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Turning the key does nothing - Starter?

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Old 02-06-2012, 11:11 PM   #1
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Turning the key does nothing - Starter?

I just proudly changed my own oil and replaced the ngk spark plugs with denso and also the blue ngk wires with original wires. Also I cleaned my k&n air filter for the first time.
So, having said and done that, after I put my air filter back in from cleaning it I went to move my truck out of the drive way and did not think much of it (thought I must have imagined it) but when I tried to turn the key the first time nothing happened at all except for the dash lights. Second try, the truck started right up like a champ.
Next day, no problems, I just moved it across the street.
Today I went out to start it in the morning to go to work and I had to turn the key over about 7 times to make it actually do anything other than dash lights.
I park my car and go back out to it an hour later and same thing. Then later in the day it starts right up on the first try several times.

I took it to my mechanic and we ruled out that it's the starter.
Any thoughts?
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:18 AM   #2
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Is it a Manual Transmission? May be your clutch switch going out. Try using the clutch cancel switch on the dash to see if that has any effect. Don't forget to put it in neutral while trying the switch.

Otherwise, I would say re-check the wires and make sure they are all seated properly. Did it not happen with the old wires? Maybe something is funky with the new set......

Did you gap the plugs?

Good luck! Hope it is something simple.
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:21 AM   #3
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Possibly a loose connection in the ignition switch. Or since it's an automatic, the neutral safety switch.
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:39 AM   #4
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Go back thru and check all the connections/wiring/cables that you would have removed, bumped or disconnected while changing the spark plugs, oil, etc.

Check your battery connections and make sure they are clean & tight. Check the connections to your starter that they are clean & tight.

Even something as simple as a main ground wire dangling in place. One moment its touching the mount and the next minute its not touching.... (as me how I found this out).

There is a redneck way to start the truck up.....but its not exactly safe and I wouldn't recommend it here openly.
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:44 AM   #5
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Sounds like the ignition switch or the key lock assembly.
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:47 AM   #6
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How did you rule out the starter? I'm about to rebuild my starter for the second time, because it is acting exactly like yours. I rebuilt it with new contacts and plunger 4-5 years ago, which fixed the same symptoms then.
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rozz View Post
How did you rule out the starter? I'm about to rebuild my starter for the second time, because it is acting exactly like yours. I rebuilt it with new contacts and plunger 4-5 years ago, which fixed the same symptoms then.
Well, we rechecked all of the wires mostly, checked my battery connection. After doing that, he had a feeling it was the starter that needs to be replaced with a new one. He stresses a new one and not remanufactured because it is new metal.
Apparently people have this issue with starters relatively often?
And one night I started the truck and it smoked and idled. Possibly the starter burning out?
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rozz View Post
How did you rule out the starter? I'm about to rebuild my starter for the second time, because it is acting exactly like yours. I rebuilt it with new contacts and plunger 4-5 years ago, which fixed the same symptoms then.
http://type2.com/bartnik/starter.htm
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loudpedal View Post
Possibly a loose connection in the ignition switch. Or since it's an automatic, the neutral safety switch.
Hmm, I had my ignition switch switched out a couple of months ago. I will look into this more..
The truck is automatic.
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:16 AM   #10
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intermittent starting issues like you are experiencing are usually related to starter. once the internals wear out, its hit or miss on starting until one final day it never starts again. cheap fix on these too. take it to a local shop, not a dealer, if you cant replace it yourself.
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:19 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hats009 View Post
Apparently people have this issue with starters relatively often?
And one night I started the truck and it smoked and idled. Possibly the starter burning out?
The only problem I had on my 96 in the 5 years I owned it.... was the solenoid on the starter and not the starter itself.

The starter only 'starts' the truck. After the truck is running, the starter doesn't have anything to do with how the truck functions.

If your truck is sitting there idling and smoking....you've got other problems.

I would HIGHLY recommend going back and checking your spark plug work. Make sure the plugs are seated properly..... and all connections are secure and done properly.

Especially, If you're smoking at idle... If you stomp on the gas (while in park) and the truck runs like SHIT....then yeah, you've probably got a spark problem.
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hats009 View Post
Well, we rechecked all of the wires mostly, checked my battery connection. After doing that, he had a feeling it was the starter that needs to be replaced with a new one. He stresses a new one and not remanufactured because it is new metal.
Apparently people have this issue with starters relatively often?
And one night I started the truck and it smoked and idled. Possibly the starter burning out?
Sounds like your alternator took a dump....pull it and have it tested at an autozone; usually free.
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:24 AM   #13
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Kinda hard to diagnose this with what your saying but the smoking could be many things. My guess would be an oil leak or oil burning off as you said you just changed it...

I'm having the same intermittent starting issues. I've tried rebuilding my starter solenoid with new contacts and a plunger, all new battery cables and grounds, new starter relay and still the same issue. My truck has been doing it for years since before i owned it but it always starts with enough turns of the key so
I'm thinking i'll do the ignition switch next.

If this just started happening after you did wires then trace your steps and triple check all work
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Old 02-07-2012, 04:38 PM   #14
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i was just remembering i had this issue on a '93 nissan maxima. it was the automatic shifter not fully engaging in park. try this next time: turn ign on, shift out of park and into gear and back to park. then try and start. if it starts that could be your issue.
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:13 PM   #15
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If the starter doesn't make a click sound after the key is turned, it's not that.
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:36 PM   #16
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just to clarify, I think the truck smoked because of my sheer stupidity one night of excitement when I was about to go to home depot.
I had the defroster on before starting the truck not realizing what I was doing and then I started it, and smoke and idle.

I do want to change out the alternator at some point when I save enough quarters and dimes. I want to put a marine battery and inverter in the back to power a camping fridge and possibly a small heater.
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:55 AM   #17
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When you turn the key to the on position, not all the way, does your dash lightup, radio come on etc? At that point if everything is ok you need to cross the solenoid to see if the truck starts. If at that point it starts you can rule out the starter itself although since you would need to take the starter off to replace the solenoid the point is kinda moot. Next you need to check and see that you have power going to the solenoid switch when you turn the key to the start position, this involves a friend to help and a test light to the small connection on the solenoid. If you have power there at that point its probably the solenoid although a bad starter can reveal itself in a similar manner so you may as well replace both. If there is no power at theat point then you need to start looking at the wiring back from that point and the ignition switch itself. I once had an old truck among my many old trucks with a broken wire and it did the same thing as you are describing, drove me crazy but being a 64 chevy van it was easy to flip up the engine cover and cross the solenoid to start it. Good Luck
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Old 02-08-2012, 07:23 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hats009 View Post
just to clarify, I think the truck smoked because of my sheer stupidity one night of excitement when I was about to go to home depot.
I had the defroster on before starting the truck not realizing what I was doing and then I started it, and smoke and idle.
Where did it smoke from? I guess I was assuming it smoked on the outside...
Are you saying its smoking on the inside of the truck? Where from?

Not exactly sure what the defroster would have anything to do with it - I start my vehicles with the defroster on all the time...??

Need some more clarification....
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