RenaissanceReddy

Just Replaced LS400 Starter, Strange Noise Upon Startup

Recommended Posts

Hey guys! I'm new on this forum. This is my first post, but hopefully it's an interesting one. I have a 99 LS400 with 152k miles on it. A few weeks ago, it started taking more and more turns of the key to start it, until one day, when all I got was the infamous single click. So I figured it's time to replace the starter and ordered a Denso Remanufactured one. It came in late yesterday, and my friends and I got started. We finished today and got the car all put back together. When I went to start it, it started right up! However, right after it turned over, there was a very high pitched whining/whirring noise ( like something spinning very quickly) which lasted a second or two. I've tried starting it about 12-13 times since then, and it does it almost every time, although the noise has gotten a bit quieter.

My friends and I immediately suspected that the noise was coming from the starter not disengaging and pulling back out of the flex plate after starting it. After doing some quick searching on this forum, I figured we were probably right about that theory. Is this because we possibly didn't seat the starter properly? Maybe it might've been at a slight angle?  But the two 14mm bolts went right in and we tightened them properly. The starter seemed like it was very stable and properly fitted. Or is this just an issue with the starter itself?

In any case, my main concern is... Will this cause any long term problems to the flex plate or something? Will the new starter go out quickly? Basically, what should I do at this point? 

Thanks in advance guys!
Karthik 

 

PS. I have to take the LS400 on a 900 mile road trip from Chicago to NY tomorrow :scared:. That's why I'm kinda anxious and worried about this noise haha. At least we got the starter replacement done fairly quickly and on time. I have to say, although it was an annoying job, it really wasn't as bad as I was expecting! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Is your check engine light on? It does sound like the starter was not disengaging but that's just a guess. You could have also gotten a bad starter. These things do happen. Hopefully nothing was damaged with that noise. All I can suggest is that you guys tear everything back down and bench test the starter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome Karthik.

I think you are right on with the starter not disengaging immediately and being spun by the motor for a moment. Could be that the starter is partially defective, maybe a weak spring to retract the gear. I always bench test my starters and then once installed, I try them again before the engine is all back together. On the LS, I jumper the starter solenoid to the battery to get it to crank before reinstalling the manifold. Just FYI for future starter changes.

You know, I don't think I would do anything at the moment except keep an eye...er, ear on it. If it is a defective return spring there is nothing you can do about it but tear it all down again. I doubt that it will damage your flex plate although the starter does get a bit more wear and tear. You might take a peak at the teeth on the bottom of the flex plate thru the cover and see if there is any excessive wear. 

Let us know what you decide to do. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its not a competition or a race to do something like a starter replacement. Its better to spend 2 days or more and do it right than goof things up trying to rush it. Even the so called professional mechanics mess up (actually allot) from trying to speed through a job.  It could be that the gears are meshing too tight, the bendix clutch is not working right. So does it make gear noise when cranking the engine? It may just clear up with use too. And meeee toooo always test a starter before installing especially a very difficult install like the LS. I also did my LS like Landar did, do the double test, one on the floor, the other right after its bolted on.

"Not as bad as expecting"   ??? It must be different on that year. Its a very nasty job on a Generation 1, the crispy electrical connectors are what makes it just bad. And the rear coolant cross over manifold and the wire loom. And the next to zero clearance between the engine and firewall, it would probably be less trouble to take the engine out to do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is indeed a nasty job, almost whole of your engine is ripped apart...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lol, it's easier if you have 2 ppl to lift that heavy intake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

UPDATE - 

First of all, thank you all for getting back to me! I really appreciate it. I read all of your responses and decide to just wait and see what happens before I do anything. And I guess it paid off! I got to New York just fine. And after a few days of making the noise while I was here, it completely went away!  It hasn't made the noise at all in over 10 days. And the startup feels and sounds just fine every time. I'm still not exactly sure what it was. Maybe it was just an issue with the starter itself that for whatever reason fixed itself haha. The starter definitely seemed like the likely culprit because our installation went pretty smoothly. In any case, I'm happy and worry free :) 

 

On 5/19/2016 at 9:11 PM, sha4000 said:

Is your check engine light on? It does sound like the starter was not disengaging but that's just a guess. You could have also gotten a bad starter. These things do happen. Hopefully nothing was damaged with that noise. All I can suggest is that you guys tear everything back down and bench test the starter.

There wasn't a check engine light at all. But I am glad I waited before I ripped everything back down haha. And yep, lifting the intake manifold out without a second person would've been insane.

On 5/19/2016 at 2:55 PM, landar said:

Welcome Karthik.

