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Weird no start problem

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 18 Nov 2016, 03:36 pm
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Default Weird no start problem

2004 PT Cruiser Turbo

A few weeks ago, drove to the convenience store less than a mile from home, when I came back out it wouldn't start. Battery seemed ok, but engine wouldn't turn over. Each time the key was turned there was one click, but that's all.

Had it towed home, took out the battery and had it tested. Battery was fine. Cleaned terminals and connections, reinstalled battery and knocked on starter with a pipe. Car started right up and ran perfectly for about a week.

Driving home from work, car started acting like it was going to cut off at stop lights. Idling down and lights dimming. Got home, turned it off, and it won't start again. Now I'm thinking it might be the alternator? Jumping / beating on starter not working at all. Engine won't turn over, just like before.

Not sure what to try next? From what I read, the alternator is a huge PITA to replace in these cars.
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Old 18 Nov 2016, 03:52 pm
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Default Re: Weird no start problem

Welcome to the forum
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Old 18 Nov 2016, 03:55 pm
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Az
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Default Re: Weird no start problem

Could still be the battery
How old is it if couple years old i would change that first as you know how to take it out easy stuff first
If plates are loose inside moving the battery out could have let it work for a short time
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Old 18 Nov 2016, 03:59 pm
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Default Re: Weird no start problem

Welcome to the forum.

I would suggest making sure the battery is completely charged up. If it is and the headlights still dim when you try to start it check the starter. It might not be working properly pulling down the battery voltage. You just had problems with the starter a week ago.
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Old 18 Nov 2016, 04:10 pm
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Default Re: Weird no start problem

Thanks for the welcome guys!

The battery was replaced in March of this year. I had it tested and it tested as good.

I'll try leaving the battery on the charger overnight and charging it tomorrow, but the car wouldn't start even with the "engine start" setting on my charger.
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Old 18 Nov 2016, 06:26 pm
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Default Re: Weird no start problem

Check the voltage in the battery before you charge it. If it's around 12.5, then you don't need to charge it. Check the grounds on the inside of the driver fender. If they're clean and tight, pull the starter and go get it tested. It's probably going bad.
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Old 23 Nov 2016, 08:54 am
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Default Re: Weird no start problem

So one more piece of the puzzle...

I checked the battery charge, and it was at 12.4 with no load, removed from the vehicle. I have a battery charger with a "jump" feature, so I thought I'd try that. When connected to the battery terminals in the vehicle, it wouldn't do anything at all. Turn the key, one faint click and that's it. No starter movement or anything.

Next I tried removing the battery and hooking the starter to the battery cables directly, just in case there was a short or something inside the battery. With the battery removed, when the key is turned I get the typical CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK like it's trying to start with a dead battery. I was always told that this loud fast clicking was from the starter. Does this mean that the starter is actually good? I'm confused.
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Old 23 Nov 2016, 09:31 am
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Tampa
Posts: 74
Default Re: Weird no start problem

Several years ago I had the same problem in my 02 cruiser. First time it happened i replaced the starter and all was good for a couple months. Then right before a trip it would not crank. Only way to start was jump the solenoid with a screw driver while wife turned the key (it was so long ago not I don't remeber if I used a screw driver or jumper directly to the starter but I remeber the wife had to hit the key for it to turn over)

Since it started no problem using the screw driver i felt it had to be a wiring issue and I ended up replacing the battery wire harness. Three years after I replaced the harness and it never came back.

Btw I think the harness was less than $100 and it contains both the positive and negative leads.

Good luck.
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Last edited by cfm56doc; 23 Nov 2016 at 09:33 am.
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Old 23 Nov 2016, 09:41 am
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Default Re: Weird no start problem

Good to know. I was thinking about replacing the battery cables, but I'm not 100% sure where they go. Since that's probably easier than the starter, I'll try that next since they need to be done anyway.
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Old 23 Nov 2016, 10:05 am
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Default Re: Weird no start problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewby07 View Post
Good to know. I was thinking about replacing the battery cables, but I'm not 100% sure where they go. Since that's probably easier than the starter, I'll try that next since they need to be done anyway.
Here is a pretty good write up on changing the battery harness.
Really not that difficult. Biggest problem I had was removing a couple of corroded bolts from the battery tray. Otherwise it was pretty simple.

Battery Cable Assembly... Whats the Deal
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