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Thread: Click-No-Start (Starter, Ignition Switch and other Culprits)

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    Click-No-Start (Starter, Ignition Switch and other Culprits)

    Hi all,

    Well, the van crapped out on me a few days ago with the dreaded "Click" sound. I pulled the starter and examined the copper contacts of the solenoid and they were surprisingly unworn! Had it bench tested and it was fine. I reviewed all the write ups from TVP on identifying the weak link in the system. When I turn the ignition to start, I get the click of the solenoid, but I also get a buzzing sound from somewhere near the fuse box. Could there be a relay or breaker involved in the starting process that hasn't been discussed that could cause this buzz?

    I also priced an ignition switch at Auto Zone for $41.99. Is that a fair price?

    Thanks all,

    Gary

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    Re: Ignition switch question.

    Have you checked the battery voltage and made sure the terminals are clean, tight, and corrosion free? What is the age and condition of the battery?

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    Re: Ignition switch question.

    I should have mentioned this in the opening post. The battery voltage reads 12.5V and everything is clean and tight. It's that buzzing noise when I turn the ignition that is really throwing me for a loop!

    Gary

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    Re: Ignition switch question.

    Does it buzz with the ignition turned to the "on" position or only when you have it in the "start" position?

    If it does that when in the "start" position, it could be a normal response from the circuit opening relay due to low voltage (low voltage could simply be a symptom of a larger problem). Double check all the connections of your big battery cables and inspect your FL 1.25B fusible link.

    If you have a helper, have him/her try to crank it while you're checking the battery voltage. If the battery is fully charged, but drops to below 10v while they are trying to crank, then the battery is bad. Tim

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    Re: Ignition switch question.

    You're correct Tim, it sounds off only when I go to start. The battery's 2 mos old and the starter is just fine. I'll follow your write up and trace the little wire backwards until I find the culprit. Thanks.

    Gary

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    Re: Ignition switch question.

    A little over a week ago, I was driving for about 25 minutes around town, stop and go, I parked for about 40 minutes, came out and the van wouldn't start. The sound was the same. Just a couple of clicks but the starter did not engage. I tried it 3 to 4 times. I checked the battery to see if anything seemed strange, it looked fine. Shook the terminal wires to see if anything was loose and nothing was. I looked at the motor to see if anything looked super strange, it looked normal. I tried it again and on about the 6th attempt (about the 10th total) it started right up. Concerned, I drove home and found this post and went and checked the FL 1.25 fusible link and it looks fine. My battery read 12.6V and dropped to about 10.9V when it turned over... The problem is that it has started on the first crank ever since I got home that night and I do not know what to check. To what write up and small wire do you refer?

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    Left for Japan for 2 months and now I turn the key and get 1 click.... fml

    just charged the battery today and going to put it in tomorrow, pretty sure Im going to get 1 click again. Van isnt throwing codes either

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    Re: Left for Japan for 2 months and now I turn the key and get 1 click.... fml

    Highwind, I had that happen to a van sitting for about that time here in Fla also. I knew the battery was good, I remembered toying with the transmission shifting and actually got it to turn over. I went from neutral to park as I was holding the key all the way forward a few times and its worked. I'm not sure what damage I could be doing but so far so good. I've also tapped on the starter with a hammer (lightly) as someone else is turning the ignition over and got them to go. Sorry this infos' hillbilly but its worked for me..

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    Re: Left for Japan for 2 months and now I turn the key and get 1 click.... fml

    I just got home from a 1600 mile trip, on mile 200ish I turned the key and click... Tapping the starter is your best bet in this situation. It shocks the starter. Hope it works out. It worked out for me I made it all the way

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    Re: Left for Japan for 2 months and now I turn the key and get 1 click.... fml

    replaced the starter, apparently advanced auto parts has starters (if it breaks we'll replace it) type deal

    i sometimes can start the van in PARK, but sometimes I have to start it in NEUTRAL and move it into PARK. (weird) might have to adjust that cable.

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    Starter motor and replacing contacts

    Looked for this in DIY and in this section but didn't find a mention which likely means my ability to use the 'search' function is pretty bad. My starter now has to be tapped on with a screw driver to bring it back to life. Wondering if anyone has a source for starter contacts or has done this to cure the problem I am having.

