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ahardb0dy

starter question,UPDATE WITH PICS !

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So, my buddy brought his 87 F150 over Thursday after work so we could check some stuff, I fixed the problem it had of not shutting off with the key but than the truck would not start so long story short I told him he could take my pathfinder home. I went to start the PF and it wouldn't start, finally got it to start, shut it off a few times and it restarted every time so off he went, next morning PF wouldn't start for him. So now his Ford is stuck at my house and my PF is stuck at his. Yesterday replaced all his battery cables and starter solenoid and finally got the F150 started and he drove it home, this morning he got dropped off by his room mate, the ford started but the starter would not dis-engage, PF still would not start. After work we drove to his house and replaced the solenoid and I swapped out the Ford EEC relay with a regular relay, truck started and even shut off but cranks really slow. My PF wouldn't start so I had my buddy hold the key to crank and one tap of the starter with the jack rod and it started right up, we drove both vehicles back to my house.

 

The starter in my PF was swapped to the new JDM engine from the old engine and the previous owner had swapped the engine with a junk yard one before I bought it so no idea how old it is,

 

My PF started doing the click click thing about a year ago and I did the relay mod and it has started the first try ever since.

 

My question is should I try just replacing the solenoid or just replace the whole starter? Would the solenoid be what is causing the starter not to do anything?

 

Thanks

Edited by ahardb0dy

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So, my buddy brought his 87 F150 over Thursday after work so we could check some stuff, I fixed the problem it had of not shutting off with the key but than the truck would not start so long story short I told him he could take my pathfinder home. I went to start the PF and it wouldn't start, finally got it to start, shut it off a few times and it restarted every time so off he went, next morning PF wouldn't start for him. So now his Ford is stuck at my house and my PF is stuck at his. Yesterday replaced all his battery cables and starter solenoid and finally got the F150 started and he drove it home, this morning he got dropped off by his room mate, the ford started but the starter would not dis-engage, PF still would not start. After work we drove to his house and replaced the solenoid and I swapped out the Ford EEC relay with a regular relay, truck started and even shut off but cranks really slow. My PF wouldn't start so I had my buddy hold the key to crank and one tap of the starter with the jack rod and it started right up, we drove both vehicles back to my house.

 

The starter in my PF was swapped to the new JDM engine from the old engine and the previous owner had swapped the engine with a junk yard one before I bought it so no idea how old it is,

 

My PF started doing the click click thing about a year ago and I did the relay mod and it has started the first try ever since.

 

My question is should I try just replacing the solenoid or just replace the whole starter? Would the solenoid be what is causing the starter not to do anything?

 

Thanks

 

All the Nissans I have owned, if the starter has given me problems, its always been the solenoid. A 94 Hardbody I just kept a long piece of metal in the bed, and if didnt start, I'd just thump the solenoid and it would fire right up. That being said, I normally just swapped the starter, because up until the Pathfinder, they were always super easy to change.

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Just wondering what makes you think it is the solenoid that is the problem?

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That's why I was asking, I figure the solenoid is what controls the starter motor and tapping it makes the starter turn so wondered if replacing the solenoid might fix the problem. I don't know what is actually wrong. If I feel ambitious today I may pull the starter and take it apart.

 

Not looking forward to pulling the starter, last time I removed one was in my 87 hardbody that had a body lift and the first time I removed it I know it took about an hour, the 2nd and 3rd time it was a lot quicker. Don't remember if I removed the oil filter I don't think I did.

 

The starter in my sentra was doing the same thing and I pulled it out and took it apart,cleaned everything and it has worked fine ever since.

Edited by ahardb0dy

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Went out before and tried to start the truck, it cranked slow but started, saw some corrosion on the negative battery cable, took the wire out of the clamp, cut about 1/2 inch of the copper off, removed 1/2" of the insulation, cleaned the terminal real good, cleaned the inside of the terminal and the battery post, re-assembled, tried starting and it still is doing the same thing, cranks real slow but will start. Positive cable is clean and tight. Checked output of alternator, 14.20 when running, 13.90 with AC and headlights on. With engine off battery has about 13 volts. when cranking drops down to about 10.89 than starts and comes back up to 14 volts.

