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.
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)