: Starter issue. Was it a fluke?



robb257731
08-28-09, 05:34 PM
So I just got back from a trip up north, and I took the Brougham. The car drove beautifully all the way up. I had to take it down a REALLY rough road to get to the cottage. After taking it down that road, the left rear door, which had refused to open for the past couple of weeks, suddenly started to work just fine.

I drove home last night. It was about a 4, 4.5 hour drive, driving at 115-125km/hour the whole way. Again, the car drove beautifully. Smooth, no hesitations, nothing. I pulled up to my friend's place, parked the car (the car was parked on a bit of a downward slope), shut it off, and helped her carry her bags into her house. So the car had been shut off for MAYBE 2-3 minutes. When I got back into the car, I turned the ingition key and got nothing. All of the lights came on, the seatbelt chime worked, plenty of power, but nothing from the starter at all. No clicks, etc. I thought maybe it wasn't quite in park, so I coasted it a little forward down the slope, applied the parking brake, and again tried to start the car, and nothing.

I called CAA and the towtruck guy tried to start it, same thing, nothing. He tried tapping on the starter while I turned the key and nothing. So noting the car was completely loaded with luggage, coolers, etc, I had him tow it home....about a 15 minute drive away. He lowers it down, and wanted me to get in the car to put it in neutral so he and my buddy could push it into the right spot in front of the house. I thought I'd turn the key, and VROOM, the car started right up. No hesitation, nothing. The tow truck guy said he thought the starter was going.

I went out this morning to see if it would start, and VROOM, started right up.

I took it to my mechanic this afternoon to have him take a look at it (I'm not handy). One of the guys said that sometimes when starters are worn, they can act up when the engine is hot.

The car's been at the shop all afternoon. I just called my mechanic, and he said that the car has started every time, and he hasn't been able to find anything really wrong with it. He's going to keep it over the weekend and take another look at it on Monday.

Any ideas guys? Could it just be a fluke?

sven914
08-28-09, 05:53 PM
Electrical resistance increases with heat and with wear on electrical parts. This resistance doesn't allow enough power to the component and it won't move. If your mechanic is not heating the starter to the temperature it was when it failed, then he will find no problems. Heat sinking problems can also be horribly intermittent and very touchy to the slightest of variables (as with all intermittent problems). The best thing to do is replace the starter, but keep in mind that the problem could also be in the wiring to the starter.

HUF
08-28-09, 06:27 PM
Next to Sven. Happened to me a few years ago. Replaced the starter and it fixed the problem. If you waited long enough when it happened for the first time you would be fine. It probably was a hot day.

Angry Matt
08-28-09, 11:43 PM
I third replacing the starter. I recently got over a six month long battle with starter issues. Replacing it solved the problems. They're cheap and easy enough to replace that's not a real big deal. Is it possible the bolts have loosened and it's not grounding properly? Or a wire isn't tight? A mechanic overtightened my power wire once and stripped it bald. I had to replace the stud in the solenoid. Too much advance can also make them act up. That should be hard starting though, not, not working at all.

monster
08-29-09, 02:19 AM
Hmm, same issue as I had today on my 90? I let my friend drive it the other day to the doctor, now im not saying its her fault but it had been turning on fine since ive had it. However the next day it would feel as it wasnt going to turn over, as I turn the key it kinda feels dead for a mili second then turns over. But today as I came out of work I turned her over, it came on but I let the key go before it came completely on, then after letting it sit a few seconds it didnt want to turn over at all. Kinda felt like the other Cadi I had with the "security" crap where the key turns but nothing happens. After a few minutes I popped the hood made sure the battery terminals werent loose or too dirty and kept trying. Out of nowhere a couple of minutes later it came on?! I just tried it again and it did come on, but it did it what that slight hesitation that it just started doing.

csbuckn
08-29-09, 10:23 AM
You can also buy heat shields for the coils, very cheap and easy to do, especially if your already replacing the starter. Also make sure, if its heat related, theres nothing causing extra heat like an exhaust leak or oil build up. I would also spray that door with some WD40 while it still opens. Monster, your doesnt sound heat related but it still sounds like a weak starter/soleniod.

