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Old 04-19-2016, 07:01 PM   #1
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Default 98 Malibu Starting Issue

I am a student in an automotive program at a community college, and a mechanics apprentice at a mechanic shop.

My car would not start after work yesterday, I heard the starter motor turning but it was as if the pinion was not coming in contact with the flywheel. So I replaced the starter with a new one from Baxter'* Auto Parts and the car starts now... but while cranking it sounds like its still grinding the flywheel sometimes not so bad other times are worse.

Disabled the fuel pump and still heard the noise... sounds like there is one spot on the flywheel that it really likes to grind. But still does not sound like a normal cranking engine.

Any advice on what to do next or what the actual problem is?
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Old 04-20-2016, 12:19 AM   #2
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You will have to remove the inspection cover, and manually rotate the engine, and look for damaged teeth on the flexplate......could also have a damaged pinion on the starter drive...also make sure the starter is aligned correctly(you tightened the two bolts evenly, no dirt on mounting surfaces)... don't usually use spacer plates on these starters....if flexplate is ok, may need another starter.....
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:00 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Tech II View Post
You will have to remove the inspection cover, and manually rotate the engine, and look for damaged teeth on the flexplate......could also have a damaged pinion on the starter drive...also make sure the starter is aligned correctly(you tightened the two bolts evenly, no dirt on mounting surfaces)... don't usually use spacer plates on these starters....if flexplate is ok, may need another starter.....
I will have to see if I can get it on a hoist today if we have enough time but I did notice when the new starter went in the very edge of the flexplate looked like the teeth were just barely nicked... like the corner of 3 teeth were kinda filed off.

I dont see how I could have damaged the pinion unless its by operating the starter with a bad flexplate. In general its a noisy starter... but seems like there is a spot that it makes more noise then normal. I will stick a prybar into the flex plate and rotate to see if I can find a problem.
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Old 04-20-2016, 12:17 PM   #4
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I'm not saying you damaged the pinion.......what you got was a rebuilt starter......could have been damaged before.....if your previous starter did not make noise, I would suspect the "new" starter....it'* hit or miss with rebuilts.....

You will see a shiny edge on all the teeth of the flexplate....happens over time due to engagement with the pinion, when starting......what you are looking for are damaged teeth that won't mesh easily with the starter....
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