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Starter failures


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Folks, I'm having so much trouble with starters, I'm wondering if I'm really the problem. I go through a starter once a weekend or more lately (past year or two). I'm using rebuilt starters from Advance Auto, because they offer a lifetime guarantee, so I can essentially get two for the price of one.


I've trouble-shot the system to the best of my ability, and found no problems whatsoever with the system. When the starter is new (and cold), i get good voltage (11.5V) at the starter when turning the engine over. When it goes bad, I get as low as 7V, even with a big, full-sized battery swapped in instead of the standard miata-sized battery. The problem seems to get worst when the car is warm; it will start (if slowly) when cold, but after a session, it's done for the rest of the day.


I've replaced the (+) battery cable all the way from the battery, to the cutoff switch, to the starter; the ground cable and its contacts have been replaced and cleaned, and the start switch and relay have been checked for proper operation/ voltage drop. No change. Every time I replace the starter, I get anywhere for 1 good start to 6 months of use.


Is anyone else experiencing this rather strange problem? I have difficulty attributing the poor performance to heat-soaking the starter, since it's not on the exhaust side of the engine!


If folks ARE having this issue, how are you dealing with it? Does anyone else make better starters? I see Mazda doesn't offer new ones, only rebuilt, and I doubt they're any better. Perhaps they are!


Any help would be lovely.


Happy racing,

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When you say you replaced the ground cable was that the one in the trunk? If so you may want to replace or check the ground straps from the engine to the body to make sure they are grounded well.

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Also you might want to bypass the cutoff switch when this happens, just take the cable loose and bolt them on the same post to see if your cutout switch is going bad

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  • 3 months later...

For what it's worth, the NB starter is smaller and lighter than the NA starter and has a different gear reduction. It should also have less draw due to a smaller electric starter motor.


+1 on the ground straps from engine to frame.


The stock starters seem to last forever, so something is definitely wrong. Have you tried a post-mortem on the starter test bench at Advance Auto?

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