Engine wont turn over, solenoid clicks, hammer tapping starter gets the engine turnin - JeepForum.com
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Unread 03-31-2004, 01:36 PM   #1
zpmada
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Best starter for 2.5 1990 YJ

Today I got stuck at my local autoparts store. Without my Haynes manual, and not being mechanically inclined I had no idea what my problem was. I first assumed my battery was dead or didn't have enough power to start the Jeep. I went inside and they brought a portable charging thing. Still, no turning over but clicking. He brought the tool and cleaned the positive battery terminal and tightened the positive wire to the battery. Still, no turning but click. He came back out with a hammer, started tapping the starter and this time I started turning over but slowly, finally firing after about 5 seconds and everything seemed normal. I drove home, opened the Haynes manual and it says:

"If, when the switch is actuated, the starter motor does not operate at all but the solenoid clicks, then the problem lies with either the battery, the starter relay (if equippd), the main solenoid contacts or the starter itself (or the engine is seized)."

Well, I can rule out "engine is seized" because it fired up and drove me home, and everything was normal on the trip back. I guess I can rule out battery (even though its old and small; from a honda) because it started up and didn't die. I'm not sure about the solenoid contacts. There is a clicking sound, but would that still happen if the solenoid contacts were bad? As for the starter relay, I'm not sure about that either. I have had a problem for a while now (1000 miles) with the idle relay and/or motor. Whenever the engine is shut off you can see the gas pedal slightly move and click. I know the problem lies in the idle relay or motor. I don't know if the starter relay and idle relay are the same thing, or related and my problem is that because the Haynes manual says "Defective relays must be replaced as a unit". I guess what I'm asking if the idle and starter relay are the same unit. I'm almost positive I need a new starter and the starter is my problem because he had to tap it with a hammer to get it starting, but the solenoid contacts, starter relay are still possibilities.

Just out of curiousity, how does the starter motor work? I'm curious because I want to know how tapping it gets it working. (when it's bad ofcourse)

EDIT: I'm going to get a new starter, but I would like to know whats the best.


Last edited by zpmada; 04-02-2004 at 11:07 PM..
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Unread 03-31-2004, 02:00 PM   #2
EndlessMtnFab
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Posts: 256
More or less ....

You've answered your own question. You either have a bad solenoid or a sticking drive. The solenoid powers the main shaft (so the gear kicks out and engages the flexplate/flywheel).

Could be a corrosion issue. Or a loose internal wire. Or a bad/dead spot on the armature.

If you are hitting the starter and it's working .. it's not a relay issue. Just drop the starter and take it to the store for a new one (core charges apply).

Joe
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Unread 03-31-2004, 06:38 PM   #3
Fuzz
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Location: Central Ontario, Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zpmada
Today I got stuck at my local autoparts store. Without my Haynes manual, and not being mechanically inclined I had no idea what my problem was. I first assumed my battery was dead or didn't have enough power to start the Jeep. I went inside and they brought a portable charging thing. Still, no turning over but clicking. He brought the tool and cleaned the positive battery terminal and tightened the positive wire to the battery. Still, no turning but click. He came back out with a hammer, started tapping the starter and this time I started turning over but slowly, finally firing after about 5 seconds and everything seemed normal. I drove home, opened the Haynes manual and it says:

"If, when the switch is actuated, the starter motor does not operate at all but the solenoid clicks, then the problem lies with either the battery, the starter relay (if equippd), the main solenoid contacts or the starter itself (or the engine is seized)."

Well, I can rule out "engine is seized" because it fired up and drove me home, and everything was normal on the trip back. I guess I can rule out battery (even though its old and small; from a honda) because it started up and didn't die. I'm not sure about the solenoid contacts. There is a clicking sound, but would that still happen if the solenoid contacts were bad? As for the starter relay, I'm not sure about that either. I have had a problem for a while now (1000 miles) with the idle relay and/or motor. Whenever the engine is shut off you can see the gas pedal slightly move and click. I know the problem lies in the idle relay or motor. I don't know if the starter relay and idle relay are the same thing, or related and my problem is that because the Haynes manual says "Defective relays must be replaced as a unit". I guess what I'm asking if the idle and starter relay are the same unit. I'm almost positive I need a new starter and the starter is my problem because he had to tap it with a hammer to get it starting, but the solenoid contacts, starter relay are still possibilities.