    Prior to this, it took numerous tries to get my van started (after sitting for a day or two) which I assumed was due to not getting fuel or drain back (or both). Now that my starter isn't working when I turn the key I hear the fuel pump priming, which lets me get gas up to engine, then go tap on the starter and thing fires up right away. So in addition to my starter motor sounds like I have a fueling issue, though the only item I have read about is a possible faulty cold start injector.


    Thanks for reading, any advice appreciated. -Josh
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    Re: Starter motor and replacing contacts

    BJ,

    It is filed under articles -> Tim's Tech Tips -> Starter Clicks but won't crank. I referred to this article before.

    Tim is so good with the details.

    Cheers, SoORYotas

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    Re: Starter motor and replacing contacts

    Josh,

    I'm hoping to tackle this job once I get my van back on all 4 wheels after I finish my bearing press job from hell finished. I bought this kit from Amazon, the job looks easy enough, if Tim's article and the rebuild videos on YouTube are any indication. If you go this route, would you mind posting back here with details on the job? If I get it done before you I'll come back and do the same.

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    Re: Starter motor and replacing contacts

    Ok this job was crazy simple, if you are mechanically savvy enough to remove and replace a starter you are more than capable of replacing the contacts. I'll share a couple of pointers from when I did this job but it's real straight forward and Tim's article hits all the high notes.

    First, that starter rebuild kit I bought was basically worthless. The plunger was too long and one of the replacement contacts had a weird crescent moon shape to it. I imagine this contact would have been fine on either side but it didn't seem to fit well and since only one of my contacts was worn I cleaned up the other one, hit the old plunger with a little bit of sandpaper and electronic cleaner to get the shine back and used that. If I were to do it again, I would just buy this bag of contacts and call it a day.

    There is a thin wire on one side of the contacts, be real careful not to hit or sever this wire. It's attached to a little plate that goes between the contact and the back of the bolt. This little plate was stuck to the bolt pretty good, I used a small tip screw driver in there and gently pried it apart. After that its remove, clean, and replace, being mindful of the order everything goes back together.

    The whole job, including pulling the starter and putting it back in, took a little over an hour, but I took pictures and got a little OCD about cleaning the starter while I had it out. I took it to OReilly's and they must have tested it about 5 times and said it passed every time. I threw it back in my van and she started right up and my code 12 is now gone so totally worth it in my book.

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    Re: Starter motor and replacing contacts

    Thanks, for the update. Just put my van on the lift over the weekend while trying to finish work on Montero for a trip in 9 days. Bout of stomach flu stopped progress on both vehicles. Hopefully finishing the Montero over the next two days after work and will then pull the starter motor on the van.
    Josh
    Quote Originally Posted by AD2101 View Post
    Ok this job was crazy simple, if you are mechanically savvy enough to remove and replace a starter you are more than capable of replacing the contacts. I'll share a couple of pointers from when I did this job but it's real straight forward and Tim's article hits all the high notes.

    First, that starter rebuild kit I bought was basically worthless. The plunger was too long and one of the replacement contacts had a weird crescent moon shape to it. I imagine this contact would have been fine on either side but it didn't seem to fit well and since only one of my contacts was worn I cleaned up the other one, hit the old plunger with a little bit of sandpaper and electronic cleaner to get the shine back and used that. If I were to do it again, I would just buy this bag of contacts and call it a day.

    There is a thin wire on one side of the contacts, be real careful not to hit or sever this wire. It's attached to a little plate that goes between the contact and the back of the bolt. This little plate was stuck to the bolt pretty good, I used a small tip screw driver in there and gently pried it apart. After that its remove, clean, and replace, being mindful of the order everything goes back together.

