2003 QX4: Intermittent Start issues, no start no click, also bogging down when starting - starter relay?
I've done lots of reading on the first start issue, but haven't found information that addresses my problem directly, and I could really use your help:
Intermittently, our 2003 QX4 with 133K miles doesn't start. Turn the key to start, dash instrument lights go off momentarily per normal, but no start and no click audible within the car. It usually starts on the 2nd try of turning the key, except for recently, now taking 3+ tries, and occurring more frequently. When it then does start, it starts right up as per normal. No issues with moving shift lever out of Park.
I'm on RepairPal that a failing "starter relay" is 1 of 8 known problems with this vehicle: "Engine won't crank due to starter relay failure: The engine may not crank when the key is turned to "start" if the starter relay fails. This can be confused with a defective starter motor."
Is this "starter relay" the same as the N.P relay I've read about this thread? NissanPartsDeal.com identifies a part as "Relay-Starter" which says N.P (GRAY) JIDECO or NILES in the part description, Part No. 25230-C9962 and it's replaced by an updated part 25230-C996B. Given that it does subsequently start with gear shift staying in the same position, wouldn't a relay be more likely than the Park/Neutral safety position switch? Or is there another part that's the culprit?
Things I've checked: Battery cables are tight; battery was replaced 1.5 yrs ago, no slow cranking; original starter motor and solenoid; P/N safety position switch is securely mounted; shift cable both ends have their bushings and operates normally with no play; No codes; Never any wiring damage due to rodents & like; Vehicle only has the factory standard security system, which disables the fuel? and would not give this fault?
Secondary issue, that I don't believe is related, but I could be wrong. Even more occasionally, it will really bog down while starting (starter turns engine as normal, then abruptly slows down to almost nothing), I turn off, retry and it starts OK. This, I think, is the starter motor. But don't see how the two problems are connected. Should I replace the starter now, and other problem may be resolved (and where best should I buy a quality starter rebuild for a reasonable price)?
Thanks for all and any help.
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