I think you are right on with the starter not disengaging immediately and being spun by the motor for a moment. Could be that the starter is partially defective, maybe a weak spring to retract the gear. I always bench test my starters and then once installed, I try them again before the engine is all back together. On the LS, I jumper the starter solenoid to the battery to get it to crank before reinstalling the manifold. Just FYI for future starter changes.

You know, I don't think I would do anything at the moment except keep an eye...er, ear on it. If it is a defective return spring there is nothing you can do about it but tear it all down again. I doubt that it will damage your flex plate although the starter does get a bit more wear and tear. You might take a peak at the teeth on the bottom of the flex plate thru the cover and see if there is any excessive wear. 

Let us know what you decide to do. 

Landar, I actually wrote this post in hopes that you would comment haha. I saw how helpful you had been for others with their issues, specifically regarding starters. So it made my day to see your post on my thread :) Thanks for your advice on waiting to see what happens; it definitely paid off. And I will definitely test starters in the ways you described before installing them moving forward. Great advice. 

 

On 5/21/2016 at 2:30 AM, Exhaustgases said:

Its not a competition or a race to do something like a starter replacement. Its better to spend 2 days or more and do it right than goof things up trying to rush it. Even the so called professional mechanics mess up (actually allot) from trying to speed through a job.  It could be that the gears are meshing too tight, the bendix clutch is not working right. So does it make gear noise when cranking the engine? It may just clear up with use too. And meeee toooo always test a starter before installing especially a very difficult install like the LS. I also did my LS like Landar did, do the double test, one on the floor, the other right after its bolted on.

"Not as bad as expecting"   ??? It must be different on that year. Its a very nasty job on a Generation 1, the crispy electrical connectors are what makes it just bad. And the rear coolant cross over manifold and the wire loom. And the next to zero clearance between the engine and firewall, it would probably be less trouble to take the engine out to do it.

I only meant it wasn't that bad in the sense that I had read up so much about it and saw hundreds and hundreds of people complaining about it. I still consider myself a beginner  (at best) at wrenching, so I went in expecting the worst. However, I do like to think I'm more patient than most people. I don't stress or get frustrated easily. And patience is definitely required for a job like this haha. Even though it wasn't as bad as I was expecting, it was definitely still an annoying job overall. I guess it just was a little more straightforward than I had imagined it in my head, that's all.  I was also lucky because my two friends who helped me are much more experienced at wrenching than I am. Couldn't have done it without them. 

 

All in all, great first experience posting on this forum. Thanks again to everyone who responded! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/21/2016 at 8:57 AM, sha4000 said:

 

Sorry, I have no idea how or why this got made into another post. Mods please delete this post

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad it's working out for you. Just keep a good ear out for any future issues with it and have your plan of attack ready. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Content

    • By Lexus Owners Club
      The Lexus RC F GT3 secured a sensational first victory in the Blancpain GT Series at the Paul Ricard circuit in the South of France on Saturday. Emil Frey Lexus Racing’s Alberto Costa Balboa took the lead just half a lap from the chequered flag in the six-hour Endurance Cup race to claim a memorable result for the team and for Lexus
      The result sets the seal on a steady transformation of the team’s fortunes in the RC F GT3’s first full season of European GT competition and delivers on the promise the car showed in scoring points and podium results in the previous rounds of the series at Brands Hatch and Silverstone.
      Lorenz Frey, Team Principal, said: “We still can’t believe it. The last lap was nerve-racking, nobody would have thought that after six hours it would be so close. We have now definitely proven that we have a very strong package and can demonstrate the performance of the Lexus and the expert work of our team.”
      The race was rare in offering so much close action throughout its 1,000km distance. In a field of 51 starters, just one second covered the qualifying times of the top 24 cars. At the start, Christian Klien in the No14 Lexus moved from fourth on the grid to second by the first corner, while team-mate Stéphane Ortelli in the sister No114 car also put in a strong first stint, racing from eighth to third within just a few laps.

