View Full Version : Strange issues on startup

06-12-2012, 06:03 PM
Hello everyone. So I got the engine in the Accord but now have 2 strange issues.

First is the starter won't turn over. I can hear it click and have checked for voltage at the plug and cable but nothing happens. The engine spins freely when it's turned with a wrench with the plugs out.

Second issues is something went wrong with the alternator harness and the black wire (I'm guessing ground) ended up melting all the way up to the junction on the main harness. It appears to have stopped there and I cannot see any other melting of the harness when I pull the tape back. The connection to the large white wire next to it appears to have crept out of it's connector and may have bridged with that black wire? That's my only guess at this point since it stops shortly after the plug.

Also that Petronix Ignitor almost caught on fire with the key being on for around 2 seconds. The instructions were very vague and the kit did not fit on my car properly. If you have a car with electronic ignition do not try to replace it with this kit.

So any ideas on the starter or alternator? I'm running out of ideas at this point.

06-13-2012, 01:46 AM
From what you said, i would check the battery. Should be no less than 12.6 volts standing.

When the same thing happened to me it tuned out being black goo
On the neg battery post, it looked clean but was decieving.
Check that the engine block and the body have good ground back to the battery.
If the white wire shorted ,the fuse in the powr junction fuse box should have popped.
The petronics wiring instructions may need reviewing, there may be a need to check coil resistance, and primary ign 12v feed resistance... May be differnt spec for that vs oem. I would check too if there is a relay that is stuck or damaged because of your main power problem.

06-13-2012, 07:43 AM
The Ignitor is gone. Almost caught on fire so I'm going back to the regular distributor. It went up in like 3 seconds so I don't trust the thing anymore.

Battery cable is new and the battery checks in at about 13v when I check it with my gauge. I can hear a click at the starter but no turn. It turned before the engine was rebuilt but after reinstall it does not. I'm probably going to have to pull it and have it tested if possible or just replace the whole thing.

The ground could be bad from the engine back to the body. I'll double check that and see what I can find. I know the ground is fine for the rest of the car. All lights, turn signals, windshield wipers, dash lights, etc work when I disconnect the ignition coil and put the car to on. I didn't have any issues with the wiring until I plugged in the alternator to the harness.

06-13-2012, 08:12 AM
The things on the engine itself that need power and ground is what you are having problems with. Isolated that is how you go about looking.

The Petronix probably needed to be in a fuse or breaker protected circuit. Ok if it had no decent place to ground it would fry. It could have grounded through load but since the car isn't running there is no load from the secondary.

Testing the starter in the car: Try using jumper cables, connecting the neg to the block like on a bolt or something safe, then connect the pos to the large terminal on the starter.
Connect the other end of the jumper cables to the battery, connecting the neg clamp LAST. This ensures no arc damage on the pos connections.
Put the car in Neutral or park, disconnect the small signal wire on the starter and then use a small jumper on that terminal on the starter. Jump the jumper wire over to the pos jumper cable.
That eliminates the starter circuit from the rest of the car and will tell you if you have a power issue or a starter issue.

If the alternator wasn't grounded good thru it's mounting, it could have shorted I guess. Check that it isn't shorting in the stress relief grommet mount at the alternator.

06-13-2012, 11:28 AM
Ok, thank you for the help. I'll try the battery cable method and see if it does something different this time around.

Also since the engine ground appears to be the issue should I run a ground strap from the engine directly to the point where my negative cable grounds? All grounds on the car appear to be fine.

The Ignitor itself had a red wire and black wire that I assumed was ground. According to the instructions the positive and negative wires went from the coil directly to the Ignitor with no fuse in between. The warned about leaving the car in the on position but I didn't think 2-3 seconds would do it. I still have the condenser for the old distributor so I won't have any issues hooking that back up.

06-13-2012, 02:21 PM
Try rapping on the starter solenoid housing with a wrench. The solenoid could be sticky from sitting.

I would get that short worked out first though.

06-13-2012, 02:53 PM
I was tapping it with the hammer when the wire started smoking. Didn't work, just clicking then the foul smelling smoke of electrical issues.

06-13-2012, 10:21 PM
I agree with everyone below below, sounds like bad grounds all around. I've been surprised in the past by grounding issues, even when everything seemed ok at first glance. After sorting out your alternator wiring (Check your voltage regulator as well) and your main ground leads I'd also make sure that your starter connections are good/clean as well.

Just my 2 Cents but I'm thinking a bad ground on a starter that may be gummed up would cause quite a lot of draw, Which would drain the crap out of the battery, and may not work anyhow. If the car is started somehow anyways, that battery would be drawing a lot of charge, maybe too much, and frying out the alternator by pulling too many amps (especially if your Regulator is toast).

If you have the time/inclination it's not that hard to "Rebuild" your starter. The right tools and a little bit of high temp lube and some brake cleaner will usually do the trick. Sometimes the solenoid mechanism gets gucked up over time. With a little care and the right info it's a fairly simple job. Plus if your Starter IS f***ed then you'll know it for sure.

08-12-2012, 07:33 AM
So some progress on this situation.

I was able to get back to my car yesterday and had a chance to test the starter. I did this by taking it out of the car then hooking jumper cables up to it. Red to the post the positive cable goes to, black attached directly to the body of the starter with the other clamps ran directly to the posts on the battery.

I then supplied power to the start lead with a test light and even though the light came on nice and bright nothing happened. The starter itself feels really gunked up and has a bit of a gritty grind to it when I spin the gear by hand. I think it's shot, new one is on the way.

Still haven't figured out the alternator issue but it seems like a bad ground combined with a bad starter is what caused it. Continuity is fine when I test the ground wire at the junction that goes into the main harness and the burning goes no further than that junction. It didn't happen until I had my friend hold the key in the start position so the too much draw due to a bad starter makes a lot of sense.

Would that much power having no good grounds result in it burning up the only ground it could find (thin black wire off alternator) since the gauge of the wire couldn't handle the load? Did I test the starter correctly?