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Discussion Starter #1
So, an issue popped up yesterday, actually a couple of days back but it revealed itself yesterday.

So a couple of day ago I noticed while starting the car there was a sort of a thudding sound just as I started it that wasn't there before. I think the sound happened on two starts and I kinda felt like something was off.

Then yesterday night as I was leaving the supermarket the car wouldn't start. I shot a video which you can see below. The starter sound was a bit off, like more high pitched than usual but I figured since starter was actually working the issue was from something else. I guessed it was from the distributor so I decided to change the rotor arm and it worked. Car started, went back home, turned off and on the car a few times to make sure it was working and it did. Then this morning drove to work, left to a meeting, came back to the office, went home, left the house, went to supermarket, left to dinner and then as I was leaving it wouldn't start, same issue.

I removed the distributor cap, fiddled around with the wires and nothing, the car wouldn't start. Eventually, I decided to try something, I put the hand brake down, moved the car slightly back and then forward again. I tried starting the car and it worked!

So now I'm back home, car starts normally but i'm sure whatever the issue is gonna reveal itself again so I want to fix it. But not sure what it could be. My theories are the following:

- I recently changed my starter since old one broke and I think either mechanic didn't install it right or whatever the starter is supposed to turn inside the engine broke? I am guessing its a starter issue since the sound is different when starting car (when it's failing to start) and the fact when i moved the car back and front maybe the pinion gripped onto whatever its supposed to grip onto? But then why did it work yesterday right after changing rotor arm?

- The other option is that maybe the distributor isn't working right but that wouldn't explain why it would suddenly work fine after just moving car back and front and why the starter motor sounds different when car isn't starting.

If anyone can help me out that would be great since not sure what parts I need to order to try to solve this issue.

 

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Just a guess - perhaps the starter is not fully engaging the ring gear or the ring gear has a very worn section? I had a Ford pick up with a diesel engine & worn ring gear. When the engine stopped with the worn section where the starter would need to engage it'd sort of crank but not really. (it sounded a lot worse than in your video though...) I got in the habit of parking on a slight incline - before trying to start I'd let it roll a few feet in gear to move the flywheel/ring gear to an unworn section.

First thing I'd check is that the bolts that attach the starter to the engine are snug (and present...).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I checked the starter for movement by hand the morning after the thudding on start happened. i thought maybe the starter was moving while turning but the starter seemed bolted in properly (wouldn't budge). If its a worn ring gear is that an easy repair or is it an engine out situation?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm guessing I'm going to have to wait till it stops working again and then try moving my car a bit to see if that sorts it out.
 

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Did the mechanic who replaced the starter put the special shoulder bolt back in the centre hole?
(or perhaps it was never there, so he just put back the 3 bolts he found when taking off the bad starter)

one of the 3 starter bolts is a special shoulder bolt, this aligns the starter perfectly to the ring gear and need to be there.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Did the mechanic who replaced the starter put the special shoulder bolt back in the centre hole?
(or perhaps it was never there, so he just put back the 3 bolts he found when taking off the bad starter)

one of the 3 starter bolts is a special shoulder bolt, this aligns the starter perfectly to the ring gear and need to be there.
Not sure, I should have just done the job myself. I think I threw the old starter away as well :cry:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So basically the consensus seems to be that this isn't a distributor related issue. That narrows things down for me, I'll try to get it to stop working again and then take a better look at whats going on.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So I took the Alfa this morning, parked it grabbed coffee and when I got back to the car it wouldn’t start. A good thing cuz it allowed me to experiment a bit.

- moving car forward or back didn’t change anything

- if I have it in first gear and I try to start the car the car moves forward. Same with reverse. So I am assuming this means it’s not a worn ring gear correct?

I’m still stuck in the lot if anyone has anything they want me to try 😅
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ok the only way I got the car to start was to push the car forward while try to start it 🤔
 

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Ok the only way I got the car to start was to push the car forward while try to start it 🤔
do you mean push it forward in gear or in neutral?
and when you say "got the car to start" do you mean it cranks over but will not start, or, do you mean nothing happens when you turn the key (...unless you push it forward)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
do you mean push it forward in gear or in neutral?
and when you say "got the car to start" do you mean it cranks over but will not start, or, do you mean nothing happens when you turn the key (...unless you push it forward)
I push it forward in neutral. when i got the cart to start i meant it turned on as in ignited and i was able to drive off but before that when it wasn't starting it was similar to the video below. So didn't start but then when i pushed car while turning ignition on it started

 

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ok.
so in the video it cranks over, but doesn't start....meaning very likely no spark.

however when you push it forward in neutral a bit - whilst cranking the starter - it will start......correct?

I can only think of some loose connection.

If you just turn the ignition to on (not start) do you have 12V at the coil? (between one of the small coil terminals and earth)
check the wires on the coil are all tight....also pull off the lead between coil and distributor and check the connections are clean (not green with oxidisation), put them back tight and properly seated.
 
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