Just out of curiousity, how does the starter motor work? I'm curious because I want to know how tapping it gets it working. (when it's bad ofcourse)
I know your problem well. I have experienced it many times over the years with cars, trucks. jeeps and boats. In every case, replacing the starting motor fixed the problem. I am assuming here that the battery and cable connectors are good. A dead battery will give the same clicking sound. A poor or corroded battery cable connection can produce the same clicking noise.

If you are trying to save money, remove and clean the battery connector on the starting motor first. Starting motors are usually located in the path of lots of road salt and other contaminants. You will probably end up replacing the starting motor but this is worth a try if cost is important.

Make sure the starting motor rebuilder is reputable. I was in a rush to get one of the 454's in my boat running this summer and made the mistake of going to the wrong rebuilder. This guy swapped incompatible parts inside the starter which ended up costing me a pile when I took it elsewhere to be rebuilt again.

Over the years, I have had dozens of starting motors rebuilt. Never once have I needed to have a relay or slave solenoid replaced. I always run a healthy battery and that has helped too.

Fuzz
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Unread 03-31-2004, 07:14 PM   #4
Mike611
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Yessir,, sounds like the starter motor to me. Pounding the top with the hammer help give it the extra jolt to get going, when the power from the battery should be plenty. ( I don't mean the hammer is actually pumping electricity, it moves and frees the dying fly wheel a little.). Try cleaning the battery terminals once more and make sure the connections are right and clean them as well, if that is the case, very very good chance it is your starter. Good thing is you can go aftermarket, or have it rebuilt for $100.00 or less. Just my 2 cents Peace...
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Unread 04-02-2004, 02:57 PM   #5
zpmada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike611
Yessir,, sounds like the starter motor to me. Pounding the top with the hammer help give it the extra jolt to get going, when the power from the battery should be plenty. ( I don't mean the hammer is actually pumping electricity, it moves and frees the dying fly wheel a little.). Try cleaning the battery terminals once more and make sure the connections are right and clean them as well, if that is the case, very very good chance it is your starter. Good thing is you can go aftermarket, or have it rebuilt for $100.00 or less. Just my 2 cents Peace...
about the aftermarket, what do you suggest? Mean green starter is $300 oh and I have an oil leak by the starter. I have oil dripping from the starter motor so that probably mean the oil killed it?
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Unread 04-02-2004, 07:35 PM   #6
CanukYJ
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The leak is usually related to a bad rear main or a valve cover gasket leak (search and ye shall find). Fix that before you do the starter, oil+starter= the problem you are having.
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My jeep has only ever killed 3 things, a cat, a deer, and my wallet. What's the problem officer?

1992 Red YJ. Lifted, locked, and loaded with beer (Disclaimer: This doesn't mean said driver endorses drinking and driving, please enjoy alcohol responsibly and do not operate any vehicle of any kind, thank you....)

Thanks to the price of gas here ($4.25 a gal) I just bought a mountain bike, 0" of lift, 0" of travel, MT's, locked rear axle, oh yeah, it's the sh#$.
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Unread 04-02-2004, 09:40 PM   #7
JDEEEWP
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now maybe its cuz im drunk but when i change my oil filter on my 2.5L it leaks oil all over the starter. it doesn't seem to cause a problem for me, and wouldn't that inhibit corrosion?

i dont know, like i said, im drunk.

p.s. your starter is -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=ing bad just replace it!!!!!!!!!
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Unread 04-02-2004, 10:53 PM   #8
zpmada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDEEEWP
now maybe its cuz im drunk but when i change my oil filter on my 2.5L it leaks oil all over the starter. it doesn't seem to cause a problem for me, and wouldn't that inhibit corrosion?

i dont know, like i said, im drunk.

p.s. your starter is -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=ing bad just replace it!!!!!!!!!
well, I know oil attracts dust/dirt and if oil gets on an electric motor + dust, dirt its not a good thing. So are they any good aftermarket starters you guys would recommend? or is it not worth getting an aftermarket starter? most likely i'll send in my starter and get a replacement. If a new starter costs like $160 at quadratec i figure it'll be around $100 if I give them mine. I'll take it to my uncles garage and see if he can find a loose wire or something.

