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biagiosarich 04-04-2015 09:25 PM

1988 911- Driving great, now won't start- no cranking, etc
Hi there, first time posting!

Just bought a 1988 911. Drove it down from SF to LA with no problems whatsoever. New battery and alternator and full inspection etc etc. However I got home after the 5 hr drive, let her cool a few hours and went to start- NOTHING. No crank, barley a noise. Tried to jump her- no good. Battery seems fine, alarm working, etc. The previous owner had never seen an issue here, and I trust him....Thinking it could be that the starter went out from the long, heated drive? I did bottom out a bit leaving a gas station, but the car started after just fine (maybe disconnected something?)

Any help would be much appreciated.

pmax 04-04-2015 10:22 PM

Try tapping the starter/solenoid.... with a mallet.

Check the transmission ground and starter connections. Perhaps the jolt loosened one of them.

Pelican Technical Article: Starter System Troubleshooting - 911 (1965-89) - 930 Turbo (1975-89)

BTW Congrats. You bought the one of the best 911's imo ;)

DRACO A5OG 04-04-2015 10:34 PM

Post the voltage at the battery.

ganun 04-05-2015 04:24 AM

Another possible thing is the ignition switch. You can jump it from the back.

biagiosarich 04-05-2015 03:28 PM

Thanks guys. It started the next morning no problem. Thinking the heat and 5 hr drive was the issue, and thus the starter...

Very excited about the car. First time owning one and looking forward to getting it sorted ASAP.


cabmando 04-05-2015 03:37 PM

I know you said it's running now but...
For fun, I'd get under the car and check the connections at the starter. I question if you don't have a starter solenoid that is about to fail also.

Almost forgot, Welcome to Pelican and don't forget to post a pic of your ride!

biagiosarich 04-05-2015 03:39 PM

Thanks Cabmando. I definitely will. Appreciate all the help everyone.

billydeakins 04-05-2015 03:45 PM

biagiosarich - I had the same problem with my '89 when i bought it last year. Drove it home to LA from Colorado - stopped to get gas after about 4 hours straight driving, went to start it after fueling and nothing! I got it push started and didn't shut it off when I fueled up the next couple of times. Got home, turned it off and then tried to start it after a few minutes, nothing again. Went inside and came out the next morning....started right up! Have not had a problem with it since. Was told by a friend that is a mechanic and he said they sometimes have hot start issues. Since it hasn't done it since then, I've just driven it and enjoyed it!

Congrats on the new car too!

DRACO A5OG 04-05-2015 03:54 PM

^^^ If I may suggest, Check the Ohms on the CHTS, If the older wired one, replace with an updated one.

Walt Fricke 04-05-2015 04:25 PM

The CHTS can cause starting problems. But not "no crank" problems.

When starters get worn, they sometimes have a bad segment on the commutator or whatever the segmented connection is, where brushes bear on it (or brushes can get very worn). If the starter stops on such a segment, it may fail to conduct current when next called upon to do so. Heat seems to exacerbate this, and the solenoid ground (or is it the positive) is through this. So nothing, not even a click. On my VW bus I used to crawl under and reach up with a screw driver to short the big positive terminal on the starter to the one on the solenoid. This would cause the starter to whirr, but not engage. Then I'd jump in the car and turn the key, and usually it would start up just fine. If not, repeat the process.

A 911 doesn't have enough ground clearance for that, and taking the starter out and to an auto-electric shop for testing and repair or replacement is the way to go.

DRACO A5OG 04-05-2015 04:29 PM

or if you have AAA, they can diagnos to give you a lead to where to look in the charging sytem.

biagiosarich 04-05-2015 04:50 PM

I did have AAA come out but they didn't seem to know how to help since the battery had a charge and the car did not turn at all with jumpers. Yes, when it didn't turn there was no noticeable noise, other than just a hum. But again, it just fired right up the next day. I'm taking to a reputable Porsche shop in LA on Tuesday- TRE, just to check the starter and wiring...This is my daily driver in LA so I'm hoping to get everything dialed.

Walt Fricke 04-05-2015 05:01 PM

It should be quite easy for a shop to see if the ignition switch is part of the problem - especially if you can deliver it to them hot, and it won't restart. If that is ruled out, they will see the right voltage at the small connection at the starter (the solenoid connection). And the right voltage at the big cable connection, which comes direct from the battery. If those are good, I bet they will recommend replacing the starter.

biagiosarich 04-05-2015 05:17 PM

Added some pics of the car on my profile if you'd like to see her. Had some great ones but not allowing me to upload- size I imagine. Anyway, thanks again everyone. I'll let you know what happens next week.


sugarwood 04-06-2015 05:11 PM

biagiosarich, did you check the connections at the starter yourself ?
Did you measure the voltage using a multimeter?
You will enjoy getting your hands dirty. This forum is a great resource.

Stonestreet 04-06-2015 05:40 PM

Hey, welcome to the forum and congrats on your first 911. I just in the last couple years bought an '88 also!

The best advice anyone can give you with regards to a no start issue is to run through the DME test plan. It's not the most exciting advice, as I think most people just want to shoot wildly and hit the occasional right answer to show how much they know about these cars, or perhaps they think they're psychic. It's hard to say really, but the only thing you should do when you have a no start with a Motronic car that doesn't have known issues is run the DME test plan or run to a mechanic that has the manual containing said plan.

That said, there are always a few things that are easy to check and you should do them just incase you get lucky. It only takes a couple minutes to check voltage at the battery and perform a couple other quick fix exercises. Mine's been in storage all winter, so I haven't had to deal with random no starts for a while.

Anyway, best of luck!

biagiosarich 04-07-2015 01:17 PM

Thanks all. I took the easy and expensive route, and took her to TRE in LA. They've inspected the car and everything looks good, just replacing the starter. Hopefully that's the problem at the end of the day, and hope they ran through a DME test as well assuming they are a good group of mechanics. I'll certainly have to get my hands dirty soon, and want to, so I can really start learning about this car.

Much appreciated all!


Uncle Enzo 04-07-2015 04:43 PM

looking great. I remember when mine pooped out the day after I got it. Stuck on the side of the road on a hot day with a 4 year old covered in ice cream in the back. As luck would have it I diagnosed it as a bad fuel pump relay, swapped it with a spare and was back on the road in 10min. That moment of panic was enough to last a lifetime.

DRACO A5OG 04-07-2015 08:03 PM

Congrats Brother Baigio,

Your in good hands :D


biagiosarich 04-10-2015 10:34 AM

Hi all, just a quick update. Starter was the culprit. It's been replaced and all is well. Thanks again for everyone's help here...Now for mods! ;) Thinking chip, cat bypass, exhaust, and perhaps headers/cams down the line. However I'll just enjoy her as is for a while :)


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