Reader Question: Dear Mr. Davis,
My 1994 Chevrolet Lumina 3.1L Sedan has about 120,000 miles on it. After the battery went, I replaced it in October. A few months later, it would not so. Then I replaced the starter in December. Things seem to be back to normal except:
(1) About one in every 10 starts does not turn over and you just hear the clicking solenoid.
(2) A soft clicking sound frequently is heard while driving (although not always), putting the engine under load seems to increase the possibility of hearing the sound – although sometimes the clicking continues after acceleration has stopped.
Thinking it might be a pre-ignition problem, I went up an octane level and tried a fuel-additive carbon cleaner, which has not fixed the problem yet (although it has only been a couple weeks).
I am concerned that I might have installed the starter incorrectly or that there is a more serious problem. I do not want to continue driving to get the carbon-cleaner working if I am damaging my engine.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
For the clicking noise and the no start condition, I think I would advise you to take the vehicle to the mechanic and get a full electrical system test, which should include the following:
(1) Load test battery
(2) Check starter voltage draw
(3) Check battery cables and grounds
(4) Check starter solenoid and starter connections and grounds
(5) Check for a voltage drain
You might want to try the headlight test like I mention here next time you have this no start condition happen.
For the other noise, it could be something as simple as an exhaust leak under the hood at the exhaust manifold, or could be something rubbing on the serpentine fan belt, or the AC compressor short cycling.
Meaning, it is shutting on and off faster than normal due to low Freon levels. I would get a mechanic to take a free test drive with you and give their opinion. I take test drives all day long with customers. It is a courtesy we offer and other trusted shops offer as well to their customers or future customers.