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david1walker

On My 3Rd Starter Now! Can Anybody Help?

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Guys, can anybody help? I had the original starter in my car (95LS400)until a month ago, when I went to turn the car over, and it sounded normal until about 1 second later, when it made a big 'whack' noise, and the starter immediately disengaged. It would do this about every 5th time the car was started. I had my local mechanic listen to it, and luckily it did it with him standing there, to which he immediately replied..."that is absolutely your starter". Well, if any of you guys have replaced one of these, it couldn't be more laborious. 8 hours of labor and $1,000 later, they replaced it with an aftermarket Denso unit. I picked up the car and drove it for a few weeks, and then all of the sudden..."whack". The exact same thing started again, only it was about every 50 starts before it would do it. After spending this kind of money, I made them take the starter out and put a factory Lexus part in. I picked the car up yesterday, and this morning I went to jump in it, and it sounded like it was starting normally, when about 1 second later, there was a fast-paced'grinding' noise. I immediately let off the starter, and when I turned it over again, it started perfectly normal.

Needless to say, I called the shop, and they have no idea what is going on. I figured I would reach out to you guys first, to see if any of you have heard of or experienced anything like this before? Is it possible, that I have now gotten 2 bad starters in a row, or could it be something else!? Help!!!

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After having had 3 starter motors with the same problem you are either very unlucky or you have another cause of the problem.

When the starters were removed did anyone examine the starter ring gear around the flywheel?

If the original starter was faulty and failing to disengage after starting it could have damaged the teeth on the ring gear in one particular spot hence when it is in this position on starting you get the problem intermittantly.

Sorry but it looks like another strip down to find the problem.

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After having had 3 starter motors with the same problem you are either very unlucky or you have another cause of the problem.

When the starters were removed did anyone examine the starter ring gear around the flywheel?

If the original starter was faulty and failing to disengage after starting it could have damaged the teeth on the ring gear in one particular spot hence when it is in this position on starting you get the problem intermittantly.

Sorry but it looks like another strip down to find the problem.

Ughh. I assumed that they checked it, but I didn't ask specifically. I'll swing by on the way home and ask.

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Well it seems like it should be the starter motor itself. Maybe you could have someone inspect the flywheel gear to be sure there isn't a section with broken or badly worn teeth. There is a cover on the underside of the engine/transmission that could be removed to do the inspection. Its not as severe as removing the transmission to get a look see.

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Yes, I second(or third) the flexplate teeth. Pull the bottom plate and slowly rotate the crank to see if any teeth (or plate itself) are messed up.

Perhaps the starter mount is loose causing the starter to move slightly when engaged. In your case it would have to be loose bolts or stripped threads. Lets hope not.

Can not believe the shop guys are out of ideas.

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Yes, I second(or third) the flexplate teeth. Pull the bottom plate and slowly rotate the crank to see if any teeth (or plate itself) are messed up.

Perhaps the starter mount is loose causing the starter to move slightly when engaged. In your case it would have to be loose bolts or stripped threads. Lets hope not.

Can not believe the shop guys are out of ideas.

This is why going to a indie shop is like rolling the dice, sometimes you win sometimes you lose. It needs to be torn down again and they don't want to do it.

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I once had a Buick 225 that did the same thing. The ring gear around the flywheel had a bad spot where the teeth were damaged. I replaced the flywheel and no more trouble. Terrible job though.

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If they're new or rebuild starters then the gear should be fine. I would also suspect the flexplate to be the culprit, unless the starter's mount holes are stripped and it's not fully seated flush and tight in the block housing.

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They repaired it twice without checking the flywheel ring gear? Could be it was damaged if the starter solenoid wasn't applying enough force for the pinion to to fully engage the flywheel. You also mention "when about 1 second later, there was a fast-paced'grinding' noise". If it stopped when you released the key then it sounds like a sticky solenoid wasn't releasing the plunger or a weak return spring not retracting the plunger. In any event, your shop should have done a better inspection prior to the second repair.

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