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Thread: Help! Truck died while driving, starter now just spins...

  1. #1

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    Help! Truck died while driving, starter now just spins...

    Was driving my 80 arrow back to my house when I noticed the power start to fade, and then the engine shut off completely.

    Was able to coast it into a parking lot. Once there and at a complete stop, back in park, tried to start the truck. No turning over, it sounds like the starter just spins.

    Does it sound like the starter is bad?

  2. #2

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    Hi haruman, sorry to hear your truck griefed you. Your starter motor could have a bad starter solenoid - but I'd check battery condition first. If the battery you're using has filler caps on it, buy an old school battery hydrometer and test the battery out. Top up the battery to the correct levels while you do that. If it shows that the battery is good, put the battery on charge. Once it's got a full charge, drop it back into the truck and see if it starts. I'd do another voltage check while (if...) the engine is running as this will show if the alternator is pushing good voltage back out into the electrical system (should be around 13.5 volts or better depending on the voltage regulator). Easy stuff to do. Hope you get back on the road soon

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the tips, will check the battery out... has a brand new alternator, hopefully that's not the issue.

    Wife had to tow me home with her CRV. I won't live that down for a while...

  4. #4

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    Battery is good, and charged. Had the wife crank it while I looked at the cam & pulleys... no turning. Bad starter? You can hear spinning...

    On maybe a related / unrelated note... at speeds above 45mph today I noticed a vibration sound coming from the engine, it was unusual. Hmm...

  5. #5



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    take a hammer and using the handle, tap on the solenoid housing, then try starting it again. If the solenoid is sticking, this may free it.
    Pennyman1
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  6. #6

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    Thanks, I'll try that next.

    Any idea why this would kill the truck while I was driving? Weird...

  7. #7



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    that wouldn't kill the truck even if the bendix on the starter was riding the ring gear. Is this a 4/5 spd or an auto? If auto, it could be a misadjusted or failing neutral safety switch on the floor shifter.
    Pennyman1
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  8. #8

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    It's an auto.

  9. #9

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    Tried to start in Park, starter whirrs away. Tried in Neutral, starter whirrs away. Tried starting in reverse and drive, starter doesn't whirr.

  10. #10



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    You did say the motor doesn't move, but the starter sounds like it is spinning? the other explanation would be that the flexplate has disconnected from the crank and is no longer able to spin the motor. I have heard of the flexplates breaking where the flexplate bolts to the crank. Can you jack the truck up and safely watch as someone operates the starter - you should be able to see the torque convertor from underneath
    Pennyman1
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  11. #11

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    description sounds like faulty starter motor due to grounding within starter; ie - grounded armature, grounded brush holder, grounded field coil (brush to starter casing). this "may have" initiated by a faulty ground strap (verify all grounds are making excellent contact). this in turn "may cause" engine to die from voltage drop since battery positive goes to starter direct (main fusable link takes a separate path) & "may cause" pinion to not fully extend outward from starter. pull the starter & bench test to visually verify pinion gear extends. if anything on starter appears suspect swop it out. best of luck!

  12. #12

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    Yanked the starter. Pinion does NOT extend. Just ordered a new one off Rockauto, thing is in an outlying warehouse, so probably won't be here until next week. Ack.

  13. #13

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    while you are awaiting delivery make sure all grounds are in great shape & use di-electric grease wherever possible...you know check battery ground to cab, frame, engine etc...(i add grounds)...i have a gut feeling this is why the truck died while driving

  14. #14

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    ^ +1 on that. So many electrical gremlins creep in over time and most of them are due to dirty earth contacts. Hunt down the earth leads in the engine bay, disconnect them and give them a good degrease and clean with steel wool (even wire wheel the earth lead bolts if you can). They might be dirty enough to interfere with the truck starting, charging and running accessories. Had a similar issue with a Hilux - after going through the earth leads it stamped out the electrical problems. Good luck

  15. #15

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    I know you already ordered one but "next" time you might see if there is a starter/alternator rebuilder in your area. Thealternator on my 3.0 went out a few weeks ago, all parts stores said at least four days, so I called a local rebuilder who tore mine down and had it back the same day. Just something to keep in mind!
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  16. #16

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    Good tips all around. Will clean up the grounds while I wait.

    I didn't even think about a local starter rebuilder. Hmm...

  17. #17

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    Heh. Now that I look, the original ground cable that connects to the frame & then the engine... the connection to the frame is broken. Gonna get replacement cables and clean all the points.

  18. #18

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    Clean it up real nice where it grounds. Dirty grounds can be a real B****

  19. #19

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    i added a ground cable for <$1.00 @ rockauto promo code 2286565420978579 This discount code expires on August 10, 2014; so don't wait!

  20. #20

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    Ok, so the new starter came in from Rock Auto... and it looks... different. Here is a pic of both.

    Anyone seen or used this one before? Click image for larger version. 

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  21. #21

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    VERY interesting...the new one looks correct!

  22. #22

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    It actually looks like the old one is missing a cap or part on the end. It might be worth taking the transmission inspection plate off to see if this is so. Also, maybe look in the Hayne's manual to see if they have a picture on a typical starter. If that end IS missing a piece, the starter gears could push past the flywheel and not engage. As yours' is a 1st generation, I have no idea if the end lodges in the bell housing or not. But I strongly advise looking for any broken pieces from the old starter.

    It looks to me like the new one should align just fine.

  23. #23

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    Interestingly enough, RockAuto also sells a Bosch starter that looks like my old one:


  24. #24

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    Hmmm. I have never seen a Bosch starter motor fitted to any Mitsubishi engine - ever. Just plain weird...

  25. #25



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    the starter without the nosepiece is from a starquest 2.6 - I have one from a parts conquest I diamantled years ago. same teeth count, just looks weird...
    Pennyman1
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