HUF
08-29-09, 11:39 AM
Hmm, same issue as I had today on my 90? I let my friend drive it the other day to the doctor, now im not saying its her fault but it had been turning on fine since ive had it. However the next day it would feel as it wasnt going to turn over, as I turn the key it kinda feels dead for a mili second then turns over. But today as I came out of work I turned her over, it came on but I let the key go before it came completely on, then after letting it sit a few seconds it didnt want to turn over at all. Kinda felt like the other Cadi I had with the "security" crap where the key turns but nothing happens. After a few minutes I popped the hood made sure the battery terminals werent loose or too dirty and kept trying. Out of nowhere a couple of minutes later it came on?! I just tried it again and it did come on, but it did it what that slight hesitation that it just started doing.

Your case is different and it is not heat-related. Probably bad cables/contacts. The original poster has worn out armature inside the starter which acts up when it is hot. It is a well-known problem with aging starters.

jayoldschool
08-29-09, 03:38 PM
Went through the same thing on my 81. The hammer tap worked twice before it gave up. Changed the starter and battery cables. Starts fine now :D

greencadillacmatt
08-29-09, 03:54 PM
Another for replacing the starter. Mine had the same heat-warping-armature problem. It would start fine when the engine was cold, but after even a few minutes of running, it would be too hot to start. Replaced it and it has worked perfectly ever since.

robb257731
08-29-09, 04:19 PM
Thanks for all the posts. Looks like I'll have my mechanic change the starter!

cadillac_al
08-29-09, 06:50 PM
I would wait until it happens again. It sounds like the battery terminals are just starting to get dirty to me.

N0DIH
08-30-09, 08:25 AM
Watch out on the hammer tap, these starters has perm magnets and it will break them and the starter would be junk afterwards.

As for problems, the SD250, aka 5MT starters had poor quality on the armature and if you tear down you will find that one wire, maybe 2 are corroded and need to be fixed. Soldering fixed mine for around 6 months, but the answer is a new armature from a starter shop. I rebuilt my starters and rarely replace them, it is just easier and much much cheaper.

Starters are meant to be torn apart and repaired. My 91 Cadillac Deville (sold) has 230K on stock starter, I rebuilt around 150K and starts perfectly. The only failure mode is fail to start when hot and it eventually got to a point where it would not start cold and you had to tap. Tap on the steel frame on the magnet part (black middle area). Really the REAR is the important place.

kevinf
11-30-09, 05:37 PM
However the next day it would feel as it wasnt going to turn over, as I turn the key it kinda feels dead for a mili second then turns over. But today as I came out of work I turned her over, it came on but I let the key go before it came completely on, then after letting it sit a few seconds it didnt want to turn over at all. Kinda felt like the other Cadi I had with the "security" crap where the key turns but nothing happens. After a few minutes I popped the hood made sure the battery terminals werent loose or too dirty and kept trying. Out of nowhere a couple of minutes later it came on?! I just tried it again and it did come on, but it did it what that slight hesitation that it just started doing.

I've had something like this happening to me recently as well. A couple times in the past 2 weeks you'd get in the car (tick tick tick tick like a starter relay w/ a dead battery, probably some relay in the dash) and NO usual flashing VATS light on the dash. Turn the key, NO power to the dash gauges or the radio. Sit a while, turn the key back to on/run and the radio comes on, dash lights up and car starts beautifully. This actually happens more cold than hot. Then, today it DIED on me while I was driving. I shifted to N, and started the car back up before I even coasted to a stop.

I was thinking battery cables/connections but the whole dying while driving has thrown me for a loop now. What would kill the car completely? My presets stay, but the clock resets.

I have my theories but would like to hear more. I am going to replace the + battery cable anyhow. I did the ground cable last year when it took the terminal lug out of the old, dead battery instead of un screwing.

highwaycruiser
11-30-09, 07:52 PM
another one, tap on the steering column, had this happen on my roadmaster as well, changed out the igniyion switch, a great deal cheaper than doing a starter, did it myself, you'll find getting in the steering colum a real job, but easier to access than the starter. just remember to put everyting back as installed or you'll be back in their real soon. belive me its the ignition switch.

kevinf
12-01-09, 02:05 PM
I'm going to take a voltmeter to it tonight and see what it tells me. I believe it could be either but keep in mind that I can already tell if the car is "dead" before I put the key in the ignition. I don't get the VATS light on the dash and I can hear a relay clicking with the door open.

The whole dying while driving really has me spooked.