1990 Honda Civic EX starter will not turn over even though the electronics are fine.

Fahad Ahmed

Asked by Mar 08, 2014 at 01:45 AM about the 1990 Honda Civic

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Ive been having this issue for over two weeks now. I have a limited Edition 1990 Honda Civic EX. The starter clicks but doesn't turn. The alternator is working fine even the clutch and all other electronics in the starter. The ignitions switch is tested and works fine. New Battery installed so no issue there. tested all fuses and they are fine too.
If I connect both positive and negatives on the starter, the alternator comes to life, but it doesn't spin when I turn the ignition. I have fiddled with the ground terminal on the battery. But it is just too unpredictable. It works 50% of the time, while the other 50%, its just a click. and that's it. Can any one guide me on this as this is getting really annoying.

5 Answers

James Ramond

soundfs like the starter brushes are about wore down to not always contact the armature in the starter, hammer on the starter when it does this to shake the brushes down to contact , if that works your starter is wearing out at the brushes

Fahad Ahmed

Already Checked the Carbon brush heads. They are in complete contact with the armature. Only half worn out. My hunch is it might be an issue with the ground


Sounds like loose battery connection or loose negative battery connection to frame or motor. Inspect battery terminal connections. Are they the original ones? Is the adjustment screw tightened all the way down with no more left to tighten it? Your battery terminal should have some extra room available on screw to tighten it up some more(when fully tightened) if it does not have any extra room to tighten it the terminal is worn out and needs to be replaced.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

is it the starter solenoid? That can be intermittent- how are you testing the starter? have you taken it out? hook it up to a battery or a battery charger then you can see it work- if there is power to the starter, then it should spin- why not just get another starter? nobody just rebuilds these things anymore- 'cept for maybe me

Fahad Ahmed

Re-did the battery terminals. They are tightened till the end. The negative connections are both on the frame and engine mounting. The motor does not get a negative charge through any cable but gets one from the engine. @ jamnblues . I actually had the solenoid replaced by a new one, its gear groves were worn out. (a common issue in this model) . Started having this issue after replacing it. And have tested it a couple of times. When I remove the starter from the engine and hook it directly on a battery the solenoid keeps on spinning as smooth as knife through butter. But when mounted back on the engine it starts to play up. That is one reason why I haven't replaced the starter till now.

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