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2007 Honda Cr-V one slow crank then nothing

I’ve recently resolved to get over my fear of working on cars and just go for it. So far this hasn’t gone well.

We just had two days of -35 temps (-55 with the windchill) here in northern mn. I was bumbling my way through trying to get my wife’s car to start and I seem to have made the situation worse. The first thing I did was try to charge the battery, I had done this successfully before but didn’t remember exactly how to hook it up. In my haste to get out of the cold I followed directions on the charger for a positively grounded vehicle. So negative lead on the negative terminal positive on chassis. I tried to start the vehicle with it charging this way several times before I realized my mistake. To this point it was acting like a car that couldn’t start in the cold and we’d had a little trouble with it in the morning after some other cold nights. So I suspected it was time to replace the battery, it had never been replaced in the 5 years we’ve owned it. Hooked up correctly it wouldn’t charge over 12.3V

I then went to the store and bought a magnetic block heater (oil pan is aluminum alloy it turns out) and a new battery. The battery did seem to give the dash lights life but the vehicle still struggled to crank. one or two slow cranks and then would stop. I decided to let it go and try when the weather warmed up.

It’s now much warmer, 19 degrees or so, three days later it still won’t start. It definitely would have started right up in this kind of weather four or five days ago. It now does one slow crank and then nothing if you try to start it. If you let off and try again it does the exact same thing. The battery reads 12.6 and the dash lights don’t dim when I try to start it, so it seems to have power (or perhaps the starter isn’t drawing much).

I have cleaned and tightened the terminals, checked for a parasitic draw (I initially thought there was one but realized if I held my meter there 20 or so seconds the reading went down to 20 milliamps), checked it for codes and there are none.

I guess my next move would be to jack it up and remove the starter (I pretty much need to take it out to test the connections and cables, etc. because of it’s location)

It seems to me like I must have either done the starter in cranking on it in the cold, or it isn’t getting sufficient power locally to the starter. Or what would bother me the most, i’ve damaged the ECM or other aspects of the electrical charging it incorrectly.

I’m guessing hooking the charger up as I did would be like putting the positive and the negative leads both on the negative terminal? since it’s negatively grounded?

Any advice would be appreciated. I’m certainly not confident i’m making the right judgements here.

First off, since you are new to car repair, suggest when you try something new to isolate the part you are working on from the rest of the car if at all possible. Then if you do something damaging, you’ll only damage that part, not the rest of the car. For example when recharging the battery, remove the battery completely from the engine compartment and charge it overnight as it sits on the garage floor. Won’t take hardly any more time, and you greatly decrease the complexity of the charging process and reduce the risk of damaging the car’s sensitive electronics.

Fails to crank or slow crank is a very common problem reported here, probably the single most common complaint. So you are not alone. The problem you are dealing with is that there are at least a dozen possible reasons for this symptom. If you try to approach it by replacing stuff you are likely to become frustrated. The better approach is to measure the voltage at the two starter terminals during attempted cranking. One of those has a big thick wire attached to it, that’s coming directly from the battery +. The other has a thinner wire, that’s the “start” signal and is coming from the pcm/ignition switch. Both of those terminals should measure at least 10.5 volts with the key in “start”. So that’s the test to do. Measure with the meter’s + lead on the terminal and the negative lead on the starter case. This is best done with a dial-type volt meter rather than a digital volt meter (DVM). The voltage on those terminals will swing around during cranking and the DVM display gets confused if the voltage is changing. The dial-type volt meter dampens out the voltage swings. Note that it isn’t necessary to do this measurement when laying under the car, you can build yourself some long test leads instead.

If you don’t have much experience measuring voltages, try measuring the car battery first, so you know what to expect. It should measure about 12.6 volts (a little less if it is a cold day).

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Well, it took me an afternoon to get access to the starter to run these tests. I finally got hooked up to the positive terminal but it was getting dark and I could hardly feel my hands from working in the cold. So called it a night. This morning it was a balmy 25 degrees, I got ready for the test. I had my wife crank in clear flood mode. To my surprise it started right up. So I guess clear flood mode doesn’t work on our car. I’m still thinking there maybe a problem with the positive connection from the battery. I pulled the fuel pump fuse to run more tests, but my wife has officially lost patience with me and wont help me with crank tests, lol! So I guess I’ll have to wait for more cold weather! Thanks for your advice George, I really appreciate it! Despite not completely getting to the bottom of things, I’ve learned a lot these last couple days.

A battery that reads 10.5 volts = a dead battery.

Tester

I accidentally hooked up my battery backwards at night and it blew the fuse to the radio. lol I’ve managed to replace another battery recently with no incident, and then I was going to try troubleshooting and more repairs on my own, starting by getting a multi meter. But I got lucky because I had just purchased the car and the alternator went out that same week. I didn’t think they dealer would fix it but they did. One reason I joined here is because I would like to try to do more repairs myself, especially since I cannot afford to just to buy new vehicles.

I accidentally hooked up my battery backwards at night and it blew the fuse to the radio. lol I’ve managed to replace another battery recently with no incident, and then I was going to try troubleshooting and more repairs on my own, starting by getting a multi meter. But I got lucky because I had just purchased the car and the alternator went out that same week. I didn’t think they dealer would fix it but they did. One reason I joined here is because I would like to try to do more repairs myself, especially since I cannot afford to just to buy new vehicles.
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Hi!

Slow crank is almost certain sign of a weak battery.
However, as you have replaced the battery, it is also very possible that your starter is faulty.
Most probably a loose conector.