      At nightfall, both Lexus RC F GT3 looked on course for a podium finish. Norbert Siedler in the No114 had a strong fight with the No7 Bentley, but light contact meant he couldn’t progress beyond fourth before handing over to Ortelli. He too suffered contact with another car, which required an unscheduled pit stop to repair damage to the steering. This effectively ruled the Lexus out of contention, but the team were able to use the remaining hours to test and prepare the car for the highlight of the season, the 24-hours of Spa.
      Meanwhile, Marco Seefried was running in a good fourth spot in the No14 car when he handed the wheel to Costa Balboa for the last hour of the race. Once the leading No72 Ferrari suffered an engine failure and the second-placed McLaren received a drive-through penalty, the Lexus found itself running in second place. Costa Balboa was just 0.8 seconds behind the leading Bentley with eight minutes to go. On the final lap, he seized the initiative with a great overtaking move through turn 10, securing an incredible first victory for Lexus in the Blancpain GT Series.
      Emil Frey Racing now leads the Endurance Cup team’s championship standings. The next outing for the team will be a two-race Sprint Cup meeting at Misano, in Italy, from 22 to 24 June.
    • By otherworldliness
      Recently, I noticed that power steering has been making a ton of whining noise when I turn the steering wheel. After topping off the power steering reservoir with the Dextron ATF fluid, I checked the surrounding near the reservoir, there was no signs of leakage. With reservoir at correct level, the power steering would behave normally again. But that was short-lasted as fluid level would drop again.
      I ended up getting on my knee at the driver side (not passenger side), and noticed a ton of oil leak. I used my hand to touch the fluid and noticed that it is indeed the power steering fluid. I took a photo, but can anyone shed the light on what component may be at fault on the driver side? I thought the PS pump is on the passenger side. I haven't jacked up the car to take a better look yet, but I will do it soon.
      Note: the attached photo was taken on the driver side near the driver side front wheel

    • By Yogi1958
      New to this Lexus ES 350 Club: I always said I'd own a Lexus by the time I turned 60 (just as my Dad said he would own a Lincoln by the time he turned 60 - and he did). 2 weeks ago (and 5 months before my 60th bd), I did it. I now own a Deep Sea Blue Mica 2015 ES 350 with 44k miles in excellent shape. Prior to this, I drove a Toyota Avalon Limited, and I thought the ride could not be any more quiet or more smooth. I was wrong. The Lexus is far and away more solid, quiet, comfortable and smooth. I made a great choice for under $24k.

    • By GumbleX
      Have an GX470 that has been a trusted companion for 8 years with 190k. Has worked for my wife and three kids. Was hoping to get the last 18 months of use until my last kid went to college, but the rear air suspension system is totally gone and the dealer quoted me $5,200. Dealer came back and offered a “kit” that would convert to a standard suspension that would be $2,200, but the car still has another $2-3k of other repairs to get it back to “normal”. I put Almost $1,500 into the air conditioning system a few years ago and promised that would be the last major investment. I was surprised that the blue book value still says the car is work $10k. Should I repair and sell, donate or just call it a day and sell it for scrap? Not sure if I could sell it in its current state. It’s an “extra” car and no longer needed, but sucking up too much time and resources. Any recommendations or thoughts about next steps? Thanks
    • By JamieLexys
      So a couple weeks ago I bought a used 92 LS400 on Craigslist for 1500. I went by myself to look at it and I have a vague knowledge of mechanics and how to look at used cars before buying them and I just bought it without having someone else look at it. After I bought it I had it inspected and found a myriad of issues. When I bought it I knew there was a power steering problem with a hose leaking and that didn't bother me also it needed a new battery so I got that when I bought it. I didn't know that it had a problem driving because I couldn't test drive it outside the little Street it was on but come to find out it shudders and hesitates when cruising and accelerating and they said that could be a crankshaft position sensor that's causing that. Also they said that the power steering pump may be bad as well as the rack and pinion if the hose does not remedy the problem. It's got bad tie rod ends, drive shaft flexible joint is bad, it's got a bad spark plug, valve cover gasket leak, some other gasket leak, needs a new fuel filter and the timing belt is in question whether or not it got changed... front tires are kind of low on tread. There's some minor aesthetic issues like the volume button broke, the LCD screen, the antenna, and there's some other little things I'm missing. The estimate I got from my mechanic was like 1800 so I just sourced the parts on RockAuto for like a quarter or less of what that cost is. Unfortunately I am on a tight budget so I only got the first thing I thought I needed, which was the power steering pressure line and the crankshaft position sensor. I got some decent information looking online for the replacement of the line but ultimately it was just trial and error taking things apart breaking things... it looked like the alternator was completely covered in power steering fluid so I removed it and Cleaned it with brake cleaner. I had to take it out anyway to be able to reach the line that need replacement. I also replaced the return hose, I think that was the main problem but it has a new pressure line now. I put in the new sensor, it was really easy unlike the pressure line. Once I got it all put together and filled up with new fluid, I decided to take it for a test drive as the steering was working quite well at the moment. When I get to the gas station and I started it up again it died on me, bad fuel pump. So here I am without my car temporarily, but I will be working towards getting it running and restored and possibly modified. I'll post more pictures as I get into it but that was just the Craigslist picture. this car needs a lot of love but I think it's going to be worth it in the end because I already have it and I'm kind of stuck with it. I really like this car though even though it needs a lot of work.