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Old 12-09-2023, 04:30 PM #1
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Questions on Denso reman starter

Preface: This is not for my T4R, but it very well could be. I find the mechanic knowledge on this forum to be great, and I don't know of any good forums for the vehicle in question (Honda CR-V) that aren't full of riff-raff. My daughter has a 2008 Honda CR-V, and her starter was giving her intermittent problems. I had it tested at an auto parts store, and was told that the battery and alternator were good, but the starter was bad.

I bought a Denso reman. from Rockauto, which is what I would also buy for my T4R. After installing it (as bad or worse than doing it on a T4R, which I have done), it fails to start. It is definitely spinning as long as the key is in the Start position. I think I hear the starter solenoid engage when I first turn the key, then I hear the starter motor spinning, yet I don't hear the engine turn over. First thing I checked was battery voltage: 12.4v. I put a charger on it anyway, for a little while. That didn't help. A couple of times, I heard the engine start to turn over very briefly, but then I only heard the starter spinning. Since then, I have tried again multiple times, but I haven't heard the engine try to turn over again. It sounds to me like the solenoid may be working somewhat, but not extending enough to engage the flywheel.

My first thought is a faulty solenoid on the Denso reman I just bought. However, the kicker is that my daughter has had a rodent problem, and wires and hoses have been chewed through previously. I am concerned that maybe a wire somewhere was damaged and this thing isn't getting enough current. I did the job from below, rather than above. Way simpler not having to remove the entire intake, buy way more difficult to access things from down there. For example, 2 hours to remove one starter bolt, because it was impossible to see. I spent a good 10 hours on the job, and really dread doing it again. I also dread returning this possibly faulty Denso, getting a replacement that may be good or bad, or possibly it is a wiring problem that another starter won't solve.

Sorry for the very long explanation, but I am just trying to fully explain my situation and give enough info. I just don't know what to do. I never take vehicle to mechanics, but I am about ready to do that with this one.

** Does anyone know how to determine, without removing the replacement starter, if its solenoid is bad? Has anyone here ever got a Denso reman from Rockauto that was faulty?

edited: I tried more, but sometimes I get nothing at all from the starter, sometimes it still just spins. Actually, one time it started instantly. I let ir run for a couple of minutes, turned it off, then the starter just spun without engaging the flywheel again.
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Old 12-11-2023, 12:17 PM #2
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I've received a faulty Denso starter from Rockauto for a 1999 Honda Accord.

I was having similar issues. Sent the unit back for another one and problem solved.
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Old 12-11-2023, 02:38 PM #3
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Is the CRV starter somehow a different design than the normal Toyota style? On the normal Denso style starter, the motor won't engage until the drive gear is fully engaged with the flywheel/flexplate.

My first thought was a bad flexplate (missing teeth) - but that would stay 'not working' for a given rotational position of the engine.

It is rare, but possible to get a bad reman, even from Denso.

At least you know where all the bolts are now!

-Charlie
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Old 12-11-2023, 05:59 PM #4
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Sounds to me like the solenoid isn't working. Two things happen when you turn the key. The solenoid pushes the starter gear into the flywheel and when that happens the circuit is closed to the motor turning it. If the solenoid isn't engaged in the flywheel but the starter's motor is turning, one of two things: either the solenoid is bad or there's broken teeth on the flywheel. I would suspect the solenoid.

I've rebuilt a couple of small starters and they're not difficult to understand. Most of the time the contact plates get carboned and need to be cleaned. It's also possible for the brushes to be bad. Take it back and let them test it. Ask for a different one.

If you're mechanically inclined and have some time, next time a starter goes bad on you, open it and check the plates for heavy carbon deposits or maybe a broken wire. If you can't clean it up yourself you're just going to take it in to swap for a rebuilt one anyway. I've had better luck with NAPA than anyone else.
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Old 12-11-2023, 08:15 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArthurKotb View Post
I've rebuilt a couple of small starters and they're not difficult to understand. Most of the time the contact plates get carboned and need to be cleaned. It's also possible for the brushes to be bad. Take it back and let them test it. Ask for a different one.

If you're mechanically inclined and have some time, next time a starter goes bad on you, open it and check the plates for heavy carbon deposits or maybe a broken wire. If you can't clean it up yourself you're just going to take it in to swap for a rebuilt one anyway. I've had better luck with NAPA than anyone else.
Looks like this inside:





The wear at pitting means poor connections... replace the contacts at the bottom and the plunger and *most* of the time the starter will work fine for another 100k-200k.

-Charlie
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Old 12-12-2023, 10:58 AM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phattyduck View Post
Looks like this inside:

The wear at pitting means poor connections... replace the contacts at the bottom and the plunger and *most* of the time the starter will work fine for another 100k-200k.

-Charlie
If the OP's looks like that he should take it back and complain. But yes, that's what they usually look like inside. Sometimes you can get the replacement parts and sometimes you can't but you can clean them up and buff them smooth again. The carbon and sometimes a broken wire are the usual problems. Years ago I got a rebuilt starter where the inside looked like it had been used to plow a field. That's when I started rebuilding my own.
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Old 12-12-2023, 10:17 PM #7
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The defective on is on its way back, and the latest one arrived today. After a long day today, I don't want to risk testing it tonight and going to bed really, really pissed off, so I will test it in the morning. Then I can start my day on a real bad note - lol.

