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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
2011 Versa unable to start

Hey guys, really hoping this is the right area to post in. Tried to start my car and the engine doesn't turn over when I turn key to start. Instead, I hear an electric motor making a whirring sound. I am not very knowledgeable on this subject and on my way to work where I can look into it more. I only tried starting it a couple times and after recording that sound I stopped. I have a recording I can share. Just sounds like an electric motor winding up when I turn the key.

It's a 2011 Versa with just under 96k miles. A bit of history, I had the 90k done in October. Just after 90k service I was driving on highway when suddenly it wouldn't accelerate past 60mph and shake violently if I tried. I immediately brought to mechanic who replaced MAF and spark plugs, oil. He said MAF failed and plugs were pretty dirty.

My main concern is if I can get it running on my own. It's in front of my house thankfully. And I do hve plenty of tools. Just need to work on my ability to diagnose and repair this issue.
 

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This is a totally different problem. It's sounds like the "Bendix" (solenoid) in the starter has failed. When you turn the key it spins the starter motor. There is a part that makes the gears in the starter motor engage the flywheel - this is what is probably what is wrong with your car. I don't know on that car if you can just replace the part or need to replace the whole starter motor.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ok sounds good I will research more into that. And I realize now that the engine not turning is just a result of the actual issue. Sorry for misleading title I was pretty flustered about this. Already have spent close to 900 in the last 2 months on service and repairs. Are there any specific parts that are known to cause problems when these cars reach 100k. I know it really depends on how the car was treated leading up to that 100k but just wondering.
 

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I would get the battery loadtested first to make sure it's not that. If battery is low sometimes the solenoid will not throw out completely to just let the starter spin free, it doesn't spin the motor.

Then buy entire starter likely next, if the solenoid is not the issue you still fix the problem that way. The solenoid by itself may be bad and just not throw out to again engage the engine, OR, the starter has a reduction geartrain in it which would then spin free as a gear has broken there and the starter or bendix itself is the problem, solenoid won't touch that. Bendix and solenoid are two different things, the solenoid connects up big power and works an arm that throws the bendix forward, the bendix being the one way clutch gear that allows the starter to back off from flexplate when the engine spins up faster in rpm than the starter can spin it.

The solenoid commonly does NOT sell separately unless you DEMAND it, they will play stupid to sell the entire starter if they can.

May not be starter at all, when mine died the car made a buzzing noise that was not starter at all but a rookie might think so, rather a relay buzzing due to low power. The battery was dead, why I said get it checked first, could save a lot of money.
 

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I would get the battery loadtested first to make sure it's not that. If battery is low sometimes the solenoid will not throw out completely to just let the starter spin free, it doesn't spin the motor.
I would think one way to test the battery is to attempt to jump start the car using another known-good vehicle. If the car starts this way, the battery is a culprit. If not, move on to starter replacement.
 

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Check the battery connectors and wires. The mechanic may have left one loose, or inadvertently broke a wire or connection.
Then go with battery.
Then starter. You are better off just replacing the whole unit as you have to remove it anyway.
 

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Re: post #5 ...........

The problem so many have now with cars that refuse to jump off is due to the common sales now of Chinese battery cable sets that simply do not work, and it tremendously complicates how the users view what happens next. I used to sell those cables and most of them would not start a tricycle. So then you do what next?

Even before that, simply jumping a car off successfully or not has literally nothing to do with the battery being bad in and of itself. The only true test of a battery good/bad is a loadtest at the correct CCA.

X2 to cable terminal connections, most do not pay close enough attention there.
 

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At the utterly brain stupid prices 'lifetime' (LOL) starters commonly go for today, I for one do not EVER change the entire thing if not needed, and I haven't bought one in over 30 years and a long stream of cars. It is too simple to change just the one needed part, the hardest thing is commonly getting ahold of the part. I tend to 'rebuild them' at any instance they get yanked at over 150K anyway and then they go right back in again and often with no money spent at all.
 

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I like to rebuild starter myself instead of getting a rebuilt starter. Hardest part is getting the part needed to fix the starter. I get my parts from a local rebuilt store. Ask starter rebuilt store near you.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
UPDATE
Ok so after having the starter tested at 2 Autozone locations I'm still a bit confused. It passed 2 tests at 1st Autozone. I decided to take to another Autozone. 1st one passed, 2nd failed, and 3rd passed.

Here's the thing, the guy may have cabled it wrong for the second test. It was different person who did the 1st test. After re-cabling (with guy who did 1st test), 2nd guy got it to pass the 3rd attempt...I asked him about this and he said it could point to solenoid starting to fail intermittently, not cabling error. At any rate I still ordered a new starter bc I have to start checking things off the list before I resort to towing to a mechanic. I will return the new starter if it doesn't work.

I brought battery in to same Autozone right now to be tested. He said it was at 58% and could definitely use a charge. So they are charging it now.

My question now:
If the car battery sat unused from Dec 18/19 until being tested today Jan 1, and it was at 58%, would that be normal or expected level to drop to?

Battery only has 30k miles on it.
 

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You should always disconnect a cable off any battery sitting longer than two weeks. They use power the whole time they sit and why so many die early in cars that do not drive everyday.

