Starter motor not turning

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mawelby
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Starter motor not turning

Post by mawelby »

Hi,

Before i go into the issue that has me stumped, I just want to say thanks to all you folks for such a helpful forum. I've already got many tips from here before, but this time its got to a stage that I've actually registered and posted!! :D

Got my van back from the body shop a week ago, after having some welding and paint work- started okay twice. Stuck her in the garage, and when I tried to start her, the motor wouldn't turn at all. I have now replaced the starter and bush, but still nothing. The almighty Haynes says that if the headlights dim when the ignition is engaged, it means the starter is getting power. This happens, but she still doesn't turn. Can anyone give me any pointers as to what I should be testing to find the fault please? My brother-in-law has a bay and recommended shorting the starter to check it turns- then i'll know its the 12v ignition cable that's to blame. Is this a good idea, or should I just buy that volt-meter that i've been putting off shelling out for?

MidLifeCrisis
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Re: Starter motor not turning

Post by MidLifeCrisis »

It's going to be one of the following;

1) Battery is flat - have you measured voltage at the battery or can you substitute a known good battery?
2) Ignition switch is failing - do you hear any clicking noises when you turn the key? Actually you say that the headlights dim so that would probably imply that the switch is good(ish)
3) Is there a good voltage getting to the solenoid - again you'll need to measure this with a voltmeter (it's the smaller wire going to the starter motor (usually with a spade type connector)
4) Is the main heavy wire connection to the actual starter motor good - this is more tricky to test as you can get a good voltage at that but still not have a good enough connection to carry the current required to start
5) Has the starter motor got a good clean ground path back to the battery - this is usally via the ground cable that runs from the front of the gearbox to the chassis (and is usually pretty rubbish and rusty so worth checking)

Does the starter motor do anything when you turn the key - does it click, whir, sound like its trying to rotate?

You can use a jumper cable/wire to connect the solenoid trigger wire to the main starter motor wire to test if this gets the motor turning (this basically simulates the ignition key providing a good 12 volt signal to the solenoid)(I assume that this is what your brother-in-law means);
You could also try using a jumper cable to connect the battery positive to the main starter motor positive (to simulate a good connection between the battery and the starter motor)
Be really careful if you try doing this sort of thing as the opportunity to short to the van metalwork is pretty high and would be a bad thing !! Proceed with extreme caution.
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pirate-pete
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Re: Starter motor not turning

Post by pirate-pete »

Until I replaced mine back in Feb I sometimes needed to give my starter a clout with a hammer on the back of the solenoid. First time I needed this was when in for an MOT and the van would not start to drive away after the pass cert issued. The tester showed me where to hit it and pointed out the bruises where this had been done before !

My fault most likely to have been a sticking solenoid but had the symptoms you describe (i.e. headlights dim , no turning of motor). Also I had no click.
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Re: Starter motor not turning

Post by ghost123uk »

MidLifeCrisis wrote:1) Battery is flat - have you measured voltage at the battery or can you substitute a known good battery?

My money is on that ;)


MidLifeCrisis wrote:You can use a jumper cable/wire to connect the solenoid trigger wire to the main starter motor wire to test if this gets the motor turning (this basically simulates the ignition key providing a good 12 volt signal to the solenoid)(I assume that this is what your brother-in-law means);
You could also try using a jumper cable to connect the battery positive to the main starter motor positive (to simulate a good connection between the battery and the starter motor)
Be really careful if you try doing this sort of thing as the opportunity to short to the van metalwork is pretty high and would be a bad thing !! Proceed with extreme caution.

