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Discussion Starter #1
So here's my drama - after three days of corporate meeting hell, I take my cat to the last day of the meeting. She's been idling rough lately, has had lifter noise and pretty rich carburetion. After a 14 hour day, I get in the car to head home. She starts up fine. I let her warm up and ease her out of the parking lot. She doesn't sound quite right (but I can't put my finger on what's different), maybe less powerful, like she's about to die. I pull out into the intersection, am waiting at the light to turn, and she dies. Can't restart. I turn the key and "THUNK" - no "rrr rrrr rrr" or clicking noise like a dead battery. Tow truck driver says that it sounds like the starter's frozen.

Any ideas? I left her at a shop that's not open weekends and plan to check on her both days this weekend (of course, it was after 7 when this happened) before I talk to them and give them the keys on Monday. But I'd like to have an idea of what might be the problem before I talk to them.

And if anyone is in the SF Bay Area and wants to help out, let me know.

Jennifer
 

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maybe the starter solenoid is stuck... its just right there in the shock tower apron. some people might say otherwise but me being young and immortal and foolish, id give it a hit with something lightly to see if it will unstick it first. its worth a shot. as far as the roughness... ummm, im not sure without being there honestly.
 

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I don't know about giving it a whack :), but you can cross the posts on the solenoid with a couple screwdrivers to bypass it and rule it out as the problem. There isn't anything that the starter/solenoid can do to explain the Coug running rough or losing power...and you would know if your starter wasn't disengaging :). Sounds like you have two separate issues.

Jason
 

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Well you can try the crossing of the two solenoid post just be sure car is in park. Now one other thing you might just check quickly if possible is make sure the engine turns over freely, do this by turning the crank with a big socket and ratchet,this may also help if the starter is stuck on the fly wheel.


If your up to it you could remove the starter and test it at auotzone or pepboy or any reputable auto parts store. Sorry not much more info can be givin when not seeing or hearing the problem myself. Hope it all works out for you,just keep us up todate.
 

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We used to use an old broken golf club to start our sierra, solenoid was stuffed and we could not afford a new one in those days, it had a nice rubber handle to protect us.
Would the alternator cause it to run badly, if it was not charging, maybe used up the last of its power to start and then just gave up.........just a thought.
 

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you know, i forgot about jumping the solenoid terminals.... you can try that to see if its the solenoid at least. hell take the key out of the car and jump it where the positive battery cable leads and touch the terminal closest to it. i find that a screwdriver works best for bridging the two. it will crank the starter and the engine but it shouldnt start seeing as the ignition isnt keyed on. is the battery dead??? it might not sound like it but it might be low even.
 

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I had the same thing happen to me at the mall this week. The dreaded THUNK. I had the battery checked(fine) and changed the solenoid relay(no change) Bought me a rebuilt starter for $38.00, paid the garage $40 labor and was on my way.
 

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I don't think that the starter going bad would make it start running bad, just make it hard to start. It sounds like the carb needs adjusting.
 

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sound like two seperate issues, i'd try bridging the solenoid first, find out why it's not starting, then worry about why it's running weird. btw where in sf bay are you? i'm near fremont
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I am San Francisco. The shop I had it towed to was screwing me around (telling me it's running so loud they can't talk over it, then telling me the engine's seized and will be $3500 to replace), so I had it towed home, and it's now in my garage. I agree that there are probably two separate issues. I just think it's unlikely that the engine, with less than 5,000 miles on it, is seized. Particularly if the guy at the shop could crank it! (What kind of rube did he take me for?)
 

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My truck is notorious for this problem (cheap autozone starter witha lifetime warranty) when it starts to clunk it does just what your talking about. First I jump the selenoid and listen where the clunk comes from. Then... usually I rap on the starter with my handy dandy ballpeen hammer and it will start. This always happens when I'm late for work in the morning. When I get home i exersize the lifetime warranty thing and get another starter... I'm gettin' pretty good at too. I can have the starter in and out in under 5 minutes........ my .02
 

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Wondercat

Have you tried any of the things advised yet?

1. Battery Full charge If in doubt get someone to jump from their car. If it turns over with jump recharge battery or replace if it won't take charge. If it won't turn over go to 2

2. Jump solinoid If it turns over replace solinoid. If not, go to 3

3. Manually turn over engine- find strong friend to lift on right side of fan blade while you push down on fan belt (to keep it tight). If crank shaft pulley turns, the engine is not frozen. Replace starter.

These are all in the above comments.

I doubt that running rough is related to starting also.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I haven't tried anything yet because I just got the car back from the mechanic last night. I know it's not the battery. It doesn't make a dead battery noise, and the battery isn't more than a month old. Besides, I NEVER leave lights on. But I'll have to check the solenoid and try manually cranking the engine.

I'm working on finding that "strong friend" who knows something about Cougars to give me a hand.
 

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sounds similar too a car that is running on battery only, the system is not charging, the engine lights. ect... are all draining the battery. when the battery gets weak the spark does too, the spark is yellow instead of blue. a bad coil wire can make a engine run funny. you cant see in the day light but at night it a light show of arcing coil wire. also some mallory dist caps have a center pick-up that can wear right out, but check all ignition wires for damage and resistance too.
but it sounds like no charging situation to me.

One time i thought i had lifter noise and turned out to be a exhaust leak at the head to manifold gasket, it melted a plug wire boot bad. Another time the tap tap noise turned out to be an arcing coil wire.
let us know what you find.

p.s. i used to live in concord ca back in 73. nice place (back then)
 

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bowl maybe right at any rate the battery has to have enough power to make solinoid click. If you skip step 1 and it is either the battery or charging system you will not get it going. You don't have to run lights to drain battery.

bowl's other comments help you start dealing with running rough.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
6t9er, tomorrow afternoon's free if you want to cruise on up to take a look at my cat.
 
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