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starting problem/slow cranking even with new battery

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 Post subject: starting problem/slow cranking even with new battery
PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 5:01 pm 
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Location: SW MI -> Anoka, MN
You guys always give great advice when I have problems so I figure it couldn't hurt to post up here. This is on a 1991 200 20Vt

Car is acting like it has a dead battery during cranking. It had a hiccup or 2 the when I started it the 3 times before it became an issue; just took a couple extra cranks/cranked a little slower than normal, but I wasn't too worried about it. Then I was leaving the grocery store and it cranked really slow, I was worried it wasn't going to start. Started up and registered 13ish volts on the dash so I figured the alternator was still working, but possibly the battery was done.

So I drove straight home, turned the car off and tried to restart the car but it wouldn't start, cranked a little but then stopped. So I took a look at the battery, and by pure coincidence it had the exact same battery as my BMW so I pulled the battery out and gave the 12 month old one out of my other car a shot. Same problem right off the bat, slow cranking, but it did start at least. Let it run for a little bit and checked battery voltage with the car running and it was 13.8 volts, then 12.4 with the engine off. Restarted a number of times and it just cranks very slowly, but did start 5 or 6 times while I was poking around.

the starter is only about a year old, so as much as I want to blame it next, I can't really imagine it's gone bad already. It was a rebuilt unit I bought from o'riley IIRC, should still be under warranty though. I polished up both the connections for the battery and the ground connection on the chassis right off the negative terminal.

Tomorrow I'm going to take a look at all of the connections on the starter and the alternator but I was just wondering if anybody had any ideas or quick advice for me. Thanks a lot and I very much appreciate any help!

-adam

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 Post subject: Re: starting problem/slow cranking even with new battery
PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:59 pm 
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kickin' tires'n lightin fires

Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 4:28 pm
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Clean all the high current connections between battery and block first and foremost. Corrosion on either end will result in dead-battery-like-symptoms. It can be quite remarkable really.

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 Post subject: Re: starting problem/slow cranking even with new battery
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:25 pm 
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alright, I did a bit of searching last night and after hearing a bit about the crimp in the passengers footwell I was pretty confident that might be my problem. Well, I got the car started up and as recommended I probed the battery and the jump post both at idle and with all the accessories running and they were dead even in both cases. So I went to work cleaning some connections, got the main wire on the alternator and tried to polish up a few grounds but the main engine ground is such a PITA I barely got it. The bentley says to check the transmission ground but for my life I couldn't find it. Anyway, tried to start the car after all of this and got the same crap, really slow crank as if the battery were dead...

Can I ask where specifically I should check for high current connections Brad? I had a pretty hard time finding any good diagrams in the bentley and I basically only saw the low gauge wire between the alternator and the starter.

I'm really starting to think it might be the starter. What's the best way to check for a faulty starter? Like I said I just bought it about 5000 miles ago as a rebuilt bosch unit, so hopefully it might still be under warranty, but I don't know why it may be bad. Is a slow/weak crank a normal failure for a starter? In my experience they usually stop altogether when they go...

anyway, any more ideas would be really appreciated. I don't trust the car enough to drive it as it is, and with winter just around the corner I really need to start trusting it again soon.


Thanks again,
-adam

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 Post subject: Re: starting problem/slow cranking even with new battery
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:11 pm 
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kickin' tires'n lightin fires

Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 4:28 pm
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The 200 has the battery under the rear seat, right?

If so, start from the battery and clean up every connection pos and neg. Neg perhaps more importantly because the pos is connected via wire from battery to starter more or less directly. There is a crimp in there somewhere though and I can't remember if the power goes from the battery directly to the starter of if it jumps through the alternator first...

But the grounds. Ground strap under rear seat. Clean all the connections - at battery and chassis. Then do your best to clean all the engine grounds. If you can't find the trans ground you may be onto something. On the Type89 cars I recall it being on the drivers side-top of the the trans. It has it's own bolt. Not sure about the 016 or the big chassis cars.

