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Angry 911 Starting problem...1985 Carrera

My 1985 Carrera starts..then it DOES NOT! WHY????

Is it possible to test an ignition switch?...car is starting periodically.
1985 911

It can go a month of it starting, then nothing, then it will start again... when I turn the key the lights are bright and electric is flowing strong.

last week it started no problem, drove a few miles, parked at a store then it didn't start. I jump-started (by pushing), drove home and parked, immediately tried to start it and it did not start...today, after 2 weeks of sitting, it started!!!

2 months ago I bought a new starter due to this same issue (which I may not have needed). I have a fairly new battery which tests fully charged.

Not a matter of cold or hot, dry or rainy and the connections SEEM to be secure...at least at the battery.

What could it be?

Thanks all.

Old 12-04-2019, 03:57 PM
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Assuming that you replaced the starter because when it wouldn't start it wasn't turning over at all, the next possible culprits would seem to be the electrical connectors in the engine compartment and key switch.
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Old 12-04-2019, 04:23 PM
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Hey Nick
I believe my mechanic tested the key switch.. that actually possible? Are the connectors visible under the lid? Or under car? Of course my mechanic knows but wanted to check for myself first. And yes, bought a new starter cause the old one did the same thing, started periodically.
Thanks very much
Old 12-04-2019, 05:09 PM
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Still very new to older 911's but what about a bad-ish fuel-pump relay or even the DME???
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Old 12-04-2019, 05:21 PM
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Are the red wires on the positive battery clamp tight? Clean grounds from batt to body and trans to body.
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Old 12-04-2019, 09:49 PM
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Would that cause it to start or not start periodically? Thanks
Old 12-04-2019, 10:39 PM
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Okay so the starter isn't energizing and the engine isn't cranking. The problem with an intermittent issue is, it's extremely hard to check for a cause because if it's not acting up, there's nothing to fix. Best thing to do is go through all of your grounds as JW suggested. You'll have one in the "frunk" from the battery to the chassis, a trans to chassis ground under the car, several grounds that go to the intake runner. Make sure they're all clean and the retaining nut is tight. Make sure your connections at the battery are tight and the nut on the starter is tight.

When the car doesn't start, do you get a "click" sound or is it just dead? I had a starter issue that ended up being a piece had come off my starter and would wedge itself between the bendix and ring gear. Sometimes it would crank right up, others it would click, and others it would do nothing at all. Not saying this is your issue but it might be worth pulling the starter and having a look with a mirror.
My thread: https://forums.pelicanparts.com/porsche-911-technical-forum/1030426-intermittent-starter-issue-starter-spins-but-not-engaging.html

A friend with a 914 lost the starter after he had been cranking on it trying to get it to fire. Ended up being a loose connector in the tunnel. His no start (cranked but wouldn't fire) ended up being a key switch oddly enough.
https://forums.pelicanparts.com/porsche-914-914-6-technical-forum/1033068-914-no-power-yellow-wire-starter-solenoid.html

I would suggest you ask the mods to merge your two threads so you can get the help you need. You've got two threads dealing with the same problem.
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Last edited by cabmando; 12-05-2019 at 06:12 AM..
Old 12-05-2019, 06:10 AM
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My '88 failed to crank intermittently until I replaced the ground strap.... do the simple things first. Other components get enough power to work, but the starter demands lots of power. Bad ground can keep it from turning.
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Old 12-05-2019, 06:53 AM
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Nick,

I do get a "click" when the car doesn't start...does not sound like the starter is moving just an electrical "click". Could it still be the ignition switch if I do get a "click"?
I will try to merge the threads...
Old 12-05-2019, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgurnari View Post
Nick,

I do get a "click" when the car doesn't start...does not sound like the starter is moving just an electrical "click". Could it still be the ignition switch if I do get a "click"?
I will try to merge the threads...
That "click" is the solenoid engaging the bendix. If the bendix doesn't travel the right distance to create the electrical field for the starter motor, all you get is a click. As others have said, start with the easy stuff. Check grounds and make sure the terminals on your battery posts are tight. You might check the end of your old starter just to make sure you didn't have something weird happen like I did.
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Old 12-05-2019, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
I do get a "click" when the car doesn't start
That sounds like a bad battery to me. This could be related to a few things.

1. Temperature effects older batteries if you live up north where there are real winters that could be it.
2. You could have corroded terminals on your battery cables. This creates a natural resistance in the cable/connection and does not allow enough current to flow. ground strap should be checked for this one as well.
3. Relay could have some pitting corrosion on it.
4. 12V/13V at the terminals does NOT mean that your battery is capable of starting the car. Batteries are only capable of turning over the starter if they can deliver enough current to the starter motor. This can only be measured with an ammeter in series and a load based discharge test. Its possible to have a battery that will charge up to 13V but will no longer deliver the amperage (usually spec'ed in "cold cranking amps"). Thus if you are just measuring voltage across the terminals that does not indicate a battery that is capable of starting the car. For example 8 AA batteries in series will measure 12V across the terminals but wont start your car...

Side note since you have the early EFI car you have the dreaded DME relay. Those tend to pop at random. My 944 uses the same wiring, I always have a spare relay and a 3 point hard jump in the car just in case.
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Old 12-05-2019, 03:59 PM
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Why would it start “sometime”? The battery would not have power then have power..
Old 12-05-2019, 05:28 PM
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Easy way to rule out the battery ( I don't think it's the battery) is to take it in and have it load tested.
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Old 12-05-2019, 06:40 PM
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Battery is practically new.. not the battery
Old 12-05-2019, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgurnari View Post
Battery is practically new.. not the battery
Not saying you're wrong, but this is a dangerous mindset. It's ok to move the battery down the list, but not take it off completely.

When my (original) starter went, it only failed to work when the engine was hot. Let it cool, and it worked just fine. Starter solenoid issue. Seems like the new starter should put that down on your list, but does the inop condition correlate to engine temp?
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Old 12-06-2019, 08:24 AM
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I was getting the same click from the starter with the bad grounding strap problem. Use a jumper cable to make a temporary ground next time it acts up and see if that helps.
Old 12-12-2019, 05:03 AM
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When the no-start happens, will the headlights turn on strong? This would eliminate the battery being the culprit.

As John Walker suggested, make sure the battery terminals are tight and clean.
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Old 12-13-2019, 10:02 PM
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jgur..i would stop running around your 911 and do as JW said .You have to make sure your grounds are tight and clean do this then report.....there are several ..in trunk battery also left fender next to the fuse box,transmission ground strap to body,behind the fuel filter ......

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Old 12-14-2019, 02:28 AM
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TEST, TEST, TEST!
Make yourself some very long leads with alligator clips on them so you can hook up to anywhere on the car with a volt meter and see exactly what voltages you are getting.

As you try and start and you connect to different things it will be come apparent where the issue is.
Examples: You turn the key and if you aren't getting voltage to the solenoid you know the problem is up stream toward the key. If you have full voltage and the solenoid doesn't click you know the solenoid has an internal coil problem. If the solenoid clicks but there is no voltage into the starter you have a solenoid contactor problem. If you have full voltage going into the starter with the solenoid energized you have a starter problem.

Also...
Be specific about what problem you have. When you say, "The car doesn't start" you might as well just say, "It's broken".
- Do you have a "It won't crank" problem? Or do you have a "It cranks but won't fire" problem? Those two are completely different systems and have much different troubleshooting steps.

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Old 12-15-2019, 05:45 PM
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