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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 95 geo tracker (5spd 2door LSI 4wd California emission) that I just got about a month ago. I am having as of late a few issues though. Yesterday morning I stopped for gas and when I went back in to start it nothing. I can hear the fuel pump kicking on. Got a push and put it in 2nd and it went on its way. Started up 3 more times that day. I had my clutch changed today (was slipping) and afterwards no luck getting it to start. Banged on the starter and still nothing had to push again. I assume with my limited motor vehicle knowledge that the starter might be bad but I do not have money to go to a mechanic and get a diagnosis. What else could it be aside from the starter that I could possibly check?

Also I think I am having a fuel delivery problem not related to the fuel pump. When I get the vehicle above 2,500 to 3,000 rpm it sounds as if a plastic bag or water hose is being sprayed into a pan from right in front of the drivers seat under the hood. IT isnt an engine knock and only seems to have an effect when trying to get high rpm and fuel delivery from the vehicle. I have a new air filter on but almost think that maybe a piece of plastic bag is in the intake and possibly choking air from the motor or that the injectors are dirty / beat. Any similar situations that anyone can relate to? I am not too car saavy and the guy who did my clutch is stumped as well. The noises (bag and water) that I referenced are closest to what it sounds / feels like. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Also, looking online I see something about a neutral safety switch thats either on the transmission or under the clutch that may be keeping it from starting. I looked down near the clutch pedal and see nothing everything appears to be in order down there. I could be overlooking it though. Where would it be on my transmission? Elsewhere online I am having no luck.
 

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I have a 95 geo tracker (5spd 2door LSI 4wd California emission) ... ....when I went back in to start it nothing. ... .... Got a push and put it in 2nd and it went on its way. Started up 3 more times that day. ...
My thoughts, You have more than one issue: Intermittent starting and another problem. I'll think about your other problem while I type about the intermittent starting.

As you can push start with no issue it is defiantly an issue with the stater and circuits. It is a good idea to check the circuits before changing the starter. There are two parts of the starter circuit.

One part, I call the starter power circuit, consists of the big wires that carry the higher current to the starter windings. This includes the battery, Positive battery cable, solenoid, starter motor, ground, and negative battery cable back to battery. All connections should be clean and tight. It doesn't take much corrosion in these connections to make the starter not work. (Charging from the alternator could also be effected.)

The other part, I call the starter control circuit, includes the ignition switch and the various safety related interlocks... including the clutch and park safety switches... depending on transmission.

The first step is to determine what in "part" of the circuit the problem is. The easiest method is when it doesn't start, turn on the headlights and try to start. if the headlights dim, the control circuit is energizing the solenoid and the battery power is being sent to the starter rather than the headlights. As long as the the batter is charged, look for corrosion and loose connections. (This is fairly easy to do but if you do not know the safety procedure PLEASE ASK before starting.)

If the headlights do NOT dim, THEN look at your control and safety switches. (If you have an automatic, jiggle the shifter... this is for other readers as i read you have a manual.) I do not have a manual, so I do not have experience with the clutch switches...

-- good luck. Still thinking about your other problem.
 

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If you stick your head under the dash (sadly) and look all the way up by the top of the clutch pedal, you will see a small push button switch on the firewall. That is the clutch safety switch. You can try a simple test by having the car in neutral, parking brake on, twisting yourself like a pretzel, and push that button in with your finger while you try turn the ignition key. That little button has a tendency to wear down over the years, so that the depression of the clutch pedal no longer pushes the button in enough to flick the switch. If your headlights, etc., aren't dimming when you try to start the car, and your connections are good at the battery to the starter, etc., this switch may be the culprit. If the switch is not working properly, you will get no noise, nothing when you try to start the car - no click from the starter, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I was able to pretzel under the dash and find the white switch on top of the clutch and it seems to be in perfect shape moving in and out with the clutch. I also tried by hand holding it in with the clutch down and turning the key but no dice. The lights do not dim at all when trning the key so I am guessing it is the starter. Just went ahead and bought a new one and it should be here sometime this week. Now for this other issue of the car losing power and making noise above 2,500 - 3,000 rpm. When I get the new starter in (and its hopefully starting up again) I will go ahead and make a videoand try and get some audio of this sound for you guys to hear. In the mean time any suggestions would be appreciated. I am guessing fuel injectors could be dirty/bad I am going to get a bottle of injector cleaner to see what that does. It seems to idle ok and run alright throttled down its just when you try to get a certain amount of power to the motor that I have the issue. Maybe even an 02 sensor?
 

