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Starter motors


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A while back (2mths?) i replaced the starter on 200tdi after it kept failing to engage, a sharp tap with a hammer and it would work, but less than ideal.

yesterday, for the 1st time since fitting, the new one did the same, no tap needed this time, just repeated ign on/off got it to go, with a little rock on the transmission.

the only difference yesterday was that it was a damp morning, this morning for example it fired up straight away no problem.

the last time it was used was Thur so its in regular use and lives outside and hasn't been affected by weather to date.

the s/m is going back tomorrow for a replacement although i dont want to have to go through fitting/removal every couple of months.

there is a good earth from the block to the chassis.


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This sounds like a solenoid problem. Perhaps removing the solenoid - take out the plunger and spring, then flood with a thin oil such as 3-in-1 might cure the problem.


Probably not a solenoid problem as the fork which engages the starter gear is operated by the solenoid and it has to engage the gear before it can travel far enough for the electrical contacts to meet and spin the starter. Thats why they are called a pre engaged starter because they engage before they spin. If the starter turns it must be moving far enough.

When they just spin without turning the motor its usually (unless its stripped a patch of teath off the ring gear) the clutch in the drive gear U/S, They dont like water at the best of time's but they aint big money to get one fitted. may aswell get the rest of it looked at, cleaned and checked out at the same time.

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I had one in a Proton and the one on my Volvo won't spin sometimes, usuallly when the vehicle is hot. I wonder if all these are made by the same firm?

Apparently it's a stock fault on the Proton and quite a few people on the Volvo forum report the same.

Connect a temporary test lamp to the solenoid wire at the starter, if it doesn't light up when you try to start you'd be looking at faulty ignition switch, relays and so on.

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it tries to spin the motor its just very slow and sometimes doesnt manage it at all. off the ign and back on until she turns the s/m.

as soon as the s/m turns she fires.

so solenoid in the s/m we reckon?

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Get ya multi meter out and put one lead on the poss of the battery and the other on the end of the stud on the solenoid that the battery lead goes on too, then crank the motor and see what the meter reads while its cranking. If its more that a few hundred mV's (about .5v as a rule) then there is a poor connection. If this is ok swap the multi meter lead on the battery to the neg terminal and the other multi meter lead on to the starter body and crank it again. Again if it shows more than a few hundred mV's there is a bad connection on one of the earths. If there is a high voltage keep moving the lead back towards the battery and testing it till the voltage drops and you will find your poor connection. If they all seem ok then the problem is inside the starter. Don't forget that the brush's in the starter don't only supply power to the armature but the low tension windings in the solenoid earth through them so poor/dirty brush's can cause solenoid problems, tho saying that the solenoids are also very prone to causing problems. Hope that makes sence!

Reason I say this is more often than not when we get a new starter back in a shortish period of time its usually due to a poor connection somewhere causing low voltage at the starter and then the amps soar and cook your new starter just the same as the one it replaced so these days we always check. Couple of years back we had a transit that had had 4 starters at the main dealers in the first 3 years of its life, Checked it through, Bad crimp on one of the leads which we fixed, Another new starter and its still going strong today.

also might be worth checking for a voltage drop on the activator lead (small one on the solenoid) as ive seen a low voltage on these stop the solenoid drawing in properly and causing a lazy starter, Think there is a relay for this behind the fuse box plate!

If this dont make sence (which I doubt it does) give me a call and I'll try to explain better.

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'it tries to spin the motor its just very slow'

Try a new battery! Or at least fully charge your old one and check all leads as said earlier.

Do not expect the alternator to recharge a flat battery. It is not intended for that purpose & frequent calls for it to do so are likely to result in you needing a new one. That is not just my opinion but that of the manufacturers.

As the weather starts to get colder dying batteries will be shown up. Very common issue at this time of year

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I have a good solution to this.

It always happens eventually so you might as well be prepared.

Fit a new/working one then take old one and stick it in a bucket filled with oil (any old oil, ATF whatever). By the time the new one has gone the same way, the one in the bucket will have fixed itself and be ready to re-fit.

Repeat until you retire!


P.S. I do similar with alternator regulators, in the same bucket - seems to do wonders for them too.

I think it's a bit like sharpening razor blades with a pyramid ;)

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