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Dying starter or more grounds?

5601 Views 15 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  insightbuyer
Well this citrus keep tossing all kinds of fun at me. I have my ima battery off and am testing the manual starter and this is what I get. I have a brand new 12volt battery installed and replaced ground straps a month ago....thoughts?

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I am holding the key during this whole video and of course this is the longest time it took to finally kick over. I can't fully tell if it's just a relay or if the starter is trying to shoot out durning the "click"
This looks like a brownout condition that is resetting the ECM's starter relay bypass timer. The ECM waits several seconds for the IMA to start the car, but after that it connects the starter bypass relay. When that relay suddenly energizes the starter - a huge current inrush event - the 12 volt rails drops below 5.7 volts, causing the ECM to brownout, which causes the same relay to open back up, and then the ECM starts the timer again.

So this is definitely a brownout due to starter current demand. Knowing what I do about the G1, it's probably a grounding issue. If not, it's possible the starter has a dead spot in it, which causes the starter to pull way more current than the battery can deliver.

It is not the positive starter lead or solenoid.

If random jiggling doesn't work, get a digital volt meter that has a "minimum voltage" logger (e.g. Fluke 110, or just use an oscilloscope). Connect that to the cigarette lighter (since it's on the same wire harness going to the ECM). See if the voltage drops below ~9 volts while starting.
Everything but one modified connector is unplugged in the trunk. It's running in offroad mode. I will check all the grounds again. All the cables were replaced under the hood.
More data:

The clicking sound in the video is both the relay and the starter is making clicking sound

If i hook straight from battery to starter i can start the car everytime

The voltage to the two connections at the starter are around 12 volts

If i unplug the smaller cable on the starter and put a volt meter on it and turn the key it holds at 12 volts until you release the clutch or turn the key back

If i put a volt meter in the cigarette lighter and turn the key it drops to .01 until the car starts, strangely the car seemed to start more when I had the leads in the cigarette lighter but it could have just been a coincidence


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turbo, your additional data almost certainly confirms my previous diagnosis: bad grounds (or less likely bad positive to cabin wire harness). Next steps:

1: Connect volt meter's positive lead to cigarette lighter, and negative lead to battery minus. What minimum voltage do you see when starting? If really low, then the positive lead is damaged somewhere from battery to cabin fuse block.

2: Connect volt meter's negative lead to cigarette lighter, and positive lead to battery plus. What minimum voltage do you see when starting? If really low, then the ground straps are hosed.

Happy tinkering.
Thanks for the additional details! I have replaced the ground straps under the hood, three i believe, with some copper looking ones i picked up online new. You can see one of them in the picture above. Are you suggesting it possible these straps arent working well or there other grounds that I should look into pending the tests above?

I was messing around with the jumper cables to see if I could ground the starter/frame to the negative side of battery to see if that made a difference but it didnt seem to but by then I was running out of tinkering time.
Since I didnt have super long leads and fancy meters I started with what it seemed like, more grounds. (With the suggestions above)

Ran to walmart and bought a few of the lawnmower battery cables. I had been poking around last night online and found this thread I noticed the starter cabled seemed to run into that area so I put another ground from that suggested bolt in that thread to the battery ground in the firewall. I also added the other cable over one of the ground spots I have the replacement ground cables.

I assume the replacement cables arent making enough of a ground connection or are crappy. So far today the car has started on the first click! I still need to run further tests when I can drive around a bit more.


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