Starter replaced and it sounds bad (2009 Accord)


Three months ago I noticed the car sounded weak for a second before starting. This happened maybe four times in a three week span. It took an extra second longer than usual to start. But, actually, on the fourth time, I was just moving it to the street for a while to make space on my driveway for something. An hour later, went back to bring car back in and would not start. Used my booster unit but it didn’t work right away. I left it attached for about 20 minutes and then it started. The battery is 3.5 years ago and my multimeter says it’s fine. I decided to call CAA (AAA in Canada) to come test it since both wife and I have the service and he said battery is fine. I hadn’t had a weak start since, which is about two months.

This Friday I drove for some errands. Three times I started the car fine within an hour, going from store to store. Last store, I’m in there two minutes. Come back and absolutely nothing. Won’t even try to crank. It was as if there was no battery in the car at all.

I happened to be right across the street from a mechanic I’ve used before and he came over and tested the battery and it was fine. He also tested my booster, which was giving full readings. He guessed starter. CAA came and he also guessed starter before towing the car across the street. Mechanic did his diagnostics and said it’s the starter, which he says is the original.

Next day went to go pick up the car from mechanic and on most starts, it takes just a little bit longer than usual to start, but as you can hear, it gives like a sputtering sound. It definitely does not sound the same as before.

I actually had my '06 Fusion’s starter replaced last October and it sounds exactly the same but actually starts slightly quicker.

I asked the mechanic if I was going to have to bring it in to the dealer to see what they think. He said drive it around for a while and report back on Monday. Well, I’m going to have to bring it back in. He said it took four hours for him to do the job because of how it’s placed in the Accord. On my Fusion, for comparison, I think that was an hour at most.

Any ideas why it would act and sound like this? Thanks for the help.

it sounds more like a fuel delivery problem. try turning the key without starting it, wait 3 seconds and then start it to see if it makes a difference.

Tried it three times but made no difference.

You are right! your engine should start right away without that delay.Was it like this prior to the starter replacement…when the old starter was working correctly? Seems like a fuel delivery issue to me.We need to know the maintenance history of your car…mileage? 4 cylinder or 6?

Sounds more mechanical to me, teeth of the starter not engaging properly

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Prior to the replacement it sounded perfectly fine.

I have 180k kms (112k miles). It’s the 4 cylinder. I’ve had this three years. There were two owners prior. The last guy says he kept maintenance well up to date. I get the feeling he wasn’t lying.

No one ever says when selling a vehicle that all they did was put fuel in and drive .

I wouldn’t believe a word out of someone’s mouth who is trying to sell me or has already sold me something.

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I should mention that it was my wife’s best coworker friend’s brother that sold it to us. Have had this since April 2018 this was the first thing to go since.

I trust pretty much no one.

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Also not disengaging quick enough.

Was this a reman unit or OEM? Sometimes the teeth of the starter don’t line up perfectly to the flywheel teeth and cause a grinding noise.I wonder if its the case here.Since there are only 2 bolts holding the starter,I would check if they were tighten all the way in…they are sometime very difficult to get at.

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Just called the mechanic for first time today but he didn’t pick up. I will ask him what starter he put in. I do recall when I got my starter done on the Fusion last October that the part he had (different mechanic) was slightly off despite that part being stated as compatible with my car. I believe he said it was the same thing mentioned above, that the teeth don’t perfectly align. He had to call his delivery guy to get another one and it worked out fine.

I will ask today about this.

He said the starter is OEM rebuilt.

He also said it doesn’t sound like the starter to him. He’s installed many rebuilt OEMs and they worked fine. He said it sounds more like it’s coming from the top, just under the hood.

He said as he’s very busy right now, to call him in 2-3 days to see if I can come in and leave it there for the day as he’d have to take out the starter to investigate.

I mentioned everything we talked about regarding possible fuel delivery problem or the starter’s teeth not matching. I also gave him my example of that happening with the Fusion. Doesn’t think that is the problem.

I called the local Honda dealership and asked if I drove into the shop and started it three times or so if they could take a guess if they think it’s the starter, for no charge. They said yes, but of course could only give a best guess as they wouldn’t be opening it up and there would be no paper trail. I might not make it there till tomorrow morning.

Went to dealer. Literally every time I started it and some next guy heard it, they all had the same expression of bewilderment. Two service advisors, two mechanics and one tech. all heard it and we started it about 10 times and also revved high and low.

Their best guess without taking it apart was that it could be something wrong in one of the gaskets. I believe he said something could have been pinched in there when the mechanic was putting it back.

Earlier the mechanic said it sounded to him like it was coming right under the hood, which is where the intake manifold would be of course. Of course, I would have expected the mechanic to notice that sound as he started the car up again before giving it back to me but he either was too busy to notice or just wanted to go home as I was the last car for that Saturday.

Honda said he knows how he took it off and put it back and so he should be looking at it. But like I said earlier, it’s going to be 2-3 days before I bring it in because he says he’s so busy. And I have to leave it there for the day. I’m afraid he’ll then say I’m going to need it for another day, which is a problem, because the Fusion I mentioned earlier, died 2.5 weeks ago. Basically it’s worth more as scrap then the repair job and I was driving it into the ground anyway as a beater. I am right in the middle of a car search for a family vehicle (looking at Venzas and Odysseys) and so we’d be car-less. And you know rental companies sold off so much of their fleet that it’s often hard to come by rentals at a decent price if at all.

Should have thought of this before, but I should take a video with the hood up. Though who knows how that comes across on here vs. real life.

I just listened to the video - I’m thinking something with the new starter isn’t quite right. The fact that the car didn’t do that little hesitation thing before the new starter was put on kind of points in that direction too…

Here’s the video from under the hood.

Supposed to drop off car at mechanic at 9am today but wife has go to the store first. She goes to store and comes back to the car and… same problem as last week. Try to start and nada. Again, as if there wasn’t even a battery in the car.

CAA picked it up and it’s now at the mechanic.

Funny how my Fusion’s water pump and tensioner belt I think it was broke at the same time. I was not upset because I was driving it into the ground as my beater was waiting for the day I could justify replacing it. Two weeks to the day the Accord has the starter issue. And now again. And I was looking for a Venza or Odyssey, and test drove two, to become the family car. But that was delayed and hope it’s not delayed again.

And just this March I had the bedroom TV go and exactly one week later the family room TV decided to quit.

Thanks all for the help so far.

The mechanic said the starter was bad. He called the provider or manufacturer or whoever and told them. They said they’d send someone over to check or verify, but he never showed up. He got the replacement, which was the same one, and he compared them side by side and said the end of the cone part was a little bit different in size. He did say he charged the manufacturer for the labour.

It now sounds a lot better and starts a little bit quicker than before.


The sound would never pull up for me so my opinion is pretty much worthless in regard to the sound.
However, I will say this about the process and guys who are in the mechanic field will understand this.

Sometimes when a tech makes a mistake they may cook up a story to make themselves appear to be blameless; as in the nose cone story. May be true; may not be true.

In today’s world of instant cell phone pics it would seem to me that the prudent thing to do would be to take a pic of them side by side as verification to the customer.
There’s also the issue of why wasn’t the original new starter laid out side by side with the replacement to begin with so any alleged nose cone variation would be seen from the get-go.

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