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Awful Grinding Sound with No Start

Discussion in 'Stock 1991 - 1994 Explorers' started by AustinM, February 20, 2018.

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    1. AustinM

      AustinM New Member

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      Hey everyone, I've got an automatic 93 explorer xlt. A couple of days ago I went to start it and got a hideous grinding noise for a couple of seconds, but then it started. The following morning I went to start it, but I only got the grinding noise followed by a whine. Any help on where to start/diagnostics would be much appreciated!
       
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    3. shucker1

      shucker1 Elite Explorer

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      Does the engine even roll over?

      Sounds to me like you have a bad spot on the ring gear where the teeth are worn off.

      Try to turn the engine a little bit by hand and then try the starter.

      If it decides to turn over you have got a ring gear missing teeth...
       
    4. AustinM

      AustinM New Member

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      Is there any certain place that I should attempt to turn?
       
    5. AustinM

      AustinM New Member

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      And I am honestly not sure if it turns over, I cannot tell if the grinding is it turning over or not, but following the grinding I hear a slight whine as well.
       
    6. shucker1

      shucker1 Elite Explorer

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      Nope.

      Just enough to pass those bad teeth if that is what the problem is.

      You more than likely have a starter drive nose going out and it has managed to grind a few teeth off of the ring gear.

      It stops in that bad spot and BOOM it won't engage.

      BTW which engine and is it a manual or automatic?
       
    7. AustinM

      AustinM New Member

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      It's the 4 Liter, 6 Cylinder automatic engine. Am I able to manually move the flexplate once the car is in neutral after I drop the starter? And if there are teeth missing from the flexplate, how hard of a replacement is that to do?
       
    8. shucker1

      shucker1 Elite Explorer

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      I would use a big ratchet and turn it from the front by the harmonic balancer.

      No need to have it in neutral being an automatic.

      If the flex plate is bad either the engine or the transmission comes out to change it.

      Pick your poison....

      I think that there are 164 teeth on the flex plate and you have knocked off about 5 of them.

      When you go to start the starter throws the drive bendix gear out and there is nothing there for it to grab.
       
    9. shucker1

      shucker1 Elite Explorer

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      Any word?
       
    10. Roadrunner777

      Roadrunner777 Well-Known Member

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      Personally, I'd disconnect the battery and unbolt the starter (leaving wires connected), and see if I could put eyes on any damage. It's a pretty easy job. Look in the hole were the starter was and check for damage to the gear at that spot.

      If you don't see any damage, then I would test the starter. Basically, you just need make sure the starter terminals are well clear of the frame, or any grounded metal, connect the battery and turn the key to start. When you do this, the starter will spin up and twist around a little bit, so I say again, make sure the terminals cannot touch a ground. Wrap it in a towel or something if you have to.

      If you have never had this noise before now, then I'm leaning towards a failed starter. If you have intermittently had this problem for a long time, then I have to agree with shucker1.

      Actually, this is just an afterthought, but I have seen this problem twice in my years due to the bolts backing out of the starter, causing it not to engage the ring gear fully/properly. I'd probably put a wrench on those bolts before I do anything else, just to make sure.
       
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    11. AustinM

      AustinM New Member

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      Alright, I was finally able to crawl under there and see what was going on. My first observation was that the bottom half of the hole for the bottom bolt on the starter had completely broken off, so the starter was being held on by the top bolt and was only sitting on the bottom bolt. I then turned my attention to the top bolt since I didn't have to take the bottom bolt out to take off the starter, and I realized that the top bolt had backed out a bit which had caused the starter to not be pushed up into its spot all the way. I undid the bolt to take a look at the flexplate and thankfully there was no apparent damage to the flexplate. I didn't see any missing teeth on there, or any visible wear from where I could see.

      So my next question, is should I just replace the starter to be safe, or should I just tighten the top bolt down all the way and see if that works? With the condition of that lower bolt hole, I don't know if I want to put all the stress on the top bolt (probably what caused it to back out in the first place I think) and possibly cause either more damage to the starter or god forbid the flywheel. What do y'all think?
       
    12. shucker1

      shucker1 Elite Explorer

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      Try it once, after tightening the bolt, to see if it starts, which it should.

      Now you need to come up with a plan to fix that bottom hole.

      You said the bolt hole broke off?
       
    13. Roadrunner777

      Roadrunner777 Well-Known Member

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      Yeah, I just looked at a picture of a starter, I can see the bottom half of that ear breaking off.

      I think you have to replace it. It's odd that the casting broke like that, and I don't know if I would trust what is left, long-term. You could probably get by with a new bolt and some washers for a few days if you wanted to order a new starter on-line and save some money.

      Random thoughts:
      1. A remanufactured starter from a chain parts store will run about $100 plus a core charge of about $20 since your core won't be accepted, so today for $120
      2. Starters from RockAuto.com start at about $55 with no core charge, plus shipping. I found new ones around this price, not remanufactured.
      3. The starter is specific to auto vs manual transmission, so be sure you get the right one in either case.

      Explorerforum.com once had a decent promo code for RockAuto.com, but the best I could find this morning is a 5% promo code here:

      RetailMeNot: Coupon Codes, Coupons, Promo Codes, Free Shipping and Discounts for Thousands of Stores

      Those are the choices... which way to go is again, time, money, and urgency. I'm guessing you have what you need, so Good Luck!
       
      Last edited: February 24, 2018
    14. AustinM

      AustinM New Member

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      Update: It's all fixed! I got my new starter motor from Rock Auto and replaced it and now it starts up perfectly. Thank y'all for your help with this!
       
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    15. shucker1

      shucker1 Elite Explorer

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      Cool!

      The moderators can mark it fixed.
       

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