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Doug, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Mitsubishi
Satisfied Customers: 8598
Experience:  Mitsubishi employed and Factory trained ASE certified technician
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Mitsubishi Eclipse GS 2002 Eclipse GTS Automatic wont turn

Resolved Question:

2002 Eclipse GTS Automatic won't turn over. Everything was working fine. Parked in the garage and now won't turn over. lights, Acc work fine. Tried moving the shifter and even moved to nutrual but will not turn over.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mitsubishi
Expert:  Doug replied 6 years ago.

Doug C :

Just so I am clear, the engine is not rotating at all, is that correct?

Doug C :

I will be leaving for the night shortly, but I will leave you with a few questions for when I return.
I am assuming at this point the engine does not rotate.

Do you have any noises under hood when the key is turned to the start position? (clunks, click, etc)
Do you have any noises in side the dash when you turn the key to the start position? (rapid clicks, etc)
Did anything notable occur just prior to this no start condition?
How old is the battery (there may be a date on the label if you are unsure), and what are the conditions of the battery terminals? (looseness, corrosion, etc)


Customer :

It's my daughters and I just went and looked at it. Yes it click's under the hood. Not sure where the starter is on that model but when holding he key in the "start position" I did finally see some smoke come from the front of the engine area, right behind the radiator area. I am guessing yes it is a starter problem? What is the procedure for replacing the starter? Thanks

Doug C :

Yes, if you are getting smoke from the radiator area, then you are probably going to be looking at a starter. The starter is located just behind the radiator, on rear edge of the engine (straight down from the oil cap).....

Doug C :

It is important to note that there are two probable causes for the starter to smoke, one bad, and one terrible

Doug C :

If the starter motor is shorted internally, holding the key in the crank condition will cause it to smoke. Repair in this situation will require a new starter.....

Doug C :

If there is an internal engine problem that prevents engine rotation (bearing seize, timing belt jumped), continued holding of the key in the start position will also cause it to smoke, as it will overheat trying to rotate a seized engine.

Doug C :

If you get a light click sound, that is a good thing. If you get a solid clunk sound, that is a bad thing, indicating the the starter is plunging correctly, but can not turn..

Doug C :

If there is any concern over whether or not the starter is the problem, you can try rotating the engine by hand with a 22mm socket and ratchet on the crank pulley bolt. Additionally, early models had a 1/2" square drive hole in the crank bolt so you could just put a 1/2" drive ratchet in it.

Doug C :

Else, you could just remove the starter and take it to parts store for testing.
Replacement is pretty easy on this model and can be done in about a half hour.....

Doug C :

If all original, there will be a heat shield on the starter, held on with 8mm bolts, this needs to be removed.
Unhook the negative battery cable
Unbolts the battery cable on the starter. It will be a 12mm nut if original, 13mm if aftermarket
Remove the small electrical connector.

There will be two 14mm bolts holding the starter to the transmission. Remove both and the starter will slide toward the passenger side, then drop straight down out of the car.

Doug and other Mitsubishi Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.



Doug I replied with a lengthy explanation of what I have done and It still won't turn over did you recieve that?

Expert:  Doug replied 6 years ago.
No I didn't receive that, just this post you just made.

Did you check the crankshaft to make sure the engine rotates by hand like I mentioned?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.



I removed the starter and took it to auto shop is seem to work fine. I checked all he connections all the way to the battery everything looks good.

I did put the 1/2" drive on the pulley and yes I can turn it but it is pretty stiff. Kind of feels like it is going through a compression cycle. It gets easier then more difficult. Using a fairly short 1/2" ratchet and laying in front of the car I could turn it either way. which way should the motor turn normally?

I did pull the oil stick and it is at the low notch. I have the car jacked up in the front so it might affect it a little. The oil doesn't smell burnt or anything unusual.

My daughter said it was running fine she drove from Basketball practice to home only about 1 mile and parked it in the garage and this is where we are at.

What is the next step to determine if it is a motor problem? Could the time belt of gotten off when shutting it off? All seems kind of strange when you put it all togeather. Any help appreciated. Randy

Expert:  Doug replied 6 years ago.
It sounds like the engine is rotating OK. The engine should turn clockwise, as you are looking straight at the pulley. A little resistance is normal, but it should not clunk to a stop. If it rotates clockwise, you are good there. If you have rotated it counter clockwise, rotate it clockwise again to make sure you did not just back it up past a trouble point. It sounds like it is OK though.
I wouldn't be concerned with the oil at this point.

