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Thread: '93 Pathfinder...bad starter?

  1. #1
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    '93 Pathfinder...bad starter?

    Got into my Pathfinder after work and the battery wouldn't even try to turn over. A click noise and a bit of a hum, that's it.

    Looked at the battery connections and they seem fine. Headlights are bright and have dash lights and radio.

    Not sure whether to replace the starter or if it might be the relay switch.

    Was looking at sites that discuss replacing the starter I found this:
    http://autorepair.about.com/library/a/1g/bl067g.htm

    The description that person has is exactly what my situation is, same noises, same vehicle year and mileage even. The first 2 paragraphs describe my issue perfectly.

    The reply on that site is this:
    On top of the starter there is the starter solenoid. There is a black/yellow wire going to it. With the key in the START position, there should be power there. If there is, you have a bad starter. Sometimes tapping it with a hammer will get it working again.

    If the starter checks out, let's go under the dashboard. On the clutch pedal is a switch with a two pin connector. Unplug the switch and jump the two terminals. Now try to start it. if it starts, the clutch pedal switch is bad.

    If not, check the light green wire for power with the key ON. If there is no power, We go to the Clutch Interlock Relay. The CIR is located under the hood, near the battery. It is either a large blue or black relay with two, two pin connectors.

    In my experience this is the most likely cause of the no-start condition. I have replaced quite a few over the years. In fact, have several in my tool box that I use for testing. Ground the light green wire and try to start the truck. If it starts, then there is a break in the light green wire between the relay and the clutch switch.

    Check for power at the black/yellow wires of both connectors. You should have power there. If the starter and clutch switch check out, and all the fuses and fusible links are good and you have power at the indicated wires, replace this relay.
    Anyone have any other suggestions or anything to add?
    Any help greatly appreciated, thanks.

  2. #2
    SCSI Dude Faust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humboldt View Post
    Got into my Pathfinder after work and the battery wouldn't even try to turn over. A click noise and a bit of a hum, that's it.

    Looked at the battery connections and they seem fine. Headlights are bright and have dash lights and radio.

    Not sure whether to replace the starter or if it might be the relay switch.

    Was looking at sites that discuss replacing the starter I found this:
    http://autorepair.about.com/library/a/1g/bl067g.htm

    The description that person has is exactly what my situation is, same noises, same vehicle year and mileage even. The first 2 paragraphs describe my issue perfectly.

    The reply on that site is this:

    Anyone have any other suggestions or anything to add?
    Any help greatly appreciated, thanks.

    before i even read the parahraphs from that post i was thinking the starter solenoid. its a common thing. that solenoid is what kicks the gear thingie over meshing the starter motor to the crankshaft when you turn the key. if youve ever heard or tried turning the key on a car and only get a quick/high grinding noise, its the solenoid not pushing hard enough to engage the gear (between crankshaft and starter motor).

    in old american cars (what i turned a couple wrenches on in the past) the solenoid is an individually replaceable part. bolts onto the starter motor assembly. no idea if this is the case with the pathfinder.
    "Today is a black day in the history of mankind."

    - Leo Szilard

  3. #3
    Ground?

  4. #4
    Between Light & Shadows Unholy's Avatar
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    Have someone wail on the starter with a rubber mallet or a long block of wood and have someone try to start it at the same time. Should be plenty of space in a SUV but watch out for belts and radiator fans. Or if it's a manual you can push it down a hill and pop the clutch to try and start it.
    "I was once banned from a bookstore for moving all the bibles to fiction"

  5. #5
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    if youve ever heard or tried turning the key on a car and only get a quick/high grinding noise, its the solenoid not pushing hard enough to engage the gear (between crankshaft and starter motor).
    That's the thing though, there's no grinding, just a click and a humming noise exactly like that person describes in the link I posted.

    Trini, bless his ass, is going to come pick me up tomorrow morning. We'll push start the damn thing and and give him a chance to play with his new air tools at his house.

