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2004 Honda Odyssey.

Car won't start.

Turn the key, lights come on, all dash comes on, normal beep noises. No bad engine light or anything. Solenoid engages. One click only. Turn off car, solenoid disengages. Not the telltale multiple clicks of a bad starter. Car lights do not dim when the key is turned. They stay solid (headlights do not dim).

  • Ground wire(s) appear clean and connected properly.
  • Jumping the car does not help.
  • Battery is 12.5 and good.
  • Ignition switch appears okay as the car turns on each time, not loose, never fails to turn on the lights, just like normal.
  • Beat starter, physically. Did not help.
  • Rolled the car back and forth few feet. Did not help.

Could the starter still be bad? I hear the solenoid but nothing else. Motor just doesn't turn over. It almost did once, but not again.

Out of ideas. Thanks.

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Are you sure you hear the starter solenoid pulling in not the starter relay? Have an assistant try to start it while your hand is in the starter, let us know if you feel the solenoid engage. –  mikes Dec 21 '12 at 1:42
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1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The solenoid may still be bad. The solenoid is basically a remote controlled high current switch. The solid thunk sound of the solenoid does not indicate that it is passing current to the starter. The sound is the bendix being engaged. With the help of an assistant, attach a VOM (volt meter) lead to the batterycable terminal on the starter solenoid. The reading should be very close to battery voltage. Move the lead to the other large terminal on the starter solenoid. Have your assistant attempt to start the car. The reading should be between 10-12 volts. The fact that the lights don't dim at all leads me to believe either the starter has failed to the point that it is not trying to turn so there is no load on the battery or the solenoid has failed so the starter never tries to turn, again no load on the battery. Most auto parts stores will test the starter for free. Even if the solenoid is bad the rest of the starter is still 12+ years old. In my experience a quality solenoid can be half the cost of a rebuilt starter and a quality rebuilt starter will come with a new solenoid.

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Ended up jumping off the starter. Total failure. Going to replace it. Thanks. –  johnny Dec 21 '12 at 20:07
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