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Replacement Starter Recommendations or Rants (WD21 MT)?


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Hi All, 

 

Wondering if anyone can share experiences they've had with replacement starter motor assemblies or recommendations.  Typically I don't have this issue with the parts I choose (especially on a Nissan), but I've just installed two bad starters from different sources on my 88 Pathfinder (180k miles in great shape).  

 

This is not a diagnosis help request, but I will explain the conditions.  I checked everything upstream - starter and inhibitor relays function/voltage, battery condition, voltage drop to main power post, clutch switch.  The important thing is I verified I'm getting 11.9-12.0V at the solenoid signal connector and it's holding just fine in a 10-15 second test.  I was having very infrequent intermittent no crank issues, like once every few months after the vehicle was warmed up and had been running for awhile, I'd pull into a drive-through, shut the engine off, then a few minutes later go to crank and get nothing but a click and the dreadful feeling that I was about to have to push my dead  vehicle from the drive-though.  After another key cycle or two it would catch and fire up, just fine.  This had become more frequent (like every couple weeks), so I went ahead and ordered a new new WAI Global starter from Rock Auto.  Had a heart by it, and *new* so I figured what could go wrong?

 

Yesterday I got the same no-start condition and spook, and my new part had been delivered so I figured it was time to get into it.  Replaced the starter, and it did nothing.  Relays clicked but nothing else.  Also the connector was so tight I had to tap the edge with a hammer and drift to get it fully seated.  Don't ask about getting it back off without destroying the vehicle side... I was going to toss the old starter back in but the solenoid wire from the connector just fell apart, and inside I saw the lead was broken and had only a tiny soldered resistor connecting the wire path.  Interesting, I should have taken a picture but I was more concerned about getting a replacement locally with my now-dead Pathfinder blocking the driveway at 4PM on a Saturday.  I found a an Action Auto replacement in-stock a 45 minute drive away and tossed the old part in a box for core return and ran to get the new rebuilt starter they had.

 

A few hours later, Action Auto Parts starter was installed and worked perfectly.  Sounded a little quieter than the old unit.  One thing I noticed was that the AAP starter just had normal wire leads instead of the one funky lead with a resistor.  I didn't care much for the dinky resistor being the entire signal path on something so critical, so figured "meh."  I tested the starter half a dozen or more times, waited a while, got cleaned up to go grab some food and again the Pathfinder started just as it should.  Went out to get a late bite, had my meal, returned to the Pathfinder and... no cranks.  Clicks, no cranks.  Kept trying, jumped relay connections with paper clips (of course I had just removed any useful tools).  This time I was truly stranded and got to treat myself to a midnight tow.  This morning I tried the key just to see, and it gave about two seconds of effort before giving up.  As I said earlier I have since checked everything upstream and deemed the replacement starter is definitely the culprit - 2 in a row!  And I'm guessing that resistor in the solenoid circuit is critical to the system.

 

So I do not wish to repeat this dance.  I also need to drive to the Oregon coast next weekend from Washington, and really don't want to be dead hundreds of miles from home.  Also the Pathfinder is now blocking my running car in the garage, I'm down to a Suzuki Burgman for transportation until I get a good starter.  I'm looking at these options: New new Delco unit from Rock Auto: ~$100, Rebuilt Bosch unit from Rock Auto on wholesaler closeout: ~$65, Rebuilt Hitachi unit from Autoplicity: ~$150... all of which are less than last night's tow.  If anyone has input on brands and experiences they've had, please chime in!

 

Thanks

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  • 2 weeks later...

Are you sure it is the Starter.  I went round and round a few times.  Installed the same starter 4 times, each time bench testing the starter and it worked. 

 

Turned out to be the ignition switch. 

 

replaced it and I have not looked back. 

 

BTW in case you did not know the ignition switch is just the electrical portion  not the key portion and is pretty cheap. like $14- $20 

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Mine had an intermittent weak start/no start that took a while to track down. Replaced the starter (new Bosch), inhibitor relay, positive battery cable, and ignition switch, but it kept coming back, and I was running out of ideas. What finally got it (so far, at least) was deleting the alarm harness. The alarm brain (under the driver's seat) has a relay inside to interrupt power to the starter if it thinks it's being stolen. I had long since bypassed that when I removed the alarm, but I bypassed it under the seat, so the current still had to go through about ten feet of unnecessary wire. I don't know what was wrong with that run of wire, but apparently something wasn't right, because with that harness gone and the ignition switch plugged right into the main harness, it starts right up every time.

 

Keep in mind that voltage at the trigger wire for the starter doesn't necessarily mean it's good. A bad connection can show acceptable voltage when all it's got drawing on it is a meter or a test light, but fall on its face when asked to power something more substantial like a starter solenoid. If you were testing the voltage with the solenoid connected, then you already know this.
 

The resistor is news to me. I don't see it in the service manual. I'd also be surprised if Nissan soldered something into the harness rather than crimping it. I can't imagine why someone would've added it later, though.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Flat spots on the the starter motor. 

That is the biggest issue with Remanufactured starters.  If you can find an auto parts store that still has some new ones I think it is worth the extra to not have to change out remans.  Most of the time they just replace the brushes and the flat spots are still there. 

 

The last time I found a Brand new one from Rock Auto and it was only $20 more than the reman, and I did not have to send back the core. 

 

They may be drying up though. 

 

 

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Flat spots on the the starter motor. 
That is the biggest issue with Remanufactured starters.  If you can find an auto parts store that still has some new ones I think it is worth the extra to not have to change out remans.  Most of the time they just replace the brushes and the flat spots are still there. 
 
The last time I found a Brand new one from Rock Auto and it was only $20 more than the reman, and I did not have to send back the core. 
 
They may be drying up though. 
 
 
Makes total sense! I have never really given much thought as to why other than parts gone cruddy and or worn from use.

Sent from my SM-N960U1 using Tapatalk

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