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Gary, Buick Technician
Category: Buick
Satisfied Customers: 14361
Experience:  15 years master GM tech and mater ASE tech
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98 Buick LeSabre: I hear a single click, not loud..starter..flywheel

Resolved Question:

I have a '98 Buick LeSabre. When trying to start, I hear a single click, not loud but apparently the starter gear bumping the flywheel, or whatever, I'm not sure how that works. Anyway, had a guy come out and look at it and he had two major things/decision/conclusions that I wonder about and hopefully you can tell me if this makes any sense, or is plausible. Following are the two major points. Keep in mind this guy came to my house from a "mobile mechanic" ad I found locally. 1. The starter is almost certainly and I should have it tested, however, stores like autozone don't typically check the solenoid, so it may test fine but still not be operable. He said starter was getting power but essentially is failing because it can't generate the necessary torque to turn the engine. 2. After buying the new starter and installing it, he came to determine (as he explained) that one of the gears on the flywheel was damaged/chipped up and when that particular gear happened to be lining up with the starter gears at engine shutdown, we may have trouble starting it again. In that case he explained and showed us how, to lower the starter and use a tool to manually turn the flywheel past the damaged gear, then tighten started back up and it should start. He says to replace flywheel may run $1500, but that he couldn't do that kind of work as a mobile mech. Does any, or all, of this make sense and do his conclusions sound plausible. He was very nice and seemed very knowledgeable however, we've since had two people say that this doesn't make sense and also someone suggested that it could have been the battery cables that had corrosion and it turns out we DID have someone else check it because it was exhibiting the same symptoms and he poured Coke on the terminals and it started right away! We were thinking of using him again. I'm now having doubts that he misdiagnosed as we got a new starter for nothing. The store DID say that it tested fine...?? Thanks in advance.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Buick
Expert:  Gary replied 5 years ago.

ok so right now that engine cranks over normally(no abnormal noises)

so part of our question is questioning if the starter was really bad to begin with?most of the time if the flex plate/flywheel is damaged it will either make horrible noises cranking over from the starter area or it will just grind like teeth not meshing.but 50% of the time when the starter is asked to crank the engine and the battery cables are dirty or loose when the starter trys to run and it trys to pull the proper amp's to engage the teeth and physically turn over the engine and if the cables are bad or dirty ect.. the starter can not draw the proper amp's and will either just click or no sound at all..they should do a voltage drop test on the starter and an amp draw test to know if the starter is bad or if there isnt enough amp's or voltage for the starter to do the work

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yeah engine start is normal now. I'm mostly wondering about the possibility of a single, or pair of teeth on the flywheel being damaged, causing just a single click noise each time you try to start? He's saying that it could continue to be a problem. Ya think?
Expert:  Gary replied 5 years ago.
teeth messed up on a flywheel/flex plate will not make the starter will make a horrible sound cranking it over or a grinding noise without any engine movement.more than likely it was bad battery connection right off the bat that was wrong with your car.and thats only because the new starter did the same thing then the guy fixed the connections now it starts fine
Gary, Buick Technician
Category: Buick
Satisfied Customers: 14361
Experience: 15 years master GM tech and mater ASE tech
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