HELP: 90 240SX w/ NO Start Problem for Years! - Nissan 240SX Forums
S13 240SX (89-94) Technical Questions Specifically for ALL S13's. (Including 180SX's, 200SX's & Silvia's)

 
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#1 Old 04-12-2008, 11:13 AM
 
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HELP: 90 240SX w/ NO Start Problem for Years!

Help 90 240SX w/ no start problem for years!

1990 240SX SE w/ KA24E motor and 5 speed - very clean, stock and all original (including the owner).

For years now I've had a highly intermittent no starter CRANK problem. It can go weeks, sometimes months and once almost an entire year without any incident. When it happens you turn the key to the start position and nothing. Try again and it fires up. Or hold the key in the start position and wait ... couple seconds and voila. Lately however it's taking multiple tries (8-12) WHEN it occurs. Because it's impossible for me to consistently reproduce the problem or identify any pattern or commonality to conditions it's been a real tough one to chase down. That's why I've been trying to identify it for about 4 or maybe 5 years now.

Q: Are there any known 'gotchas' or 'common' issues in the starter electrical subsystem that others might suggestion?

Q: Perhaps a known hidden connector that is prone to corrosion? Or a fusible link prone to fail? Other?

Because of the highly intermittent nature of my problem I have literally been chasing the issue for years. In fact I've thought on several occasions to have fixed it and indeed have gone as many as 9 or 10 months without a single incident making me think I had at last fixed it when it pops up again... Yet at other times it happens multiple times in a single week or once a month - statistically it's all over the place. I'm not seeing any pattern in weather, temperature etc. Particularly concerning now is that it's sometimes taking many more tries than it used to.


History:

I by-passed the clutch switch years ago and drove it for a while - the problem occurred proving the clutch switch wiring was OK.

At some point the battery got weak a while back and has since been replaced - problem still occurs.

I found a loose bolt on the solenoid post - ahah! That must have been it. I snugged up the loose battery cable bolt on the starter and didn't have a problem for many months - but it returned.

Found the beginning of corrosion around the POS battery cable at the time I replaced the battery - I eventually put in brand new battery cables throughout. No start again a few months later.

I also have pulled the starter motor twice and bench tested it until my thumb grew tired on the remote switch - I've never once been able to reproduce the problem on the bench. As I recall it's the Hitachi type starter motor FWIW.

Noticing a relay in the starter circuit and having had relays on other cars behave intermittently like this I bought a new starter relay from Nissan figuring what the heck - surely this was it - nope - still happens.

Now that when it occurs - I can actually get a 'window' of multiple occurances, last time I was able to get an assistant to actually try and start the car multiple times while I listened around - the relay was clicking each time. This would suggest there is no problem with either the switch at the key cylinder in the steering column or the wiring at least between the key and the relay. But then the car starts cranking and I don't have any further way to 'debug'.

So this brings us to today. Despite not being able to reproduce the problem on the bench I'm planning to purchase a new (rather expensive) starter motor and solenoid. The solenoid by itself is about the same price so I'll likely go for the entire starter/solenoid together at about the same price. I hate throwing money at this and am grasping at increasingly expensive straws at this point.

Appreciate any input that might lead me to a common or known solution to the same problem - thanks!

---
'90 240SX SE 2.4L SOHC (KA24E S13)
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#2 Old 04-14-2008, 08:35 AM
 
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Dude i have been havin almost the same issue with my 90 240SX, Do you have to feather the gas in order to get it to start? I have asked around and a couple of buddies think it might be a issue with my fuel injection system (I.E Fuel pump, Filter) But i dont think its that serious
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#3 Old 04-14-2008, 09:06 AM
 
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your problem does kind of sound like a about starter solenoid , it sounds like it has a very small "dead" spot on it and threw there years is starting to get larger, the click from turning the key will still move the starter alittle which is why 1 or 2 times later the car will start, it will not be on that spot anymore. For your sake i hope that buying a new starter fixes your problem.

what you can try before you buy a starter is if you can get it to fail and have a buddy around, have him make it fail and hold a test light the the little cable going to the starter, If there is power going to it through small cable but the starter doesn't do any thing then you have a problem with the starter if there is no power you have a problem somewhere else

goog luck
-Travis




1990 Hatch: rusted
1993 coupe: work in progress
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#4 Old 04-14-2008, 07:25 PM
 
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or a crappy ground, but yeah more likely a starter. Hit it with a hammer
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#5 Old 04-15-2008, 01:18 AM
 
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Im currently undergoing this exact same problem with mine...

new batt
new starter
new batt cables
all new relays and fuses
new cap and dist
new spark plugs and wires

the only thing I have yet to swap out is the ignition and or have a new key made .,.,.


my problem is the exact same as yours. I turn the key, no crank, just the relays clicking. after about 80 times I may get lucky... fortunately Im only 10 minutes walking distance from my squadron, so I am still able to get to work if it doesnt start.


yall think its something within the sterring column? maybe an ignition switch? cuz Im pretty lost too lol.



thanks for reading my shpeal,

Kru
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#6 Old 04-15-2008, 06:59 AM
 
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i have the EXACT same problem with my 91 240 se, it happened right after i put my underglow on....
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#7 Old 05-02-2008, 07:11 PM
 
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so did anyone figure this out. having the same problem here. just clicking with no start. let me know
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#8 Old 05-03-2008, 01:46 PM
 
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Appreciate all the responses.

I have a SOLUTION of sorts:

It appears over the course of several years I've been chasing not one but at least 2 and possibly 3 problems.

Remember when I said I had a period of almost 10 mos in which the car was starting consistently before the same intermittent starting problem started recurring? It was a different cause with the SAME symptoms.

One of the earliest potential problems I eliminated was the clutch switch. I by-passed it and the problem continued. So I eliminated the clutch switch as a problem AT THAT TIME!

I then found both a loose bolt on the starter solenoid (hardly finger tight) and some corrosion build up in the POS bat cable at the battery. I replaced all the cables and of course new ones were installed tightly.

Problem got much better for a while - after many months the exact same intermittent starting began to recur. I incorrectly figured it was the SAME problem because the symptoms were seemingly identical and it hadn't been all that long.

Well I just recently went BACK to the clutch switch I'd previously eliminated and found that the plastic bumper that pushes the switch was cracked and flexing and not always fully engaging the clutch switch plunger. In fact my further fiddling with it - the thing just broke off.

So once again I've bypassed the clutch switch w/ a copper jumper and the car again appears to be starting consistently.

What I failed to do was recognize that I had probably fixed the original problem and this was a different/new problem with the identical symptoms. Understandable I suppose given the same symptom continuity with one starting to fail on the heals of one being fixed.

And it was sheer dumb luck that I noticed the pedal mounted bumper was cracked which contacts the actual switch.

Hope that helps others and I hope this at last solves my multi-cause intermittent starting problem! (one can never be sure w/ intermittent problems!)

I still have the original starter/solenoid. Given all the debugging and playing around I only ended up purchasing two parts I probably didn't need - the starter relay and the ign switch - neither was expensive at least and the new parts certainly don't hurt anything.

---
'90 240SX SE 2.4L SOHC (KA24E S13)
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#9 Old 05-03-2008, 02:15 PM
 
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oh my bad i thought you still had the problem. good find man. i bet that was a headache trying to figure it out after years of the problem
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