R53 - Click, but doesn't Crank - North American Motoring


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R53 - Click, but doesn't Crank

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Old 08-06-2017, 04:37 PM
fourpaws fourpaws is offline
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R53 - Click, but doesn't Crank

I've got a 04 MCS. Lights look good, I rotate the key from on to start, and the headlights cut off (as expected I believe) and I hear a click (guessing the starter engaging the flywheel), but no sounds of it cranking. I am able to push start it. Battery is only ~2.5y old.

A few days ago, I noticed my engine have problems turning over. It sounded like it was taking several rotations for the engine to catch. Then on my way home from dinner, it just refused to start, but I was able to push-start it.

I had the battery tested, and autozone said it was fine. I put the battery on a charger, and after only an hour or two, it stopped taking a charge. So it matches with what the guy said. The connections inside the battery compartment look clean and good.

So what parts should I question? Anything else I should check before I replace the starter?

Edit: I confirmed it's not the clutch pedal sensor. I tried starting without depressing the clutch, and the headlights didn't dim, no clicking sound. Pressing in the clutch and trying to start and the headlights turn off, and the engine clicks.

Last edited by fourpaws; 08-06-2017 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 08-06-2017, 06:04 PM
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Whine not Walnuts Whine not Walnuts is offline
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Could be the starter. You should also make sure the engine ground strap is not loose (by the passenger side motor mount).

How many miles on the car?
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Old 08-06-2017, 06:20 PM
fourpaws fourpaws is offline
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165k miles I'll inspect the motor mount as well, but I think it's good.
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Old 08-06-2017, 06:31 PM
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Starter could be bad.
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fourpaws View Post

I had the battery tested, and autozone said it was fine. I put the battery on a charger, and after only an hour or two, it stopped taking a charge. So it matches with what the guy said. The connections inside the battery compartment look clean and good.

So what parts should I question? Anything else I should check before I replace the starter?
A lot of folks do not know how to test a battery. A sulfated battery will not take change after a while. Before replacing the starter. I suggest you do this:

Get another car and hook up a jumper cable to the Mini and see if you can start it easily. If you can you have a battery and/or charging problem. It is the easiest way to narrow this down.

I am pretty sure 04 Mini ECU turns off the headlight when you are cranking to give more battery energy to the starter.
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Old 08-07-2017, 01:07 PM
fourpaws fourpaws is offline
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Battery to ground and engine block to ground both look solid. Cables don't show any sign of deterioration, connectors look good.

Trying to jump it didn't help, just the click. I had someone watch the voltage on my battery when I tried starting it, and it only dropped 0.2 v

I also tried switching my starter and AC relays, & inspecting the fuses that were marked as being involved with the starter under the hood.
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Old 08-07-2017, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fourpaws View Post
Battery to ground and engine block to ground both look solid. Cables don't show any sign of deterioration, connectors look good.

Trying to jump it didn't help, just the click. I had someone watch the voltage on my battery when I tried starting it, and it only dropped 0.2 v

I also tried switching my starter and AC relays, & inspecting the fuses that were marked as being involved with the starter under the hood.
The voltage drops only 0.2V is a sure sign that either the starter solenoid (it is a part of the starter) does not close the contact to the starter motor, or the starter's brushes are shot. Seem you are pretty safe to change the starter.
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Old 08-07-2017, 01:37 PM
MVPeters MVPeters is offline
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One other thing you might check first:

On my '02 R53, if my foot slips on/off the clutch in the middle of starting, I have to turn the ignition all the way off in order to try again.

& yes, the ground connections must be clean & bright & tight - they may look OK, but it's easy enough to take them off & sand them.

Mike
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Old 08-07-2017, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pnwr53s View Post
the voltage drops only 0.2v is a sure sign that either the starter solenoid (it is a part of the starter) does not close the contact to the starter motor, or the starter's brushes are shot. Seem you are pretty safe to change the starter.

+1

There is a spring loaded contact in the solenoid that appears to not be making contact. Shot starter....
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Old 08-07-2017, 05:30 PM
fourpaws fourpaws is offline
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Thanks. It's what I'd expected, but it's good to have someone who's got some experience double checking.
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Old 08-19-2017, 11:00 AM
fourpaws fourpaws is offline
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So as a followup... Replaced my starter, banged up my hand a bunch, my mini is now happier.
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Old 08-19-2017, 03:43 PM
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As with just about anything to do with the motor other than the plugs, it is a royal PIA to get to anything. Modmini has a vid on a starter change and small hands are needed. Small hands on a double jointed arm around 4' long.
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Old 08-19-2017, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r53coop View Post
As with just about anything to do with the motor other than the plugs, it is a royal PIA to get to anything. Modmini has a vid on a starter change and small hands are needed. Small hands on a double jointed arm around 4' long.
For better or for worse, the easiest way to replace the starter (and preserve the knuckles) is to remove the passenger side drive shaft to gain room to work.
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