There are two ways to test the starter motor: either on or off the car. In this tutorial, I'll show you how to test the starter motor while it's on the car.
Troubleshooting the starter motor to see if it's the cause of the no crank condition on your Honda 2.7L or 3.0L equipped car or mini-van is not hard.
Contents of this tutorial:
You can find this tutorial in Spanish here: Cómo Probar El Motor De Arranque (1995-2003 3.0L Honda Accord y Odyssey) (at: autotecnico-online.com).
Important Safety Precautions
TIP 1: Although the photos I'm using show the starter motor off of the vehicle, there's no need to remove it from the car to test it. The photos show the starter motor off of the vehicle just to make it easier to explain where you need to make your connections.
In case you do need to bench test it (test it off of the vehicle), the following tutorial will help you: How To Bench Test A Starter Motor (Step By Step) (at: easyautodiagnostics.com).
TIP 2: Before you start testing the starter motor, with the info in this tutorial, you need to make sure that the battery is fully charged. A discharged battery will cause you to reach the wrong diagnostic conclusion and have you wasting time and money! Also, the battery cable terminals and battery posts must be clean and corrosion free.
In a lot's of cases, dirty battery cables and/or battery posts are the culprit behind a no crank condition and cleaning the battery cables and posts may actually solve your particular no crank problem.
TIP 3: You'll need to raise your Honda 3.0L equipped vehicle up in the air to access the starter motor. For your safety use jack stands. Don't trust the jack alone! Take all necessary safety precautions, like using jack stands to hold up the vehicle, wearing eye-protection (safety glasses), etc.
TIP 4: If your vehicle has a standard transmission, make sure that it's out of gear and in neutral, and the parking brake is activated/on.
Symptoms Of A Bad Starter Motor
The most obvious symptom a bad starter motor will cause, on your 2.7L or 3.0L Honda, is a no crank condition. In plain English this means that the starter motor does not ‘turn over the engine’ when you turn the ignition key to start the car or mini-van.
Before I continue, I want to tell you that there's a big difference between a no crank and no start condition. Here are some more specifics:
- In a no start condition, the starter motor is cranking the engine, but the engine is not starting. The no start condition is usually due to a lack of spark (think bad ignition coil or bad crankshaft position sensor), or a lack of fuel (think bad fuel pump).
- In a no crank condition, the engine doesn't turn over to start. This is usually, but not always, due to a bad starter motor.
Knowing the difference between a no crank and a no start condition will save you some diagnostic time.
If your Honda is suffering a bona-fide no crank condition, you've probably have noticed and/or done one of the following:
- The engine doesn't turn over (crank) when you turn the key to start the engine.
- A jump start doesn't help. The vehicle's engine still refuses to crank.
- The battery has been charged and/or replaced and still your vehicle does not crank.
- When you turn the key to crank the engine, all you hear is a small knock and nothing else.
Although the above list is not a very complete list of symptoms, the theme that runs thru' them, and any other related symptom, is that the engine will not turn over when you try to start it.
Tools Needed To Test The Starter Motor
You don't need expensive test equipment to test the starter motor on your Honda vehicle but you do need a few things. These are:
- Jack stands.
- Remote starter switch.
- If you'd like to see what a remote starter switch looks like, you can follow this link: Actron CP7853 Remote Starter Switch For 6V And 12V Automotive Starting Systems
- You can either buy this tool online or you can buy it at your local auto parts store (AutoZone, O'Reilly, Pepboys, etc.).
- Multimeter or a 12 Volt automotive test light.
- If you don't have a multimeter or need to upgrade yours, check out my recommendation here: Abe's Multimeter Recommendation (at: easyautodiagnostics.com).
- A wire piercing probe.
- This tool is not an ‘absolute must have tool’ but I can tell you from experience that it makes it a whole lot easier to probe the S terminal wire for the Start signal.
- If you'd like to see what this tool looks like, you find out more about it here: Wire Piercing Probe Tool Review (Power Probe PWPPPPP01).
- A helper.
As you can see, you don't need anything expensive. OK, let's turn the page and let's get started with the first starter motor test.