At this point I would still be suspect of the starter. It is possible to have a starter that will not engage in the vehicle but 'pass' a bench test due to the testing apparatus has a far better environment for the starter (shorter cables, no heat/corrosion damage from age, etc).

Make sure you can rotate that engine one full spin clockwise. If you can, then verify all of your cables (battery to starter, battery to ground) for looseness, corrosion, damage, etc. If all look well, and you are still getting a click and smoke from the starter, I would suggest trying a new starter. There isn't much else you could have going on to cause the starter to smoke if the engine spins freely.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The other item that is strange to me is even when I try to start it the start click's in but I turned the lights on to see if it was pulling the battery down and the lights don't even act like they get much dimmer than before starting. All the auto places around here you have to order a new starter know one has one on the shelf. Is there places than can do a load test on a starter? We have a pretty good electrical shop that works on starters, alternators and anything electrical. I put the starter on my bench and using the 200 amp charger it pulls the starting in and spins good. I will turn the motor clockwise at least one full revolution, again this has pretty good resistance but I dont' hear anything thing like metal on metal. From there I will either find a mechanic that can stop for a small fee and give me his opinion or order a starter and try it. Thanks again for all you help. You seem to keep me on the straight and narrow instead of jumping to conclusions. I was ready to start looking for a motor honestly.
Expert:  Doug replied 6 years ago.
Keep trying at rotating that engine. Compression resistance is normal... if you have a small ratchet it is going to be very difficult, but possible to rotate. If you have a binding point it will stop solid... when you hit compression it will be spongy feeling... it wills top but want to push back.
BotXXXXX XXXXXne, make sure you get a full clockwise turn or more before we jump to any conclusions about the condition of the engine.

Regarding testing the starter, there isn't much you can do that is a real world simulation test. It is not terribly easy, but you can hook the starter up in the car, but NOT bolted to the transmission. Run a ground cable from the starter tot he negative battery terminal to ground the housing, then try 'cranking' the car. If you still have nothing, then the issue is the starter or the quality of the cables. If it works like normal when removed from the transmission... well it's binding with the engine.... Let's make sure that engine rotates 1+ turns.

That is strange there are no starters available locally. Have you checked the local dealership too (if you have one)? Though aftermarket places are more likely to have it believe it or not, it is another place to check. They are not too expensive either if I recall correctly.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I finally got time to get back to the starter issue. I did use a jumper and tried to jump the starter solenoid and see if it would pull in. It would not.


I took the starter back off and it would not work on the bench this time either. I have ordered a new starter and it will be in tomorrow.

I have a question about the signal going to the solenoid on the starter. I used my volt meter to confirm it was getting a signal to pull the gear in and engage the starter. I get a 12V signal as soon as I turn the key to the on position before I go to start? Is this correct?

Can you send me the a pdf of the electrical start circuit for this vehicle?

Expert:  Doug replied 6 years ago.

Hi again,

That's great news, sounds like the starter is kaput.


When you turn the key to the Start position, 12V is delivered to the solenoid, which acts like a relay allowing the current at the heavy cable to pass and activate the starter.


You should not have voltage at the signal wire in the run position, only in the Start position. If you are checking with the signal wire detached, double check your measurement. If you are checking with the signal wire attached, detach it and recheck; the shorted starter may be allowing voltage to pass from the cable through the solenoid.


I can supply a diagram of the circuit, I need to know if this is an Automatic or a Manual transmission though; they are different.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
This is an automatic. I will confirm again. I had the wire unhooked from the starter. Was checking from the wire to ground. Thanks
Expert:  Doug replied 6 years ago.

Yeah double check that, something seems off there.


Here is the schematic for your starting circuit:



Edited by Doug C on 12/3/2010 at 2:31 AM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I did get the new starter installed and the car works fine. I did not recheck the solenoid wire for a 12V signal only when the car was in the start position. I did however start it severa times and I did reach under and put my hand on the starter and was very confident it was not still engaged. Thanks very much for continuing to work with me on this problem. I will continue to use "just answers" for all my vehicle needs. Randy
Expert:  Doug replied 6 years ago.
That's great, I'm glad to hear it is all squared away. If you have any needs in the future It'd be happy to address them. Thank you for the bonus and thank you for using Just Answer!

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