Bold by me to emphasise the amount of caution required. If you are under the van trying to get a clumsy jump lead onto the starter / solenoid. accidental shorting it onto the body of the starter / solenoid will result in huge currents flowing. You really don't want red hot sparks in your face and eyes when on your back under a van. Then there is the risk of the lead welding itself on and the resultant fire and exploding battery, and the hot Sulphuric acid it produces. Take great care (or don't try this method ;))
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MidLifeCrisis
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Re: Starter motor not turning

Post by MidLifeCrisis »

ghost123uk wrote:
MidLifeCrisis wrote:Bold by me to emphasise the amount of caution required. If you are under the van trying to get a clumsy jump lead onto the starter / solenoid. accidental shorting it onto the body of the starter / solenoid will result in huge currents flowing. You really don't want red hot sparks in your face and eyes when on your back under a van. Then there is the risk of the lead welding itself on and the resultant fire and exploding battery, and the hot Sulphuric acid it produces. Take great care (or don't try this method ;))
Agreed - but I'd probably suggest connecting the starter motor end first, then connecting the other end to the battery (rather than vice versa!!!)
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Hacksawbob
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Re: Starter motor not turning

Post by Hacksawbob »

if the headlights dim when the ignition is engaged, it means the starter is getting power
I think the X relief relay cuts power to high demand items like lights on start up. So lights dimming on start up is not a reliable test.
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mawelby
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Re: Starter motor not turning

Post by mawelby »

Thanks folks. Just bought a multimeter so will test this eve...

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Re: Starter motor not turning

Post by CovKid »

If its the brushes, I'm doing a 'how to' on that job shortly. Brushes are only about a fiver whereas a new starter is, well, horrendous....
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MidLifeCrisis
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Re: Starter motor not turning

Post by MidLifeCrisis »

CovKid wrote:If its the brushes, I'm doing a 'how to' on that job shortly. Brushes are only about a fiver whereas a new starter is, well, horrendous....
I think OP has already bought a new Starter ....
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Oldiebut goodie
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Re: Starter motor not turning

Post by Oldiebut goodie »

Is it just me but haven't there been a lot of posts this last year on exactly the same subject and every time the poster has bought a new starter. (Usually prior to joining the forum also). There must be a lot of good starters being ditched out there.
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Re: Starter motor not turning

Post by syncroandy »

Sorry to butt in but I've just read what the OP posted and it isn't clear to me whether the fault is the solenoid not working, the starter armature not spinning, or whether it doesn't have the grunt to turn the engine. Maybe Ive missed something ?
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Yetti85
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Re: Starter motor not turning

Post by Yetti85 »

Same thing happened to me a couple weeks back after replacing one water jacket seal it was turning over and firing then nothing just wouldn't turn over at all no clicking no nothing.
I went through everything from earth straps solenoids brushes hitting with a hammer the only thing that turned it over was when I arced across from the solenoid. Last resort was wiring to ignition switch took the plastic cover off under the steering wheel and just made sure all connections were tight and on properly then it turned over.
So just check everything before you buy new.

mawelby
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Re: Starter motor not turning

Post by mawelby »

Just tested the Battery, and it was only producing 10.5v! Swapped it with the leisure battery and she started!! The multimeter was well worth the money.

Thanks for the advice too folks.

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Re: Starter motor not turning

Post by Ralf85 »

Lessons learnt for others hopefully:

1) Next time check the wiki or archive before replacing parts that are not faulty. 2) Check your battery if nothing happens at all. It's the obvious place to start. Saves wasting a lot of money.
3) Lastly if you don't have the knowledge check it out with your trusted garage. They would have discovered the flat battery issue in minutes at a fraction of the cost or for free.

Now you are mobile again enjoy the ride! :ok

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Re: Starter motor not turning

Post by discipleofsketch »

CovKid wrote:If its the brushes, I'm doing a 'how to' on that job shortly. Brushes are only about a fiver whereas a new starter is, well, horrendous....

Look forward to it!

I currently have intermittent starter issues, but the intermittent nature makes it hard to properly diagnose. It starts instantly 90% of the time, other times there is a pause before the starter turns, other times nothing but clicking. It always starts though before I find an assistant and get in the engine bay with a multimeter.

The starter battery was showing a good voltage, but as I read on another thread, it could still be struggling to produce the Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) needed. It was old and bit leaky so i've just bitten the bullet and replaced it, which will at least rule it out as the cause if it happens again.
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