As for oil leak, the oil is a little behind the distributor so I'm assuming its coming from that. (by behind I mean between the distributor and firewall) I thought the oil pressure sender was there, but I think the oil pressure sender is in front of the distributor. (between the distributor and alternator?) There is a part with a green hose coming out the top, looks like a vacuum hose so i'm assuming thats the oil pressure sender

Last edited by zpmada; 04-02-2004 at 11:09 PM..
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Unread 04-02-2004, 11:17 PM   #9
CanukYJ
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Oil from an oil change is not much, oil from the engineconstantly dripping into the starter while driving is a WHOLE other world of problems. The bit you get from the change is ok, but the amount that adds up over time from driving it will kill a starter, it gums up the inside, wrecks the driver, all sorts of good stuff. If oil was good for a starter don't u think it would come filled? hehehe nope. The distributor has an o-ring seal in it that can go bad, do a search in this forum for "rear main" or "distributor" and you will find the thread, it's from about a month or so ago, someone had the exact problem, oil from the distributor got into the starter and over time murdered it.
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My jeep has only ever killed 3 things, a cat, a deer, and my wallet. What's the problem officer?

1992 Red YJ. Lifted, locked, and loaded with beer (Disclaimer: This doesn't mean said driver endorses drinking and driving, please enjoy alcohol responsibly and do not operate any vehicle of any kind, thank you....)

Thanks to the price of gas here ($4.25 a gal) I just bought a mountain bike, 0" of lift, 0" of travel, MT's, locked rear axle, oh yeah, it's the sh#$.
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Unread 05-24-2004, 02:33 PM   #10
manos
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Hey guys, I just got through this exact issue with my starter yesterday. I was chagrined when I was quoted $210 CDN for a rebuilt starter, so I thought that before I went and blew all that money I'd try to learn a bit more about the inside of my starter. I'd heard some mechanics say "you should always get a new one" and some say "it's easy to rebuild". Well, I figured since it was toast anyway, I'd just check it out.

I yanked my starter off (took some effort, the bolts were solidly on there) and then gave the outside a good cleaning (it was covered in oil from my rear leak). There were two screws and two long bolts holding the cover on. When I popped the cover off I was horrified by what was in there! There were solid lumps of grease everywhere that were loaded with metal shavings.
Picture of jeep starter inside

Anyway, it looked horrible. I pulled off the ring part at the top that had the brushes and stuff, and then pulled out the heavy core of the starter as well. I got a can of WD-40 and sprayed the whole thing, washing off all the gunk I could see into a bowl with the WD-40 . I was left with a sparkling bowl of oil and metal.

After that I applied some white lithium grease to the outside of the core and dropped it back in there. You have to be careful, there's a little ball bearing on the tip of the core and the whole inside of the starter casing is a magnet. To put the core back in took me a few tries because the ball bearing kept being pulled off the tip of the core onto the sides of the casing because of the magnetization. The trick was to keep the core perfectly centered as you replaced it, and the ball bearing was pulled equally in every direction so it stayed where it should.

After that I replaced the ring on top. To do this I had to push the brushes backwards (they are square copper pieces joined to little metal coils), because they are spring-loaded to always push against the commutator. I figure that this is where all the metal shavings were coming from? If anyone knows why there is metal shavings in there, please let me know, I don't know if that's normal or what. Anyway, I popped the casing cap back on (a bit tricky - there's a rubber sort of seal that goes around the opening where the thick wire from the solenoid enters the casing), put the casing bolts back in and said "what the hell" and put the whole thing back on my jeep.

I couldn't believe it! It started faster and smoother than it's ever started since I owned it! And it took me just three hours to do the whole thing, and an hour and half of that was trying to get the thing off my jeep since the bolts were rusted on there. To do the whole thing again would probably take me an hour. I was being really careful with it at first but I don't think it's that delicate.

I figure if it starts 100 times more I'll start calling myself a mechanic. Anyway I'll post again if I have any further troubles with it, or if it goes a month without any troubles. Good luck.
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Unread 05-24-2004, 04:36 PM   #11
JustPassinThru
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Well, I'm probably in the minority here...

But I figure, if the starter's going to have issues with road salt and oil drips and the like, then it's probably best to stay away from a Mean Green or other premium piece of hardware.

A rebuilt is good, if you get one properly done. But how about one from a boneyard?

I haven't had any starter issues on my YJ-7, knock on wood. But I once had a Pinto which ate starters for lunch; new or used. I finally, in desperation, started buying junk starters and popping them in; and like anything you do often, I got to where it was a six-minute operation.

For whatever reason, it may be you are in a similar spot. Rather than blow $200 on a rebuild, plug in a bench-tested junkyard unit if you can find one. I used to pay $15 US for them; that was in the mid-1980s.

