Clean starter or replace?

Messages
602
Location
Philadelphia
I have a 91 honda civic DX, stock. I burn oil so I use superthick 20W-50 oil in the summer. I know the thicker oil wears on the starter. The starter is a Honda dealer part -- about 6 years old. I have no mechanical skill and don't even own my own tools. I have a very reasonable mechanic who happens to also own an EF (4rth generation civic0. In january of this year i had problems starting -- especially in the cold mornings. Then the problem went away. (come to think of it, the problem went away after putting the new battery in) Now early last week i again had a great deal of problem starting the cold engine. I often resorted to kick starting it. But then the problem went away. And now for the past few days it's been starting up. Sometimes on the first try. Before i pay for another starter from the dealership i'd like to explore options. I've read elsewhere where some have found that they needed nothing more than a little maintenance. A little maintnenance and the starter was just fine for years. I read about people taking the starter apart and replace the brushes. Brushes cost approximately 7 dollars. And the labor is relatively easy. Maybe it'd benefit me to have maintenance done on the starter regardless. I also read of someone doesn't ever buy new starters for EFs. He says that you can simply replace the worn parts on a used starter and they'll almost always work just fine. My starter does still work fine on occaision. So i suspect that it's not completely shot. I'm wondering if it's possible to just fix it instead of replacing it. Can i get by with just having a little maintenance. I understand that autozone will test a battery and a starter for free. The Problem which i have: 1. I turn the key and the engine does not turn. There is no crank over. A faint 'click' noise is heard and nothing else. 2. I turn the key and the engine does not turn. There is no crank over. A faint 'click' noise is heard and nothing else. 3. I take the key out. The automatic seatbelt adjusts. Put it in again. I turn the key and a faint 'click' noise is heard. 4. I turn the key and the engine does not turn. There is no crank over. A faint 'click' noise is heard and nothing else. 5. I take the key out. Put it in again. I turn the key and it fires right up. It's running fine. *************************************************** Thanks for reading. I'm wondering if i should consider 'maintenance' on the starter instead of just replacing it.
 
Messages
379
Location
Mi
Replace the starter,not worth the time to repair it and getting a reman starter is the way to go.You are going to waste your time repairing the starter.Who rebuilds Alternators,Starters,wheel cylinders,master cylinders?No one does and most shops will tell you this
 

skate1968

Thread starter
Messages
602
Location
Philadelphia
Thanks very much for the feedback, Wafrederick1. I've read a lot of conflcting write ups about this. Not sure where to go. ETA: And it's quite possible that i've already wasted too much time merely by writing up this question. I always manage to be penny smart.
 
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Messages
4,998
Location
Milwaukee, WI
If you're just getting clicking, that's usually a problem where the starter isn't getting enough power to turn over. Or a dead spot on the starter. You seem to think the starter is bad, and requireing more power than it should (and that the battery can deliver) and I'm not saying that's not the problem. But before I spent any money on a new or rebuilt stater, I'd make sure this isn't a problem of a loose ground, or a loose fuse in the starter circuit. These are just as likely to be the problem, but free to check. Are your battery terminals clean, and the cables firmly clamped? Then, follow the black ground cable to the body. Is this connection clean, and firmly attached? Then, check the fuse box. The fuse for the starter will be very large. Take it out and clean the contacts. If the problem persists after that two minute drill, then I would look into a new starter, or rebuilding yours.
 
Messages
36,001
Location
ME
It's not the oil at fault. Am sure if you looked at absolute centistokes 20w50 at around 20'F is like 5w30 at -10 or so (or even less of a spread), and canadian cars survive this.
 
Messages
25,046
Location
ON, Canada eh?
 Originally Posted By: bepperb
If you're just getting clicking, that's usually a problem where the starter isn't getting enough power to turn over. Or a dead spot on the starter. You seem to think the starter is bad, and requireing more power than it should (and that the battery can deliver) and I'm not saying that's not the problem. But before I spent any money on a new or rebuilt stater, I'd make sure this isn't a problem of a loose ground, or a loose fuse in the starter circuit. These are just as likely to be the problem, but free to check. Are your battery terminals clean, and the cables firmly clamped? Then, follow the black ground cable to the body. Is this connection clean, and firmly attached? Then, check the fuse box. The fuse for the starter will be very large. Take it out and clean the contacts. If the problem persists after that two minute drill, then I would look into a new starter, or rebuilding yours.
Also load test your battery. My dad had this same problem with his new-used Windstar and it turned out to be the battery. For whatever reason it would click the first couple times and then turn over fine and it would do this religiously. Replaced the battery and it never happened again. It failed the load test.
 

skate1968

Thread starter
Messages
602
Location
Philadelphia
 Originally Posted By: StevieC
Also load test your battery. My dad had this same problem with his new-used Windstar and it turned out to be the battery. For whatever reason it would click the first couple times and then turn over fine and it would do this religiously. Replaced the battery and it never happened again. It failed the load test.
Thanks much. Actually it was the battery back in january 09. And the new battery fixed the prob perfectly. And if the battery which i bought already went bad then that would explain it.
 
Messages
25,046
Location
ON, Canada eh?
If you are using an Exide made battery (may be rebranded) I would almost guarantee it's the battery. Their stuff for consumers is garbage IMO. I have never had luck with anything manufactured by them unless it was for a forklift (commercial grade). Good Luck!
 
