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Nissan Starter Motors

Nissan starter motor 3 L V-6

Nissan Starter Motor
Nissan Starter Motor

Replacing a Nissan starter motor on the 3 L V-6 is a fairly common repair on this engine. Shortly after I purchased my 1988 Nissan 300ZX one of the first repairs that was needed was replacement of the starter motor.

The first thing I noticed was that it was not the original starter. When I started to look through the paperwork that came with the vehicle I noticed that this was actually the third time that it was replaced on this car in 100,000 miles. This seemed to be excessive in my opinion.

My goal was to find out why this vehicle needed another one. It did not take long to find the answer. And the reason I tell the story is because I believe this may be a common problem associated with a Nissan 3 L V-6 engine whether it is in a Nissan Maxima sedan or a 300ZX.

The starter motor in my 300zx was covered in a thick layer of dirt and slime. The reason for this is the oil filter is located directly above the starter and solenoid assembly. When you go to perform an engine oil change and you start to unscrew the filter about 6 ounces of oil will run all over the starter motor.

If you do not take the time to clean up the oil then when you begin to drive the vehicle dirt will stick to that thin layer of oil. If you change your engine oil every 3000 miles as was recommended by the manufacturer for this engine you can see how much oil and dirt could build up over a short period of time. On a side note if you go to a quick lube center the word quick stands for fast and do not usually include cleaning any residual oil.

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Starter motor failure Nissan 3 L V-6

Nissan auto repair manual
Nissan auto repair manual

With multiple layers of oil and dirt covering the motor and solenoid heat buildup and retention of that heat is increased greatly. When I removed the assembly I decided to take it apart and see what went wrong inside. Some oil made it inside the motor assembly and was covering the windings and brushes. I have a page on my other site about starter motors if your interested.

The armature assembly, field coil and brush holder was a purple and blue-ish color. So the starter literally burned up from the inside out. Although this assembly can be rebuilt I decided to go ahead and replace it because I could not locate an overhaul kit for it. And I did decide to spend a few extra bucks on a factory original Nissan replacement part.

300zx
88 300zx

This was the last time I had to replace the Nissan starter motor on my 300ZX. The reason this was the last time is because during every oil change I would take a few rags and cover the starter before I began to loosen the engine oil filter. The rags would soak up the oil and when the maintenance operation was completed I cleaned the area with electrical cleaner so it looked like brand-new again.

Without the oil and dirt buildup on the starter motor itself I never had another problem. As far as all the cars I owned over the last 30 years my Nissan 300 Z was the most troublesome. In all due fairness to Nissan this was also the only car I bought that already had 100,000 miles on it. If you’re interested in some of the other repairs that were required visit my Nissan 300ZX repairs section. For more general automotive repair articles visit this blog’s home page and get some auto repair information.

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