Charged battery, but car won't turn over

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  #1  
Old 01-03-15, 07:05 AM
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Charged battery, but car won't turn over

My 19 year old Acura had a dead battery a couple of months ago. The battery was several years old, so I just bought a new one. The car started and ran fine until yesterday then it wouldn't turn over. I checked the battery and thought it was dead, although I'm not entirely sure, because when I checked it after charging it all night I discovered that the batteries in my voltage tester were dead. Anyway, it shows 12 volts now, and radio, fan, lights and all work fine. But it won't turn over at all.

I'm looking for advice on what the problem probably is so that I don't get taken to the cleaners by the repair guys.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-03-15, 07:11 AM
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12 volts is low. You should see about 14. Your next step is have the alternator checked. It may be killing the batteries.
 
  #3  
Old 01-03-15, 07:32 AM
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I agree with Ray. If the diode in the alternator is bad, then the voltage can be drained rather quickly through the system. Is the starter clicking? Do you have a "start" mode on your charger? Do the interior lights dim down when you turn the key to start? 12 volts is not enough.
 
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Old 01-03-15, 08:14 AM
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If an automatic transmission....... try starting in Neutral instead of Park.
 
  #5  
Old 01-03-15, 08:50 AM
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The battery should have 12.45 to 12.65 volts with the engine and accessories off. With the engine running (above idle) the batt. should read 13.5 to maybe 14.5 volts.
 
  #6  
Old 01-03-15, 09:12 AM
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also check the battery terminals and starter cable to make sure they have a good clean connection.
 
  #7  
Old 01-03-15, 09:31 AM
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You turn the key to START, and all you hear from under the hood is a "click" or "click-click-click...", or dead silence


Honda-specific
Ignition switch

Generic to all cars
* Battery discharged
* Battery internally shorted (dead silence only)
* Battery positive/ground cables dirty, frayed, loose, or disconnected
* Starter defective or worn
Fuse/fusible link blown (dead silence only)
* Poor maintenance, neglect, incorrect servicing
Starter solenoid bad


Starting Problems
 
  #8  
Old 01-03-15, 05:16 PM
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Thanks for the help, folks.

When I try to start it there is a low kind of hum or mild buzz (sort of like when an electric motor wants to turn but can't??) And after several tries today the battery still shows 12 volts. When I try to start with all the lights on they don't dim at all.
 
  #9  
Old 01-03-15, 05:57 PM
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Buzz or humm is likely your fuel pump priming. Easy hear inside the salon.
You did see what Honda site says, right? Ignition switch. Also explains why battery does not drain or lights do not dim. Because current is not drawn to the starter.
 
  #10  
Old 01-04-15, 04:56 AM
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And after several tries today the battery still shows 12 volts.
Can you be more specific about the voltage?

As others have mentioned; 12.0 volts will not be enough the start the car. The battery will probably need at least 12.30 volts in order to start the eng. And ambient temps below 60 degrees will almost always require a reading of at least 12.40 volts.
 
  #11  
Old 01-04-15, 08:07 AM
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My voltmeter only displays to the nearest volt, so 12 is the best I can do. But you guys have given me enough info to believe I should take it to a shop that specializes in electrical work, so that's where she is headed tomorrow. This place has done good work for me in the past.

I can't express all my thanks.
 
  #12  
Old 01-04-15, 09:44 AM
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That's fine with us, just be aware, that it is LIKELY to be ignition switch. So when shop tells you it's bad battery that THEY want to replace+alternator+half the harness+fuses and relays+ignition switch+starter+labor to the tune of about $1200, maybe raise your eyebrows?
Why not to consider a Honda mobile mech off craigslist? Will cost you much less than any shop.
 
  #13  
Old 01-04-15, 01:48 PM
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Ok. You, and a little other checking around, have convinced me. I'll replace the ignition switch.

Might just do it myself, since I found this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEfOeEzH2bs

I'll report back.
 
  #14  
Old 01-05-15, 03:35 AM
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I wouldn't start throwing parts at it until you get a hold of a decent voltmeter. A voltmeter can be purchased for as little as $10. This will allow you to more accurately test the battery 'engine off' voltage and, after you get it started of course, the charging system (engine running above idle) voltage output.
 
