Engine makes noise trying to start(more of a starter spinning noise) but will not start. Seems if I move the manual shifter around(actually hit the gear shifter) a few times, turn key again and it starts. Does not happen all the time.
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Re: Intermittent starting problem.
Seems from what you're explaining, that you have a starter motor problem....The problem is most likely caused, by a defective starter motor solenoid. The throw in coil could be damaged and cause those symptoms....If it is failing to throw, the starter is just spinning, without the bendix being thrown forward onto the ring gear....It could also be a worn ring gear (that will be a big job and means, removing the gearbox), but more likely the first....unless you're talking about a very high mileage vehicle.....
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If I understand your statement correctly, noise but the engine will not "turn over." This sounds like the starter motor is running but the gear that engages the flywheel gear-teeth is not making contact at all or is moving into too-slight contact, just enough to make a lot of noise. In U.S. cars the device on the stater motor that moves the starter gear forward is called a "Bendix." As the starter motor starts to turn, the Bendix shoves a small gear forward, engaging teeth on the flywheel which spins the flywheel to start the engine. If the Bendix is sticking or has failed the gear will not move forward at all or not far enough.
Sarting with the least cost first, I'd look toward a "sticky" bendix. Try using a light penetrating oil or perhaps, WD-40 to free-up the Bendix.
two things can happen
first the starter will spin but don't trow the Bendix (shaft) to engage with the flex plate
second flex plate have worn spot and the starter spin on dead spot
turn the engine with hand little and start again.
if the starter work normal the engine will turn.
if nothing happen the starter is bad
the starter grinds because the bushings at each end are worn .or if the engine has been removed and replaced,, the person didnt replace the spacers from the starter and bell housing which keeps the starter gears from going too deep into the fly wheel makeing a grinding sound. the intermittent starting problem could just be the check valve on your fuel system bleeding back . need more info.
A bad starter will kill a battery real quick. If you can find a DC amp-meter compare it to factory specs, or similar car starters. A bad starter will make a grinding noise, or give false tries where the starter spins free without engaging the motor. Of course, a bad starter will not spin at all, just make sure the relay is working.
Without hearing the sound it makes - it's kind of hard to diagnose.
The engine starting process consists of turning the key to start, the starter motor's rotor moving forward to engage the engine's flywheel, and then the starter motor 's "rotor" spinning until you move the key from "start" to "run". You can hear the starter motor spinning - but one usually can't hear the rotor moving forward to engage the flywheel. As a result, you hear the odd spinning sound - which is the starter rotor spinning. The engine never actually turns over because the rotor never engages the fly wheel. If this is the case, then it is very likely that your starter needs to be checked and / or replaced.
Starter drive not engaging fully . Sticky or worn, but don't think changing thermostat had anything to do with it. Try having starter drive inspected & lubed if possible , but you may end up with new starter.
If the belts are making noise, the alternator may NOT be spinning fast enough to produce sufficient voltage to charge ther battery, because the belts are slipping, and slipping = noises.
Tighten the belts.
Regarding the starter: Replace it, or get it overhauled at a starter repair service. You have bad starter contacts