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... The lights do not dim at all when trning the key so I am guessing it is the starter. Just went ahead and bought a new one ...
Not dimming when trying to start mean the solenoid on the starter is not energizing enough to make contact... or is bad. Is the solenoid clicking when you try and start it? If it is NOT, I do NOT think a replacement starter will fix this problem. (IE: waste of time and money.)

You can take one voltage measurement to prove the problem is or is not the starter solenoid.

To explain:
On this vehicle, the starter solenoid is part of the starter, but can be removed repaired/replaced separately. It is a "can" shaped item mounted to the side of the starter. For electrical connections, it has two nut type and a single male spade connections. The nut type connection closest the starter is wired directly to the starter motor and is where you need to deliver "high current" (for this vehicle) 12 volts for the starter to spin. The other nut connection is the input from the battery. This is wired to the battery and should have power ALL THE TIME. Due to the size of the cable and the fact that it is UN-FUSED, It is capable of high current. Note that you can weld with 12volts... until the battery blows up! (So do not put a wrench, or any other metal object, on this while the battery is connected!) The last solenoid connection, the small spade connection, is the starter control input. This is where you can test for the "start" input from the control circuit. OBTW: Make sure the spade connection to the solenoid is snug. I have seen this connection cause starting uses and work after a little squeeze with a pair of pliers.

Also note there is also one "large" cable connected to a starter mounting bolt. This is ground... the return path for the current used by the starter and is the "mother ground" for the engine. So it MUST be clean and tight. It connects directly to the negative battery post. Disconnect this, at the battery, before doing any work on the high current side of the circuit. (Safety tip for the day.)

Anyway, check for voltage (use a meter or test light) at the spade connection on the starter solenoid. If you get 12volt or there abouts... _every time_ (remember you have an intermittent problem) then the stater is most likely bad. (Quite likely the solenoid, but as they are now being replaced as a unit... it doesn't matter.)
 

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When you get your new starter (and sadly, if wiring is your issue, your new starter will continue to have the same problem), you may want to start from square one, and do a compression test on the engine, to confirm valve timing, as well as check ignition timing, etc. Spark plugs need to be gapped properly, and the tips are often a good indication of how the car is running. You should also advise if the check engine light is on with the key on, and off once the car starts - and if you are able to get a code 12 from it. You should also advise exactly how the car starts from cold start, what cold start idle is, how/if the car warms up, warm idle, etc. And maybe confirm if you have ever checked and/or adjusted the valve lash. And yes, it is a good idea to post an audio of the noise that you are talking about. Fuel injectors should not make enough noise for you to be able to hear them over the sound of the engine as you are driving at 50 mph. But other mechanical issues in the engine can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A friend of mine today looked at it with me and his guess is that the starter itself is bad. You can hear the fuel pump kicking on when you try to turn the key but nothing at all from under the hood. Banged on starter a few times wiggled the wire from solenoid to starter and still no luck. We took a couple of sprak plugs out and they are white on the bottom which he said means its not getting enough fuel to the plugs. Is this correct? Any ideas what white on bottom of plugs might also mean?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Also I didn't get it running today hopefully I will by this weekend and get some audio. The best way to describe the noise that the vehicle makes above 3k rpm is a plastic bag rippling in the wind.
 

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... his guess is that the starter itself is bad. You can hear the fuel pump kicking on when you try to turn the key but nothing at all from under the hood. ...
Guess?

Why do you need to guess?

If you are going to have any rig that is out of warranty, you should have and be able to use some kind of voltage detection. Best would be a meter, but a test light would do.

These days, you can buy a fairly good meter for under $10. It'll pay for itself with one use. Even better, Harbour fright often gives away meters... for free with a coupon.

You REALLY do NOT need to waste time and money guessing.

Besides, If the solenoid isn't clicking, odds are IT IS NOT THE STARTER. But I do not want to guess... use the meter. :rolleyes:
 

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Have you tried jumping the solenoid itself, by putting 12v directly to it? You remove the little spade connector wire, and jump that little connector to the bolt holding the wire that comes direct from the battery. Make sure that your car is out of gear - in neutral, the parking brake is on, and you are standing on the side of the car, etc. If the solenoid consistently spins and engine cranks with 12v directly to the starter, then your problem is elsewhere. No guessing needed. Diagnostic testing is, however.....
 

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Mike:

Guess?

Why do you need to guess?
Now you are starting to sound like me and my mantra....

......Philip
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
New starter installed and it starts up like a gem.

The sound issue ended up being my Catalytic converter. The honeycomb in it was just broken down and the sound I was hearing (and loss of all back pressure) was that getting thrown up and clogging the rear pipe. I cut it off and threw on a Thrush glass pack pipe and it runs like a scolded dog :)
 
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