The 58% is a red herring and you should get it FULLY charged and a LOADTEST, second time told now, the 58% statement is worthless there.

The starter test variable is about the norm, the number of people that can accurately test starters and alts is low, nobody has enough thinking power to work the testing method and condition of the machine leads figures in there too. I used to test as nobody wanted to learn enough to do it correctly and the same issue in pretty much all stores. The crappy education being the main reason. The test result is only as good as the person who did it. Same with battery testing.

Saying a battery only has 30K miles on it is worthless as well, was that 30K in one year or eight? You see the problem there............batteries rate by TIME used, not mileage.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You should always disconnect a cable off any battery sitting longer than two weeks. They use power the whole time they sit and why so many die early in cars that do not drive everyday.

The 58% is a red herring and you should get it FULLY charged and a LOADTEST, second time told now, the 58% statement is worthless there.


Saying a battery only has 30K miles on it is worthless as well, was that 30K in one year or eight? You see the problem there............batteries rate by TIME used, not mileage.
I didnt realize I should have disconnected the battery terminal, dang ok. I went back to pick up my battery and we did a second test on it after charging. He said it came back 100% after being fully charged. So would that mean it's safe to assume the car battery is good? I see what toy mean about the time vs mileage of battery that makes perfect sense.

Thanks for the quick response on this. I'll reinstall the battery on Thursday when I get the new starter. Hoping that with a fully charged battery, and new starter installed, the problem will be solved.
 

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(shaking head sadly)............What utter idiots (not any of you of course).

Saying a battery is '100%' is utterly incompetent, even the worst dead battery on earth will show that if you stick a voltmeter on one right after charging it.

Why I said LOADTEST, most bad batteries read perfectly fine in the first several minutes after they have charged. Any moron can say it's good at that time.

You need positive verification that battery was tested UNDER LOAD, and not only that under the exact load specified for that battery and it should match the CCA load rating the car uses. If the battery is tested at too low a CCA number it can pass all day long and still be bed, and the losers that work at parts stores do that all day long, I used to fire them over it and other acts of stupidity.

I would call them back up and ask the exact question I pose here, was the battery loadtested and at the correct CCA? Charging a battery to 100% is worthless if it is bad in such a way that just turning the key on to turn on lights on dash immediately kills the battery back down to 58% again.

Sorry for the rant but I get so sick of incompetency everywhere you turn.............
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The rants are fine by me. I am learning from them lol. I go into Autozone pretty much relying on whoever I speak with to be proficient in whatever I'm there for, within reason. So stuff like this definitely helps me out to be a bit better off next time around.

So then would proper way to have them load test the battery be to bring in my car? Or is it just a matter of ensuring they configured the diagnostic machine properly (pertaining to correct CCA number)?

Another question I had was this: could a malfunctioning battery (like one not performing under load?) cause the bendix gear to only partially extend? Have no clue if that is even a possibility but was wanted to ask...When starter failed the 2nd test at 2nd Autozone, he said it could be the solenoid starting to go out. But I watched the other 2 tests where it passed; gear seemed to extend/retract properly both times.

THanks again for the help. Hoping to pick up starter today.
 

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Yes to all.................a weak battery only partially slams the solenoid contacts home and then you don't get 100% contact inside solenoid therefor you can't get 100% power to starter. The bendix then only partially shoots out as there is a spring that retracts it working against that throwout motion. Weak power has the spring overriding it.
 

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Look if you are going to question yourself enough to ask over and over again the same things then some of the problem is you. Not trying to get personal at all but it is what it is. I worked parts for a long time and manager every time I went to one, they typically made me one after a month or so. That is an indicator of the incompetents usually working at the stores, they commonly cannot hold jobs at other places. I worked garage as well so I know what works and what doesn't and much more importantly I always loathed selling extra parts just to get incentives from it and what the parts companies push their employees to do regardless of whether it helps the customer or not.

You don't take hints real well, I basically in so many words questioned how old the battery is and you dropped the ball there, need to know. You should most likely be at getting a second one right now just as I am with my '11. Mine is beginning to slow engage the solenoid, most never catch that as it is so faint, a sign of a battery about to give up.

Battery can be removed and tested out of car, in fact, the way I preferred it, the tester/charger used indoors is commonly much better then the outdoor checker they throw on the cars. The CCA number is commonly on the battery label on battery, or the parts guy can easily research the proper CCA out of his battery catalog if he can read. They commonly guess to avoid opening the catalog up even though it is software. If they can't find a number use 500 CCA.

Make sure battery is properly able to pass the load test and if not get a new one then go to starter if problem continues. The solenoids arc inside every time they connect and even worse when battery is low. That arcing eats away at the internal main contacts to lower the contact area and then the starter begins to not throw on with max power and does things like complained about. Starter being old and all lube run off of sliding parts can do it too and why a simple rebuild using no new parts can have one working for years again. The general public though does not have a clue how to do that and the $150 starters (still only worth maybe $50 real world though) are for them. I haven't bought one in 30 years, I simply redo them at cost nothing and throw them back in the car.
 
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