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Starter Question????

30 September 2016
HI All,

My NSX (1991 Acura NSX 3.0 5speed 74K miles) is down. I believe its the starter. However, I can't find a reman denso 280-0189. I can't even find the rebuild parts for the the solenoid. I keep getting the run around from many companies.

Today I pulled the starter. It is a denso starter. The tag on my starter says 128000-7770, not denso 280-0189. All I can think is that its the original starter and the number was updated.

How do I get the correct solenoid plunger and contacts? I've seen aftermarket plunger part no. 66-82608 and contacts 66-82776. Are these the correct parts for the denso 128000-7770?

Can't find any reman starter in stock that they will ship to me in Hawaii.
The shipping isn't that much to Hawaii. Probably fit in a USPS FLAT rate box. Or just a rebuild kit for the solenoid.

Any ideas??????

Thank you!

First off, I suspect; but, don't know for sure that 280-0189 is the part number for a Genuine Denso reman starter. Not the original part number.

Your Denso starter motor number is a mystery. I thought the NSX starter motors 'original' Denso number were 22800 4650 or 22800 4651. However, the 12800-7770 also appears to cross list to the 91-94 NSX, so not sure what is up with that. The Acura / Honda part numbers are 312 PR7 J01 and 31200 PR7 A01. A01 is marked discontinued in North America. J01 is the starter on later version NSXs and is still listed (but, maybe not available) in North America. Both appear to be available from Amayama.com. I expect that Amayama will have no problem shipping to you; but, the shipping is probably going to hurt.

Victory Lap sells a kit (ND-36-LS -SOL) for rebuilding the starter solenoid that cross lists to a huge range of Nippon Denso starters which includes 22800-4650, 22800-4651 and 12800-7770. Check the plunger dimensions that they provide to confirm that it matches your plunger dimensions.

Amazon.com: Victory Lap ND-36-LS-SOL Starter Solenoid Repair Kit : Automotive

I expect Amazon will ship to Hawaii. Don't wait around for a Denso reman. Due to shipping restrictions all genuine Denso remans are in short supply.

"I believe its the starter"

Your starter solenoid contacts do not look really bad. Have you checked the ignition switch and the starter interlock circuit / clutch switch to rule them out as the cause of the no start? You are going to feel foolish if you wait around for parts to rebuild the starter and then find out the problem is elsewhere. If you clean up the solenoid contacts and reassemble the starter you can bench test it to see whether it works. If it does, the problem may be somewhere else. Failed ignition switches and starter interlocks problems are more common than actual starter failures.
Thank you

Thank you to Old Guy.

Haven't had a day off yet.

What's the best way to check the ignition switch and the starter interlock circuit / clutch switch? I'm not that good at electrical.

I did get a new battery. I also noticed this evening when I tried to start again. When you turn the key it just clunks one time nothing else. The interior door lights didn't come on (bulbs are fine, they were on before) and the round light around the ignition switch didn't light up either. Does this mean enything?

Thank you again for the helpful repliy.
If you are feeling a little electrically adventurous, you can do the starter 'acid test'. To do this, you need to put your starter motor back together and install it in the car and connect the main electrical connection (the bolted cable lug). Do not install the starter solenoid control wire - that is the spade connector that fits into the circular fitting on the side of the solenoid. It s visible in your first photo of the starter. Get a length of about 4 feet of "14 - #16 gauge wire and a female spade style crimp connector that will fit the male space connector inside the circular fitting (I think a 1/4" spade connection will do). Crimp the spade connector on to one end of the wire and crimp a male bullet connector on to the other end of the wire. The following is the test procedure:
1) Make sure that the transmission is in neutral, the parking brake is on and that the key is not in the ignition switch
2) Make sure that everything is clear of the engine (alternator belts and stuff) because the engine will spin if the starter works
3) Remove the cover on the engine relay / fuse box to expose the jump start terminal in the fuse box.
4) Plug the female spade connector into the connection on the solenoid.
5) Carefully touch the male bullet connector end of the wire to the jump start terminal in the fuse box. This temporary connection by-passes everything in the car and applies 12 volts directly to the starter solenoid. If the starter is good, the starter will immediately start spinning the engine so just do the test long enough to confirm that the starter is working. This means that your starter is OK and that the problem is someplace else, likely the ignition switch of the starter interlock. If the starter does not spin it means that your starter is faulty which is usually failed contacts in the solenoid; but, could also be other problems.

