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Teesetz

Continued Starting Issues

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I was having intermittent one click no crank, no start. 

Recently I went to start the rig, and there was not even the "1" click, just nothing at the turn of the key.

Dash lights lite and door chiming confirming battery is good.

Smacked the starter with a wrench, the one click came back, and eventually cranked and started right up.

Does this eliminate the possibility that its the ignition switch, and confirm it has to be the starter going out?

I only say this because the previous owner has history of the starter being replaced several times for whatever reason.

 

 

 

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I was having intermittent one click no crank, no start. 
Recently I went to start the rig, and there was not even the "1" click, just nothing at the turn of the key.
Dash lights lite and door chiming confirming battery is good.
Smacked the starter with a wrench, the one click came back, and eventually cranked and started right up.
Does this eliminate the possibility that its the ignition switch, and confirm it has to be the starter going out?
I only say this because the previous owner has history of the starter being replaced several times for whatever reason.
 
 
 
Most likely, check the fuse links at the positive battery cable. That was the problem with mine and I hunted for it for quite some time.

Sent from my LG-H700 using Tapatalk

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You should do a volt drop test on the starting circuit.  Take one meter leed to bat pos, other leed to the crank signal wire on the starter. Have assist crank engine. Meter should read less than half a volt .5. If it is up in the 1-3 volt range or more the problem is not the starter. Repeat same test for the main power cables . Bat pos to starter pos . And then move leads to bat neg and starter housing. All meter readings need to be taken while cranking engine. Pull fuel pump fuse so engine doesn't start. And dont get yourself runover. If it doesn't make sense let me know and I can explain 

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I'm not sure how hard it is, but if not hard, remove the starter and have it bench tested.  Sounds like the gear is locked up (since you beat on it and at least the one click returned).  I've had a lot of older cars where I had to bang on the starter to get them to start.

Edited by Preacher

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3 hours ago, snowboard419 said:

You should do a volt drop test on the starting circuit.  Take one meter leed to bat pos, other leed to the crank signal wire on the starter. Have assist crank engine. Meter should read less than half a volt .5. If it is up in the 1-3 volt range or more the problem is not the starter. Repeat same test for the main power cables . Bat pos to starter pos . And then move leads to bat neg and starter housing. All meter readings need to be taken while cranking engine. Pull fuel pump fuse so engine doesn't start. And dont get yourself runover. If it doesn't make sense let me know and I can explain 

 

What he said! Do NOT remove the damn starter just to bench test it, it's 3 hours the first time to remove it and you won't be much further ahead. Other ting to do is to start with 1 full new can of brake parts cleaner and empty it on the starter, solenoid and wires, hit it with a degreaser as well and then there should be little to no chance that it is being caused by oil  running down from the filter area ( cost me 1 original starter after 26 years of dutiful service ).

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Careful after all that brake clean, go to crank and whoosh . Fire

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From what I have gone through and seen, I am going to recommend a NEW ignition switch. It is cheap and easy to replace. 

 

If you have an auto trans, next to the battery, you will find a grey oval connector with 2 wires. One wire will be yellow with a blue stripe and quite thin. The other wire will be heavy and black with a violet stripe. If you seperate that connector and use a volt meter with the positive probe on the black wire on the harness plug and the negative probe on the negative battery post, have somebody turn the ignition to start. You should have battery voltage. You will probably have  9v or less. That circuit is quite long and goes through a few switches and relays, but still shouldn't be more than 1v drop. 

 

If you have a manual transmission, you will find a large(double sized) relay next to the transmission. Same thing there though. Unplug the relay and check the voltage on the thick black/violet wire. 

 

It is very common for older Nissans to have the starter contact in the ignition switch to fail after 10-20 years. Had that happen with all my old Datsuns from the late 70s and 80s. I made the discovery that the switch was failing in my 93 last year when I pulled it for my keyless ignition system installation. 

