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Automotive Column 38 Starting Problem

Automotive Column 38 Starting Problem

Syndicated Newspaper Column

How long has it been since you had your battery tested? Do you know how old it is? If you don't know the answer to these questions you may want to see if you have jumper cables in the trunk.


Daily Car Repair and Advice Tips Question 37 No Cranking

Dear Motor Medics,
 I’m having starting issues with my 1991 Chevy full size truck. I have a 350 engine that was just rebuilt about 10,000 miles ago. When we performed the rebuild we also replaced the battery, alternator and battery cables. The starter was replaced about five years ago so we opted not to replace it at the same time. When the vehicle has been running for a couple hours and is shut off it will crank very slow and sometimes not start at all unless you let it sit until the engine cools off. The problem seems to be worse if I have driven it harder such as towing or highway use. What do you think is wrong and how can I fix it?

Ray in Pierre, South Dakota

Dear Ray,
 It sounds like you have a starter that has failed. The first step is to verify there are no problems with your cables or battery by performing voltage drop checks on the cables and a capacitance test on the battery even though they are new. Once you know they are all good then check the current draw of the starter both hot and cold. If it is pulling too much current when hot you may have either bad bearings in the starter or a bad armature. Did you install headers when you did the rebuild? If so, there may be too much heat reaching the starter and it may need to be shielded.

Take care, the Motor Medics

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Advice given by the Motor Medics is for entertainment only. Each problem is different and requires different approaches and answers given here are opinions and just one possibility. In order to make an accurate diagnosis a qualified technician should make a hands-on diagnosis. Always follow all recommended safety procedures and consult with your own qualified technician before attempting repairs of any kind.

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