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Thread: Car Not Starting, Already Swapped Starter

  1. #1
    Senior Member uhhair's Avatar
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    Car Not Starting, Already Swapped Starter

    So my car has decided to be a jerk and isn't starting.

    I have power, battery was replaced last year and I just replaced the starter as I thought that might be the issue, since once time while banging on the starter over the winter to get the car to turn over, it actually worked.

    However, that seems to have been a coincidence and not correlated, since it still doesn't turn over.

    I definitely have power, all my lights/accessories work, and I've had the car jumped just in case a low battery was the issue, so we can rule out a weak/dead battery.

    What else should I start chasing? The starter isn't engaging or trying to turn the engine over, but the last time I got the car's starter to engage (a couple of months ago) after spending about 5-10 minutes at it, it ran for a good 30 minutes. That's about all I have to work with.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Rich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uhhair View Post
    ....it still doesn't turn over.

    I definitely have power, all my lights/accessories work, and I've had the car jumped just in case a low battery was the issue, so we can rule out a weak/dead battery.

    What else should I start chasing? The starter isn't engaging or trying to turn the engine over, but the last time I got the car's starter to engage (a couple of months ago) after spending about 5-10 minutes at it, it ran for a good 30 minutes. That's about all I have to work with.
    Let's be clear about the conditions before we figure out what to look at.

    'Doesn't turn over' and 'starter doesn't engage' are both pretty clear.

    3 questions:
    1. When you turn the key do you hear any sound at all from near the starter? A click, even?
    2. When you turn the key do the headlights dim at all? A lot? No dimming?
    3. Has this problem been getting more and more frequent or did it go bad all at once?
    March '81, 5-speed, black interior

  3. #3
    Senior Member uhhair's Avatar
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    1. The new starter does click if you lay behind the car and listen when turning it over yes.
    2. When you turn the key, you can hear the relays click, the fans shut off (if you had them on before attempting to start, yes I've been messing with all that stuff), headlights dim, etc.
    3. Honestly never had much of a problem starting until it went downhill very quickly.

    The starter is new, and I've already swapped the relay with a known good one, so we can safely rule those two components out for the time being.

    My guess is I need to check if the starter wiring recall is done (VIN 2681), and then go from there. Just want to chase down any other possible leads so I can line them up and knock them out while working.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bitsyncmaster's Avatar
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    If your fans stop and headlights dim, you probably have a bad connection or the battery is weak. If you jump from the battery with same results it's probably a bad connection. If you jump from the jump terminal to battery "ground" same results would indicate a ground connection problem. Jump from jump terminal to engine block and it starts would prove the ground circuit is poor.
    Dave M vin 03572
    http://dm-eng.weebly.com/

  5. #5
    Senior Member uhhair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bitsyncmaster View Post
    If your fans stop and headlights dim, you probably have a bad connection or the battery is weak. If you jump from the battery with same results it's probably a bad connection. If you jump from the jump terminal to battery "ground" same results would indicate a ground connection problem. Jump from jump terminal to engine block and it starts would prove the ground circuit is poor.
    Would you mind spelling out what you mean by jump from jump terminal to engine block and the other ones? I want to try these but you need to spell it out for me a bit more. Thanks!

    I just tried jumping from the battery again. Interestingly enough, with a car jumping it, the starter itself no longer clicks. Try starting it without jumping the battery, and I hear the starter click again. Not sure what that means.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bitsyncmaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uhhair View Post
    Would you mind spelling out what you mean by jump from jump terminal to engine block and the other ones? I want to try these but you need to spell it out for me a bit more. Thanks!

    I just tried jumping from the battery again. Interestingly enough, with a car jumping it, the starter itself no longer clicks. Try starting it without jumping the battery, and I hear the starter click again. Not sure what that means.
    Your battery has two wires that carry the current to the starter. The red battery wire runs directly to the starter and then the jump terminal wire is also attached to the starter.

    The black battery wire runs to the frame and there is a jumper from the engine block to the frame side of the motor mount.

    Poorly connected terminals on any of those wires can make the starter fail (starter draws about 150 amps). Black wire terminals also need clean tight connections on to the frame. So to narrow down which wire is bad, you can use your booster cables connected to the engine block (bypassed the black wires) or the jump terminal (bypassed the red battery wire).

    Now if it cranked with the booster cables connected on the battery posts then your cables are good and the battery is low.

    Lastly it could be the wiring from the starter relay to the starter solenoid.
    Last edited by Bitsyncmaster; 04-18-2017 at 06:16 PM.
    Dave M vin 03572
    http://dm-eng.weebly.com/

  7. #7
    Senior Member DMC5180's Avatar
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    There should be label on your coil cover that explains the jumpstart process and recommend connections.

    Jumper cables : black goes to the engine lifting ring near throttle spool. Red connects to the jump start post under the Red terminal Cover positioned between the coil cover and header bottle.

    Remove the start inhibit relay and make sure all socket terminals are visible and fully seated. I have a buddy the had an intermittent starting issue. It turned out, one of the female spade terminals had pushed out of the housing when he upgraded relays.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    DENNIS

    VIN 5180, Frame 3652, STAGE I, DM-eng Solid State Solutions (RPM Rly, Dm.Lt.Mod., Fan Fail Mod. , FAN Rly, HS.Rly) , HID sealed beam style headlights, SPAX user since 2009, Eibach springs, Mid-State Club Adj. Rear LCA's, DPNW poly-sway bar kit, DMCEU LCA Stabilizer link kit, DMCMW Illuminated door sills, Aussie Illuminated SS Shifter plate, GENUINE MOMO EVO Steering wheel, DELOREANA Extended View Side Mirrors w/ Heaters, DELOREANA LED Door Lights.

  8. #8
    Senior Member uhhair's Avatar
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    Problem solved, and unfortunately is one of the more expensive varieties...

    Turns out I have a worn out ignition that's not making the electrical connection when the key is turned.

    Thanks for the help everyone!

  9. #9
    Senior Member DMC5180's Avatar
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    DMCH has a replacement switch that requires a little wire splicing but it's not too bad.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    DENNIS

    VIN 5180, Frame 3652, STAGE I, DM-eng Solid State Solutions (RPM Rly, Dm.Lt.Mod., Fan Fail Mod. , FAN Rly, HS.Rly) , HID sealed beam style headlights, SPAX user since 2009, Eibach springs, Mid-State Club Adj. Rear LCA's, DPNW poly-sway bar kit, DMCEU LCA Stabilizer link kit, DMCMW Illuminated door sills, Aussie Illuminated SS Shifter plate, GENUINE MOMO EVO Steering wheel, DELOREANA Extended View Side Mirrors w/ Heaters, DELOREANA LED Door Lights.

  10. #10
    Senior Member uhhair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMC5180 View Post
    DMCH has a replacement switch that requires a little wire splicing but it's not too bad.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Yeah I'll buy the electrical portion first and see if that solves it, but I have a jacked up tumbler so odds are, it's going to be that.

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