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Discussion Starter #1
1994 Nissan Sentra XE
1.6L 5spd Manual
135,000 miles

Got in the car today to head to work and pushed in the clutch, turned the key and the car didn't even crank. The radio came on, dome light came on when I opened the door, some lights came on on the dash (seatbelt, check engine, brake, etc). But it didn't crank over.

After turning the radio off I hear a click when I turn the key over but that's it. With the car in neutral I pushed the switch down under the clutch with my hand to make sure it was engaged while I turned the key and still it didn't turn over.

I tried to jump start the car with my other car, verified with a multimeter around +15VDC going to the battery, and still it didn't turn over, just a click.

So what's going on?
 

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So the light don't dim or go out when you turn the key ( and still13 v)
Either you have a very bad contact, clean battery posts, check cable at solenoid
Or the solenoid and or starter are not drawing power, ie they quit.
 

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Update: Replaced the negative terminal connection, it was cracked, cleaned both battery posts and the positive terminal connection. Jumped the two solenoid posts with a screwdriver and the starter did not turn over. Got me thinking the starter was bad. So I removed it and had it tested. It tested good. So I removed the battery and had it tested, just in case. It also tested good. So now what?
 

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You have to jump the solenoid to pull in the starter pinion, then main contacts close.
Try 12V to the normal Small terminal.
If it works then its your ignition switch
Also try this.
Have someone hold the key over in the start position and hit the main starter body with a hammer, give it a good whack.
If it starts replace the starter.
 

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Also try this.
Have someone hold the key over in the start position and hit the main starter body with a hammer, give it a good whack.
If it starts replace the starter.

LOL!...and I thought the hammer thing only worked on Yugos....nonetheless, this is mos def a good to know tip!!
 

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Another trick is if you have a multimeter, have someone turn the key and see if you are getting 12volts at the starter. if you have voltage but the car doesen't start, it is definetly a starter, if no power is there, check the ignition switch or possible fuse being blown. it definetly sounds like a starter
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Good news, put it all back together (original starter back in and original battery hooked back up) and it started up fine. I thought about using a test light on the small wire going to the starter while turning the key, that would have been my next step.
 

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Unfortunately you haven't found the cause unless it was just a bad connection.
If it is the starter, it will be back.................
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So it ran great yesterday afternoon, started every time, got in this morning to go to work and it started right up, got to the end of the driveway and shut it down to put a letter in the mailbox and it wouldn't start again. Same thing. The starter tested good a few days ago off the car, so I'm thinking a bad connection. After I get home tonight I'll do the test light on the small wire to the starter while I turn the key, see if there's a connection.
 

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I would say that problems are in order of frequency reported on the forum
1) starter
2) ignition switch.

Although you don't seems to want to believe this is the starter, they do this, work for a bit, then not start.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Okay, thanks for the info. If I get power at the small wire on the starter when the key is turned but nothing beyond that then I'll get a new starter. Otherwise I'll check the ignition switch.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Got home, car still wouldn't start, didn't have anyone to turn the key while I checked the test light on the small wire so I just tapped the starter body with a hammer and it started right up. Thanks! Guess I need a new starter.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Looking at new starters. Found Autozone to be the least expensive but they have two choices for non-California manual transmission '94 Nissan Sentras with the 1.6L.

Direct drive

and

Permanent magnet planetary gear reduction (in-line)

Not sure which one to pick or if it matters. I compared the old one with the direct drive unit and the parts guy measured old one to be 1/8th of an inch longer where it goes into the block, and the starter housing outside the block on the reman one was bigger.
 
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