Another thing you can try to rule out grounds is to find a long ass set of jumper cables and go from battery to engine directly. Or just try jump starting it from another car. The 200 has a pos lug under the hood that goes more or less directly to the starter, right? If it's STILL slow with a very good connection from a battery to the Starter/Engine block then I'd take a closer look at the starter. If it cranks slowly/weakly it could be a number of problems within the starter. If you're not familiar with motors and solenoids I'd just replace it if you get to this point.

HOWEVER!!

Lets not be blind. I'd also go through the trouble of pulling all the accessory belts off too before pulling the starter. I've seen more than one case of an engine that cranked slowly with all sorts of diagnosis from seized engine to bad starters to bad batteries and wiring, etc. Turns out the Alternator/Power steering/AC compressor, etc were seized or extremely tight. Sometimes the belt will self destruct and the problem reveals itself though...

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 Post subject: Re: starting problem/slow cranking even with new battery
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 4:28 pm 
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yup the battery is under the rear seat. I spent some more time today cleaning up contact points to no avail. I then tried jumping to the starter directly from another running car. More specifically I connected the negative to the body of the starter and the positive to the jump post that goes directly to the starter, and it still cranked over very slowly. I would have tried removing the belts like you suggested Brad, but since it acts normal once started I figured there probably wasn't a problem there.

Soooo

I'm thinking this reman starter that I bought just 18 months and less than 5000 miles ago is junk. I called up O-Reilly and they will warranty out the starter for another, but won't have one in stock until tuesday, and worse yet, I've since moved and instead of just down the street the closest store is now 35 miles away :( What a pain in my ass. None of the stores local have it in stock either though so I don't really know what other options I have.


Thank you for your help Brad, I wouldn't have thought about jumping directly to the starter
-adam

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 Post subject: Re: starting problem/slow cranking even with new battery
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:07 pm 
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Try grounding the starter body directly. I had to do this once, and just ran a permanent ground to one of the bolts holding the starter in.


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 Post subject: Re: starting problem/slow cranking even with new battery
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:24 pm 
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Ada///M wrote:
I'm thinking this reman starter that I bought just 18 months and less than 5000 miles ago is junk.


You know, I have had multiple people say that they've had problems with their remanufactured starters and alternators, so I wouldn't be surprised. The consensus seems to be that if you have to go that way, have them check the starter (or alternator) on their in-store machine before you buy it. That won't rule out problems down the road, but at least it won't be DOA.

-Rog


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 Post subject: Re: starting problem/slow cranking even with new battery
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:18 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 5:04 pm
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Found the link to Chris Miller's old AOL page that had a wealth of info on the 91 200q20v, it's slow to load but well worth rooting around in. Includes the battery splice diagnosis and repair section, just dig around and you'll find it:

http://web.archive.org/web/200712241644 ... index.html

Oh and Audifans has a slightly less thorough version in the repair pages on that site, too.

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 Post subject: Re: starting problem/slow cranking even with new battery
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:23 pm 
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when installing the starter be sure that you sanded off the facing metal..it was painted nicely for you...and you really should remoove that paint..to iinsure you have a good ground... adding a cable to ground the starter isn't necessary when you properly prep the mating surface.

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 Post subject: Re: starting problem/slow cranking even with new battery
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:15 pm 
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I have had a handful of lame reman'd alternators over the years... never done one on an audi though... just GM and Fords... Even a brand new one was lame 5 days later for a Ford... they were all parts store brand whatever whatever brand stuff though... I would expect a bosch or motorcraft direct OE manufacture to be better though....

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 Post subject: Re: starting problem/slow cranking even with new battery
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:36 pm 
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just picked up the warrantied starter after work today and threw it in, works great... They tested the one I brought in and it was grinding like crazy.

I'm really relieved to have the problem solved but kind of upset that the first replacement only lasted 5,000 miles. Whatever, thanks a lot everybody for all of your help!

-adam

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