    The whole job, including pulling the starter and putting it back in, took a little over an hour, but I took pictures and got a little OCD about cleaning the starter while I had it out. I took it to OReilly's and they must have tested it about 5 times and said it passed every time. I threw it back in my van and she started right up and my code 12 is now gone so totally worth it in my book.
    1987 4wd 5spd Cargo van (uncut)-modding in 3,2,1

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    Re: Click-No-Start (Starter, Ignition Switch and other Culprits)

    Ok, so add me to the list. Have the click, when turning the key. Checked the battery, yep 12.5vlts on the multi meter. Assume I need new starter contacts, order the kit (came w/a plunger as well, so replaced that to). Felt pretty good patting self on back yesterday afternoon. Go to start it today same click. After a string of expletives, I checked the battery, no itís fine; crawl under the van and tap the starter with the handle of a screw driver. Turn the key and starter motor fires. More expletives, shaking fist toward the heavens, etc. Before we talk about power supply or grounding connections, let me preface this with the idea that I have already replaced ground cables with custom 2.0g wires, run tandem 2.0g wires w/copper terminals to both starter and alternator. Any idea what I have failed to do? thanks for listening
    1987 4wd 5spd Cargo van (uncut)-modding in 3,2,1

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    Re: Click-No-Start (Starter, Ignition Switch and other Culprits)

    BJ - Have you done anything to the trigger wire circuit?

    Sounds like you've eliminated all the other possible causes.
    Start with checking trigger voltage when the starter won't turn

    I'd be tempted to run a separate wire for the ign switch to the solenoid and try that out for a couple of weeks, if no further troubles present,
    make that wire permanent.

    Before doing that you may want to inspect the ign switch itself and make sure the contact for the "start position" isn't burned/corroded.
    Perhaps even just taking voltage readings from the back side might shed some light

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    Re: Click-No-Start (Starter, Ignition Switch and other Culprits)

    Seems reasonable enough, but I would have thought it is something with the starter given that I can get it to start by tapping on it w/a hammer?
    Is there a tutorial on removing the ignition lock? Looked at it briefly when I was looking for the trigger wire at ignition switch. I could only find two green wires coming from back of ignition lock. Not sure where to find it.
    thanks
    Quote Originally Posted by Burntboot View Post
    BJ - Have you done anything to the trigger wire circuit?

    Sounds like you've eliminated all the other possible causes.
    Start with checking trigger voltage when the starter won't turn

    I'd be tempted to run a separate wire for the ign switch to the solenoid and try that out for a couple of weeks, if no further troubles present,
    make that wire permanent.

    Before doing that you may want to inspect the ign switch itself and make sure the contact for the "start position" isn't burned/corroded.
    Perhaps even just taking voltage readings from the back side might shed some light
    1987 4wd 5spd Cargo van (uncut)-modding in 3,2,1

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    Re: Click-No-Start (Starter, Ignition Switch and other Culprits)

    BJ - you don't need to pull the lock cylinder, the electrical portion mounts onto the end of the lock body.

    From post #17 of this thread Ignition switch question.

    "To rule this out, make sure your battery is good and fully charged, then rig up a voltmeter to your small solenoid wire (at the starter) and have somebody try to crank. If you see above 10.5 volts and it's not cranking, then the problem is in your starter. If the voltage is below that, then the problem is somewhere in the starter circuit. If the problem is in your starter, pop the solenoid cover off and inspect the contacts before condemning the entire starter. Tim"


    That is where I would want to start the investigation, having that answer (trigger wire voltage) will direct where to go next.

    If the problem is in the starter, worn brushes or worn bearings are repairable but if the commutator is damaged its time for new.
    The manual dedicates 12 pages to the starter and they quote specs for just about every imaginable thing you could want to inspect.

    Not that it applies, but when I went down this road I hadn't yet found Tim's plunger contact repair and went with an OEM factory rebuild.
    IIRC, I got a full 2 weeks before the click came back.
    -only to say that my issue probably had nothing to do with the starter, as every time I thought I had it repaired, it would only be good for a few weeks at best.

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    Re: Click-No-Start (Starter, Ignition Switch and other Culprits)

    I'd also try to rule out bad starter unit (while it's still connected to the van) v bad wiring by sending POS voltage directly to the starter.

    If it doesn't turn this way, I'd suspect something with the starter unit is no good.

    I've done this with jumper cables running from the battery, under the van, and to the contact on the starter.

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