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Starter occasionally drops RPMs then it recovers

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Old 08-11-2018, 06:05 PM   #1  
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Starter occasionally drops RPMs then it recovers

I'm experience an unusual intermittent starter issue on the 99 model. It now occurs 2 or 3 times a week. I can't predict when it will happen. When I engage the starter it starts spinning at the usual speed, then suddenly the RPMs drop like the battery is low on charge. Then is recovers and the RPMs go back up and the car starts.

I wonder if the battery is starting occasionally to fail under load. I think the battery may be 3 years old or older. The starter is an O'Reilly Import Direct.that is less than 2 years old.

Usually when a starter fails, it just quits or clicks..

Has anyone had starter RPMs drop then return to normal during a starting sequence?


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Old 08-11-2018, 09:00 PM   #2  
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Maybe put a volt meter on the batter and watch to see if the voltage drops significantly at the same time as the starter slowing. Maybe an insulator in the starter or solenoid is shorting. Or one of the power cables.

Also really stress your battery when starting as well Lights and anything that draws amps that can be used when starting. Maybe that would give some hints as whether it was the battery vs the starter?

Replacement Starters and Alternators have such a high percentage of problems compared to most others. I have had really great luck with Bosch batteries in my 99. I always go for the highest amp hours available with the same footprint. First lasted 7+ years, second is approaching 5 and still quite strong!

Just how my mind works! (or doesn't)
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Old 08-12-2018, 02:23 AM   #3  
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I haven't had that exact issue where it drops rpm and then recovers. But when my original starter failed it would randomly act like the battery was weak and crank very very slowly, if at all. Finally it just clicked and was fried when I had it tested.

I would turn on the headlights and then crank it and see if the headlights dim a lot. If they don't, I would think the problem is isolated to the starter(it isn't drawing much current to begin with), and if they do dim a lot ,then it is up stream of the starter, like battery or terminals.

Also it would be interesting to try clicking the key back on and off of start when it does that and see if it remains weak or sometimes comes back on strong again. I am almost certain that my O'Reilly starter(new from China) had sketchy solenoid contacts that would not carry enough current to turn over the engine adequately sometimes.

My O'Reilly starter was intermittent just like yours - once or twice a week until it was every other day. Then I warranty-ed it and problem solved.
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Old 08-12-2018, 11:02 AM   #4  
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Also it would be interesting to try clicking the key back on and off of start when it does that and see if it remains weak or sometimes comes back on strong again. I am almost certain that my O'Reilly starter(new from China) had sketchy solenoid contacts that would not carry enough current to turn over the engine adequately sometimes.

My O'Reilly starter was intermittent just like yours - once or twice a week until it was every other day. Then I warranty-ed it and problem solved.
I think this is it.. It turns out that I have another new starter in stock from an earlier Advance Auto exchange that I will swap out next weekend. I can't return the O'Reilly starter since it was purchased by a shop when my son experienced problems out of town.

Last edited by CS_AR; 08-12-2018 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 08-12-2018, 12:24 PM   #5  
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Yeah that happened with original starter, starter would spin up, stop in the middle of revs, partly recover than the engine would fire. I replaced that last year with a refurbished 11 teeth starter, no problems since.
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Old 08-18-2018, 01:03 PM   #6  
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Replaced the roughly 15 month old O'Reilly starter with a re manufactured starter that I had on hand from Advance Auto. It must have been purchased roughly 4 year earlier. I had returned the advance Advance Auto last year. So it starts good now and it should last 3 years or so before I need to replace it again.
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Old 08-19-2018, 04:27 AM   #7  
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GAWD this stuff really incenses me.

Cheap, crap parts, designed for a short life ... on purpose.

I really miss the old days, before manufacturers and installers had a firm grip on the advantage of “designed obsolescence”.

Geezus, how old am I huh?
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Old 08-19-2018, 09:14 AM   #8  
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Originally Posted by Turbobink View Post
GAWD this stuff really incenses me.

Cheap, crap parts, designed for a short life ... on purpose.

I really miss the old days, before manufacturers and installers had a firm grip on the advantage of “designed obsolescence”.

Geezus, how old am I huh?
Yep. Swapping short life parts around does get old. I have a Remy rebuilt on the I30 that I got from the junkyard back in 2011 that I need to pull and keep. That one has been a great starter.
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Old 08-19-2018, 09:57 PM   #9  
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Check your battery voltage, check and make sure your grounds are clean, if all that is good I would disassemble the starter and spray it down til all the brush dust is removed....
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Old 08-20-2018, 06:56 PM   #10  
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The starter I replaced must have been wreaking havoc on the electrical system. Now I just touch the starter and it starts up like a new car. This was a strange one.
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