 

Would the slow cranking be an indication the starter is going bad??

 

Thanks

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Did you do a load test on the battery? It could be getting a little weak/on it's way out as well. Local parts store should be able to do one for free for you

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Could be the starter, but if you have resistance somewhere in the wires it will decrease the current to the starter, making it turn slowly.

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I'm going to try jumping it with my car to see if the extra voltage makes it crank any faster. I'll have to call the local auto parts store to see if the can load test the battery, if not I'll have to borrow the tester from the mechanic at work Tuesday.

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If the starter sounds tired, and the problem is intermittent, and the good ol' "tap it with the jack handle trick" works my guess is the starter motor needs to be replaced.

The oil filter doesn;t need to be removed but it does make things a lot easier.

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That's why I was asking, I figure the solenoid is what controls the starter motor and tapping it makes the starter turn so wondered if replacing the solenoid might fix the problem. I don't know what is actually wrong. If I feel ambitious today I may pull the starter and take it apart.

 

Not looking forward to pulling the starter, last time I removed one was in my 87 hardbody that had a body lift and the first time I removed it I know it took about an hour, the 2nd and 3rd time it was a lot quicker. Don't remember if I removed the oil filter I don't think I did.

 

The starter in my sentra was doing the same thing and I pulled it out and took it apart,cleaned everything and it has worked fine ever since.

I'm planning to do a write up when ever I get a chance to do this but could be a while so I'll try to explain.

The solenoid on your starter does two things. It has a large contact plate that connects the battery voltage to the starter motor and it pushes the bendix out to engage the flywheel. With the contact plate next to the engine and exhaust it gets really hot, the extra heat increases resistance. When the contact plate gets worn down sometimes it doesn't hit the contacts with enough pressure to complete the circuit and you just hear the click. The solution is to move the contact plate away from the engine using a ford solenoid like you just changed on your buddy's truck.

 

You will have to go from your battery to the ford solenoid then to the second terminal on the starter, the one that the power comes out of the solenoid and into the starter motor. This will activate the starter motor but you still need to activate the solenoid to push the bendix out. Run a small 14 gage wire from the large terminal you just connected on the starter to the small terminal on the solenoid where the factory wire goes to activate it.

Now when the ford solenoid kicks off it will activate the solenoid on the starter and send full voltage to the starter motor.

Since you already did the relay mod you can leave all your wiring in place. Just add a 4 gauge cable to the second terminal of the starter solenoid and run a wire from your relay mod to the ford solenoid to activate it.

I wanted to try this on my parts truck to make sure it works on a nissan (it's a popular chevy mod) and post pictures but if you understand the principle you should be able to make it work.

James

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Thanks for the reply, after thinking about what you said and trying to picture it I found this diagram, I edited it to eliminate stuff that doesn't apply to the Nissan:

 

1zdx2px.jpg

 

look about how your were describing??

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You want the wire from the OUTPUT of the ford solenoid to go to the terminal on the starter that is labelled for the main OUTPUT of the stock solenoid (and then a jumper from there to stock solenoid to get it to push the pinion out). Not sure if that is what your diagram is saying... because it seems to be connecting to a terminal on the starter labelled "batt" which would usually, I think, be the INPUT to the stock solenoid, which is wrong.

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I guess the wire coming out of the ford solenoid would go to the stud labeled "out to starter" in the pic below with a jumper to the small wire in the plug on the nissan solenoid, that way the starter and solenoid trigger get power directly from the ford solenoid bypassing the stock solenoid, right?

 

1085v9c.jpg

Edited by ahardb0dy

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I guess the wire coming out of the ford solenoid would go to the stud labeled "out to starter" in the pic below with a jumper to the small wire in the plug on the nissan solenoid, that way the starter and solenoid trigger get power directly from the ford solenoid bypassing the stock solenoid, right?

 

1085v9c.jpg

 

That is my understanding.

 

In some sense this is just a "bigger relay mod" where instead of using a small relay to "amplify" the signal to the nissan solenoid, you just use another solenoid as a "big relay" to "amplify" the signal to the starter.

