Originally Posted by colby72olds
I was measuring the volts through the gauge.
OK, I suggest you try and first measure voltage accross the battery terminals with a voltmeter as you try to start the engine, if the reading is around 12 volts then the battery is OK. If the battery terminal voltage drops way below 12 volts while cranking , you have a bad battery.
Next check the voltage with a voltmeter from the battery side of the solenoid to engine ground while trying to start the engine. The voltage here can be anywhere from 12 to 10 volts depending on the size and length of the battery cables to the solenoid and engine ground from the battery. If the voltage goes way low here chack the battery cables to the solenoid and to the engine ground. The starter gets the negative battery connection directly fron the engine ground, so a bad negative battery to engine ground cable/connection can cause a problem like yours.
If all is well next measure the voltage from the starter side of the solenoid to engine ground. You should see anywhere from 12 to 10 volts when trying to start the engine.
The starter is really around an 8 volt motor, you will see voltage drop accross the battery and ground connection while trying to start your engine becaue the starter draws lots of current, so if you are getting at least 8 volts to the starter terminal while cranking , it should work just fine.
If your starter is bad, it can draw excessive current and cause large voltage drops accross the battery cables. Sometimes a bad starter can cause these symtoms.
Your dash voltmeter gauge really only starts reading at around 10 volts, so it is not a good indicator of starter voltage while cranking.