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3S Surgeon
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2,818 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Many 3S owners have dealt with the click click start issue in our cars. If you haven't, you're lucky.

If you don't know what it is, in a nutshell when you go to start the car, all you get is a click. doing it enough times will eventually cause the car to start. What that basically is, is the starter solenoid not getting enough voltage to engage. It's very annoying, it's embarrassing. One half-ass (IMO) fix was to wire in a relay from the battery to the wires to the solenoid, feeding 12v directly to the solenoid. It does work, but it adds un-needed wiring and doesn't solve the root problem.

The root cause here is the ignition switch. The contacts in it get work out over time, and cause them to wear to the point where they no longer carry the required current to do the job.

What some of you may not know is how easy it is to actually replace the ignition switch, solving this issue once and for all, the RIGHT way. The cost of the 'temporary' fix is usually about $25. OEM ignition switches can be had for around $35, so the cost is not significant.

The biggest gripe I've read on these forums is how everyone says you have to pull the steering wheel to do the ignition switch, etc.. which is far from the truth.

I'll show you how!

You'll need:

Philips head screwdrivers: #2 and a #0
small regular screwdriver
10mm socket and extension, with rachet
Ignition switch: Part# MB629641 $32.88 from Cherry Hill Mitsu as of 4/30/2012
(to the best of my knowledge the part number is the same for all 3S)

The switch:


*disclaimer: this worked for me, I've done this on both of my cars to fix their click-click start issues. Please don't blame me if you break something or your car has other electrical problems like aftermarket alarms, etc..

Before you start: Take the key out of the ignition if it's in there. It will get in the way!

Step 1: remove the 'kick panel' under the steering wheel. lever out the mirror and rear wiper switches using your small screw driver. Unplug them and move them aside. Next, remove the two 10mm bolts hiding behind the switches. After that there are 2 more on the underside of the panel (they're right there). At this point the panel will come down, still attached to the hood release cable, which you can remove by removing the two Philips head screws. It doesn't really get in the way, so I left it.

Step 2: Remove the steering column cover. There are three screws on the underside, and then it should come right off, the column has a few snaps that hold it together so be mindful of those.

Here we can see the headlight switch, and the back of the ignition switch.


Step 3: Remove the headlight switch. Simply pull the two small screws, and let it hang.

This is what you should be looking at now:


Step 4: Here's the tricky part. At this point the only thing holding the switch in is a small screw on the back. If you have the new part in your hand, you'll see where it goes.

It's right on the other side of the bundle of wires:



The most difficult part is getting the screw out (it's not THAT challenging). It's best if you have a stubby screwdriver, but I didn't so I improvised. there's room to get a longer one in there to get the screw out like so:



That gives you a great view of where the screw actually is. at this point, simply remove the screw, the ignition switch will come right out.

Trace the wires going from it, and you'll find a plug (the wires coming off the switch are only 3-4" long). Unplug it, and plug your new one in. before inserting the new switch, make sure the black slotted piece is turned all the way counter-clockwise. It's not hard to turn, it just needs to be aligned so it goes in all the way. Tighten the screw. don't go all crazy on it and break it now.

Step 5: Remove any 'temporary' wiring from the other click-click start fix, and start the car just to make sure things work.

Step 6: Re-assemble everything how it came apart, and enjoy fixing it the RIGHT way and having less wiring in your engine bay!
 

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Wheee! 2 wheels is fun!
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8,814 Posts
I always had my doubts about the click click thing. This post makes MUCH more sense for a problem solution. Thanks for posting part numbers and that it can be repaired with a minimum of headaches.

-SP
 

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Formerly Carnage VR4
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5,285 Posts
Great write-up. I havent had this issue, but looks like you've covered it nicely.


-Matt
 

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Registered
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after two decades of working on these cars, i will tell you for sure, there is more that one click, no start problem.

but, yes, this is somewhat common.
 

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3S Surgeon
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2,818 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
after two decades of working on these cars, i will tell you for sure, there is more that one click, no start problem.

but, yes, this is somewhat common.
I'm sure there is... but this is the one I've run into and heard about the most.

Jim- I'll see if I can edit the pics to add some pointers.
 

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Registered
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172 Posts
Great write-up. Easy to understand and very informative. I've added the relay in a previous car. If I run into this problem again I'll address it this way first! Cheers.
 

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resident evil
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17,080 Posts
I have replaced the whole assembly in my car and thats a little tougher because you have to drill out some bolts that have tamper proof heads which break off when you install them. It solved the problem but as soon as I put an autostart on the car and had to intercept the wiring, the voltage drop raised its ugly head and it started to do this again (especially after the battery has drained down a little or if the cars in the heat). The relay is a clunky solution, but it solves it completely even if you have a turbo timer or anything else in the system.
 
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Registered
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My problem was the wire going to the starter solenoid on the starter was old and degraded. Replaced it, fixed click click start.
 

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Sleeper VR-4
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2,509 Posts
I can't see the pictures posted here at work, but in my case I bought a new ignition switch and fought like hell to replace it. Finally decided it wasn't worth it and installed the relay fix with parts I already had. No wires are visible and the problem was solved in about 15-20 minutes.

Some members have had the problem re-surface with use after replacing the ignition. I installed my fix over 4 years ago and still going strong.
 

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Premium Member
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Lots of different things could cause the click click start. This is the right way to fix one of the many potential issues causing the ccs in a particular vehicle.

Good write up!
 

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3S Surgeon
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2,818 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Tommy- If you see the pics and follow the instructions it's not hard.

I will also add that Rock Auto has them for as low as $17 I believe.

There are indeed a lot of things that can cause a click click start. this is just the one I see and have heard of the most. I also had just replaced my battery cables so the solenoid wire was brand new.
 

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Registered
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Yes, thanks for this post.
I just did this today and wanted to post up my observations. I had already replaced the trigger wire end and did the relay with not 100% results, so hopefully this does it.
I used the Beck Arnley one Forest posted about - btw theres an E-bay seller that has it for the same price as Amazon (I got the E-bay one).
This is really easy to do. The only place I deviated from what the OP outlined was removing the headlight switch - It wasn't necessary. Also make sure to use a #1 bit on the small screw that holds the switch (so you dont strip it)...I would recommend unplugging the switch from power before removing this screw as well - just to make sure you don't cross contacts. I'm not sure how you'd do this with a stubby screw driver either, I think the way he did it was the best.
The hardest part about this job is dealing with that piece of shit steering column cover...I hate that thing, lol.
Thanks again
 
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