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From what I read on another forum where there was a big discussion about this, as far as with the Chevy's they say that heat soak is a problem and the Ford solenoid (which is more a relay than a solenoid), uses less power to open than does the original solenoid. I also saw this mod done with power from the battery going to the input of the ford solenoid than power going to the starter from the hot side of the ford solenoid, than they connect a smaller wire from the output of the ford solenoid to the starter. This way the starter always has voltage to it and the ford solenoid (relay) when triggered sends power to the stock solenoid on the starter to engage it allowing the vehicle to start.

 

Guess it's another one of those never ending discussions.

 

ANYWAY, about an hour ago, I hooked my jumper cables up to the battery in the PF from my sentra and when I started the PF it definitely cranked faster, so would that now indicate a problem with the battery? The battery is almost 2 years old, purchased 09-11,

 

THANKS ALL !!

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I'm actually surprised the solenoids are so small considering they have to be able to handle hundreds of amps. This is just a random side comment.

 

As for cranking faster with it jumped... could be that you have a battery problem, but if you had both batteries hooked up at the same time (you just put the jumpers on the PF battery terminals) then it might just be because you were getting less voltage drop since you were spreading the load between the two batteries. Try disconnecting the PF battery from the system and starting just from the Sentra battery.

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I'm planning to do a write up when ever I get a chance to do this but could be a while so I'll try to explain.

The solenoid on your starter does two things. It has a large contact plate that connects the battery voltage to the starter motor and it pushes the bendix out to engage the flywheel. With the contact plate next to the engine and exhaust it gets really hot, the extra heat increases resistance. When the contact plate gets worn down sometimes it doesn't hit the contacts with enough pressure to complete the circuit and you just hear the click. The solution is to move the contact plate away from the engine using a ford solenoid like you just changed on your buddy's truck.

 

You will have to go from your battery to the ford solenoid then to the second terminal on the starter, the one that the power comes out of the solenoid and into the starter motor. This will activate the starter motor but you still need to activate the solenoid to push the bendix out. Run a small 14 gage wire from the large terminal you just connected on the starter to the small terminal on the solenoid where the factory wire goes to activate it.

Now when the ford solenoid kicks off it will activate the solenoid on the starter and send full voltage to the starter motor.

Since you already did the relay mod you can leave all your wiring in place. Just add a 4 gauge cable to the second terminal of the starter solenoid and run a wire from your relay mod to the ford solenoid to activate it.

I wanted to try this on my parts truck to make sure it works on a nissan (it's a popular chevy mod) and post pictures but if you understand the principle you should be able to make it work.

James

Now that...is interesting, I have always swapped out the whole starter no questions asked.

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I can't find the receipt for the battery so tomorrow I'm going to call the store to see if they can look it up, if they will replace the battery I'm going to try that first. If it still cranks slow or gets stuck I'll pull the starter and take it apart and clean everything. I did that on my sentra's starter and it has been fine ever since.

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That is my understanding.

 

In some sense this is just a "bigger relay mod" where instead of using a small relay to "amplify" the signal to the nissan solenoid, you just use another solenoid as a "big relay" to "amplify" the signal to the starter.

Thats exactly what it is. This way the solenoid at the starter is not transferring power to the starter any more only pushing out the bendix to engage the flywheel. The ford solenoid is transferring the power to turn the starter motor.

 

I guess the wire coming out of the ford solenoid would go to the stud labeled "out to starter" in the pic below with a jumper to the small wire in the plug on the nissan solenoid, that way the starter and solenoid trigger get power directly from the ford solenoid bypassing the stock solenoid, right?

 

1085v9c.jpg

The large cable would go on the "out to starter" terminal. The other diagram looks like it is connected where the battery cable originally goes so it would be using both solenoids. The only advantage to that setup would be to not have the battery cable at the starter hot all the time for short reasons. This setup is usually used if moving the battery to the trunk. If the large cable from the trunk to the front of the car shorts to the frame your car won't catch fire. It just wouldn't start. But the solenoid at the starter is still transferring power and dealing with the heat problems. If the contact plate in the solenoid at the starter is worn it will still have starting issues.