Messages
14
Location
TN, USA
If the starter is the same design as the Nippon Denso in the mid 90's Accords then for about 20 bucks and a 1/2 hour of labour you can fix it. The solenoid contacts get burned up and mushroomed out. Pull the starter and replace these and the plunger and you should be good for another 100,000 miles. The parts can be bought at a Toyota dealership, but not a Honda one. http://www.4crawler.com/4x4/CheapTricks/Starter.shtml
 
Messages
19,479
Location
Chicago Area
You really should check a bunch of things. Start with the battery terminals - CLean the cable insides and the terminals nice and shiny. Then the OTHER ends of both cables. No matter what, this is a great thing to do. Still have problems and it's not a bad battery? Sounds like a starter then.
 
Messages
8,711
Location
Nothern USA
 Originally Posted By: Furrner
If the starter is the same design as the Nippon Denso in the mid 90's Accords then for about 20 bucks and a 1/2 hour of labour you can fix it. The solenoid contacts get burned up and mushroomed out. Pull the starter and replace these and the plunger and you should be good for another 100,000 miles. The parts can be bought at a Toyota dealership, but not a Honda one. http://www.4crawler.com/4x4/CheapTricks/Starter.shtml
Don't have Honda experience, but have had many solenoid problems on other stuff. Oh, by the way, I have replaced the bearing in starters and always rebuild wheel cylinders and calipers. It is getting harder to find kits and they aren't much cheaper anymore.
 
Messages
1,112
Location
midwest
I had the same problem with my 95 camry which uses a very similar starter. It turns out that this is very common with nippondenso starters. The car would just click when I would try to start it, sometimes once, sometimes several times, then it would start up like nothing was wrong. (totally random) I bought a starter repair kit from ebay that had 2 contact things and the plunger and replaced the parts in about an hour start to finish. NEVER had a starting problem again. Do an internet search for "honda starter rebuild" lots of good info. JamesBond
 
Messages
7,430
Location
beaver land EH?
 Originally Posted By: JamesBond
I had the same problem with my 95 camry which uses a very similar starter. It turns out that this is very common with nippondenso starters. The car would just click when I would try to start it, sometimes once, sometimes several times, then it would start up like nothing was wrong. (totally random) I bought a starter repair kit from ebay that had 2 contact things and the plunger and replaced the parts in about an hour start to finish. NEVER had a starting problem again. Do an internet search for "honda starter rebuild" lots of good info. JamesBond
NipponDenso has one of the best starter motors around (and so does Mitsu/Hitachi), so reliability is not an issue here. Most of the issues in regards to starter clicks and not turns has to do with burned out/intermittent starter solenoid contact plate wear, which is normal (that thingy has to pass over 200Amps surge or more at times). Other issues that would affect the longevity of the starter motor + solenoid switch would be: high viscosity motor oil than spec'ed, which means that it would take more effort (and higher current) to turn over the engine, frequent short trips (lots of starter cranks per trip/day), also an out-of-tune engine (which requires longer turn-over time than usual), would overheat and wear out your starter motor. to JB: If you think this is common to ND starter motors, think ACDelcos or some other stuff.... Q. p.s. of all the cars I owned/operated within my family, I have yet to replace 1 single ND/Hitachi/Mitsu starter motors even the starter solenoid switch/assembly. Mind you though: our cars typically runs in excess of 15+ yrs before it gets traded/replaced and they are all on original factory starters. Never seen any failures so far.
 
apparently you don't have an 7.3L IDI diesels. While I will admit that often times people use the starter as a crutch for a failed glow plug system the mitsu starters will only last so long. For me its been around 110,000 miles with a perfectly functioning glow system. with that said the mitsu starters are still the best starter out there for the old IDI's
 
Messages
962
Location
San Antonio, Texas
Since it's a Honda, pull the starter out and have it tested. Since it starts up just fine when it does start then it's not the battery. If it was the battery it would turn slow. It's either a bad connection somewhere between the starter & the battery or inside the starter itself. My mothers 99 Accord had the exact same problem that you have. After about 2 weeks of the problem it finally wouldn't start. A quick replacement of the starter and it's been fine since.
 

skate1968

Thread starter
Messages
602
Location
Philadelphia
UPDATE: Thanks to all who offered guidance. First my mechanic, Javier, tested the battery. It was indeed weak. '9.4 volts' or something, I think. Then my mechanic determined that the starter's 'connectors weren't touching.' So i went out and got another starter. When i came back with the starter my mechainc, Javier, pulled everything out of my car. Upon close examination he discovered that they sold me the wrong starter. (I believe they sold me the one for an automatic trans instead of the one for a manual.) Everything was pulled out of my car. So the junior mechanic drove me in his car to a shop for another starter.
 Originally Posted By: wafrederick1
Replace the starter ...getting a reman starter is the way to go.
But the shop didn't have the reman which would fit my model. So we opted to have mine remanufactured/refurbished.
 Originally Posted By: wafrederick1
...Who rebuilds Alternators,Starters,wheel cylinders,master cylinders? No one does and most shops will tell you this
It so happens that this was one of two local shops in North Philly that rebuild starters. (and maybe even more shops that i don't know about) they refurbished mine for 55 dollars. it took them only an hour and a half. We returned to my mechanic. He dropped in the starter. It now seems to be starting fine. (I'll keep you posted as to whether it continues to work fine.) Again, thanks to all.
 
Messages
7,430
Location
beaver land EH?
 Originally Posted By: Dualie
apparently you don't have an 7.3L IDI diesels. While I will admit that often times people use the starter as a crutch for a failed glow plug system the mitsu starters will only last so long. For me its been around 110,000 miles with a perfectly functioning glow system. with that said the mitsu starters are still the best starter out there for the old IDI's
ND, Mitsu, Hitachi, etc. they are all fully competent in building capable, reliable starters to begin with. Also to OP: I'm allergic to all things diesel so I would stay away from working on them. I know diesel engines are difficult to start (due to high compression ratio, etc.) so I would be satisfied if my starter lasts 110kmiles before it calls the day. Q.
 
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