an occasional non-starting issue.

I took it out and had it tested numerous times and it never failed. I cleaned every contact I could find, and checked the fusable link, ignition for continuity at all positions. I decided against testing the neutral switch for now. They seemed to be ok.

I took my volt meter and tested the large + cable coming from the battery which connects to the solenoid and to ground and I have full battery voltage at solenoid. I then connected again to the battery cable and to the snap connector that is the battery connection that runs through the fusible link, ignition, neutral switch and then to the solenoid. When I turn the key to start I get a flucuation of voltage between .24 and .50 volts. I reconnected the snap connector and the car did not start--so then I then hit the solenoid and starter with a hammer and the car started right up. SOOOOO it sounds like it's time to buy a new starter!

Do you agree?

Sorry for the long winded explanation but maybe others could learn from my long road to the problem diagnosis.
 
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Old 12-07-08, 02:07 PM
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solinoid most likely bad, just to help out though, check the voltage drop at the solinoid when cranking, hook your voltage meter at the starter solinoid then attempt to crank the engine, if the voltage drops more than .5 volts below battery voltage you have too much resistance in the battery cables, could be either corrosion at the battery connections or a break down of the cable itself. you also will need a volt meter on the battery while doing the voltage drop of the cable so you know what each is doing at the same time.

what happens in the solinoid is the contacts get pitted and don't allow good contact for voltage/amperage flow thru the solinoid. low battery voltage will exagerate the condition by not pulling the contacts together hard enough thus giving more arching it the switch.

are you going to cowboy up or just lay there and bleed?
 
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Old 12-07-08, 03:49 PM
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The contact between the solenoid and starter is external. it is soldered externally on the sloenoid and then bolts onto the starter. Nothing loose or dirty at any connection--that would be way too easy. Tried chaecking voltages while messing with as many wires as I could--no change. The starter has a hole in the cover--something plastic was there and broke off--and out came some black dust from the whole.

I think I will try to take apart the starter and solenoid and clean it all up. All I need is to get me to next year.

Thanx for the help
 
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Old 12-07-08, 09:19 PM
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the contacts that i am refering to are a small copper disk inside the solinoid that is pulled into contact with the bolts on top one of which has your battery positive cable attached to it, the other one goes to the starter for power, in effect it is a high amp switch for your starter.

life begins when the kids leave home and the dog dies
 
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Old 12-07-08, 09:55 PM
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Bad starter

An easier way to check voltage drop is to hook one lead of your voltmeter to the batt and the other as far down the circuit as you can get then energise the circuit(hit the starter) the volt meter will read the drop between the leads. You can also do this on the ground side. If you get a zero reading reverse the leads and check again just to be sure you dont have them backwards.RW
 
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