 

I can see one problem with this setup which is why I wanted to try it before posting it. The solenoid on the starter doesn't send power to the starter motor until the bendix drive is fully out and engaged in the flywheel. With the motor starting at the same time as the solenoid pushing the bendix drive out it may just grind instead of engaging. I will have to get with some of my electronic friends about a half second delay to engage the ford solenoid then it should work.

James

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Ok, today's update, Pulled the battery and took it to auto parts store to be tested, of course the tester said the battery was fine.

 

Got home and decided to pull the starter !! (how do you put in curse words here !!), drained oil, filter was a bit-h to get off had to use pliers, exhaust manifold is just enough in the way so the filter wrench doesn't want to get a good grip of the filter. Got filter off, starter unbolted easily, went to remove thick battery cable from starter solenoid and problems began, the inside nut was turning with the outer one. Decided to remove the solenoid to give myself more access to the solenoid, removed the solenoid from the starter, spring fell out got that safe and on the side. Still couldn't get that nut off so the stud with the wire coming out of the solenoid was nice and shiny under the rubber boot so I removed that nut and than had enough slack in the battery cable to pull the solenoid outside the inner fender, finally was able to get the other nut off, so the solenoid joined with the spring on the side and out of the way.

 

(many more curse words inserted here !!), on to removing the starter, ha ha, fun, finally was able to squeeze starter up between the exhaust manifold and the hoses on the inner frame.

 

Took starter and solenoid into my shed and cleaned everything, reassembled solenoid to starter, started to drive to auto parts store to have starter tested and was thinking something was missing from inside the solenoid, turned around so I could check the FSM, sure enough the part that engages the lever that moves the bendix out was missing!!, back under the truck, where the heck did it go, 5 minutes later found it sitting on top of the tranny lines, back to the shed, removed the solenoid again, installed the missing part, re-assembled the solenoid to the starter, off to the auto parts store.

 

Had them test the starter and now for the big shocker of the day,

 

 

wait for it

 

 

wait for it,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OF COURSE THE STARTER TESTED FINE !!!!!

 

So now I'm telling the guy in the store "you know when I put this back in it won't work right?"

 

So got back home figured I'll hook the starter up to the battery which was still out of the truck, maybe the test machine had more voltage I thought, hooked the starter up to the battery out of the PF and it STILL WORKS FINE !!!

 

Guess cleaning everything helped!!

 

So now I guess on Saturday I'll get pissed off again and put it back in, going to run a new piece of 4 gauge (maybe 2 gauge) wire from the battery to the starter using a Street wires battery terminal I have lying around,

 

that was my day, how was yours???

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Sounded like a fun day! It could have been a bad connection between the cable and solenoid. Now that you have the stud tightened down you should be able to get the cable properly tightened on it and your problem might be gone. Apparently she just wanted to spend some time with you.

James

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I guess she figured I didn't have enough cuts on my hands!! LOL, Hopefully starter will be able to slip between inner fender and exhaust manifold, right now I'm willing to pull the fender out just to get it thru that space ! Find out Saturday, going to pick up a new length of Audio power cable to run between the battery terminal and the solenoid.

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Maybe I am reading you wrong, but when you remove/install the starter it sounds like you are trying to move it straight up/down. If so, have you tried putting it in from the front under the PS pump?

Edited by OlBlue
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I tried to get the starter out thru the front near the center link but it was getting hung up on something, maybe the tranny lines, so I ended up taking it out between the exhaust manifold and the inner fender. Going to try Saturday to get it back in the same way. I know when I did it on my 87 hardbody (which the body sits higher than the PF and it had a 3" bodylift which made things easier), I had to after unbolting the starter, flip it over so the gear end was facing forward than I was able to get the starter out. A lot less room in the stock PF. Got 3 cuts on my hands and arm from removing it I expect more re-installing it !!

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Just thought I would throw that out there, the AT lines are in the way but if you undo the brackets they move a bit and the starter rotates past and into position. There is a write up on it but I don't know how to link such things. Hats off to you for getting the starter in/out through the top!

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