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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For a couple weeks my 2006 Ridgeline was "slow" to start (1 second hesitation, followed by a 1 second slow turn, then fully kicked in). Replaced battery. Same thing. Took it to dealer. Got the dreaded "could not duplicate" despite having demonstrated it right in front of the service manager. Same thing continued. A week later, no start at all, but now accompanied by white smoke and "firework" smell from somewhere underneath the engine (beneath the transmission dip stick) when the key is turned. Oil good. Transmission fluid good. Help!
 

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White smoke is usually indicative of water, or antifreeze, entering the combustion chamber of a cylinder. Usually this is a head gasket leak.
 

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Hmmm I wonder if it's cylinder #4 issue...
 

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Is the white smoke coming from under the hood or out of the exhaust pipe? If it's under the hood and smells like burning electronics along with no starting, you could have a fried starter. If it's coming out of the exhaust, you've got a much more severe issue. As was suggested, read up on the #4 cylinder issue and check the torque on your spark plugs.


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This is probably a problem with the starter or wiring going to the starter and not an engine problem.
 

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For a couple weeks my 2006 Ridgeline was "slow" to start (1 second hesitation, followed by a 1 second slow turn, then fully kicked in). Replaced battery. Same thing. Took it to dealer. Got the dreaded "could not duplicate" despite having demonstrated it right in front of the service manager. Same thing continued. A week later, no start at all, but now accompanied by white smoke and "firework" smell from somewhere underneath the engine (beneath the transmission dip stick) when the key is turned. Oil good. Transmission fluid good. Help!

Have the "rear/back seal" checked also.
 

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I would ask if the white smoke is just a poof when it starts? Or continuous? If continuous, I would agree with the head gasket. The sulfur smell sounds like the catylitic converter might be something like a crankshaft position sensor or an O2 sensor.

I would first try to pull the codes as there are a ton of possibilities based on current info.

If it was the #4 cylinder issue, I would think the dealer would have no problem duplicating the problem
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you very much for the replies.

When it was slow to turn over, no smoke.

The first appearance of white smoke was the day it would not turn over. It was more than a poof. I don't know if it was continuous because I turned the ignition/key off after a few seconds. The smoke emitted for those few seconds though.

The smoke was NOT from the exhaust. It was from under the hood, under the right side (if you are standing in front of the truck looking down into the engine) near/under the transmission dip stick.

Starter?
 

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Thank you very much for the replies.

When it was slow to turn over, no smoke.

The first appearance of white smoke was the day it would not turn over. It was more than a poof. I don't know if it was continuous because I turned the ignition/key off after a few seconds. The smoke emitted for those few seconds though.

The smoke was NOT from the exhaust. It was from under the hood, under the right side (if you are standing in front of the truck looking down into the engine) near/under the transmission dip stick.

Starter?
I'd put my money on it. I believe that's where the starter is located. I'd have it tested for sure. FYI, the 06-08 models use a specific Mitsubishi starter and the 09+ uses a Denso model. From what I know, they are NOT interchangeable parts, so make sure you get the right one. I wish they were interchangeable because I would "upgrade" to the Denso in a heartbeat.
 

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That sure sounds like the right place for the starter:



Just for the record, if I'm gonna have white smoke, I'd rather it be from the starter than from the tailpipe. ;)

Diagnostic checks:


More diagnostic checks:


R&R the starter:
 

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As bad as this sounds, you might be lucky. If this is a starter issue, it should be a lot easier and less expensive than dealing with a blown head gasket. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Bingo! Dealer's tech diagnosed it as the starter just an hour ago. I asked about other starter options (upgrades). Service manager said there were none. :-( I've never had a starter die on me this early (58,000 miles). Labor and parts are going to be $670.

Thank you all for your help!
 

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I'm sure the dealership prices for the starter are somewhere around the prices for a new alternator - $450-500 or so. Add in 1 to 1.5 hours of labor and that sounds about right. I do know that reman'd starters are MUCH less expensive on Rockauto.com. You can get a Beck/Arnley unit for a little over $100 after you return your core. You might want to think about taking this route. Rockauto ships really fast and you could have an independent shop install it easily and less expensively if you're not comfortable installing it yourself. It would be easier than an alternator because you don't have to remove the serpentine belt. Just a thought!
 
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