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Starter problems? or... ? newbie question


andrewcconti
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I purchased a pretty clean 1988 Pathfinder with 170k miles this summer for $1100. Having spent most all of its life in CO the truck is very very solid. I had read these are reliable as a clock so I felt ok with putting another $1500. into the truck to get it running well.

 

I have changed jobs and my new job requires I drive to Williamsport, PA from Attleboro, MA (400 miles one way) once a month. Williamsport has a bit of a small mountain range surrounding the city and they are known to get alot of snow, I figured the Pathfinder would be the perfect winter transport.

 

 

I had a few wet starting issues that a nissan independent was able to track down to a 15 yr old distributor cap that was cracked and arching. (thank's for missing that Meineke).

 

Now to my latest problem... This morning I drove my girl to school and noticed when I went to start the truck a slight hesitation. I drove her to school, stopped to get coffee and went to start it again and it seemed to pause, rumble and then start up like it was struggling to start.

 

I drove it home, shut it off and tried to start it again and it stumbled, stumbled and then eventually started, once running it runs fine.

 

Is this something simple I can check myself? or am I due for a new starter at 170k? If I am in for a new starter any idea what a garage would charge to put one in? I am sooo broke right now.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Andrew

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Im more inclined to think fuel pump isn't priming and is taking a minute to get fuel up to the motor. a starter more or less (generalizing here) works or doesn't, if it turns the motor over then its good. try giving the fuel pump a minute to prime before starting and see if that helps. you should be able to hear the pump run when you turn the key on before starting

Edited by maddoc
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Im more inclined to think fuel pump isn't priming and is taking a minute to get fuel up to the motor. a starter more or less (generalizing here) works or doesn't, if it turns the motor over then its good. try giving the fuel pump a minute to prime before starting and see if that helps. you should be able to hear the pump run when you turn the key on before starting

 

 

I will try it this afternoon and report back. THANKS FOR THE INSIGHT!

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I will try it this afternoon and report back. THANKS FOR THE INSIGHT!

 

So I go out, turn key and while it seems to be taking a little bit longer to "ignite" it started just fine. I tried it two times, no real problem. My neighbor was out with me and he told me "you might have had a flat spot in your starter?" what?

 

I was hoping to have come up with a definite fix it solution as I would hate to have the Pathfinder leave me stranded 400 miles from home. Hmmmm I wonder what the problem could be?

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A flat spot? :scratchhead: I guess the brushes or coils inside could be worn out, making it run at half power with a sort of dead spot. But yeah, generally if a starter goes, it straight-up goes. Mine didn't give much warning before it died. Check the fuel pump first.

 

If it's not the fuel pump, your neighbor might be sort-of right. You mentioned it didn't like starting in the wet. If you or the previous owner held the key for too long, trying to start it, you/(s)he may have overheated it and fried the coils. Starters are designed to run just a little, and only at startup, so if they're run continuously, they'll overheat and burn up.

 

The starter, unfortunately, is a royal PITA to yank. It doesn't require special tools or anything, it's just a bit difficult to get to the bolts and thread it out between the wires etc. It comes out much more easily if you remove your oil filter and the little heat shield on it. (The second time we did mine, my dad left the heat shield off, because it was shot. I haven't had any problems yet. Keep your heat shield from your starter, neither of our rebuilt replacements came with one.) If you put it in yourself you'll save a fair amount of money over having a garage do it. There's probably a blow-by-blow how-to-swap-your-starter thread on here somewhere. :)

 

Check all your connections before diving into it. Make sure the starter connections are good, check the battery terminals, clean off any corrosion (a little vaseline helps keep connections clean) and try it again. I've seen a car fail to start just because the battery cable was loose (didn't even click, but the dash lights were on). Usually on these when there's a connection issue, the starter just clicks but doesn't spin. Since yours is engaging, I doubt it's a connection issue. That said, I'm a noob, I'm very often wrong, and it's not too difficult to check the wiring. :) Good luck.

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So I go out, turn key and while it seems to be taking a little bit longer to "ignite" it started just fine. I tried it two times, no real problem. My neighbor was out with me and he told me "you might have had a flat spot in your starter?" what?

 

I was hoping to have come up with a definite fix it solution as I would hate to have the Pathfinder leave me stranded 400 miles from home. Hmmmm I wonder what the problem could be?

 

 

Ok MORE on my starting issues. This morning the truck started "funky" turning over slowly at first and then finally "catching" and running.

 

I drove home shut it off. About 30 minutes later go back out to start it and NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, NO click, nothing dash lights come on but seriously nothing...

 

Has my starter finally bit the bullet?

 

UGH!!!!!

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Ok MORE on my starting issues. This morning the truck started "funky" turning over slowly at first and then finally "catching" and running.

 

I drove home shut it off. About 30 minutes later go back out to start it and NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, NO click, nothing dash lights come on but seriously nothing...

 

Has my starter finally bit the bullet?

 

UGH!!!!!

 

 

that would be a dead battery.

