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What would cause a Suzuki Samurai 1300 to turn over but not start with the key but to start when pulled?

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βˆ™ 2006-07-29 23:58:05

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I don't know for sure, because I never had this happen with one of the 4 samurai's I've had over the years. But my guess is you have a weak electrical system* so that by the time the battery is putting out all those amps to turn over the starter you don't have enough 'ummmph' left over to create an adequate spark. Normally when starting the battery has to put out major amps to turn over the engine, and then more juice through your coil and distributer to make the spark plugs spark. When you are push starting the car all the battery energy is going to the spark plugs (with help from the alternator too), so if it's starting ok that way it probably IS a weak electrical system. NOTE I am assuming the engine would really "turn over"...and not just go click-click-click (another problem, VERY common, caused by not enough juice through the ignition key circuit to activate the starter relay. If it IS a 'click-click-click' trouble write to me and I'll let you know how to work around that.) How to tell if you just have a weak electrical system, and what to do about it? Well, one way is to see if you are getting a decent spark. At night disconnect one of the sparkplug wires (pull it gently off the sparkplug by the rubber boot) and then hold it near some bare grounded metal while someone else cranks the engine. Do you see a spark? Does it look really small and weak, yellow and flickering, or bluish with a nice 'snap' to it? (Humm...if you haven't looked at a spark of a strong running engine this could be hard to tell.) Doing it at night makes it much easier to see the spark. If you aren't getting a good spark you probably have a weak electrical system. Oh yeah, even a WEAK system has enough juice to make you jump if you allow it to ground through you...be sure to hold the open sparkplug wire and boot back from the opening and near bare metal (like the alumimum block) so the spark goes to it and not through you. Won't kill you, but you won't do it twice! In fact, once the engine is running at night, if your spark plug wires are really in bad shape sometimes you can even see sparks from one to another or from the wire to the engine even while everything is plugged in! If you see sparks from wire to wire or wire to block while the engine is running you absolutely need new spark plug wires. OK, lets say you think >maybe< it's a weak system. What else do you do? First check that the cables on the battery are clamped tightly (BOTH the battery and the engine-ends) and that there isn't a lot of corrosion. If it looks like a bunch of green cheese take a wire brush and clean them off. Rinse with a lot of fresh water, and don't get it on you as it will be acidic. Baking soda helps neutralize the acid. (If not used to working around a vehicle wear gloves and eye protection...not bad advice even if you do this stuff a lot.) After you clean up and reattach the cables put a little petroleum jelly over the battery posts and cables, it will help slow down more corrosion in the future. Auto parts stores sell a nice little tool that has an external wire brush to clean the inside of the battery clamp, and in internal wire brush that will clean off your battery posts so they are nice and shiny-fresh. If all that didn't do it for you, think about getting a fresh distributer rotor, distributer cap, (NOT a full disbributer: Just a new cap and rotor), new spark plug wires, and new spark plugs: They are all routine maintenance type items...and if they haven't been changed in 3 or 4 years (or ever!) I'd start there. Get a semi-decent generic set of spark plug wires from Kragen, Autozone, Napa, whatever. Probably around $40. You don't have to buy super duper double platinum spark plugs...get the ones that cost no more than 3 or 4 bucks each. And you don't need "Suzuki Dealer Brand" distributor cap and rotor either. All of this stuff should be had for < $80, and even if it isn't the root cause sometimes these things can be cumulative and it's time to change them out anyway. How old is your battery? Most of the auto parts places I mentioned before will do a free test of how well your battery and charging systems are working. An old battery doesn't have as many cranking amps as a fresh one. I found maybe I'd get around 4 years out of a battery. Likewise a weak alternator won't give the battery a full charge...that's why you have the shop test to tell you if the battery is weak, the alternator is, whatever. It is not a very difficult job to change the alternator out, some bolts up from the top, and remove the splash shield under the engine (if it's still there) and then you can get to the lower bolts. Last time I did this I was 95 miles outside Vegas in the Mojave Desert when my alternator gave out...took me a half hour to pull the old one, a buddy drove me to Vegas to the nearest auto parts store (that's why I know it was 90 miles each way), we also had a nice cheap dinner in a casino, and 9:30 that night I put the new alternator in by flashlight. 4-wheeling is fun isn't it? (ALWAYS go with at least TWO vehicles!) Hope this rambling helps! Paul, prhkgh@comcast.net

2006-07-29 23:58:05
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Q: What would cause a Suzuki Samurai 1300 to turn over but not start with the key but to start when pulled?
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