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Starter with no crank

My daughter has a 2006 2.4L AWD. Honda CR-V. She’s 80 miles north of me in Petoskey Michigan and baby it’s cold outside. She called me with a no crank problem. Over the phone with a girl my understanding is that the battery is sound and strong. I am going up there to diagnose. I may or may not have to change the starter. My question is: If I have to change the starter, the procedure calls for intake manifold removal. I know many times the steps in the procedure can be worked around. Is anyone out there familiar with this? Can it be worked around?

Have her try shifting the transmission into neutral and then try starting the engine.

If the engine starts, the park/neutral safety switch is being effected by the cold.

Tester

Yes, I had her try that. I’m reasonably sure the cables are good, but will check before hand. I’ll check to make sure proper voltage is going to starter when it’s supposed to before I remove starter. I will probably run 12 volts direct to starter to be sure. The starter is $250. And apparently a lot of work to replace in someone elses garage, so I won’t take it out without knowing for sure. I was just wondering if anyone has done this without having to remove the manifold.

Everything I’ve read/seen says the intake manifold has to come off to get at the starter.

There’s just too much crap below the starter to take out from the bottom.

Tester

Looks like I’m going to bring half my toolbox up there. Hopefully I get lucky and and find it’s something stupid. Thanks @Tester for the research dig.

Make sure you’re getting the proper voltage at both starter terminals (measure from terminal to starter case) with the key in “start”. The starter has to be powered up with at least 10.5 volts for it to have a chance to work.

@Tester After I got done unfreezing water lines in the house, I did some searching for my self and came to the same conclusion. Yesterday I ran into someone with a Honda something SUV with same engine and year. He is a mechanic. He changed his starter without intake removal. He said that one bolt was a little hard to get at, and had to disconnect cables after detachment. Fortunately I may not have to find out for sure because my daughter just called and said it started. I’m thinking frozen solenoid. But at least she can bring it to me and my toolbox, instead of me and my tools traveling 75 miles to give it a thorough look over.

@Tester followed up on this. Checked all connections and cables. Everything is good. Starter and solenoid sound strong. I could not replicate the problem. Due to well below 0 temps at time of trouble, I’m writing this off as frozen solenoid. If it happens again I’ll retest and probably replace ignition switch, unless the problem isn’t intermittent. I can see removing the starter could remotely possible without removing manifold, but would be stupid to try.

So the solution was a stuck neutral safety switch or it was that the starter needs to be removed and you have to remove the intake to get to it?

The original question was: does the intake have to be removed to replace starter? The solution is yes per @Tester 's web search and me getting the opportunity to inspect.
The problem with the car is intermittent at best. The safety nuetral switch is functioning fine. The final fix for the car is to see if it happens again. It’s probably just an icing on solenoid seems to be the cars problem. If it happens again, I’ll investigate the ignition switch and solenoid.

AH HAH ! So the issue here was basically reading comprehension…on my part… LOL

Is that really a thing? How does water get into a solenoid, enough and in the right place to freeze? And why doesn’t it freeze at 31F, only at much lower temps? Doesn’t add up.

If water in the solenoid is the hypothesis, and it’s so hard to get at the thing, I’d run a hair dryer on it for a good long while and hope to get the water to evaporate and go away. Then cross fingers and hope I won’t have to remove the starter any time soon.

I would think this occurs either because grease or oil is like glue when its freezing cold. Also the electromagnet that is the solenoid may be weaker at such low temps and therefore not making enough torque? I think the cold is just not friendly to mechanical as well as electrical devices.

There should be no water inside the solenoid and the starter gets plenty hot from the engine to mitigate any condensation that may be present…or not. I would say its just the C-C-Cold. Who knows though…

I agree that frozen moisture is a stretch. But there was plenty of ice in engine compartment from driving a long distant in blizzard conditions. But the starter is tucked in a pretty protected area. Some people would say that they hope it don’t happen again, but I kinda hope it does, just to find out why it happened so that it can be fixed.