Question about 1997 Oldsmobile Achieva

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I believe the starter went out but I have never heard of a starter just going out. It worked fine all day then when I got home my husband and daughter left in it and while my daughter was waiting in the car she started it to listen to the radio. My husband told her to turn it off and she did. When he was walking back to the car she reached over and started it again, (Her story) it started then died. (his story) it made a noise like the starter got hung up. But apparently it does not start. Do I need to replace the starter?

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  • cdelappe4 May 28, 2011

    Okay its not the starter. Why we didn't do this from the beginning is beyond me. My husband went to turn the crankshaft manually and there it started to go then he heard a clank, clanking sound. Try in other direction and it went freely then clank and froze. can go the other way again and does same thing.
    I think possibly that the chain slipped a tooth or a tension broke and the timing chain will need to be replaced.
    Any thoughts or other Ideas would be greatly appreciated.

  • cdelappe4 May 29, 2011

    Thanks I will look at the valve rocker arms. I'll post more when I know more.

  • cdelappe4 Jun 12, 2011

    Update- After ruling out the starter do to the crankshaft binding when turned manually and a noise coming from timing chain area. We believe the timing jumped a tooth. the chain has a lot of slack. Will this cause it not to start even if its not broken and will it damage the valves if it wasn't broken and just stretched?

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  • Oldsmobile Master
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First check battery voltage you should have 12 volts if you do then check voltage at the starter where the battery cable mounts if you have 12 volts then replace starter.

Posted on May 17, 2011

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  • Oldsmobile Master
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Could be a bad starter but first, make sure the battery is fully charged and can pass a load test. If the battery is marginal, just playing the radio may have been enough to cause the problem. Of course, make sure all connections to the battery are clean and secure.

Posted on May 17, 2011

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  • Richard Scordino May 18, 2011

    Of course, a starter can fail suddenly but that depends a lot upon exactly why it failed. If anything looks worn on the drive gear, also check the flywheel teeth. Usually though, any mechanical problem like that will give some warning such as grinding or excessive starter noise. Most common starter failure is bad internal solenoid contacts, followed by worn armature brushes.
    As i mentioned before though, battery and electrical connection failure is also very common and should be tested before jumping to the starter itself. Yes, replacing the starter may correct the problem as electrical connections are often restored while removing and replacing it. But, then, you bought a new starter just to restore electrical connections? Makes no sense! (why testing is important)

  • Jonah Oneal May 28, 2011

    IF YOU CANT TURN ENGINE OVER WITH A 1/2 INCH SOCKET AND WRENCH ENGINE COULD HAVE LOCKED UP LOOK AT VALVE ROCKER ARMS SEE IF THEY MOVE WHEN YOU TURN CRANKSHAFT IF NOT TIMING CHAIN COULD HAVE SLIP OR BROKE.

  • Richard Scordino May 28, 2011

    What you just posted is classic symptom on an engine that has broken a connecting rod. In that case, when you turn the engine the rod will fall and get stuck against the cylinder wall, Turning in the other direction frees it till it again jams against the opposite side. What bothers me though is you reported no noises before the failure. When a rod fails generally there is a lot of noise before that happens.Therefore, I'd also check that the flywheel (or flex plate) has not broken before deciding that the engine is trash. Could it be a timing chain? Anything is possible but I've never seen one do that.

  • cdelappe4 May 29, 2011

    Thanks I will look at the rocker arms. I will post more as soon as I find out more. Waiting for my husband to have it towed here. As soon as that happens, I'm sure with everyone's responses we'll be able to figure it out. Thank you again for your input.

  • cdelappe4 May 29, 2011

    I sure hope not. But that crossed my mind as soon as he told me it made that noise when trying to manually turn the engine. I hope you are wrong, for my sake anyway. I also suggested that the flex plate may have broke but for some reason unknown to me he shot that down also. When it comes to working on vehicles together we just **** heads. So thanks again for all your advice, I really appreciate it.

