Can you diagnose a starter going out by sound.

  • 1990 NISSAN 240SX
  • 200 MILES
Can you diagnose a starter going out by sound? The sound my starter is making is kind of a grinding/whirling sound.
It began a few weeks ago and has become progressively worse, but has always started, so far.

Would this be the starter dying or the solenoid dying? I replaced the solenoid about three months ago because the the engine would not start; the sound there was simply a clicking sound. Mechanic agreed that it was the solenoid.

And, when the solenoid stopped working (clicking sound but no enging start), is it best to replace both the starter and solenoid at that time or was I correct in replacing only the solenoid?

Thank you for NOT giving out my email address to ANYONE.


Sunday, December 16th, 2012 AT 5:28 PM

1 Reply

When the solenoid is clicking, it indicates the solenoid is working and not bad. Clicking without the starter engaging is usually a fault with the starter itself and when it fails to click, that would mean the starter carbon brushes have worn off resulting in a break in the circuit.

The solenoids are less prone to give way than the starter itself for such starters.
If the starter is whining but not cranking, it could be a fault with the starter pinion gear or worn flywheel ring gears. Once the starter is off, inspect the ring gears for abnormal wear. You would need to turn the crankshaft round once to inspect every portion of the ringgears as only certain position would would be worn.
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Sunday, December 16th, 2012 AT 7:39 PM

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