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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited by Moderator)
The left catalytic converter pretty much imploded sending debris through the exhaust. I dropped the exhaust and replaced the cat and then cleaned out the rest of the exhaust. Car started and ran fine for a few days. Noticed some heat soak on the starter, it turned over slowly when the car was hot. Let it cool, started right up. Pulled left cat back out, put a new starter in. It ran fine for a few days, but then it stopped cranking.

Figured the starter went out and was a dud, so i took it back and tested and replaced it. New starter tested fine at the parts store. On rare occasions after clicking a few times, it does crank and car starts up and runs fine. Alternator shows a tick over the 13v like it always has. I shut the car off, starter just clicks and doesnt crank. Even swapped the starter at the store and both starters I've put in test fine off the car. I've checked the crank relays at the box, doesn't fix. I added an additional ground to the alternator stud from the frame, didn't fix. I did get a brief oil pressure low light for about 2 seconds with the old starter on and it went away. Car started up fine after that a few times.

Figured the sensor got hot down there and may be on its way out. Right now my thought is on that starter/alternator cable getting hot, possibly melting at some point from trying to start from the heat soak. Battery is brand new and tests fine. Thoughts? Suggestions? I did search the forums and a lot of posts pointed me to the ground and the crank relay. Thank you so much in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Flex plate and flywheel all look fine from when i peeked in there with the starter off. Battery is fully charged and horn works, doors lock and unlock fine. I haven't tried it with a jump box but I could try that additional power. I'm going to try to replace the junction block cable with something a bit more heavy duty. I don't know about the status wire going to the starter either.
 

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Flex plate and flywheel all look fine from when i peeked in there with the starter off. Battery is fully charged and horn works, doors lock and unlock fine. I haven't tried it with a jump box but I could try that additional power. I'm going to try to replace the junction block cable with something a bit more heavy duty. I don't know about the status wire going to the starter either.
If that doesn't work, try turning the engine over by hand to be sure it's not seized.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Motor shouldn't be seized. It starts and runs fine whenever the starter actually decides to crank. It just seems like the starter isn't getting the power that it needs to run. I don't have any codes (other than the P0420 for the trashed cat) either, so I'd expect the ECU to be fine.
 

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@Dupo24 : This sounds like the classic weak battery problem, or the corroded-(or just loose)-terminals-on-the-battery problem. But you say the battery is brand new, so unlikely it's the "weak battery" issue. So ... are the terminals clean and tight? They might be clean-looking, and not actually clean, and they might also be clean, but not tight enough.

Also, is this one of those vehicles that has some kind of device on one of the battery terminals (or nearby) .... like a current limiter of some kind? Seem to remember a discussion on another Forum about this device causing a no-start condition (but I can't remember if it was intermittent, like in your case, or absolutely fatal).

My 30+ years experience of servicing my own vehicles says it's almost never the Starter Motor. I've literally replaced one in my lifetime ... and only after lightly tapping it's body with a hammer to get it to start working again. No other Starter has ever failed me for the life of the vehicle ... and we're talking at least 230,000 miles driven on each vehicle! Starter Motors are incredibly reliable.

Another thing to check might be the Crank Position Sensor?? I know this can cause a no-start condition, but I'm not sure if it can be intermittent (or .. if once it's dead, it's absolutely dead).

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Whenever something fails, the first thing you should ask yourself is: What changed? ... because whatever just changed (if anything) is very likely related to your problem! I'm not sure how messing with the exhaust could cause a problem like this, but you might want to re-trace your steps to see if something you did may have introduced an intermittent electrical problem...
 
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Others mentioned loose or corroded battery cables at the battery, but I would carefully check the negative battery cables at engine block or trans bell housing too. When the problem happens, can you attach a jump box, or battery charger and have it immediately work without any more clicking first? That would be an indication it's bad connection with just enough corrosion to need a little extra volts/amps to overcome.

HTH
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I appreciate the thoughts. I added a good solid ground from the block to the frame thinking it would help take care of any of those bad grounds. Tracing myself back, could be that lead on the starter itself. Does anyone know what typical things could go bad from having a cat overheat? especially the front one? Oil filter is up there, knock sensor, oil pressure sensor as well as the starter. I'm thinking maybe I just finished off the junction block starter cable, but that doesn't explain the click and the starter working 1/20 times I turn the key. You have given me good ideas. I'm going to try a jump box and see if that helps diagnose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I did the jump box and that didn't help. I also pulled out the junction block starter cable and cleaned up all of the connections and reinstalled it. The cable looked fine. Now my focus is on that little gray signal wire. I'd expect that if that was bad, it wouldn't send a click to the starter at all. Is it entirely possible that the physical starter isn't installed correctly? Needs shims or aligned correctly? I don't think that's the case with these.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Little PURPLE signal wire going to the starter does click the solenoid in but the starter does not extend or spin. Starter tests fine off of the car. I'm going to bypass the purple wire with a push button start for testing to see if that's the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Today was a fun day. To whoever visits this post searching for answers, it was the starter. I took it in to Autozone and tested it and it just clicked there too. I got a new one, got home, put it in and it started. New ground and a new positive junction block cable as well and it's running like it should. Only time will tell on this starter, but it does look promising tonight. Thank you all for your good suggestions. They all helped troubleshoot this out.
 

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Good to know and others will surely appreciate your followup and solution. (y)
 
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