  • Richard Scordino Jun 13, 2011

    If it's an interference engine that can happen if the tensioner on the chain isn't pushing on the chain. If any of the valve springs remain depressed and appear lower than the others do when on the heel of the cam, likely the valve stems are bent from the first time you attempted to crank it over like that. If any are higher than normal, the valve stem likely has snapped. Only two ways to check that without removing the head. First way is by doing a cylinder leak down test, but if you can't turn the engine fully, you may not be able to do that. (you need a gauge and constant air supply as well) Or, a bore scope (expensive little camera on a flexible extension that allows you to see inside the cylinders through the spark plug hole). Otherwise, you need to remove the head and actually look to see what you are dealing with.

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  • Oldsmobile Master
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CHECK STARTER BOLTS TO MAKE SURE ONE OF THE STARTER BOLTS DID NOT FALL OUT OR LOOSEN UP.IF ALL IS GOOD STARTER DRIVE PINION GEAR DAMAGED OR BROKEN.

Posted on May 17, 2011

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  • cdelappe4 May 18, 2011

    I took the starter off and bench tested it. It tested fine. But when we were getting ready to hook the jumper cables to it we noticed that the bolts were loose. So we tightened them before we did the bench test. So I don't know if that was the problem or not. But I also noticed that the teeth were really rounded a couple were bright and shiny, So I will go down to the junk yard tomorrow and see if I can get another one. Hopefully it will work.

  • Jonah Oneal May 18, 2011

    LOOSE STARTER WILL GRIND OUT DRIVE PINION GEAR TEETH.

  • cdelappe4 May 18, 2011

    And this will cause it not to start?

  • Jonah Oneal May 18, 2011

    YEP STARTER DRIVE PINION GEAR CAN WEAR DOWN ENOUGH WHERE DRIVE PINION GEAR AND FLYWHEEL CANT MESH TOGETHER CAUSING GEAR TEETH TO SLIP WHERE CAR WONT CRANK THE STARTER DRIVE PINION WILL JUST SPIN OR HANG UP NOT RETRACT.THE STARTER DRIVE PINION MOST LIKELY THE PROBLEM GET ANOTHER STARTER.NOW IF YOU BEEN HAVING PROBLEMS WITH STARTER SPINNING NOT CRANKING ENGINE FOR A LONG WHILE STARTER NEED SHIM.DONT USE SHIM UNLESS STARTER BEEN SLIPPING AND GRINDING ALOT WHICH WILL WEAR OUT STARTER DRIVE PINION GEAR AND FLYWHEEL GEAR TEETH.

  • cdelappe4 May 18, 2011

    I haven't noticed it but husband says that it had been whining when he'd go to start it. Thank you for your help.

  • Jonah Oneal May 29, 2011

    LOOK AT ROCKER ARMS WHILE TURN THE CRANK SHAFT CLOCKWISE. IF CRANKSHAFT CANT GO CLOCK WISE YOU HAVE LOCKED UP ENGINE.MAKE SURE CAR TRANSMISSION IS ALL THE WAY IN PARK.

  • Jonah Oneal Jun 12, 2011

    IF TIMING CHAIN GET A LOT OF SLACK IN IT.IT WILL CAUSE VALVES OPEN TOO SOON AND HIT THE PISTON HEADS DAMAGING PISTONS AND BENDING VALVES. A LOOSE TIMING CHAIN CAN DO THE SAME DAMAGE AS A BROKE TIMING CHAIN.EITHER WAY VALVES AND PISTONS TIMING WILL BE OFF. .

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Maybe it might just be a loose battery wire, FYI it's better to just leave them running for a couple minutes then shut them off and start them 4 or 5 times in a row for no reason. If they are still gone broke down tell them to try and wiggle the battery cable wires at the battery if they move at the battery. Maybe they can barrow or have a wrench or pliers. If everything else like headlights and radio work with the key on then your getting power. Do the lights or radio stop working when you turn the key to try and start it? If not put on the e-brake and place the car in neutral and now try to start it. If this doesn't work and everything else is good chances are it's the starter. It could be a safety switch in the transmission to disable the start function while the car is in gear. Or could be a blown fuse in the engine compartment fuse box or boxes, be worth checking out before you have it towed or what not. Good luck if you get anymore information that would help in solving your problem just add it to this post, before you start a new question.

Posted on May 17, 2011

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