  #15  
Old 01-11-15, 07:38 AM
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I figured $53 for an ignition switch was worthwhile as a first step, given it is a likely solution. I would easily end up paying three times that to have someone even take a look at it.

I do have a question about installing it. Is it difficult to marry the switch part I bought to the key section without removing the whole key/switch assembly? The Acura installation is much more complicated than the Accord version in the video I referenced. Once you get the trim off it is fairly easy to get the switch out, at least the first two screws. The third one will require a right angle screwdriver with a very small phillips tip, but I hope I can scrounge one of those together. It was easy to disconnect the wiring harness. It isn't obvious how to detach the whole key/switch assembly, and I already made myself nauseous yesterday by spending too much time upside down under the steering wheel, and I don't want to go through that again by fiddling around trying figure out how to get the key/switch assembly out.
 
  #16  
Old 01-11-15, 08:26 AM
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If you have the plug off the original switch.....can you plug in the replacement switch and try starting the car.
 
  #17  
Old 01-11-15, 08:47 AM
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It doesn't need to be mounted in place next to the key cylinder and all that?
 

Last edited by pporto_22; 01-11-15 at 09:22 AM.
  #18  
Old 01-11-15, 10:57 AM
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I tried that. The only things that work when I do that is the beeper that when you open the door tells you that the key is in the ignition, and the exterior lights and the dome lights. When I put the plug back in the original switch, which is still screwed in place, everything works, except the starter.
 
  #19  
Old 01-11-15, 12:04 PM
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OK, I installed the new ignition switch. What a pain in the ass. Same results as beforehand.

What's the next step? Should I have checked fuses or something like that?
 
  #20  
Old 01-11-15, 12:45 PM
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Maybe, after 19 years, the Solenoid has finally bit the dust ?

Can you safely jump directly from the battery (or a battery) to the Starter ?
 
  #21  
Old 01-11-15, 12:45 PM
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You didn't check all your fuses at the beginning? As FMB42 said
I wouldn't start throwing parts at it until you get a hold of a decent voltmeter.
 
  #22  
Old 01-11-15, 03:08 PM
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I'm not capable of jumping directly to the starter.

As for fuses:

There is a 100 amp fuse labeled 'Main Fuse Battery'. It looks fine.
There is a 50 amp fuse labeled 'Main Fuse Ignition'. It looks fine.
There is a 7.5 amp fuse labeled 'Starter Signal'. It looks fine.
 
  #23  
Old 01-11-15, 03:44 PM
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Looks fine or tests fine? A fuse can look good but not have continuity...not often, but it happens.
 
  #24  
Old 01-12-15, 03:29 PM
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I can test them with my continuity tester. Any idea which of these I can rule out because everything except the starter works?
 
  #25  
Old 01-12-15, 07:30 PM
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From what you describe it sounds like a bad starter / solenoid. You can do a few things.

1. Take it off and bring it to a NAPA store where they can test it for you.
2. Take a chance and replace it
3. Test it VERY CAREFULLY

If you look at the starter you will see 1 large bolt/nut where your battery cable connects and you will also see another small wire connected. That small wire is what energizes the solenoid when you turn the key to start it. It kicks the starter gear out into the flywheel thus turning the motor over. If you have a test light or voltmeter I would test the power to that small wire when turning the key. If it lights up with your test light, or has 12V with your voltmeter when you turn the key, the problem is your starter. You will need someone to help you do this. Or as another user suggested, you can jump the starter, bypassing the ignition switch by touching the small wire to the large terminals.

One thing to be very cautious of EVEN THOUGH the car won't turn over still be cautious in case by some miracle it does. I would pull the spark plug wire off of the ignition coil so there is NO chance the car will start while doing this. If any of this seems like it's out of your comfort zone I would recommend taking it to a mechanic.

Hope this helps.
 
  #26  
Old 01-13-15, 06:21 PM
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crawl under vehicle and smack head of starter a couple times with hammer, and try to start. If it starts need a new starter. I know it sound cave man but it works.
 
  #27  
Old 01-17-15, 10:39 AM
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I maxed out my capabilities to figure this out, so I took it to my trusted mechanic, and we put in a new starter. The original ignition switch was good, so I am returning the replacement I bought.

It was a pleasure working with you guys. I'm sure I'll be back one of these days.
 
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