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The starting issues are among the most common on these older vehicles and are rarely the starter. The problem seems to be with older wiring and not being able to carry enough current to complete the circuit. There is a mod that bypasses some of the long circuit and allows power to be delivered to the starter directly by tripping a relay that requires only minimal voltage input. It used to be posted in the How to's section I believe about 10 years ago. Yeah, some of us have been around that long :{ 

 

I think it mightve been posted up by 88pathoffroad since he did the headlight mod. ( same issue with old wiring making headlights dimmer over time) By using relays can transferr power to lights directly from alty or battery giving brighter lights)

 

An easy test for your starter is to jump it directly from the battery. If it cranks it aint the starter and likelly you will benefit from the relay mod. Search on here for it. If you cant find it let me know and I will take pictures of how it looks in my truck.  I couldn't find it when I just searched ( there are 250+ pages of starter issues) Perhaps one of the long time members or mods has it archived and can resurrect it and pin it to the How Tos where it rightly belongs.

 

Mr. Reverse has it right as far as testing. The relay mod involves dividing those wires and installing the relay which will trip with much less voltage. Actually, now that i think about it, I think the mod was posted by Mr. Reverse !

Edited by JackStraw1
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Yep, I am the one that posted the starter mod. Did that back when AC was Nissan only and had an active discussion forum. 

 

Still have the diagram I drew up stashed away in a dusty corner of my hard drive. I  much less savvy these days and a hard time figuring out how to do pictures, but can email. 

Basically what I did with my Pathfinder was seperate the connector I mentioned before. I then used a standard Bosch style 30 amp relay. The harness side black/violet wire went to terminal 85 on the relay. Ran a wire from terminal 86 to ground(the coil is non polarized so can be reversed, works the same). Ran a 12 gauge wire from the positive terminal of the battery to terminal 30 on the relay. Finally, the black/violet wire going to the starter was attached to terminal 87. 

The relay will reliably operate down to 6 volts, so it covered the problem that was in my ignition switch. When the relay triggered, it fed full battery power through the very short circuit between the battery and starter. I still have a relay in there to run the starter but these days it is fired by the keyless ignition I installed. 

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That is really great to know! I will look into it more if I am to experience anymore trouble. You guys have been a great help. I swapped the oil soaked starter and it started great for a time. Then the intermittent issue returned. I took the 6 screws out to get the ignition switch and sure enough the 4 out of the (I think 5) clip in points for the ignition switch were broken. Resulting in the improper seating of the ignition switch, and I'd bet dollars to donuts that's where the issue lied. $30 bucks later, a new switch, and no further problems thus far. 

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5 minutes ago, Teesetz said:

That is really great to know! I will look into it more if I am to experience anymore trouble. You guys have been a great help. I swapped the oil soaked starter and it started great for a time. Then the intermittent issue returned. I took the 6 screws out to get the ignition switch and sure enough the 4 out of the (I think 5) clip in points for the ignition switch were broken. Resulting in the improper seating of the ignition switch, and I'd bet dollars to donuts that's where the issue lied. $30 bucks later, a new switch, and no further problems thus far. 

 

Glad you got it workin brother.  If any problems further arise with intermittent starting, give this modification a try

 

 

 

10 minutes ago, Mr_Reverse said:

Yep, I am the one that posted the starter mod. Did that back when AC was Nissan only and had an active discussion forum. 

 

Still have the diagram I drew up stashed away in a dusty corner of my hard drive. I  much less savvy these days and a hard time figuring out how to do pictures, but can email. 

Basically what I did with my Pathfinder was seperate the connector I mentioned before. I then used a standard Bosch style 30 amp relay. The harness side black/violet wire went to terminal 85 on the relay. Ran a wire from terminal 86 to ground(the coil is non polarized so can be reversed, works the same). Ran a 12 gauge wire from the positive terminal of the battery to terminal 30 on the relay. Finally, the black/violet wire going to the starter was attached to terminal 87. 

The relay will reliably operate down to 6 volts, so it covered the problem that was in my ignition switch. When the relay triggered, it fed full battery power through the very short circuit between the battery and starter. I still have a relay in there to run the starter but these days it is fired by the keyless ignition I installed. 

