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Honda Element starting issue

Hi, so I’m having a starting issue. I’ll explain. The car used to turn over slow if I let it sit a few days but would start and occasionally have a screeching sound. I could drive the car all-day and it would start normally with an occasional stall. Now that its got colder it’s turning over slowly most of the time although not as bad as when it’s first started in the morning. I had everything tested by an ase mechanic and everything passed. He still thinks it’s the starter dragging. I also tried replacing the battery with another battery and got the same results. Thoughts before I dump out a few hundred clams?

Are the battery terminals and attached wires clean? They should have been cleaned when the battery was replaced, but maybe not. Are the terminals and wire connections on the starter clean?

Why does the mechanic think the starter is dragging? Did he do any electrical testing, or is just by ear? What were the results of the electrical test?

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Yeah terminals and cables look good. I can’t see the connections at the starter. It’s buried up underneath the intake. He listened by ear and checked the electrical with some big computer thing. everything passed. The car is dragging, I mean anyone with an ear can hear it and it’s worse at first start up. One other thing i forgot to mention is the valves have been adjusted within the last few thousand miles. Back when it was warm I didn’t have this issue, at least to the extent it is now. It sounds exactly like a weak battery, but I have swapped them out and same results.

There’s a half dozen or so possible causes for this. Me, I’d start with two electrical tests

Test 1. Before first start of the day the battery should measure about 12.6 volts. Immediately after starting the engine, 13.5-15.5 volts.

Test 2. With the key in “start” both terminals at the starter motor should measure at least 10.5 volts, probing between the terminal and the starter case.

I just don’t see it being the battery at all since I replaced the battery before the first start of the day with a known good battery and yielded the same result. I could be wrong though. I agree with the second test, however it is almost impossible to get to the starter because of it’s location. I appreciate the info though.

Well, someone is going to have to get to the starter to replace it. It wouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to run that test then before replacing the starter.

oh Yeah I will for sure. I more then likely will replace it myself if it needs to be. i do not have faith that local mechanics would actually check it. I’ve been burnt to many times by their ase certified bullcrap.

It looks like the intake manifold has to be removed to access the starter on the 2.4L engine, at least to remove the starter. Removing and installing the intake manifold looks to be a 2 hour job, so yea it’s may be a chore to make that measurement directly at the starter terminals. An alternative might be to locate the two wires going to the starter, in a place they are accessible, and make the measurement there. A small straight pin can be inserted into the wire to make a test point. Caution is needed to avoid short circuits, especially on high amperage circuits like the starter of course. For the negative probe, use an accessible engine or transmission ground, since the starter is bolted to the engine/transmission area. If you decide to replace the starter motor, while doing that job you could also rig up some test wires from the starter connectors to a place where you can access them easily next time. Be sure to use an oem replacement starter btw. Even a rebuilt oem starter is better than a new aftermarket from my experience.