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» Hello Spec Miata Community » Spec Miata Archives » Garage 2002-2009 » Starting Problem, Inconsistent starts

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Author Topic: Starting Problem, Inconsistent starts
jcocke23 Verified Driver
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Region: NC
Car #: 86
Year : 1990
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Recently I have been trying to figure out what's wrong with my car when starting. Sometimes when I turn the key to start the car, nothing happens. The lights and fans (if on) come on but the starter wouldn't spin over. At first I thought it was the starter, but after replacing it twice, I have elminated that. It doesn't do it all the time and I can't intentionally recreate it.

Any ideas? Right now I am thinking igntion switch, but they're something like $150 from MC, so I want to eliminate the cheaper things first.

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Drago Verified Driver Made Donation to Website Series Champ
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Kill switch wiring? Dirty or loose connections on heavy red wires or heavy grounds?
Jim

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Jim Drago
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dtfastbear Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
faster than the average bear...

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Had the exact same issue and it was a poor connection between the positive battery cable and the post on the battery. Really clean up both posts with a wire brush and make sure they're tight.

One way to check if this is the issue is to have a friend (carefully) wiggle each wire when you're having the no-start problem to see if wiggling one or the other will improve the connection and correct it.

Good luck,

Dean

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DaveC Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Region: Milwaukee/Midwestern Council
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I would check Jim's suggestions first, but
I think the ignition switch itself (not the tumbler with the key set) is something like $65. Part # D001-66-151 (just the electrical component for the '90) I had to replace two last year (on 2 different cars).

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Dave Cox

jcocke23 Verified Driver
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Year : 1990
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I've double checked my kill switch wiring but I will check it again. I should probably go through and solder all the splices.

I have a new battery in the car with new terminal connectors, so all that looks good.

Dave, what were your symptoms when you knew you had to replace the switch?

I'm also starting to wonder if my actual kill switch is the culprit.

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jcocke23 Verified Driver
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Region: NC
Car #: 86
Year : 1990
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Actually, I don't think its the actual kill switch now b/c everything else still gets power, the car just doesn't crank.

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DaveC Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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My car would quit in left hand corners and then come right back. Really annoying while in the middle of a good race. The contact would wear down and break the conection.

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Dave Cox

davew Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I do not know where you got your starters from, but I have seen multiple bad starters. My personal record was 5 starters. I put 13 reman carbs on an old Ford LTD many years ago.

Exerpted from "The Spec Miata Constructors Manual". Available soon at a website near you.

Electronics

I spent 25 years working on street cars of every make and model. I worked for Ferrari, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Fiat and even Mazda dealers. One thing I learned was that rebuilt electrical components where junk. The worst being rebuilt starters and alternators, especially the imports. I found the local “armature shop” and started having them rebuild the original units. We went from a 25% failure rate to virtually none! The prices where competitive and turn around time was usually one day. I use the same shop today for my Miata’s.


Otherwise start doing basic electrical diagnosis. WHere do you have voltage and when?

Dave

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jcocke23 Verified Driver
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Region: NC
Car #: 86
Year : 1990
Posts: 135
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One of them I pulled off my other Miata (a street car) without any known similar problems, a reman from Autozone or something, and another stock one from another car. I'm pretty sure it isn't the starter, so I'm going to look around at other things.

Thanks for the responses

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Jim Boemler Verified Driver
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Like Dave said, time to just debug it with a voltmeter and schematic.

jim

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FlyBrySM
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...when they wave the Green flag, nail it...

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2 rear diffs. 1 transmission, 1 PPF, & a few dents!

Michael B. Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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It is VERY common to have an ignition switch failure. The light duty contacts in the switch wear and will then make poor contact. These can be cleaned/etc but the easiest way is to change it out. This is a 15 minute swap. Source a used one from one of our mighty sponsors (Planet Miata = $30) and put in the small amount of time required to test it out. I am 95% positive that is your issue (personal experience).

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MB.

jigou Verified Driver
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Region: Des Moines Valley
Car #: 59
Year : 1991
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Before I replaced my faulty ignition switch, the symptoms were:

* Sometimes the "power" port under the hood - the one used for powering a timing light - wouldn't work. That was fine, except I was also using it to power my transponder.

* Sometimes my windshield wipers wouldn't work.

That's about all the chance I gave it - I replaced it, and everything has worked fine since. While supporting our sponsors is a grand idea, on this one I wouldn't risk it....

Jarrod

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http://www.plainoldgas.com

jcocke23 Verified Driver
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Region: NC
Car #: 86
Year : 1990
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Thanks for all the input guys, I will geek around with it this weekend. Jarrod, I like your symptons, I will check those the next time the car won't start. My problem is trouble shooting is a PITA b/c it doesn't do it all the time. Oh how I love electronics!

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Dwayne Hoover Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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New owner of my car advised that a rotten ground strap from the PPF to the trunk area was causing poor charging and non-cranking.

The starter is the highest current draw on the car for sure ...

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Jim Boemler Verified Driver
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It seems that the ground cables are much smaller than the power cables as well -- not good practice. Then again, all the Miata's electrics are very thin. Another weight-saving thing, I guess.

jim

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jigou Verified Driver
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Year : 1991
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quote:
Originally posted by jcocke23:
Thanks for all the input guys, I will geek around with it this weekend. Jarrod, I like your symptons, I will check those the next time the car won't start. My problem is trouble shooting is a PITA b/c it doesn't do it all the time. Oh how I love electronics!

Note that, even if both of those other items didn't work, my car started just fine. So you can check them, but your symptoms may be different....

Jarrod

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http://www.plainoldgas.com

   

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