Balky restarts might not be attributable to the starterheader

  • Article by: PAUL BRAND
  • Updated: September 13, 2013 - 5:02 PM

Q: I have a 1999 Dodge ¾-ton diesel that’s going through starters ever month or so. The batteries and all the cables have been replaced. Not long ago the fuel injector pump also was replaced to the tune of about $2,500. Within a week or two of the new starter being installed, my truck starts fine in the morning but after two or three stops during errands around town, it starts to take an unusual amount of “cranking” to start. It eventually fails altogether after a few days of this pattern. It still sounds like it’s turning over adequately, but just doesn’t start.

A: I’m confused! If the engine is still cranking over “adequately,” why is the starter motor suspect? Unless you have to crank the engine for so long to get it restarted that the starter motor is overheating and failing, I don’t see the direct link between the starter and the no restart.

Ask the dealer to check to see if the ECM (electronic control module) in your vehicle has been reprogrammed with updated software as per TSB # 18-015-00 Rev. A dated December 2000. The ECM recalibration specifically focuses on hot/warm restart issues.

If the starter motor is somehow the issue, it can be tested for electrical current draw. This 3.6-horsepower electric motor should draw 450 to 700 amperes while cranking the warm engine.

If the issue is a failure of the starter pinion gear to engage or stay engaged to the flywheel/flexplate ring gear, the issue might be damaged teeth on the ring gear.

Q: After a half-hour of running, the low-oil warning alarm on my 2009 GM 6-liter pickup with 109,000 miles goes off and the oil-pressure gauge reads below 10psi. The sending unit, oil pump and oil screen have been replaced with little or no correction. I have found a lot of chatter on the Internet about this, but no solution for my issue. Also, I am over on miles but under on time for warranty; does your experience tell you GM might do something for this problem and is there any place the public can find manufacture’s service bulletins?

A: Many public libraries offer access to the ALLDATA automotive database that lists specifications, repair information, service bulletins and recall data for modern cars and trucks. It is also available as a subscription online for personal or professional use. According to the GM data in ALLDATA, minimum hot oil pressure specs on this engine are: 6psi@1000rpm, 18psi@2000rpm and 24psi@4000rpm.

I did see “a lot of chatter” on the Internet about this issue, but didn’t find solutions, nor did I find any specific service bulletins or recalls.

Having replaced the oil pump, screen and sending unit, make sure that the oil filter is correct for this engine and scan the ECM for DTC fault codes relating to the oil pressure sensor circuit — P0521/22/23. I also would suggest installing, even on a temporary basis, a mechanical oil-pressure gauge to confirm accurate oil-pressure numbers.

If oil pressure is lower than spec, it might be due to engine bearing wear, a sticky oil-pump pressure regulator valve, a faulty oil pump o-ring, a missing oil gallery plug or a broken valve lifter. If you don’t find an obvious cause and the engine is not making any knocking, taping, rattling-type “low oil pressure” sounds, you could try treating the symptom with a heavier viscosity oil like a 10W-40.

Will GM “do something” to help? The only way to know is to ask nicely.

Q: We purchased a 2000 Toyota Corolla that now has over 110,000 miles on it. My wife and I are not heavy on the gas pedal and drive with care. How important is it to get the timing belt changed?

A: I love easy answers. The 1.8-litre (1ZZ-FE) engine has chain-driven rather than belt-driven camshafts. No routine maintenance or replacement is necessary.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Atlanta - WP: E. Stults 4 FINAL
Detroit - LP: J. Chamberlain 2
Washington - LP: X. Cedeno 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Wacha 6
Philadelphia 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 18
Baltimore 6 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Miami - LP: D. Haren 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: R. Montero 7
San Diego 6 FINAL
Cincinnati 3
San Francisco 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 8
Colorado 2 FINAL
Oakland 11
LA Angels - LP: N. Tropeano 3 FINAL
Seattle - WP: T. Walker 5
Cleveland 4 FINAL
Chicago WSox 1
Kansas City 11 FINAL
Texas 7
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Arizona 2
Toronto 7 FINAL
Houston 4
Minnesota - LP: C. Johnson 2 FINAL
Boston - WP: J. Masterson 14
Boston 116 FINAL
Charlotte 104
LA Lakers 113 FINAL
Philadelphia 111
Houston 96 FINAL
Toronto 99
Milwaukee 88 FINAL
Atlanta 101
Sacramento 83 FINAL
Memphis 97
Utah 104 FINAL
Minnesota 84
Phoenix 86 FINAL
Portland 109
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Montreal 3
Vancouver 4 FINAL
St. Louis 1
Calgary 5 FINAL
Dallas 3
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Chicago 4
Edmonton 4 FINAL
Colorado 1
Buffalo 4 FINAL
Arizona 1
Loyola-Chicago 65
Dayton 70 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 91
(6) Tennessee 48 FINAL
(4) Maryland 58
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters