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Discussion Starter #1
2011 with approx 122K (kilometers). Its been a pretty cold winter so far, with mornings starting off at almost -20C. Wife said the Enclave was somewhat difficult to start, and actually didn't start once or twice while attempting to crank. Figured it was the battery.... so we picked up a new battery, and replaced this past weekend. The original battery that was in there was an ACDelco, most likely the original. It looked good, no swelling, no leaking... looked good.

New battery was a Kirkland brand, dated Jan/2018. I believe it was an H6 group code battery - we used the book and looked up the right one.

Anyways, battery has been installed for almost a week, and wife is still saying the E is sluggish to start....? BTW, oil change was ALSO done at the same time as it was needed...

Now i'm thinking the original battery was ok... but I don't know why it would be starting sluggish. By sluggish I mean it sounds difficult to start at first, but then a second or two late, it cranks and runs fine. I always associated that type of start to battery issues....?
 

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Could be the starter going bad. Just did mine at about 175k miles on my 09. Same thing most of the time fine then sometimes slow cranking. The battery loaded tested fine so i went for a starter and it's been fine for about 10k miles. If you do lots of starts that is what will obviously wear it out, not mileage. Could be a bad connection too.
 

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What oil do you use? If it only cranks slow when it is cold you can try synthetic if you don't already. If it cranks slow when the oil is warm then never mind, just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Already using full synthetic (Pennzoil Platinum). Because I'm not driving it daily, I don't know under what conditions it happens. Wife just says that it starts sluggish after its been sitting a while (i.e - overnight, or while its been sitting 6-8 hours while shes at work).

I wouldn't say that we "do lots of starts". Thats hard to specify... but would have to say its below average regarding how many times we start it... would possibly be between 2-4 times a day sometimes when she goes to work.... other days its started many more times.

Never thought about the starter though.... all other indicators would suggest the starter is ok. Would the starter affect the auto-crank? We've never really had an issue with that... as soon as the key hits the run position, it keeps cranking automatically (only for 1-2 seconds) on its own until it starts... its just that initial crank seems like it doesn't have enough power... once it cranks, its fine though.

Any posts on where the starter is located, and how to change?
 

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Starter is behind the catalytic converter on bank 2, which is closest to the grill of the vehicle. You have to remove the cat to get at it along with some exhaust manifold shielding and the knock sensor. Took me about three hours to do the job. There are some youtube videos on it. It's not that uncommon of a part to go bad. Being right next to the cat it does get hot and that I'm sure that decreases it's life. I got a new gm one from rockauto for around $140. Ours was intermittent and I never heard the issue since it's the wife's vehicle also and I only drive it one a week or so, but it was the culprit. Not the greatest video, but it is in the service manual also. Very straight forward job that will save you I'm guessing 400-500 US $ vs a dealer or shop.


 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just another thing to go wrong with this vehicle.

I just replaced an actuator controlling the passenger side heat control.... now it seems like ANOTHER actuator is gone... I'm only getting air through my defrost vent... no air through the front face vents....

And the starter looks like a PITA to change..... but it very well could be.... Not impressed at all with GM quality...
 

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Wait to you have to do the rear two actuators................ Yes, they jam a lot into these vehicles and keep the mechanicals compact for more of our comfort. Just take your time and it all gets done without breaking anything. Mechanics in arush don't do these vehicles any favors, lots to break if you man handle it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Updating my post from over a year ago...

I still haven't gotten around to changing the starter out, but I did buy one for a great price from Rock Auto just to have on hand. I very rarely drive the vehicle, and wife hasn't really complained as the Enclave always starts, but continues to be sluggish as soon as you engage the starter by turning the key as I found out while shopping this weekend.
On this start, the car started to crank, but for a second it actually stopped cranking then slowly powers up and continues to crank and finally starts.

Thats the best way I can described whats happening. Before I throw parts at it (and I'm extremely afraid of having an exhaust leak somewhere IF I do change the starter), does anyone know if what I'm describing could be seen using an ODB2 reader, or tools (volt meter?). What would/could I look for? Even if it is the starter, is there a way that I could test it while its on the car?
 

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Take the battery terminals off and make sure they're good and clean, then reconnect them making sure they're good and tight. Actually take them off and clean the battery terminal and clamps, don't just look at them and give them a wiggle from the top and assuming they're good. After that have the battery load tested. If that passes it's pretty much confirmed it's the starter. Don't know of any OBD codes that would get set for a slow crank which makes sense since the CEL isn't on.

You could also check the voltage on the main starter wires while having someone crank it to make sure you're getting good power to the starter. Haven't had to do any starter work on our Enclave so not sure if it's even possible to reach the wires without have to tear it out. Definitely something you'd want to try when it's cool since you're working around the exhaust.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the reply JayS. The battery was changed out likely a year ago or so - this was changed because I thought it was the cause for the sluggish start which clearly it was not.

Thanks for the great info about checking the starter voltage while someone cranks, this is something I can give a try, but if your saying that I can rule out the battery, then the next leads to the starter next, then at least now I know and may give it a shot. Living in Canada, most bolts are pretty rusty, so will have to pour on the Liquid Wrench in hopes to loosen everything up.
 

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When you say "sluggish start", does it eventually crank up after you keep cranking the starter for a while? The reason I ask is that if that is the case, the problem could be the purge valve solenoid, which will cause the engine to be sluggish to start especially after filling the tank.
 
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