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Old 01-16-2018, 05:14 PM   #1
Hoseman1958
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Default '93 D21 starting issues

It's been cold here in East Tennessee, and yesterday when I started my truck in the morning, it turned slow, but started no problem. After driving about 20 minutes, I turned it off, went into a store and came out 10 minutes later. This time it turned even slower, but started. I drove to another place, turned the vehicle off...and when I came out and tried to start the truck....a big hesitation with fuel pump sound, but no start. I tried again....and it started....reluctantly.

I got home, turned the truck off...and it would not restart. I hooked battery charger up at 50 amps.....and it started right up.

I left the charger on it all night at 2 amps, and when I woke up this morning, I started the truck normally....but it sounded slow. I drove directly to Autozone where they tested battery and alternator (bought alternator from them.) Battery was bought new in July. Battery and Alternator tested good, but when I tried to restart the truck, it was reluctant....similar to the 2nd start of the day yesterday. I drove to walmart to get some dielectric grease...and tried to restart truck. Just like 3rd start yesterday....nothing. Tried again, and it started reluctantly. Drove straight home and turned the truck off, tried to restart....and nothing by that humming sound. Hooked battery charger up at 50 amps.....and truck started right up.

I cleaned all the wiring around the battery including the terminals, but the truck will not start. I checked the ignition relay and it looks good. I have a backup if need be. Ignition switch seems a bit loose on column....but I had checked that in a previous incident....and I have a backup for it too. What do I need to do next?

Thanks, Reggie
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Old 01-16-2018, 06:08 PM   #2
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Hi Reggie,
I personally would begin by testing the starter high current connections, both positive and negative. Verify the wires are in good condition and the connections are secure. It sounds like when the starter is attempting to engage you have a very bad voltage drop. It is possible that the starter is getting old/weak but you will not know for sure until you know that all the circuits concerned with it are in good shape.
I would begin by carrying a multimeter with clips in the truck, this way when the condition presents itself you can verify:
1. Battery voltage at rest, at the battery terminals
2. Battery voltage at rest at the starter B+ input
3. Battery voltage during the crank cycle at the starter B+ input
If all appears correct(above ~11 v in all conditions)then move on to the battery ground side of the circuit and verify the same process as above on the negative side, for this you will need to check :
1.Ground at rest at one of the starter mounting bolts(with the +input on the battery)
2.Ground during the crank cycle at one of the starter mounting bolts(with the +input on the battery)

This will help you to see exactly what is causing the failure. If any of the above tests show a large voltage drop(below ~9V) then fixing that drop will likely fix the start problem.
Basic multimeters can be purchased from Sears, Walmart, Kmart and various other retailers for under 20 bucks, and it will be a tool that will get you through many other problems, so if you don't have one now you should consider getting one.

Post back and let us know what you find.
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Old 01-16-2018, 06:53 PM   #3
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Thanks 86. I have 280K plus miles on the truck with the original starter, and I have dreaded the day when I would have to actually replace it or even access it. With that said, where is the starter B+ input located? Can I do this from under the hood and do I need a helper? About accessing the Ground at "one of the starter mounting bolts," I have the NICO repair manual for this vehicle, but I cannot find the diagram showing how to access the starter. I watched a youtube video that showed having to remove this guard plate; and fish it out through a maze of wires and other obstacles to give an awkward access to the starter. Do you have any clues about where I can find that diagram? Thanks for your initial advice!
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:21 PM   #4
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Check out my write up on removing the starter, is isn't that bad to do:

http://infamousnissan.com/forum/showthread.php?t=35952
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Old 01-16-2018, 11:56 PM   #5
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I know that on my 4cyl truck the starter is accessible through the hood. The high current b+ connection is(or should be) under the rubber boot, attached with a nut to a threaded stud.
As to how to access one of the mounting bolts, they run through the starter flange into the transmission, they should be about as accessible as the b+ connection.
A helper would , help if you can find one. If you can't find one then you could possibly just run the two connection up behind the hood and prop up the meter to see the display while you turn the key to the start position.
I could imagine that testing this with a v6 would be much more difficult.... but I have no first hand knowledge of that version.
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Old 01-17-2018, 08:55 AM   #6
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I've been advised that corrosion at the ground junctures could be causing this problem. I'm going to try and use this project as a way to learn how to read the wiring diagram and use a multi-meter, but since the starter has never been replaced, would it be wise just to order one and replace it while I am in there? If I go this route, are there any tips out there about cleaning contact points/ground wires in a tight space like that? I'm going to be doing this on a gravel driveway and need to for weather to warm and snow to melt before I start.
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Old 01-17-2018, 03:28 PM   #7
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Hi Reggie,
Yes corrosion at any of the connections could be a cause for the symptoms you are seeing. Keep in mind that all your connections are crimped on by Nissan so there are multiple places that moisture can enter the copper wire and cause corrosion inside the connection or in the cable itself where it would be difficult or nearly impossible to see. Just cleaning the connection points may give you better connections but it may not fix all of the problem.

The best thing to do would be to do the testing and confirm there is or is not a voltage drop, if there is it would be a good time to replace ALL the heavy gauge wiring and connections and then see how it performs. Testing and probably the wiring could be done without having to get under the truck in the snow.

I personally would not replace the starter until I know that everything feeding it is 100% correct. That will also possibly keep you from having to get under the truck in the cold/wet to swap the starter.
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Old 01-17-2018, 03:38 PM   #8
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86.5KC....thanks. I'll take your advice. I'll be back on here in a few days after I have been able to follow your instructions.
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Old 01-17-2018, 05:01 PM   #9
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If the starter is the original one, I think you got full use out of it, If you do need to get a new one, buy a NEW one, not a reman, reman's suck ( I say the same thing on every starting issue thread ! LOL)

Rockauto has new starters or you can get a reman from the dealer they seem to be rebuilt a lot better than the aftermarket starters.

How old is the battery? In cold climates (same as in hot climates) the batteries don't last as long, when you put the charger on the battery and it started makes me think the battery may have a bad cell.

As was said check the battery voltage with nothing on, than with a helper see what the battery voltage is when trying to start the truck. Also see what the battery voltage is with the engine running, should be close to 14 volts, if not alternator may be bad.

With truck off battery voltage should be around 12 volts, it's not unusual when the starter is cranking for the voltage to drop down to 10 or lower, but once the engine is running it should jump back up close to 14 volts.

If the battery has the cell covers, make sure the fluid is full also. You can have the battery tested at an auto parts store, they can do a load test on it.
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Old 01-19-2018, 02:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahardb0dy View Post
check the battery voltage with nothing on
Don't let the neighbors see you naked, you'll get arrested !!!
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