If you are not feeling electrically adventurous, then do the following:

First, check the condition of the cable clamps that grab the + and - posts on the top of the battery. The clamps can get stretched over time and the metal will actually start to tear with the result that the clamp no longer grips the post resulting in a poor connection (and low voltage). Visually inspect the clamps for damage and try twisting them on the post. If you can twist them on the post chances are that the clamp is shot (unless the retaining bolt has come loose). That usually means that you have to re terminate the battery cables, a job best left to an automotive electrical specialist if you don't have the tools for crimping large cables. Sometimes battery post shims will provide a fix; but, if the cable clamps have started to crack its a temporary fix.

Schumacher BAF-2 Battery Post Shim, Batteries - Amazon Canada

If the battery post connections look good, switch the ignition switch just to the run position. While watching the voltmeter, turn the CCU on and set the fan speed to high and then switch the headlights on. If the voltmeter takes a nose dive when you do this your new battery has a problem or you have a bad electrical connection somewhere. If the voltage stays close to 12 volts then the connections are probably good.

If the battery connections are good do the following test. Watch the voltmeter on the car as you switch from off to the run position. Does the voltmeter go to 12 volts? Do the dash warning lights all go through their power up / self test sequence? The ABS, MIL and SRS lights should light up and then go out after a couple of seconds, the charge and low oil pressure lights should stay on. If the lights don't come on, then chances are you have an ignition switch problem. There are other things that can cause this symptom; but, they are nastier and less common. Get a copy of the 1991 service manual (down load links can be found below)
Service manuals - NSX-Wiki (nsxprime.com)

and in the Electrical section section of the service manual you will find the procedure for removing the ignition switch and testing the ignition switch. It is possible for the ignition switch to just fail on the starter contact; but, the fact that you said that the light around the ignition switch is not lighting up makes me think that the problem might be a little more general.

You said "When you turn the key it just clunks one time nothing else.", can you confirm that the clunk is coming from the starter / solenoid or is it possible that the noise is coming from the main FI relay (usually more of a click than a clunk)? If the noise is definitely coming from the starter, then the starter interlock circuit and the infamous clutch interlock switch is probably OK. If the noise is not coming from the starter / solenoid then you need to check out the interlock circuit and the clutch stopper button for the interlock switch would be the first candidate. Search on Prime using ' clutch interlock switch' for all the gory details on replacing the interlock stopper button.

As a side note, I keep a length of wire with the bullet connector and spade connector coiled up and in my trunk. Its my back up plan if the clutch switch stopper should ever drop out again. With the key in the run position I can use the jumper wire to spin the starter and start the engine avoiding the need to call a tow truck or organize an ignominious push start - haven't had to do one of those since high school when we to drive around in beat up MGs or Triumph TRs.
Thank you again Old Guy

The cables on the battery terminal seem fine. They tighten up well. I've never really like the way the connectors where designed.

I made the jumper wire you suggested. The test worked for the starter. Engine cranked. Can I jump it and make it run even with the key out of the ignition?

The door lights still didn't come on and the light ring around the key didn't come on. I'm back to work. I will try to pull the ignition switch hopefully next week. Clean it up or see how it looks inside. I'm not looking forward to doing the yoga under the dash to check the clutch switch if the ignition checks out good.

A big thank you again for all the helpful tips.
Can I jump it and make it run even with the key out of the ignition?

The engine will not run with the keys out of the ignition switch. However, if you put the keys in the ignition and turn it to the run position and then use the little jumper wire on the solenoid connection the starter should crank and the engine should start up and run.

The door lights and the dome light are not controlled by the ignition switch so their non operation is caused by another problem. If both door lights, the dome light and the trunk light fail to operate then check fuse #34 in the main fuse box. If only the driver door light and dome light fail to come on, check the operation of the switch in the driver's door latch. The sure tell for this is open the door, get in the car and switch the ignition to run while leaving the door open. If the safety check indicator shows that the door is still closed then you have a problem with the switch in the latch assembly.

I have the service manual for my 2000 which does not have the light around the ignition switch so I cannot advise on how that light works.

The removal of the ignition switch is not that hard. As I recall I only had to remove the lower panel to get access (not the knee bolster). Accessing the two retaining screws on the switch is a bit of a hassle. I have a bunch of different phillips screwdrivers including a tiny ratchet style and I can't remember which one I used. With the right length screwdriver total time to remove and replace the switch including panel R&R was about 20 minutes. There are a number of threads on Prime discussing R&R of the switch and cleaning and repair of the switch if you use the search function.
Hi Old Guy,

Thank you again.

