Strange Starter Issue

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DCooke
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Re: Strange Starter Issue

Post by DCooke » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:24 am

So, the roadster been sitting on the battery tender for an additional 8 days while I was on a big project at work. When I turned the ignition key this morning, I just got the "click", I tried turning the key 8-10 more times & it clicked each time, then it finally turned over & fired right up. It doesn't seem to be a low battery as I either get the "click" or it fires up instantly, I never get a slow turn over like a low battery would indicate. Could this be a weak or flat spot on the starter?
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Linda
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Re: Strange Starter Issue

Post by Linda » Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:30 pm

If you have a gear reduction starter you can pull it and check the contacts in the solenoid. Did this with a Toyota starter. Very easy
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Re: Strange Starter Issue

Post by mraitch » Mon Aug 18, 2014 5:54 pm

sounds like the solenoid is 'stuck'
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Re: Strange Starter Issue

Post by notoptoy » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:36 pm

Same old advice, clean the grounds and try again. I have seen the terminals corrode with a white powder/dust/crust that you cannot see. Wire brush the terminal, cable and bolt of both ends of the heavy ground at the starter. Otherwise I would suspect the solenoid.
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DCooke
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Re: Strange Starter Issue

Post by DCooke » Thu Aug 21, 2014 6:42 pm

Ok, so what's the trick to getting to the starter to clean the connections? That thing looks impossible to get to. Anyone have a secret way to do this...or is pulling the engine faster :shock:
Dave Cooke
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Re: Strange Starter Issue

Post by Nissanman » Thu Aug 21, 2014 7:04 pm

It is not easy but it can be done.
There was a "factory" modification years ago that specified removing the triangular brace adjacent the starter to make the job easier.
The spot welds were drilled out, the plate removed, starter serviced and replaced, plate replaced with self tapping screws.

Double check that the starter is faulty by "jumping" the solenoid terminal to 12V, thus bypassing the Ignition key completely.
Typical Starter Wiring Temporary Jumper.jpg
Using this method, you can jog the starter many times to see if it fails to fire up.
Just a little dab will do ya, causing the solenoid to operate and connect the HT terminals together.
Unlikely, but there may be a dead segment on the commutator and if the starter stops there it won't energise again.
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DCooke
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Re: Strange Starter Issue

Post by DCooke » Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:47 pm

The "clicking" issue has gotten a lot worse, it takes 10-15 turns of the key to get one that will fire.
So, I decided to do a thorough cleaning of all the grounds. I started with the starter ground on the frame right next to the starter. The ground bolt on the frame came off a little too easy, so I cleaned the frame around the ground connection and torqued the bolt down and...voila, she started right up. I continued by cleaning the ground below the battery & the ground below the washer tank. I checked by starting the car multiple times & its now firing up much more consistently. I still got a couple of "clicks" even after the ground cleaning, but I think I'm on the right track here.
Dave Cooke
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Re: Strange Starter Issue

Post by dbrick » Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:42 pm

If you're in doubt, use the negative clamps on a set of jumper cables. one end to the battery, other to engine ground or body ground etc. If problem goes away, there's the bad ground

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Re: Strange Starter Issue

Post by mikew » Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:27 am

I am having this exact same issue. Same symptoms as described. It has gradually gotten worse over the last 12 months. It's worse when cold. Have to repeatedly turn the key to start position until it cranks over properly. Sometimes takes 10-20 tries now. When warm usually turns over on second or third try.

Replaced the battery a while back but it made no difference.

So yesterday I decided to do some diagnostics... After checking and cleaning connections of the positive lead from battery to starter, I hooked a jumper lead from neg battery terminal to engine block to bypass any possible bad earth connections. Then I hotwired direct from battery positive terminal to ignition switch input on starter, and...

... the same symptoms.

So pretty sure now it's the starter motor.

Getting that starter off doesn't look like a fun job so I think my car might be off to Guru Lou soon!!

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Re: Strange Starter Issue

Post by nismou20 » Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:25 am

I had the same issue as well, suspected battery and ground wires. Turned out the 40 year old starter motor was just too tired. Got a new one from Stan the man, no more problems.

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Re: Strange Starter Issue

Post by mraitch » Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:12 am

Always good to source a spare alternator,water pump,starter motor and have them on the shelf. At some time they are going to go bad.
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Re: Strange Starter Issue

Post by Nissanman » Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:00 pm

The electrical bits do wear but barring excessive tension on the drive pulley, the alternator usually will only require new brushes as would the starter motor.
Bearings are cheap so they are also replaced when the unit is off the car.
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Re: Strange Starter Issue

Post by mraitch » Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:07 pm

@nissanman - I get that, but I had an alternator seize on the way back from Williams a couple years back. Having a spare in the trunk/boot - would have made life much easier - but maybe just having spare brushes lying around (along with the knowledge of how to replace - of course).
Peter Harrison
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Re: Strange Starter Issue

Post by Nissanman » Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:00 pm

A SEIZURE!
Now we know why they are belt driven :shock:
I had an AC compressor seize in my R33 Skyline.
Trashed the belt in about 2 seconds flat!
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Re: Strange Starter Issue

Post by DCooke » Sun Jun 23, 2019 3:42 pm

...ok, so it's been a 5 years since I replied to this post, but I suddenly started having the exact same issue issue I had a few years ago: Good battery, but only getting a solenoid click & no engine turn-over. So, as I did last time, I re-cleaned both ground wires, the one below the battery & the one next to the starter. But this time, this didn't solve the issue. I was starting to wonder if my 10+ year old starter had failed. I decided to remove the hot wires off the starter & realized they were pretty dirty & oxidized (black). I gave the post, washer, nut, and wire leads & connectors all a good scrubbing and a nice sanding with 210 grit sandpaper & then re-assembled. BAM, she fired right up! Sometimes it's the simplest things. Now back to my roadster top-down summer!
Dave Cooke
Cary, IL
1968 1600
1969 1600
2016 BRZ
Chicagoland chapter of the Dairyland Datsuns