I have replaced the contacts in my T4R starter, at about 110k miles and probably 14 years ago. I recall about 4 hours of bad cussing, to do a very easy 15 minute job inside the starter. Well, getting a starter out/in through the underside of a CR-V is even worse (I have probably 10 hours in this job, so far). Much simpler, but FAR more difficult than from the top, which is pretty complicated, yet not too difficult. Gotta remove the entire intake, with the several gaskets that need replacing. What sucks is that when doing it from the top, you still need to go down below to do a couple of things. So, this one is up on ramps and I am also working on a step stool, because of that fact. Fun, fun, fun.

The original starter, when hooked straight to a battery, would not spin, since the pinion never fully extended. The defective replacement did the same thing. Crossing my fingers, toes, eyes and nuts that I don't get a strike 3.

I look forward to eventually being done with this nightmare-from-hell job.
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Old 12-13-2023, 11:33 AM #8
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Update: I just tested the replacement Denso reman, and it seems to work, but there also seems to be a problem. From the mounting face of the starter, the face of the flywheel gear is 1.5" inward from the mounting face of the starter. The original starter looks like the pinion teeth engaged by about 1/4". So, the pinion needs to extend to about 1.5" + 0.25" = 1.75", from the mounting face. The replacement starter looks like the pinion face will just touch the flywheel gear face, without the ~1/4" of gear teeth engagement that it needs. At the very best, it looks like I would be lucky to get 1/8" of teeth engagement, as it is kind of difficult to measure things down in there.

So, either the replacement starter does not extend enough to work, or possibly there is something that makes the pinion extend farther when it is actually mounted in the vehicle.

I really do NOT want to spend hours re-installing it, only to find that this one does not work either. Other than yet another DOA Deno reman, I don't see what the problem could be, as there is no way 1/4" came off of the flywheel face, especially when the original starter operated just fine, except for once or twice when it got flaky with my daughter, yet worked fine after waiting a few seconds and trying it again.

This thing is freaking maddening!!!

Any thoughts on this?
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Old 12-13-2023, 12:10 PM #9
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Are you getting the official part number from a Toyota diagram? There are several possibilities for my '04 V8 parts so I always go to NAPA armed with the old part and the official part number. It can get confusing.
parts.toyota.com

To change the starter on my V8 the intake manifold has to be removed. My son has a 06 T4R and just went through that but chose a repair shop to do it. $$$
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Old 12-13-2023, 01:16 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArthurKotb View Post
Are you getting the official part number from a Toyota diagram? There are several possibilities for my '04 V8 parts so I always go to NAPA armed with the old part and the official part number. It can get confusing.
parts.toyota.com

To change the starter on my V8 the intake manifold has to be removed. My son has a 06 T4R and just went through that but chose a repair shop to do it. $$$
I have the correct starter, it looks like the original and it bolts up just fine.

My problem is that I am unable to tell if this 2nd Denso reman is defective or not, because of the amount of extension of the pinion. It does not seem nearly enough, but the original starter, which was working fine when I removed it, also extends the same amount. If that is all it extends, and no more, then it was impossible for it to have engaged the flywheel, even though it did. Maybe, just maybe, when it is mounted and powered by the vehicle electric system, it somehow extends farther. I doubt that, but there is no other way the old one could have worked, unless it did, and is in a semi-failed state now.

These GD electrical gremlins are freaking maddening!!!
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Old 12-13-2023, 07:14 PM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outrider View Post
The defective on is on its way back, and the latest one arrived today. After a long day today, I don't want to risk testing it tonight and going to bed really, really pissed off, so I will test it in the morning. Then I can start my day on a real bad note - lol.

I have replaced the contacts in my T4R starter, at about 110k miles and probably 14 years ago. I recall about 4 hours of bad cussing, to do a very easy 15 minute job inside the starter. Well, getting a starter out/in through the underside of a CR-V is even worse (I have probably 10 hours in this job, so far). Much simpler, but FAR more difficult than from the top, which is pretty complicated, yet not too difficult. Gotta remove the entire intake, with the several gaskets that need replacing. What sucks is that when doing it from the top, you still need to go down below to do a couple of things. So, this one is up on ramps and I am also working on a step stool, because of that fact. Fun, fun, fun.

The original starter, when hooked straight to a battery, would not spin, since the pinion never fully extended. The defective replacement did the same thing. Crossing my fingers, toes, eyes and nuts that I don't get a strike 3.

I look forward to eventually being done with this nightmare-from-hell job.
Yeah it can be a pain. I have the odd combo where the starter can't be removed from the engine without dropping the crossmember so I just rebuilt it right there in the engine bay. Definitely not a job to do twice.

I have a feeling your replacement will do the trick. If it was underpowered it wouldn't spin, it'd act like a dead battery when you'd get one slow crank and then nothing. Yours wasn't engaging with the flywheel consistantly.
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Old 12-13-2023, 07:24 PM #12
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Actually, I got 2 bad Denso remans in a row, and I am this >< close to vowing to never buy another Denso, because of these 2 duds, and especially the way Denso customer service treated me.

Denso sent me a drawing that shows the motion range of the plunger. Mine falls way short of that dimension. The face of the pinion may barely touch the face of the ring gear while the starter is spinning, but it will not extend far enough for the gear teeth to mesh. I measured it myself, with the starter out, by getting the depth of the ring gear from the mounting flange, and making a mark on the pinion housing, eyeballed from the pinion, while it was spinning. The former was slightly larger than the latter.

When I politely expressed frustration after getting 2 duds in a row, after being told by them that the replacement was probably also bad, I was told that I should probably buy another brand. I am tempted to contact that person's supervisor.
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