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Old 11-09-2014, 12:51 PM   #1
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8.1 Vortec hard start when hot

Hi all - my first post on this site -
I've a Safari Trek 2003 8.1 Vortec Workhorse P32. When the camper is well warmed up it is hard to start - the starter behaves as if it does not have the energy to crank the engine. 3 or 4 or more seconds go by while there is no cranking - then it cranks and starts up. When cold the starter happily cranks and the engine happily starts. I've changed the battery, ignition switch, chassis ground strap and had the starter rebuilt. I've also added a thermal blanket around the starter - which also has a heat shield. I have not replaced the cable running from the battery to the starter - but the ends are clean and shiny. this has been a constant issue since I bought the Trek 18 mo's ago.

Is there such a thing as a heavy duty starter for the 8.1?
Is there anything that would cause the engine to have greater internal resistance to cranking when hot?

Thank you for your thoughts on this.

Hesh Kagan
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Old 11-09-2014, 01:10 PM   #2
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It sounds to me like the ignition timing could be off?
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Old 11-09-2014, 01:55 PM   #3
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I have a 2007 8.1engine. It behaved as you described. I replaced the battery and the problem disappeared.


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Old 11-09-2014, 01:59 PM   #4
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Get one of thise hold it next to wire ammeters that show starting current or locate a clamp on dc ammeter and check cranking current in both hot and cold.

Starter windings may be leaking ehrn hot causing more load.

Or advanced timing...
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Old 11-09-2014, 02:54 PM   #5
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Thanks. I'll measure the current hot and cold .
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Old 11-09-2014, 06:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkagan View Post
Hi all - my first post on this site -
I've a Safari Trek 2003 8.1 Vortec Workhorse P32. When the camper is well warmed up it is hard to start - the starter behaves as if it does not have the energy to crank the engine. 3 or 4 or more seconds go by while there is no cranking - then it cranks and starts up. When cold the starter happily cranks and the engine happily starts. I've changed the battery, ignition switch, chassis ground strap and had the starter rebuilt. I've also added a thermal blanket around the starter - which also has a heat shield. I have not replaced the cable running from the battery to the starter - but the ends are clean and shiny. this has been a constant issue since I bought the Trek 18 mo's ago.

Is there such a thing as a heavy duty starter for the 8.1?
Is there anything that would cause the engine to have greater internal resistance to cranking when hot?

Thank you for your thoughts on this.

Hesh Kagan
When they rebuilt the starter, did they replace or rebuild the starter solenoid? It sounds like it could be poor contact in the starter solenoid.
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Old 11-09-2014, 07:42 PM   #7
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The GM style battery cable connectors on side terminals may not be getting a good connection. I know you said that they are shiny, but look at them close and wire brush them, and the bolt and under the bolt. After you have re-tightened them with the 5/16 wrench, grab the cable try to spin it. When I do this, I almost all the time have take another turn when the wrench.


You can use the old jumper cable trick. Connect a jumper cable from the battery negative terminal and to the starter housing mounting bolt. If it works when hot, then you have a ground problem.

if it still doesn't work when hot,
then connect a jumper cable from the positive terminal on your battery to your cable connection on your starter, if it works when hot then you a bad cable or connection.

If neither cable connection works, I would blame the starter.

It can't be timing, there is no distributor, it is all electronic. The computer decides the timing from the different sensors, I guess a sensor could be bad, but I am not sure ? I think during the "start" mode, the timing is fixed until it goes into run mode, then the computer gets information from different sensors and makes adjustments, but just a guess.
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Old 11-09-2014, 11:17 PM   #8
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Make sure you have the "correct" battery. Not just a new one.





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Old 11-10-2014, 05:16 AM   #9
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Sometimes this can be due to a bad starter. I never had THIS problem with the 8.1, but rather with a Chevy Lumina, (Slant six) when the oil seals started leaking the oil dripped down on the starter, and after long enough of that exactly what you describe happened.

Finally the car died of old age (I likely could have fixed it if I had known then what I know now but hey, Some days....) and got replaced by something lighter and harder to tow.
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgscott4 View Post
The GM style battery cable connectors on side terminals may not be getting a good connection. I know you said that they are shiny, but look at them close and wire brush them, and the bolt and under the bolt. After you have re-tightened them with the 5/16 wrench, grab the cable try to spin it. When I do this, I almost all the time have take another turn when the wrench.


You can use the old jumper cable trick. Connect a jumper cable from the battery negative terminal and to the starter housing mounting bolt. If it works when hot, then you have a ground problem.

if it still doesn't work when hot,
then connect a jumper cable from the positive terminal on your battery to your cable connection on your starter, if it works when hot then you a bad cable or connection.

If neither cable connection works, I would blame the starter.

It can't be timing, there is no distributor, it is all electronic. The computer decides the timing from the different sensors, I guess a sensor could be bad, but I am not sure ? I think during the "start" mode, the timing is fixed until it goes into run mode, then the computer gets information from different sensors and makes adjustments, but just a guess.

Excellent suggestions - I'll give it a try later today.

Thanks

Hesh
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Old 11-10-2014, 10:40 AM   #11
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If it starts after holding the key a few seconds it sounds to me like the solenoid. If it were a current issue, I wouldn't think it would turn over at all. I would ask the rebuilder if they did anything with the solenoid.

Also, here is a link to a gear reduction starter, read the print below.

Gear Reduction Starter
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Old 11-10-2014, 01:58 PM   #12
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The earlier 2003 and before year had issues starting when the starter was HOT because of gear tolerances. When hot the gears bind.
A thin shim was required under the starter to block mating surface. If your starter had been replace or rebuilt this could factor in as you may now have a starter from a 1999 MY.
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Old 11-10-2014, 06:53 PM   #13
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My 8.1 did the same thing for a whole year, the starter finally went out. Replaced the starter with a rebuilt sarter I bought at NAPA and has worked perfect ever since.
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Old 11-10-2014, 08:20 PM   #14
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hard to start comes stander !! jking

yes there is a HD starter but it dont look it it is very small looking

if you have the lager looking starter then get the smaller one off ebay

i have a few videos of my setup

takes lower amps

this is the lagers looking unit that i am sure you have and are seen every day
Starter Fits GMC G P Series 5 7 7 4L 94 98 Savana Vans 5 0 5 7 7 4 8 1L 99 02 | eBay

here is the smaller unit all most the size of a can of soda .. this is the one you want
Chevy Avalanche Suburban Silverado Truck GM Yukon 8 1L Starter 02 03 04 05 06 07 | eBay

you should have the ??169??? teeth fly wheel i think is the stander

pics i have added is how small the unit is but it has the power
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