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Old 11-22-2008, 11:48 PM   #1
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Starter Grind On Start-up - a closer look

I have had a grind issue on start up at cold temperatures. Right after the engine starts, I heard a loud screeching sound similar to turning the key for too long. This issue only occured when the car cooled down for a long time (like starting it first thing in the morning).
So I replaced the starter and decided to disassemble the old starter to attempt to figure out why it grinds in clod temperatures. In short, I think it's pretty clear that it's the solenoid.

Ready to be taken apart:


Closer look at the gears inside. Normal wear and tear, teeth are still good (on all gears). Surprised to see them in good shape.


Looking at the rotor, brushes, housing. Nothing out of ordinary, everything is good!


Taking off the solenoid:



Solenoid seems to be working well. But as you can see, there is some wear on the sides of the piston, showing something is not right.


I put it in the freezer for an hour to duplicate the cold start condition. After trying to compress/release it a few times, I noticed it produced screeching noise, as well as hesitation to pull back. So I believe I found the problem here...



Note that when starting a car, the engine relies on the starter to immediately pull the gear away, and if the solenoid hesitates at all, it would in fact produces screeching noise forcing the gear back into the starter housing. Also playing with the gear that engages with the flywheel has made me to believe that even if solenoid fails completely, the rotation of flywheel would force it back into the housing.

Last edited by sxy2003; 11-24-2008 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 11-22-2008, 11:51 PM   #2
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Before taking this apart I also thought that the failure might be due to the hardware inside the starter: like maybe gears grinding inside or something. I was wrong, the gears are permanently engaged inside and even the main gear slides back and forth on yet another gear, here are pics:

The main gear is on the right (engaged):


Gear is to the left (retracted):



Just for fun, here's the solenoid lever:
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Old 11-23-2008, 12:15 AM   #3
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how many miles on your car?
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Old 11-23-2008, 12:21 AM   #4
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Nice post! Very informative. My starter grinds intermittently on cold starts
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Old 11-23-2008, 12:30 AM   #5
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82k Miles, type S 2003.
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Old 11-23-2008, 12:39 AM   #6
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Nice work! I had to change mine out at 60k kms. Damn starter.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:13 AM   #7
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just turn the key to II for 30 seconds or so then crank the engine... gets rid of the grind everytime for me
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Old 11-23-2008, 03:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IloveK20A2s View Post
just turn the key to II for 30 seconds or so then crank the engine... gets rid of the grind everytime for me
That means your grind is related to the Timing Chain Tensioner, not the starter..
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Old 11-23-2008, 06:54 AM   #9
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nice infor!! my starter is grinding too! gotta change it..
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Old 11-23-2008, 10:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IloveK20A2s View Post
just turn the key to II for 30 seconds or so then crank the engine... gets rid of the grind everytime for me
Yeah that helps the battery juices flowing and increases the number of amps. However, my grind was after the engine started, so it had nothing to do with electronics. The gear disengages with flywheel due to the spring inside the solenoid.
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Old 11-23-2008, 12:23 PM   #11
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I need to replace my starter soon.
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Old 11-23-2008, 02:08 PM   #12
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guess its time for a new starter. mine makes a grinding noise on startup only when its real cold. wich its starting to get cold. always sumthing to go wrong lol
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Old 11-23-2008, 02:13 PM   #13
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Thanks for the pics sxy2003. Can you buy the solenoid separately from the starter?
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Old 11-23-2008, 02:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquid_Turbo View Post
That means your grind is related to the Timing Chain Tensioner, not the starter..
I am actually pretty sure its the starter because it only does it when it's real cold out and it has sat all night long in it. Once I start the engine it does it
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Old 11-23-2008, 03:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay View Post
Thanks for the pics sxy2003. Can you buy the solenoid separately from the starter?
No easy way to buy it, the starter is usually sold as assembly. But I'm sure you can find just the solenoid if you look hard enough. It may be just as expensive to buy a new solenoid as to buy a remanufactured starter.
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Old 11-23-2008, 05:49 PM   #16
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What did everyone do with their old starter?
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Old 11-24-2008, 07:52 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquid_Turbo View Post
What did everyone do with their old starter?
Put it back together and get $54 cash for the core.
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Old 11-24-2008, 11:44 AM   #18
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Where'd you get the cash from?
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Old 11-24-2008, 12:35 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquid_Turbo View Post
Where'd you get the cash from?
Same place I bought the new one from - Autozone. Well, it was remanufactured...
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Old 11-24-2008, 01:49 PM   #20
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i have grind sometimes at cold start up, but im not getting what this thread is for. are you saying i need a new starter or i need to take it apart and push the solinoid in and out? i have no idea what your trying to say here. if you could be a little more comprehendable
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Old 11-24-2008, 02:14 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dub6pimp View Post
i have grind sometimes at cold start up, but im not getting what this thread is for. are you saying i need a new starter or i need to take it apart and push the solinoid in and out? i have no idea what your trying to say here. if you could be a little more comprehendable
It means you need a new starter.
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Old 11-24-2008, 02:15 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dub6pimp View Post
i have grind sometimes at cold start up, but im not getting what this thread is for. are you saying i need a new starter or i need to take it apart and push the solinoid in and out? i have no idea what your trying to say here. if you could be a little more comprehendable
Editted the first post to include background. I was trying to figure out what causes a starter to grind on start-up. Pics are just for your viewing pleasure. You don't need to take anything apart. All I'm saying is that if you have a similar problem, it is likely the solenoid in your starter.
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Old 11-25-2008, 11:54 AM   #23
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I didn't get this question answered on the other post about grinding on start up.

But does procrastinating the fix have negative repercussions such as the starter gear chewing the teeth off the flywheel? or is it more negative for the starter than the flywheel?

And is it possible for me to merely purchase the solenoid and save myself fifty bucks or so?
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:29 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wketchin View Post
I didn't get this question answered on the other post about grinding on start up.

But does procrastinating the fix have negative repercussions such as the starter gear chewing the teeth off the flywheel? or is it more negative for the starter than the flywheel?

And is it possible for me to merely purchase the solenoid and save myself fifty bucks or so?
Good question, I did actually look at it as I was wondering myself. It appears that grinding does have affect on both the flywheel and the starter gear. However, it was minimal in my case. The wear is mostly on the sides of gears and not the actual teeth. So the flywheel had slightly noticeable wear on the side, and the starter gear was a little more noticeable but again, only on the side.
In my understanding, the gears are not meshed when you hear grinding, just rubbing on the sides of each other.
The thing is that starter gear is made of high quality material and does not wear very fast. I actually had this problem since I got the car in 2007, who knows how long the previous owner had the issue.
One thing to keep in mind is that not all starters are the same, so your grind may or may not be the same as mine. It is very likely it is, but I think it's best to replace it.

As for saving money - so far I didn't find where you can buy just the solenoid. However, stumbled across this forum http://www.hondacarforum.com/acura/3...xperience.html where a guy repaired his solenoid for like $25. It's cheap because all you have to replace in the solenoid are the contacts and the plunger (the part that sticks)... Might want to try that, though the solenoid is sealed, so might have to get creative how to repair it (or ask the guys before ordering from them).
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:25 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquid_Turbo View Post
What did everyone do with their old starter?
dumpster, baby
Quote:
Originally Posted by sxy2003 View Post
Put it back together and get $54 cash for the core.
where, how!?
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