'95 Integra with Intermittent Trouble Starting

This has been going on for months but is getting worse. I have had a mechanic look at it but he could not replicate the problem.

When the car hasn’t been driven for a while - could be as little as a couple hours - the engine won’t crank. The problem had been intermittent but lately it’s been nearly every time. It will eventually start but it’s taking longer and longer and I think it’s going to leave me stranded pretty soon.

When you turn the key, there is a weird electrical sound like it’s throwing out power but there’s no clicking sound like you get with a bad starter. All other electrical accessories will operate. Headlights do dim a bit.

The battery & alternator were fine when I had them checked. Several aftermarket items were installed about five years ago that could potentially be affecting the electrical system: new stereo head unit, speakers, amp, Sirius box, remote start and alarm.

I know I need to take the car to a mechanic again but I don’t want it to be pointless. I was laid off two weeks ago and I don’t want to spend money if it’s not going to keep the car running. If you have experience with this type of problem and can offer specific suggestions as to what should be checked we will do what we can at home and/or go to a mechanic with a better idea about what he should look at.

The last guy recommended replacing the starter and solenoid just because it might help. I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a “maybe.” Thanks in advance for any assistance.

My guess would be the solenoid. I guess you could try another mechanic. Get a couple of estimates on the price. As an alternative you could stop by the library and they likely will have a repair manual covering your car and it will tell you how to test/replace the solenoid.

You did say, it doesn’t “crank”; which to me means that the engine won’t rotate when engine start is attempted. Is this what you meant?
If the starter solenoid doesn’t energize, and engage the starter, that’s the circuit that needs to be checked. You need the wiring diagram of the start circuit. Follow the yellow brick (electrical path) of the start circuit from the 12 3/4 volt power source, to the ignition switch, to the next switch, to the next switch, to the starter solenoid.
The voltage should begin at 12 3/4 volt and only drop, about 1/2 volt by the time it gets to the starter solenoid. At any point (usually, a switch), the voltage drops, you need to find out why.
The ignition switch is high on the suspect list. The ignition switch is separate from the ignition lock cylinder; but, the two assemblies are connected by a rod.

I would recommend checking the electrical portion of the ignition switch, it will give the same symptom you are having. You should be able to pick one up for about 50 or 60 dollars, make sure you get just the electrical portion not the assembly.

“You did say, it doesn’t “crank”; which to me means that the engine won’t rotate when engine start is attempted. Is this what you meant?”

Correct - no engine activity.

Hubby just left for an appt & when he returns will take another look with everyone’s suggestions in mind. Earlier, we went out to the garage with a video camera to record what happens and of course it started right up.