Edmunds Answers


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  • zaken1 03/09/11 12:22 am PST

  • zaken1 03/09/11 12:25 am PST

    The parts you replaced would only fix a starting problem if the starter motor did not run (and thus the engine did not turn over) when the key was turned to the start position. If the engine was turning over, you would hear the whirring sound of the starter running when the key was in the start position. The two other issues which could prevent the starter from running would be battery cable clamps which need the corrosion scraped off from their inside surfaces; or a defective engine control module wiring relay.

    If the engine turns over when the starter is activated, but does not run; the problem is not in the starter system or its individual components. Instead the problem is either in the fuel supply, or the ignition system, or in the timing drive for the camshaft(s).

    You can test the ignition system by disconnecting just one spark plug cable, leaving all the other cables in place on their respective spark plugs, and then connecting the cable you had disconnected to a clean spark plug on which the threaded portion is securely touching a metal part of the engine; cranking the starter, and observing whether there is a steady series of sparks between the plug electrodes. If there is not a steady series of visible sparks at the plug when the starter runs; then the coil or the crankshaft position sensor may be defective.

    If there is a steady stream of sparks at the plug; but the engine does not start; the fuel supply may be malfunctioning. This could be caused by an empty fuel tank, a clogged fuel filter, a defective camshaft position sensor, a bad fuel pump relay or a bad fuel pump. A simple test to confirm or disprove a lack of fuel can be done by temporarily disconnecting the air inlet duct from the throttle body, and spraying a two second burst of engine starting fluid into the throttle body air inlet, while the throttle is held partly open. Then release the throttle, quickly slip the air duct back in place, and try to start the motor. If the motor fires briefly, or begins running and soon stops; the problem is in the fuel supply.

    If the spark and fuel are present; then run a compression test on all the cylinders. If the compression pressure is lower than the manufacturer's minimum allowable limit; the timing chain or belt has probably broken or jumped out of position.

  • auntiejeannie 03/09/11 12:35 am PST

    When I turn the key there is only a faint clicking, that you hear when under the hood. So I should try the spark plug test or the fuel test? Thank you so much for your help

  • zaken1 03/09/11 2:39 am PST

  • zaken1 03/09/11 2:41 am PST

    Thank you for your feedback. The faint clicking means this is not a fuel problem and not a spark problem. It is usually caused by battery cable clamps that need to be thoroughly cleaned with a tapered reamer type battery cable service tool, and then tightened until the clamps cannot be moved by hand. If you clean and tighten the clamps and the problem continues; file the other ends of those battery cables and their mating parts are until they are shiny clean; and make sure there is also a ground cable from an engine bolt to a bolt in the firewall; and/or a second ground cable from the battery negative post to a bolt in the body. If neither of these auxiliary ground cables is in place; one or both of them MUST be added.

    The other two possibilities are either that the rebuilt starter you bought is has a defective solenoid on it, or the engine control module relay is defective. The starter solenoid often does not come with a rebuilt starter; so you are either forced to reinstall the old solenoid on the starter you bought; or if the starter does come with a solenoid; it will be a used one. If the old or the used solenoid on the starter is defective, the starter will not work. Please buy and install a NEW starter solenoid, and replace the engine control module relay (which costs less than $10).

  • auntiejeannie 03/14/11 6:25 pm PST

    Thanks for all your help. I had a mobile Mechanic come out and hook up my car. It turns out that it is Stuck in theft mode. that the P.A.T.s transever needs to be either replaced or reprogramed or the computer is toast. Or as simple as re-programing the keys


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