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Engine Not Starting


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#1
cartfam5

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We recently(Jan 2010) bought a 1998 Mazda 626 LX, it's the 4cylinder, for my daughter first time we've ever owned a Mazda. It has 122000 miles on it but has been well maintained and runs great. She drove it to a friends house last night about 30 minutes away, parked it, came back out to move it about 10 minutes later and it wouldn't start. Had been running just fine before this.

We tried to jump it because it seemed like the battery was dead but our cables weren't big enough to get it to jump even though we let it sit for about 15 minutes to charge it. Had to call a tow truck. Driver came, hooked the battery up to his cables, waited about 5 minutes and it started right up. He suggested the cable was probably loose(it was slightly loose when we tried to jump it but we tightened it) we told him it was and that we tightened it and he said the alternator couldn't keep the charge on the battery because the cable was loose. I drove it home and it ran just fine, nice and quiet like always, no check engine light ever came on, no running problems. I get up this morning and go out to start it and it won't start. The dash lights come on, it "clicks" like it wants to start but it won't. I take out the battery and take it to have it checked thinking it might be that - no such luck - battery is cranking out more then enough juice. So I need suggestions as to what the issue could be. I'm guessing it might be something electrical loose? I don't think it's the fuel pump or any filters. The car had new filters, belts, oil change and a tune up done right before we bought it and it runs beautifully. I noticed the "wires" going from the battery wire where it attaches to the part you put over the post was exposed and looks like all the little copper? wires aren't stuck into that part all the way - would that matter? If you could give me any suggestions on where to start troubleshooting this I would be very grateful. Don't want to have to take it to the mechanic if I can figure it out myself. Thanks

#2
snailman153624

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Sounds like the battery cables aren't making a solid connection. They are cheap to replace.

#3
cartfam5

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Sounds like the battery cables aren't making a solid connection. They are cheap to replace.



Thank you - I also was told it could be a relay fuse but if that was the issue would it have started with the jump?

#4
snailman153624

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Sounds like the battery cables aren't making a solid connection. They are cheap to replace.



Thank you - I also was told it could be a relay fuse but if that was the issue would it have started with the jump?



If you hear clicking, that means the starter is getting something, just not enough to actually spin up the motor. Take a good look at the battery cables, especially the one that goes straight to the starter.

It's also possible your starter is flaking out; you can try smacking it with a hammer/mallet.

#5
97Mazda

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Classic example of a "dead' battery! You said it yourself....wouldn't start the next morning! That means it's not holding a charge! You can waste your time dickin around with the alternator, starter etc. but I'd bet anything your battery is F..'d........

#6
cartfam5

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Classic example of a "dead' battery! You said it yourself....wouldn't start the next morning! That means it's not holding a charge! You can waste your time dickin around with the alternator, starter etc. but I'd bet anything your battery is F..'d........



Having the battery checked was this first thing I did this morning when it wouldn't start - the battery is fine.

#7
rs626

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Classic example of a "dead' battery! You said it yourself....wouldn't start the next morning! That means it's not holding a charge! You can waste your time dickin around with the alternator, starter etc. but I'd bet anything your battery is F..'d........



Having the battery checked was this first thing I did this morning when it wouldn't start - the battery is fine.


First, I would make sure you have a good set of jumper cables...A quality set of cables not some "super emergency car pack" cables.

Then i would have a voltmeter on hand. This way you can check the battery voltage yourself to ensure the battery is at full capacity. (I know someone said it was ok but this way can help you know for sure) IF your battery did go "dead" it needs more than a few minutes to return to full charge status. In fact, once it is drained completely or "deep cycled" its life and capacity has already been lessened somewhat. Car batteries, once deep cycled, ideally should be charged in two stages to bring them back to full charge..A bulk charge which is a constant current charge takes about 5 hours to bring the battery to %70, then a top up charge where the current is gradually decreased as the battery reaches full capacity in about another 5 hours. After that a 3rd stage or float charge can be applied to maintain the battery. Needless to say an cars alternator can't do this while idling for 20 minutes. Anyway...

Properly clean both battery terminals with a terminal cleaning tool (available at all outo shop stores) and at the very least give them a good sand with some rough sand paper until they are nice and shiny, not dark gray or blackened. Once that's done check both connectors on the main power leads for the car, as well as the negative. Give those a good sand as well (again id recommend a terminal cleaning tool, they are cheap and effective).

If all of your leads are clean and making good contact, try and start the car with the voltmeter attached and. When you try and start the car what happens? If it wont crank and the volts dont drop at all...I would look toward the starter or other connention problems. Starters can be moody on a lot of cars and work intermittently for seems to be no good reason. However if you see the volts dive under 12 or even 11 volts, your battery is not doing its job.

Also, before you jump start your car the next time i would carefully read an article like this one: My link

very few people know how to properly jump start a car (I didn't until a while ago and I always thought I did. :P) and a little knowledge can save you some cash and tow truck fees in the future as well as reduce the risk of screwing something up on either car.

Let us know how you make out.




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