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Old 05-16-2013, 11:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Won't turn over when hot

I have a 91 automatic, non intercooled that is having problems when hot. I have replaced the starter relay(it was just clicking before and would not turn over but would crank fine when removing the relay and jumping the wires) and have since installed a pushbutton that works perfectly while its cold or not hot. I drove it to get some fuel today(put in pushbutton today) and went to crank it back up and got nothing at all. All lights came on as usual. I realized it was a heat related issue so I just hung out at the pump for about 30 minutes with the hood popped and sure enough she fired up once it had cooled down enough. I'm beginning to think it's the starter needing a rebuild. Can anyone confirm or should I look elsewhere?
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Check for voltage at the starter when cranking while hot that will tell you if it's the starter or in the wiring. Got power need starter, no power check wiring from relay to starter.
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by deerhunter02 View Post
Check for voltage at the starter when cranking while hot that will tell you if it's the starter or in the wiring. Got power need starter, no power check wiring from relay to starter.
There's only two wires going to this thing so I'm assuming I'm looking for 12volts on the smaller wire correct? I grounded to the small wire and put the test light on the big one from the battery and it lit up. Should I ground to the frame and then test the smaller wire when trying to start?
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Old 05-17-2013, 06:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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ok so I grounded to the frame and tested the small terminal and it lights when trying to start. I'm thinking this means the starter is getting the juice but not doing anything with it aka time for a new one. O'reilly has one for 116.99 with a lifetime warranty so I might just go this route unless yall chime in here in the next little bit and tell me it's something else.
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Old 05-17-2013, 07:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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ok so I grounded to the frame and tested the small terminal and it lights when trying to start. I'm thinking this means the starter is getting the juice but not doing anything with it aka time for a new one. O'reilly has one for 116.99 with a lifetime warranty so I might just go this route unless yall chime in here in the next little bit and tell me it's something else.
You can get the starter tested at O'Reilly's. Another option is to get your starter rebuilt.

If you get an O'Reilly starter, make sure you don't lose that recipt..
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Old 05-17-2013, 10:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You need a new starter most likely. Next time it does this try giving the starter a wack with something hard, your fist will work but it hurts.
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Old 05-17-2013, 11:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If you are jumping from the large terminal on the starter to the small one and it won't crank you have narrowed it down to 3 possibilities, not necessarily in order of probability
1. Battery
2. Battery cables
3. Starter

Don't assume because you have lights that your battery and cables are good. Takes a small fraction of an amp to light a bulb, about 300 to crank the starter. While your symptoms are consistent with a starter failure, they are spot on for a bad battery as well.

Load test the battery with the load tester clamped on the block for ground and the large terminal of the starter. This tests battery and cables. If they test okay, starter is it.

Or you could throw parts at it until you hit it.

Steve g

Edit: Removing the starter to be tested at the parts store will be inconclusive. If the problem in the starter is bad brushes, just moving the starter around will cause them to make contact and the starter to test good. They would have to test it under the same conditions that exist when it won't crank. That's why you do the process of elimination, eliminate batt and cables first.
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Last edited by Steve g; 05-17-2013 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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But it starts fine cold, and a batt would be at it's weekest point cold. I say 90% sure it's the starter motor.

pulling it and having it tested will not do any good as it does fine cold, so unless you can have it tested while it's blazing hot you still won't know.

I guess it could be a wire, it only takes one small strand of wire for voltage to pass through, but it takes all the strands for all the amps to pass through, a volt meter won't help, you need an amp probe to clamp on the starter cable.

I would just go on and do a starter replacement and see what you have then.
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Old 05-18-2013, 10:45 AM   #9 (permalink)
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But it starts fine cold, and a batt would be at it's weekest point cold. I say 90% sure it's the starter motor.

pulling it and having it tested will not do any good as it does fine cold, so unless you can have it tested while it's blazing hot you still won't know.

I guess it could be a wire, it only takes one small strand of wire for voltage to pass through, but it takes all the strands for all the amps to pass through, a volt meter won't help, you need an amp probe to clamp on the starter cable.

I would just go on and do a starter replacement and see what you have then.
I don't know the science behind it, but that is exactly how batteries fail all the time. They will start first start, drive a few miles, shut it off and they won't start again. I see it all the time. In fact that's exactly what happened in my wife's previous car a while back. 5 year old car, very low miles, never had a hint of trouble. Started it, ran to the store, shut it off and wouldn't start. Started with a boost, load test the battery ,ng.

Buying starters to find out if your battery is any good (or vice versa) is not what I would recommend.

Steve g
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Old 05-18-2013, 03:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Next time it happens, jump it with another known good battery. If it takes off, you'll know. Electrical is fun. Best way to attack it is by a process of elimination so to narrow down the culprit. Consider that the BIG battery wire only goes to the starter, a smaller wire(s) feeds the vehicle. I had 1 fail in the battery terminal on the cable, lights were on but nobody home at the starter.
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Old 05-18-2013, 06:54 PM   #11 (permalink)
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SOLVED(for now)

Don't be mad but I should have mentioned I replaced the battery 2 weeks ago(unrelated to the starter problem). I replaced the starter this morning(very fast install, maybe 15 minutes, need about 12 inches of extensions) and drove it around for a while, shut it off, and she fired right up. I've tested it while hot 4 times today so I think I've solved the problem! Now I gotta break the habit of turning the ignition all the way since I now have a push button
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:07 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Glad to hear you got it fixed. A bad/weak battery is really hard on the starter, make sure to address a bad battery asap. I don't know if that is why your starter failed but keep that in mind
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