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automotive question

Dr. Sacrebleu

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Just read another car question, and saw that as usual thehuddle has better resources than anyother website I can think of.

So here is my current problem.

I have a 1994 Renault Laguna ("well there's your problem right there! ba-dumd-dumd")


About a month ago my starter motor died on me. I know nothing about cars whatsoever, but the tow truck guy felt pretty storngly about that. Being broke, I asked him to just push start me, and I drove out to the country where my parents neighbor is a retired mechanic. He confirmed without looking that it was the strarter motor. We went to a wrecking yard and bought a starter motor. Replaced it. The mechanic said "I don't really like the looks of this starter motor" but we took it anyways. The car did in fact start up, but it sounded like an old jalopy when you turned the ignition. The starter motor died after a week. The fellow said it was obvious that we had gotten a bad starter motor, so we went back to the yard, and got another one. This one worked like a charm, but during the course of the week it started working less and less well. By the end of the week, when you would turn the ignition nothing would happen.

Now I suppose it is possible that we were just really really unlucky,but can you think of something that would cause the starter engine to progresively fade and then die, as this is the thrid one to go that route (the original one, and the two subsequent ones). The battery is working fine.

The interesting thing is that my car also has a massive electrical problem. There is a short somewhere in the alarm system that causes the warning lights to go on when the car is stopped, and sometimes when I am driving I hear a "gzzzttttgzzzztt" sound coming from where the alaram system is. My solution is just to unplug the battery when I get to my destination and ignore the frying egg sound coming from the alarm. I have been told that trying to disconnect the alarm without the original schematics would be a very expensive proposition.

Anywho the retired mechanic has now decided that the electric problem has cascaded, and that's the reason the starter motor is not working. I suspect he just is sick of helping me on this problem, and doesn't want to go back to the wrecking yard to explain to his buddies that they need to give us a starte motor to replace the defective one...again.

Any thoughts?

Is it also possible that there is some resistance from the motor to the starter motor that is breaking the starter motor?

The car push starts very easily and drives fine once I get my buddies to come give me a hand pushing it.


I am bringing the car to a mechanics on wednesday so I can certainly report on what a proffesional says.


Thanks for your guys help.

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First of all some people call them salvage yards. I call them JUNK yards. I have seen limited success with using salvage parts. I really think this is the root of the repeated starter failures.


Secondly, you already know you have electrical problems. These will need to be taken care of at some point to insure that you have a reliable vehicle. Honestly that is an area I can't help with much from my computer desk.


Believe it or not I once owned a Renault. I think it was an Alliance if I remember right. I hope they solved their steering issues for your sake. We had 2 rack and pinions break on us inside of 3 months leaving the driver completely unable to steer the vehicle. Kind of proving my earlier point the replacement we got for the first one was from a JUNK yard. What a piece of crap that car was!

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Solve the electrical issues! Hard to say for sure if you are unlucky with the replacement parts or if the "short" from the alarm is causing problems. I doubt that it is the electrical system as the started should be able to take full load from the battery for the length of time the battery can last, so I doubt it is that. You have bought 15 year old parts from a salvage yard and you have no idea how long said parts have been sitting, how many miles the donor car had on it, etc. Most will readily refund or exchange the part within a give allotment of time. I have had pretty good luck with salvage yards, but mostly on newer vehicles/parts. Could check a parts store (NAPA, AutoZone, etc.) and see how much a new starter costs and then decide if you want to gamble and put a new one into the vehicle. I always take the stance that if it lasts a month, I am in the clear as it was cheaper than a car payment! :wacko:

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Well it looks like I am going to have to stop trusting the old retired mechanic.

He had told me that the electrical problem could not be fixed as it was in the car alarm, and that these alarms were basically tamper proof and it would take an inordinate amount of time to get to the problem. More time and money than the value of the car. His suggestion was to just live with the electrical problem saying that it could just stay that way for years (weird sound of bacon frying, car alarm going off when you shut the door, or closed the hood, warning lights going off randomly) . He then tried to tell me that the starter enging problem was due to the electrical problem, and that if I reallllllly wanted it we could replace the starter motor again, but that the car was basically fried. Also mentioned that a buddy of his was selling pretty much the same type of car I had for 1200 Euros.

Being flat broke right now, I figured that if I took the car to the mechanics anything less than 1200 Euros to fix the car perfectly was better than junking my car anf buying a new one.

So I brought my car to the dealership.

They replaced the starter motor for 282 Euros, and disconnected the car alarm for free.

So far so good.

I am not pissed at the neighbor for the bum starter motors from the junk yard. After all that is just bad luck, and if you want to do the stuff for real cheap you have to assume the risk of it not working out. I am pissed at him for the fact that once he relaized this wasn't going to be a quick buck helping out the neighbor ( I gave him all told 100 euros, but that included replacing the starter motor twice, and bending the trunk of the car so that it would shut properly (after an accident last year the trunk wouldn't shut and had about an inch and a half gap)) he gave me advice that would basically make the problem go away (junk the car, buy another one). This advice could have cost me dearly.


On the downside, I notice that now that the alarm is off, so is the voice that reminds me that my lights are on, or that the door is ajar. I do need to figure out what other warnings have been disabled

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