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Starter motor connections


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Hi all,

my 90 has been stood for about a month without being moved, and when I tried to start it up at the weekend, there was the click I've read so much about through searches looking for a solution, but no other noises at all. I put the battery on charge thinking this was the issue, as the battery is a few years old now. After a few more attempts, the starter began to make some noise and with each turn of the key it would go on for a bit longer, until eventually it started.

However, after quite a bit of charging, and a good run, the next time I came to start it there was no noise again. I turned the key repeatedly and after 3 or 4 tries, it started again, this time without any added charging. This has been the case for a few more start ups since, all over the weekend and within short succession of each other.

I have already read about starter problems, with the solenoid being to blame quite often, and possibly a duff battery. I know the alternator is good and charging as it was overhauled very recently. The reason I am posting this is that no other results in my search mentioned the starter gaining power with each key turn, to me that is odd as surely if the battery is mullered then it'd be flat and turning the key would only drain what little charge remained.

I have had a look at the earths, they all look ok and I have sprayed WD40 around liberally to clean them up. However, the starter itself has a terminal with nothing attached to it. I am hoping someone can identify what it is for and if it should have something attached, and if it could be the source of the problem.

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Obviously I am hoping the problem is not the battery or starter due to the cost of those items. How can I check the condition of the battery? Is the only option to take it to a retailer? Would putting a multimeter across the terminals and getting 12.5V show anything of the condition?

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To test the battery you need to do what is called a drop test. If you put a meter on the terminals and then crank the engine, the voltage will drop. The further it drops, the worse the battery condition is. Above 10.5-volts is about normal. It's possible that your starter motor is just sticky - the brushes making poor contact most likely, but could also be the solenoid itself, or perhaps the bearings. Most starter motors can be stripped, cleaned, and reassembled. It could also be wiring connections, but normally the symptoms of a poor connection are opposite to what you describe.

Les.

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there is a small single wire at the back of the starter with a spade connection that is a well known problem as it falls off or comes loose and you just get a click. also check the earths to the chassis...

your starter seems to be soaking wet? i guess thats the wd40 but if its been drowned in water the internals maybe corroded up. i had the same problem after a heavy dunking in a swamp, i thought it was the battery as it would sometimes start but turn over slowly etc, took it to a local auto electric place were they opened it up and it was full of muddy water. cure was a new starter...

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My Audi used to do this, turned out to be a sticking solenoid. If you get a click just whack [gently] the solenoid housing with a LRTool #1 and try the key again.

Didn't need a new starter, just cleaned the solenoid and housing, once I'd got fed up with hammering it to start up.

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Thanks for the replies, I'll be testing the battery asap.

I think I should admit to not knowing where the solenoid is, if whacking it makes a difference then obviously that's where I'll look first.

Suggs, the moisture is WD40, being the V8 I do very little wading and I can only think of one occasion when it could have been deep enough to immerse the starter but I know once is probably enough. I'll rule out everything else before I go for the starter.

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Thanks for the replies, I'll be testing the battery asap.

I think I should admit to not knowing where the solenoid is, if whacking it makes a difference then obviously that's where I'll look first.

Suggs, the moisture is WD40, being the V8 I do very little wading and I can only think of one occasion when it could have been deep enough to immerse the starter but I know once is probably enough. I'll rule out everything else before I go for the starter.

soleniod is the smaller part of the starter motor assembly, the bit where all the wires connect too.

post-20-1243515165_thumb.jpg

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I tried hitting the motor a bit and it didn't seem to make much change, so I sat in and turned the key repeatedly for 1/2 a second or so just enough to make the motor turn without starting it up. At first every other turn was a click or you could hear it get stuck, but after a good few goes it began to turn each time and now it starts on the button. I think a lack of use probably made it stick as you say, Les, but I'll have to keep an eye on it and do my battery test at the next convenient time (the seats are not standard and have to be removed before I can get to the battery).

Thanks for the pointers!

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