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car starting problem; 1982 Datsun Sentra

the car will start if pushed, key on, and gentle push on accelerator; but won't crank over. battery is good, indicator lights on dash light up brightly and stay that way even if the key is turned to on or start. there is no audible click from the solenoid. if headlights are put on, they don't even dim when key is turned. car is other wise in good mechanical condition.for several months leading to this, alternator light would dimly to moderately light up while engine was running. a mechanic said the alternator's diodes were not functioning, however, the battery continued to hold a charge for about 5 months before the car no longer would start on its own.currently unable to take to a mechanic and must solve this another way.the starter is a rebuilt unit with approximately 25,000 miles on it;alternator also rebuilt unit with approx. 30,000 miles on it; ignition coil and distributor are original with 234,000 miles-rotor a little worn,but otherwise appears O.K. car had new clutch disc, pressure plate, pilot bearing, and throwout bearing installed with a resurfaced flywheel 5,000 miles ago so I don't want to part with this car and it passes smog testing with ease. please help.

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Let's see

In reply to: car starting problem; 1982 Datsun Sentra

I had this problem once on my Suzuki and was able to solve it in 5 minutes.
your problems suggests that you have a blown fuse or some of the wiring may have been chewed off by rats etc or may have got disconnected. replace the fuse or the wiring and your car will hope fully start.


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Basic Auto Trouble-Shooting/

In reply to: car starting problem; 1982 Datsun Sentra

First off..Check the Battery Voltage with a should actually read over 12.5 volts..even 13.7 volts..
A Chargeing System Tester is even should get a READING of 13.7 volts to 14.8 volts..below that means some problem..
So Voltage regulator....??
Old Battery(like Three Years old)..??
Bad Crankcase OIL..Bad GAS..rotten rubber parts<<--spell disaster/
Dirty Electrical Connections../all over the place..greasy filthy engine....just a piece of junk...
a worn carburator/loose parts....sloppy linkages....even a loose Air Filter-Canister will kill the motor eventually.

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Starting woes

In reply to: car starting problem; 1982 Datsun Sentra

Sounds to me like you have a starter related problem, does the engine turn over when you crank the starter? From what I hear you have a bad starter or a bad power connection to the starter- check the small gauge wire that connects to the starter soleniod for power when cranking the key- if there is no power check the neutral safety switch and the ignition switch. If there is power you have a jammed up starter, you can take it apart and see whats wrong but if its too much work or you dont want to do all that work just replace it, again.

Also check power for all 3 wires connected at the starter soleniod while a helper turns the key, there is 2 big wires, one goes to the battery and one goes to the starter motor itself and one little wire coming from the car's wiring harness.

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that crazy starter

In reply to: Starting woes

Yes, it appears that the starter was the culprit. When it was removed, some of its teeth where it grips the flywheel, were badly worn and the clip which attaches the power to the starter was loose, causing the initial problem of intermittant contact. The battery was replaced as it was discovered to have a bad cell and was not putting out full voltage-it was nine years old, anyway. The mysterious weakly lit idiot light continues to spite me, taunting me to wonder if I'll ever solve its cause. This has been going on for over three years. If it were a key part of the electrical system, it would have affected the proper running of the car by now. it's a real mystery. My best guess is my jury-rigged re-wiring of the two wires which feed the points at the base of the distributor. The insulation wore off right where these wires go into the distributor body, causing a fire. At that time, the idiot light had been visible for several months.The fire almost burned through one wire and thoroughly scorched the other. Not employed at the time, I couldn't take the car somewhere and so I got out my electrical repair kit and slowly disassembled the distributor from the engine and found I couln't remove the bottom of the metal body to further see where those wires went, so I took some bell wire and used it as a bridge to replace the half inch of wire destroyed and used electrical tape to replace the burnt insulation, not knowing whether this "shade-tree mechanic" approach would work. That was two years ago. Someday I'll replace the distributor, and maybe not.I'll probably retire the car sooner. It's been a VERY good used car for me. Thanks for the helpful hints.

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Ignition Problem

In reply to: that crazy starter

Maybe its it [url="
"] ignition switch . Your electrical wiring may not be even distributing your the electricity needed by your engine.

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