  6. #6
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unholy View Post
    Have someone wail on the starter with a rubber mallet or a long block of wood and have someone try to start it at the same time. Or if it's a manual you can push it down a hill and pop the clutch to try and start it.
    Thanks for the suggestion, we'll be trying that tomorrow morning.

    DePlano and Trini think it's the solenoid, anyone know if the solenoid and starter are integral on a '93, or if you can replace one without the other?

  7. #7
    R.I.P. 2013-11-22 blebs's Avatar
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    You could probably replace just the solenoid by the looks of it, but in all honesty, why not just replace the starter and solenoid together? I'm 98% it's one or the other and I'm thinking more like the starter itself.
    Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces people into thinking they can't lose. -Bill Gates

  8. #8
    SCSI Dude Faust's Avatar
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    after some thought im kinda with blebs. may be better to just replace both (starter and solenoid).

    it could still be the solenoid. like i mentioned their failing is very common. more so than the starter itself (at least on the older american cars), but this of course doesnt mean its not the starter.

    the click you are hearing is probably the solenoid. the hum could be either the solenoid pushing/trying to push, or the starter motor spinning (but not engaged with the crank so its not turning anything exept itself. on the engines i mankeyed with in the part, this was more than just a hum, though. dunno 'bout imports). the hum could also be, after the solenoids done it thing, the starter motor trying to crank the engine over and not being able to. could be insufficient current to the starter, or the starter motor is shot.

    have a multimeter to check the juice to/at the starter while someone cranks it? if its an option and you either dont have the time or the patience to narrow it down, my guess is youd be better off replacing them both.
    "Today is a black day in the history of mankind."

    - Leo Szilard

  9. #9
    Between Light & Shadows Unholy's Avatar
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    +1 for replacing the starter if that's your problem. You can get a rebuilt one from Autozone or CSK(Kragen's) with lifetime warranty for about $100~$150.
    "I was once banned from a bookstore for moving all the bibles to fiction"

  10. #10
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unholy View Post
    +1 for replacing the starter if that's your problem. You can get a rebuilt one from Autozone or CSK(Kragen's) with lifetime warranty for about $100~$150.
    What a day.

    Trini picked me up this morning at 9:30 (on a vacation day for him no less), brought me back to my truck. Push started it and drove it back to his house where he could play with his new air tools.

    Figured out where the damn starter was, pulled off the skid plate, got the damn starter out (took another 45 minutes even after it was disconnected from the wiring).

    DePlano had joined us by that time. Went to Kragens and bought a new starter for $100. Had them test the old starter and it got a green light and "passed" as far as the computer could tell, though the tech said the current was ~65-70 and should be at least in the 90 range. Installed the new starter (1 hour ), tried to crank it and got the same damn click.

    7 hours, many beers, and $100 later it ended up being corrosion on the + battery terminal and inside the clips on the wiring harness

    I figure if nothing else I have a new damn starter now, the old one was the original from '93 so I guess that's a plus.

  11. #11
    Auto Tech joecool169's Avatar
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    Denso starters have a set of contacts inside the solenoid, and a plunger. The contact wear out all the time and cost very little to replace. I keep them i stock at my shop for this very reason.

    If you have a good electric shop near by they can prolly put contacts in it for you. I have been doing this a long time and never seen anything else go wrong with those starters, if you have the design with the contacts.

    Never hit the starter with a hammer. Many new starter motors have a permanent magnet that shatters easily.
    Joe

  12. #12
    Auto Tech joecool169's Avatar
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    Sorry I missed your last post
    Joe

  13. #13
    R.I.P. 2013-11-22 blebs's Avatar
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    My son did the samething. I told him to disconnect the battery cables and check them, but he insisted they were fine. They were NOT fine.
    Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces people into thinking they can't lose. -Bill Gates

  14. #14
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blebs View Post
    My son did the samething. I told him to disconnect the battery cables and check them, but he insisted they were fine. They were NOT fine.
    It was the first thing I thought of but after we tried to jump it and got the same solenoid click we discounted the cables for some reason. They were on there fine but the connecting plugs coming off the positive terminal were corroded on the inside.

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