 

Yes ! thats the one I have in my truck, I musta replaced three starters before I found that mod. Everything tested good for me except there was a voltage drop. Popped in that relay and reliable starting ever since.  ( I still have a direct wire to the solenoid with the free end wrapped around my coolant reservoir from when I had to turn the key and then get out under the hood and touch it to the battery to get a start, lol  Havent used it since the relay mod though.)  You gotta write that up and get it stickied. If you  are busy and dont mind, PM me the sketch here on NPORA and I'll see if I can get it done for you. 

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Funny thing is, my mod was pretty much doing what Nissan did with the manual transmission trucks. With them, the common problem was the starter relay failing. 

 

I'll be happy to send you the diagram when I get home tonight. 

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The only issue I had with your mod, and this was many years ago, was I used a cheap ass relay that wasn't weather sealed. A few wheeling trips and water crossings later, the relay corroded inside and I got stranded 1000km from home lol. Until I realized and just touched the 2 terminals together to make the starter spin ;) 

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Lol, I started out with a sealed relay so it didn't even occur to me that would happen. I have replaced a few relays like that over the years, just not on my wrecks for some reason.  I did come across the replacement fuse box I got for me Sorento a few years ago because a built-in relay for the power outlets failed. To get me by until I found a replacement box I wound up taking the cover off the relay after opening up the fuse box and sticking a piece of 1/4" tubing in the relay to hold it closed. Several years later, still have power outlets that are on all the time. Not a big deal since I don't leave stuff plugged in. Back in my teen years, the cigar lighter socket was always hot, so just unplugged whatever when not in use, a habit that has stuck with me for 35 years.

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That's what I like about the Xterra, some of the outlets are always hot (like the console one where I leave my phone), and some are switched (the dash one).

 

As for the starter, I've never really had to replace a wd21 starter for actual starter failure. It's always been some small connection problem. Got to love Japanese longevity. I did have to replace the (aftermarket already) one on my 94 after dropping it while the truck was on a hoist for a rear main seal job. Oops.

Edited by adamzan

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Yep, my starter has been replaced a few times due to failures, but they have been reman units. The original one was probably fine other than all the oil buildup. The one currently in my truck has a bit over a year on it because the previous one did die, a failure in the solenoid. A week after installing the current one I was up in the mountains and I didn't realize at first that it was stuck on after a hot start for a couple minutes. Was wondering about the noise, the broken muffler was drowning out most of it. Had to pull the battery cable to get it to stop. And it was smoke'n. I wandered around collecting some brass and did a little plinking while it cooled off. I reconnected the cable and it stayed off, so crossed my fingers and hit the start button. It cranked up fine and has worked fine since. Was glad, didn't want to go through the fun of changing it again. The 3 inch body lift helps, but it still is miserable to do. 

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It's still miserable with a 3" BL but only because I added headers haha. The Xterra 3.3 starter is smaller in comparison. I wonder if I could just use one of them.

 

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On 6/15/2020 at 8:02 PM, Mr_Reverse said:

Yep, I am the one that posted the starter mod. Did that back when AC was Nissan only and had an active discussion forum. 

 

Still have the diagram I drew up stashed away in a dusty corner of my hard drive. I  much less savvy these days and a hard time figuring out how to do pictures, but can email. 

Basically what I did with my Pathfinder was seperate the connector I mentioned before. I then used a standard Bosch style 30 amp relay. The harness side black/violet wire went to terminal 85 on the relay. Ran a wire from terminal 86 to ground(the coil is non polarized so can be reversed, works the same). Ran a 12 gauge wire from the positive terminal of the battery to terminal 30 on the relay. Finally, the black/violet wire going to the starter was attached to terminal 87. 

The relay will reliably operate down to 6 volts, so it covered the problem that was in my ignition switch. When the relay triggered, it fed full battery power through the very short circuit between the battery and starter. I still have a relay in there to run the starter but these days it is fired by the keyless ignition I installed. 

 

Damn no @!*%!  I have replaced everything other than the body harness to try and fix my intermittent no crank.  Sometimes I can jump it and it starts right up, other times, click click click.  It helps if I bump a window down while cranking.  The new starter I put on had another lead coming off of it, so I have a wire tied up in my positive loom at the battery for starting when I need to.  Been too lazy to run a push button starter in to the cab, but this relay sounds right up my alley!

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