I think I may have some time off today. I was thinking of using the jumper wire to start and run my NSX. I just wanted to get it out of the garage and check under the dash without the door closed. I'm going to check the 4 Pedal stoppers.

So using the jumper wire I would need to turn the key to the on position and make sure the shifter is in neutral and the parking brake is on.

It would cause any kind of short circuit or anything will it? It would just by pass the ignition switch, correct? The electrical isn't really my strong points.

Thank you again.
So using the jumper wire I would need to turn the key to the on position and make sure the shifter is in neutral and the parking brake is on.

It would cause any kind of short circuit or anything will it? It would just by pass the ignition switch, correct? The electrical isn't really my strong points.

Thank you again.

Correct to the first part. Also, remember to keep everything (fingers, rags, tools ..) clear of the right side of the engine. You don't want something getting caught up in the belts when the engine starts.

No short circuits! All this does is by-pass the ignition switch and the starter cut relay / clutch switch. Push the spade connector on to the terminal on the solenoid first, making sure that it does not contact the surrounding metal body. Switch the key to run and listen for the fuel pump going through its prime cycle. Then touch the other end of the jumper to the jump start terminal and the starter should immediately start cranking. If everything is in good tune the engine should fire up just like it does normally.
I have a spare starter that was recently rebuilt. Let me know if you're interested.

When my starter went out we diagnosed it by hitting it with a hammer while cranking the engine with the key. The solenoid would activate with the hammer taps and we eventually got the car going.
Hi old guy

Got it mostly all squared away. Got everything running after I used the jumper you mentioned to make. After the jumper I had most things squared away and was able to start with the ignition and no jumper needed. Everything now seems to be good again with the exception of the door light, key circular light intermittently working. I also notice the light in the dash showing the door open didn't come on when the door is open and other two lights not on (door light and the circular ignition light). It was strange. Sometimes it was ok and other times it didn't work. At one point I thought when I jiggled the key in the ignition the door light, circular key light and the dash door light came on. Not sure if that might be the ignition switch or maybe something in the door mechanism.

All and all I really appreciate all the support. I enjoyed driving my NSX this evening. I just have to check the door light thing and the check engine light now. It never seems to end. It is 30 years old now. I still love to drive it. I'm just in such a remote place with very few people who understand the NSX. I don't trust the local dealer on island. 15-20 years ago I would take it to the local dealer, however each time they would mess something up and I would have to fix it myself.
If the starter is now working, the initial problem may have been the starter / solenoid. I suspect that your inspection may have abraded the contacts slightly restoring operation; but, it may not be a permanent repair. If you keep the wire jumper rolled up in the trunk, you have a back-up if it fails in the future; however, that can be an inconvenience, especially if its raining. You might want to consider getting the replacement solenoid contact kit and do that replacement for some peace of mind or take up furinax on his offer.

If the dash safety indicator light is not showing 'door open', the problem is most likely the switch inside the latch mechanism. It could also be a broken wire in the harness to the door where it flexes at the hinges; but, so far that has not been a reported problem on the NSX. With luck, the problem may just be dried grease / dirt holding the switch open. First, try spraying some silicone spray into the latch opening and opening and closing the door to see if that frees things up. If that doesn't work spray some brake cleaner or other non residue cleaner into the latch opening to try and clean the mechanism then follow up with some light bodied lubricant such as a silicone spray or other plastic friendly lubricant. A true deep clean of the door latch requires removal of the latch from the door which is a non trivial task so try the easy stuff first.
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Hi Old Guy

Starter rebuilt and all good now. Will work on the door latch next. Hopefully it will be a easy task.

What section of the NSX service manual shows how to use the service diagnosis? (the obd I using the paper clip, to count the fault codes.)

Thank you again. On my days off I've been enjoying driving my NSX once again. Just want to check a few other things.
Hi Old Guy

Starter rebuilt and all good now. Will work on the door latch next. Hopefully it will be a easy task.

What section of the NSX service manual shows how to use the service diagnosis? (the obd I using the paper clip, to count the fault codes.)

Thank you again. On my days off I've been enjoying driving my NSX once again. Just want to check a few other things.

The process for retrieving error codes from the ECU is set out in the fuel section of the service manual which I think is section 11.

Or go here:

Trouble Codes - NSX-Wiki (nsxprime.com)
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