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Old 06-20-2012, 08:40 AM   #1
bl3wbyu
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Default Starter/Solenoid Problem or something else?

Friend has a 2001 Mitsubishi Galant. After watching Prometheus last night (great movie, btw!!), we grabbed some supper, hopped in the car, nothin'. Poking around under the hood, when the switched was turned to the start position there was an audible 'click', but absolutely no other sounds. Then, when being switched to the 'run' position you could hear a slight 'bzzzt' that sounded just like the piezoelectric lighter on a gas grill. Called AAA (free towing within 100 miles, woot. Thanks Mom!) and then kept tinkering with it. Ended up some black guy on a bike swooped in, claiming to be a backyard mechanic, crawled underneath the car, and then it started. I'm pretty sure it was just coincidence, as I don't think ever even touched the starter, but he at least did get closer to finding it than I did. I was looking on the back of the engine (transverse I4, fwd), and apparently it's under the exhaust heat shield on the front.

Anyways, my question is, do you think it's the starter? When we piled it and it wouldn't start, I checked to see if it was the battery by having the interior lights on, radio on, headlights on, and then turning up the fan. No indication of a weak battery at all. Just the 'click' and 'bzzzt' when turning the ignition switch. So my gut is it's the starter or solenoid. Can't figure out what else it would be. There are only two things making me hesitate with that diagnosis. 1) During the winter he said the car would do this, and every time he jumped it, it started. Is there a connection there, or just coincidence the starter would work when it he happened to be jumping it? 2) the 'bzzt' noise is coming from between the firewall and engine, while the starter is apparently between the front clip and the engine.

I'm fixing to tear into it and see if I can see the starter, maybe see if there's a loose connection. The plan was to replace the starter this morning, but I want to be more sure before I waste the guy's $130 on something he ultimately doesn't need replaced.

Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated!!
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:54 PM   #2
rodslinger MMC Arcade Champ!
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I'm guessing you've arleady fixed this thing but it probably was the starter. Or more specifically the starter solenoid. The guy climbing under the car may have use something metal to jump the starter solenoid contacts manually letting the starter engage.
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