Sunday, March 11, 2012
Replacing Starter in Nissan NX-1600
The 1992 Nissan NX-1600 is in its 20th year of existence which is like 50 in human years. As such, parts of it are starting to wear out or malfunction. In 2011, the front struts were replaced and now the car will sometimes not start. When the ignition key is turned, a clicking sound is heard. After poring over the schematics and ruling out that the inhibitor relay was the problem, it came down to the solenoid (magnetic switch) or starter or both.
This procedure is not for the faint at heart plus it helps to have good hand and wrist strength. The starter on the Nissan NX-1600 automatic transmission is located about in the middle of engine facing the firewall. The Nissan technical guide does not really provide good method for removing it. I needed another person to help me remove and put the starter back, in this case it was my dad.
The Nissan service manual says to remove the battery, air cleaner, intake air duct, EFI harness, vacuum hoses, and speedometer cable. In addition remove rear buffer rod, buffer rod bracket, and intake manifold supports. Next remove starter from transaxle side from engine compartment upper side.
My plan was to move components out of the way on the top driver side of the engine area so starter could be unbolted. Next, the starter needed to be freed from its compartment from under the car. My method was to remove the oil filter and then unbolt a Y shaped intake manifold support allowing the starter to drop down and then be removed through the top of the engine compartment. So I would suggest changing the oil since you are under the car anyway to remove the starter and have to get the oil filter out of the way.
To remove, one must first disconnect the battery. I completely removed it to provide more area to work. After that undo the four clamps on the air filter housing and lift the top up. Next, unfasten the o-ring clamp on the large air hose (I think this is called the intercooler) going into the manifold. There is also a smaller hose that needs to be disconnected. With those items moved out of the way, one of the mounting bolts should be exposed that was hidden by the air filter casing. Next picture shows the bolt holding one side of the starter. The other bolt is out of sight (see next picture) and needs to be felt for if accessing from top of engine. I used a racket with either a 12 or 14 mm socket to loosen and remove.
I had some issues with the cable that goes to sensor(?), it might have something to do with the oil as it is right next to the oil filter. The cable went through the manifold support and I tried to disconnect the cable but did not want break it as I already had enough to do getting the starter working again. It would have been nice to take this cable on a different path as it caused some troubles when I put the manifold support back on later.
Once the starter was removed, the solenoid (Nissan calls this the magnetic switch) seemed okay but the starter seemed seized up. I then had to decide buy a used starter on eBay that was untested $40, a rebuilt one from AutoZone or Pep Boys or Oreily's for $70-120, or take it to a local shop near my home to be rebuilt for $90-100. I decided to give the local machinist a try at P & D Auto Electric Service, 3523 Chenoweth Run Road, Louisville, Kentucky and telephone number 502-267-7144.
I visited the shop that is next to the owner's home. He got the starter and put it on his test machine. It did not start after several attempts until he hit it. Intrigued by it starting, he took the starter to the work bench and started to take it apart. It was somewhat dirty inside but the problem was not obvious until he got to section that was in a diamond shape part called the brush holder with 4 metal brushes(?) located every 90 degrees. One of the metal pieces appeared worn down which was making intermittent contact. He said the starter needed to be cleaned and this part replaced and all should be well. It seemed like a good diagnosis so told him to fix it and hopefully it would be ready in 3-4 days.
He called be several days ready and the starter was ready. The price was below estimate and I was happy to get the part back so the car could get to running again. The starter was placed near the cables to be connected and the S terminal on the solenoid and the battery cable. Then move the starter back out of sight and fit back into its slot. The two bolts should be started into their threads and once in tightened down. The intake manifold support needs to be put back in place and the oil filter replaced. Next picture shows behind the engine where the starter is mounted (absent the starter).
The air filter housing is then put back in place and the intake hose is reattached along with a hose that attaches on its left. The clamps and rings are tightened back down or put in place. The air filter is put back and the case clamped down. A hose that clips in over top all of this is put back in its holders. The battery is put back and the terminals reattached and tightened down.
Last picture showing engine area reassembled. Hopefully, at this point the key will be turned in the ignition and the starter will start right up. Mine did and starts much faster now. Need to drive more and see how does over time but so far so good.