 

what i would do is jump the battery off another car and then run a multimeter set to voltage across the battery and note the voltage, take a look at my thread located here as i have pics of what the voltage should be between. im thinking your alternator stopped charging the battery which is why it was slowly dieing

Edited by maddoc
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Doesn't sound like a dead battery to me. Even a mostly dead battery will sort of try. I assume you'd get something between an iffy start and a total non-start (trying to crank but not catching). Probably not a dead starter, either, it should at least be clicking.

 

Check the connections to the battery. Are they loose? Corroded? Does it spark when you move them around? I've seen a loose connection do exactly what you're saying, dash lights are on but there's nowhere near enough juice getting through to make the starter go. Unscrew the clamps, clean the terminals, shoot some WD40 up in there to keep them clean, and reassemble. (If they're just fine, check the starter connections.)

 

It could be the alternator, but that would probably have turned on a few of the idiot lights. Check the battery voltage.

Edited by Slartibartfast
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what if the battery is only a bi-product, if the charging system was starting to go out the battery would be low causing slow starts then when the system started working again then it would bring it back up, when the alternator goes out for good then the battery doesn't get charged thus resulting in no power. thats my $.02, for what its worth.

 

as for the idiot lights, even though I had a bad alternator and the idiot lights were on, they are still on with a good alternator. I'm not entirely convinced that its a 100% guarantee that if the alternator is out the lights are on.

Edited by maddoc
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that would be a dead battery.

 

what i would do is jump the battery off another car and then run a multimeter set to voltage across the battery and note the voltage, take a look at my thread loc

 

ated here as i have pics of what the voltage should be between. im thinking your alternator stopped charging the battery which is why it was slowly dieing

 

 

I should have added... When I bought the pathfinder 4 months ago the seller told me the alternator was "going". I brought it to Meineke and they replaced the alternator with a rebuilt one and replaced the battery with a new Interstate battery.

 

The alternator Meinke put in crapped out after a week and I gave up on Meineke and had the truck towed to a independent. He replaced the alternator with a Beck&Arnley (sp?) one and the truck had been fine until this starter issue began.

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I just heard back from the garage (a reputable Independent Nissan Garage)

 

He checked all connections and the starter solenoid and deemed my Starter Motor DEAD.

 

He suggested replacing it with a Beck and Arnley or a Factory Nissan Starter (the difference in price between the two installed was $50.) so I asked him to go with the factory one and if he can not find a factory part to go with the Beck and Arnley.

 

I hope this spells the end of my starting and running issues with this Truck!

 

With tires I am into it for $3500! It is going to be a $4000. Pathy before I know it. It better last me 4 winters....

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I just heard back from the garage (a reputable Independent Nissan Garage)

 

He checked all connections and the starter solenoid and deemed my Starter Motor DEAD.

 

He suggested replacing it with a Beck and Arnley or a Factory Nissan Starter (the difference in price between the two installed was $50.) so I asked him to go with the factory one and if he can not find a factory part to go with the Beck and Arnley.

 

I hope this spells the end of my starting and running issues with this Truck!

 

With tires I am into it for $3500! It is going to be a $4000. Pathy before I know it. It better last me 4 winters....

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I just heard back from the garage (a reputable Independent Nissan Garage)

 

He checked all connections and the starter solenoid and deemed my Starter Motor DEAD.

 

He suggested replacing it with a Beck and Arnley or a Factory Nissan Starter (the difference in price between the two installed was $50.) so I asked him to go with the factory one and if he can not find a factory part to go with the Beck and Arnley.

 

I hope this spells the end of my starting and running issues with this Truck!

 

With tires I am into it for $3500! It is going to be a $4000. Pathy before I know it. It better last me 4 winters....

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I just heard back from the garage (a reputable Independent Nissan Garage)

 

He checked all connections and the starter solenoid and deemed my Starter Motor DEAD.

 

He suggested replacing it with a Beck and Arnley or a Factory Nissan Starter (the difference in price between the two installed was $50.) so I asked him to go with the factory one and if he can not find a factory part to go with the Beck and Arnley.

 

I hope this spells the end of my starting and running issues with this Truck!

 

With tires I am into it for $3500! It is going to be a $4000. Pathy before I know it. It better last me 4 winters....

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I just heard back from the garage (a reputable Independent Nissan Garage)

 

He checked all connections and the starter solenoid and deemed my Starter Motor DEAD.

 

He suggested replacing it with a Beck and Arnley or a Factory Nissan Starter (the difference in price between the two installed was $50.) so I asked him to go with the factory one and if he can not find a factory part to go with the Beck and Arnley.

 

I hope this spells the end of my starting and running issues with this Truck!

 

With tires I am into it for $3500! It is going to be a $4000. Pathy before I know it. It better last me 4 winters....

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I just heard back from the garage (a reputable Independent Nissan Garage)

 

He checked all connections and the starter solenoid and deemed my Starter Motor DEAD.

 

He suggested replacing it with a Beck and Arnley or a Factory Nissan Starter (the difference in price between the two installed was $50.) so I asked him to go with the factory one and if he can not find a factory part to go with the Beck and Arnley.

 

I hope this spells the end of my starting and running issues with this Truck!

 

With tires I am into it for $3500! It is going to be a $4000. Pathy before I know it. It better last me 4 winters....

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