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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,
Looked for a similar question everywhere. The answers do not seem to match my situation.

My wife drove the car home last night and this morning, no cranking, no clicking sound from the starter. A few days before that, when she was starting up the car, it sounded like it was having a tough time cranking (as in slower crank than normal) but it did start without a problem.

I tried jump starting. No luck.
Tried different key. No Luck.
Recharged the battery off the car over night. No luck
Battery registers 12.6V. Did not measure it before recharging. It is 1.5 yr old.
The dash lights come on. Headlight at full brightness.
When I turn the key to start the engine, I hear the fuel-pump running for a sec or so. but absolutely no clicking sound from the starter's solenoid.

my suspected list of items:
Safety switch/relay on the brakes (don't remember if I had to depress the brake pedal for starting or not)
Safety switch on transmission (to make sure you are in P or N position).

Any thoughts or ideas of how to diagnose this puppy? I have plenty of tools and experience except, not on this beast! Is the battery really the problem even if I cannot change thins when I tried to jump start it?

Thank you all,
SiaH
 

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Doesn't sound like a battery problem (at least not at the battery itself). While the relays are cheaper to replace than a starter motor, in my experience they are less prone to failure.

Based on my experience with a bad starter motor when my car was around 8 years, I would guess its the same thing. I had similar symptoms with all of the electronics working just fine, but no popping sound at all near the starter when trying to start the engine.

Dealer charged me around $800, but you could likely DIY it for $400-$500 based on where you get the part (starter motor) from.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank You.

Dear DWLINK,
Thank you so much for the reply. Here is additional info which I believe leads me to the starter as well.

a. I took the battery out and got it tested at two locations. Both indicated that the battery was in good condition.
b. With the help of my wife, I tapped on the starter while she kept the key in the "cranking" position and suddenly the car started up. Repeated this a few times and same results.

I think at this stage I am going to roll the dice and replace the starter this weekend. The only crazy thing is that I have opened up enough starters to know them inside out. I had always expected the solenoid is the part that usually goes bad and its mode of failure would be the internal contact wearing out (hence the clicking sound but no cranking). This is my first time experiencing the solenoid dying on me like this! Mighty crazy!

The local parts store has one in stock at $129 (Ultima Brand). I will look for a Bosch in the next day or two and will replace it on Saturday. Will post the outcome.

Thank you again
 

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If you listen in the engine compartment while someone else turns the key and you hear a click, then the problem is the starter motor.

If you are not hearing the starter solenoid engage (clicking sound) then it is either the solenoid on the starter or the voltage is not being sent to the solenoid.

I am not that familiar with the six cylinders but I have been told that you can reach the solenoid contact with a probe. If you can place the probe on the positive contact and the other probe to any ground then have someone turn the key to attempt to start it then check the multimeter for a voltage.

If no voltage then look upstream as a voltage is not being sent to the solenoid. If you get a voltage and no click it is the starter solenoid. Then you have to decide to change just the solenoid or the whole starter assembly.

I would recommend replacing the whole starter as the removal and installation is a major job, and you may replace the solenoid only to have the motor die a year or two later.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the info

Hello Bimmerfan,
Thanks for the pointers. Unfortunately, the only way to get to the darn starter from the top, where the terminals are located, is by removing half of the engine stuff. By the time I get there, I'd better replace it anyway! :)

My hint around the starter being the problem is that when I tap the starter, it starts to work, but it sort of "drags" as if the battery is low. But once it engages, it does start the car after a few cranks. Verified it a few times. At least I could avoid the tow charges, if I decided not to do this on my own.

Thank you again for your helpful info.
SiaH
 
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