Good luck.
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Unread 05-24-2004, 04:54 PM   #12
RCHavok797
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I have replaced my starter before and I don't remember paying anywhere near $200 for a rebuilt one more like $40 or $50.
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Unread 05-24-2004, 05:15 PM   #13
CanukYJ
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I rebuilt mine in the fall, it’s already chucking and making funny noises. Going new this time. My rule is “it dies, rebuild it, it dies again, buy new”.
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My jeep has only ever killed 3 things, a cat, a deer, and my wallet. What's the problem officer?

1992 Red YJ. Lifted, locked, and loaded with beer (Disclaimer: This doesn't mean said driver endorses drinking and driving, please enjoy alcohol responsibly and do not operate any vehicle of any kind, thank you....)

Thanks to the price of gas here ($4.25 a gal) I just bought a mountain bike, 0" of lift, 0" of travel, MT's, locked rear axle, oh yeah, it's the sh#$.
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Unread 03-21-2011, 12:29 PM   #14
briguy3030
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2004 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by manos View Post
Hey guys, I just got through this exact issue with my starter yesterday. I was chagrined when I was quoted $210 CDN for a rebuilt starter, so I thought that before I went and blew all that money I'd try to learn a bit more about the inside of my starter. I'd heard some mechanics say "you should always get a new one" and some say "it's easy to rebuild". Well, I figured since it was toast anyway, I'd just check it out.

I yanked my starter off (took some effort, the bolts were solidly on there) and then gave the outside a good cleaning (it was covered in oil from my rear leak). There were two screws and two long bolts holding the cover on. When I popped the cover off I was horrified by what was in there! There were solid lumps of grease everywhere that were loaded with metal shavings.
Picture of jeep starter inside

Anyway, it looked horrible. I pulled off the ring part at the top that had the brushes and stuff, and then pulled out the heavy core of the starter as well. I got a can of WD-40 and sprayed the whole thing, washing off all the gunk I could see into a bowl with the WD-40 . I was left with a sparkling bowl of oil and metal.

After that I applied some white lithium grease to the outside of the core and dropped it back in there. You have to be careful, there's a little ball bearing on the tip of the core and the whole inside of the starter casing is a magnet. To put the core back in took me a few tries because the ball bearing kept being pulled off the tip of the core onto the sides of the casing because of the magnetization. The trick was to keep the core perfectly centered as you replaced it, and the ball bearing was pulled equally in every direction so it stayed where it should.

After that I replaced the ring on top. To do this I had to push the brushes backwards (they are square copper pieces joined to little metal coils), because they are spring-loaded to always push against the commutator. I figure that this is where all the metal shavings were coming from? If anyone knows why there is metal shavings in there, please let me know, I don't know if that's normal or what. Anyway, I popped the casing cap back on (a bit tricky - there's a rubber sort of seal that goes around the opening where the thick wire from the solenoid enters the casing), put the casing bolts back in and said "what the hell" and put the whole thing back on my jeep.

I couldn't believe it! It started faster and smoother than it's ever started since I owned it! And it took me just three hours to do the whole thing, and an hour and half of that was trying to get the thing off my jeep since the bolts were rusted on there. To do the whole thing again would probably take me an hour. I was being really careful with it at first but I don't think it's that delicate.

I figure if it starts 100 times more I'll start calling myself a mechanic. Anyway I'll post again if I have any further troubles with it, or if it goes a month without any troubles. Good luck.
Encountered the same problem @ the 90k mile mark +/-. Followed this advice/procedure & initially it seems to be behaving. I'll definitely post back if the starter heads south again.
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Unread 08-13-2011, 05:46 PM   #15
lewisipso
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1982 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Posts: 20
I know I don't drop by as often as I should but if I may I would like to revisit this subject please. Jeep was starting and running fine. The last time it was parked the clicking began with a hot battery. When I finally got a chance to check it I did not initially believe it was the solenoid as it had already been replaced once. When I couldn't figure it out I thought maybe it was a bad solenoid purchase even though it lasted a while so I bought a new one. When the new one was put on it still clicked. Hmmmm. Well my son and I continued working on it and making sure the connections were tight and the like. That included tapping lightly on the starter. The next time we tried it absolutely nothing happened. No lights, no clicking, no starting no nothing. We are presently still trying to figure this out but I was hoping for some suggestions. Thanks in advance.
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