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Unread 01-07-2008, 10:45 AM   #1
cnskate
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Best starter to buy

My starter was replaced a little over a year ago and cranks like a champ usually, but the solenoid is crappiing out. Had to do the hammer tap thing last night. I can get a new solenoid for $40 locally, or a new, not remanufactured Napa or Bosch for $140. A very reputable local shop also sells an in house rebuilt one for $130. I'm planning some big backcountry trips for this car, so reliablity is key. Which starter would you choose?

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Unread 01-07-2008, 11:18 AM   #2
tjwalker
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If reliability is key, then no question....buy a NEW starter with solenoid. Hate to replace the solenoid only to find that the starter itself craps out of you when you are in timbuktu. You could probably get by with just replacing the solenoid though as your starter is only a year old.

Here's how I rate replacement hardware:
#1. Brand New
#2. Remanufactured (everything inside must meet OEM factory specs generally)
#3. Rebuilt. I'm not crazy about rebuilt stuff as in my experience, it's hit and miss. Sometimes you get a good one, sometimes you don't. Rebuilt is not the same as remanufactured. Rebuilt "generally" means only that the piece has been repaired to the level of failure. That means that there might be something else inside that is marginal that could go out in another month. I generally have better things to do with my time than to perform the repair twice so unless I'm having trouble coming up with enough coin for the gas bill, I don't buy rebuilt stuff.

My 2 cents!
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Unread 01-07-2008, 11:32 AM   #3
cnskate
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I think I'll just get the new one. I just talked to the dealer parts guy and he said that the remanufactured ones don't last very long, which is my experience. He said that the main reason for failure is them getting oil saturated.
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Unread 01-07-2008, 11:58 AM   #4
fedrusion
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The hammer and tap useually indicates that the starter motor itself is going bad, definetly find a diferent starter and not just replace the solenoid.
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Unread 01-07-2008, 12:05 PM   #5
Blue XJ
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I replaced mine with the lifetime warranty one from Autozone. The new one lasted about 3 years and then seized up after sitting for a while. banged on it with a hammer to get it to crank, it worked fine for a few weeks after that, but I took it in and had them give me a new one, just so I didn't have to replace it in the middle of winter when it seizes for good.
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Unread 01-07-2008, 02:47 PM   #6
Blurple
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Just repaired my starter over the holidays. Way cheaper than replacing. All it needed was a new bendix. $26 Canadian and about 1.5 hours work.

You could hear the starter spining well, but it was not engaging 100% of the time. Took 2 or 3 key turns for the starter to engage. Never needed to use the hammer tap so it may not be exactly what you need.
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Unread 01-07-2008, 05:34 PM   #7
staggwj
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what is the hammer trick that you guys are talking about? sorry if im a n00b
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Unread 01-07-2008, 08:07 PM   #8
creaky70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staggwj
what is the hammer trick that you guys are talking about? sorry if im a n00b
When the starter and/or solenoid is going bad, and the starter won't engage when the key is turned to start, holding the key in the start position and having an assistant rap the starter with a hammer will usually cause the starter to operate if nothing else is wrong.
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Unread 01-08-2008, 07:19 AM   #9
Blue XJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blurple
Just repaired my starter over the holidays. Way cheaper than replacing. All it needed was a new bendix. $26 Canadian and about 1.5 hours work.

You could hear the starter spining well, but it was not engaging 100% of the time. Took 2 or 3 key turns for the starter to engage. Never needed to use the hammer tap so it may not be exactly what you need.

What is a new bendix? Bendix is a brand, not a part?
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Unread 01-08-2008, 07:47 AM   #10
mecompco
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue XJ
What is a new bendix? Bendix is a brand, not a part?
Here's a basic explanation:

http://www.ctci.org/membership/Gilsg...rterBendix.htm
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Unread 01-08-2008, 08:39 AM   #11
Blurple
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To add further:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
The Bendix drive is still in widespread use at the beginning of the 21st century, so much so that mechanics often refer to such a mechanism simply as a "bendix".
Bendix on Wikipedia

Kind of like Kleenex, how often do you hear someone ask for facial tissue?
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Unread 01-08-2008, 08:56 AM   #12
TMCXJ
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Another thing to check is the heater control valve which is located a little more than a foot directly above the starter. This valve, if original equipment, is garbage. It becomes brittle and porous and can leak a little or a lot. Leaking a little is what can actually be more destructive than leaking a lot since if it was a very noticeable leak, you'd get right on it and replace it, but leaking only a little or not even so's you'd notice, well it just goes on doing damage to the starter. Drip. Drip. Drip...

Ask me how I know....

For a long long time, on my 1991, I thought I had serious internal engine problems because every once in awhile there'd be this high-pitch metallic clanging, chipping noise coming from the engine. I had no idea what it was until I changed the starter (ruined per the above described "little leak" process) and found that the innards of the starter were so bad... the spring/starter drive ("Bendix," LOL!!) had corroded, weakened, and broken, and the gear was free to slide along the motor shaft (which was also responsible for the screaching when trying to start and the failure to engage the teeth to crank the engine). And, when the motor was running, the gear would slide along said motor shaft and contact the teeth in the flywheel gear, causing the odd "engine" noises. Once the starter was replaced, and the control valve at the same time, WOW! what a great enginge I had, LOL! Sadly, the beast was wrecked not too many months later. Actually, exactly one year ago tonight, at 6:18 PM...

Sorry for the usual long post from me, but I thought it might help the OP and maybe others as well.
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Unread 01-08-2008, 08:57 AM   #13
Blue XJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blurple
To add further:



Bendix on Wikipedia

Kind of like Kleenex, how often do you hear someone ask for facial tissue?



I don't get internet access at work here, except for sites with chrysler, dodge or jeep in the title, so thanks for the explanation since I wasn't able to look it up.
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Unread 01-08-2008, 03:57 PM   #14
cnskate
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After the hammer whack it's worked several times. I'm not taking any chances though. Bought a brand spanking new one from Napa for $123 with my AAA discount.
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Unread 01-08-2008, 04:04 PM   #15
Crystalship1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cnskate
After the hammer whack it's worked several times. I'm not taking any chances though. Bought a brand spanking new one from Napa for $123 with my AAA discount.
Good move!! Now you've got a new one with a nation-wide warranty!!
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