Starter that does not start - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 22 Old 10-22-2021, 06:10 AM Thread Starter
mak_v8
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Starter that does not start

Hi guys,
last week, the day before the biennal government inspection...., the starter failed starting while I was positioning the WJ in the middle of the roller car wash.... ; I heard the pignon electro magnet engaging, lights were full power, there was not a battery failure, so it seemed an usual brushes issue

After the car washing (yes... the WJ was in the middle of the rollers, so it was worth washing it even the starter was sleeping.... ), I tried starting the WJ and at the second try it started regularly.
I went home and parked the WJ in the garage; the next day fueled it in the garage with a tank (was not safe fueling it at the gas station with the engine runnning), and tried to start it.

It started with no problems, as usually happened, no strange sounds or reduced speed of the starter; ...then went to the ispection, passed the inspection without never shutting the engine off and came back home.

While in the garage, I tried some more times and the starter worked perfectly.

Now the question is:
- it is worth changing the starter?
- it is worth overhauling the starter changing the brushes?
- it is worth only checking the brushes and clean them if needed?

- do nothing and use the jeep?

Do someone of you have ever overhauled the starter? is it a possible/easy/difficult job?

A side note: I checked the battery terminals, and even if they were correctly tighted, I found some oxide between clamps and terminals, not a lot, but a little bit (Jeep sat parked for 18 months in the garage with one battery pole disconnected): could that have been the problem?


Grand Cherokee WJ 4.7 V8 HO. m.y. 2002
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post #2 of 22 Old 10-22-2021, 07:38 AM
Mr. Bitey
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Sounds like a dying starter to me. They commonly get a "dead" spot, and when it lines up just right has trouble turning the starter motor. An old tow truck driver trick is to beat the starter with a tire iron when it won't start, bumping it just enough to get off the dead spot. I've done it on several cars including my current WJ earlier this summer. About half a dozen raps and she started right up. You can also often achieve the same effect by just rocking the car back and forth in park somewhat aggressively. This dead spot will grow in time, the beating will become more frequent/aggressive, and eventually no beating or rocking will get it to kick over. You need a new starter. When I beat my WJ, I immediately drove to the local parts hut and bought a new one. $125 +$33 core. Easy to replace. I did it in about an hour. In regards to rebuilding it, I've never tried. A new one is cheap enough that it wasn't worth my hassle.

What is the dead spot? Never investigated. Could be just the solenoid itself, when can often be purchased separate, but I've never tried just that - I'd rather replace the whole unit and know I'll have no issue. I think the dead spot is more likely corrosion between the armature and rotor windings....

Tech-tip - The stud for your battery cable on the starter solenoid (mounted on the starter and should be included) is usually imbedded in plastic. I have in the past overtightened them, ripping the stud out and forcing me to buy a new solenoid. You can get it pretty tight, just don't torque it like a gorilla. This is also a good time to inspect battery cables for corrosion.
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2004 WJ 4.7 N, daily driver
1967 Jeep J100 panel truck (a-rusted development)
1970 'Cuda, 340 4bbl (10.952et @ 123mph)
1972 Dart Swinger, Gen III 6.4l Hemi (11.223 @ 113mph)
1974 AMC Gremlin X, 440 6bbl (sold)
1975 Jeep Cherokee Sport 2-door (in progress)
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post #3 of 22 Old 10-22-2021, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
mak_v8
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Yes, I know, the beating/hammering method is something I learned when I was a teenager, something like 30/35 years ago...

In any case, replacing or rebuilding, could you tell me if bolts are metric or imperial dimensions (the heads, not the threads)?

Grand Cherokee WJ 4.7 V8 HO. m.y. 2002
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post #4 of 22 Old 10-22-2021, 08:48 AM
Delta0
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I suggest you pull the starter.
Take the brushes out
Examine the armature by looking down where each brush was..

If the armature is smooth and shiney, fit some new brushes
If the armature is not smooth and shiney, best get a new starter.
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Last edited by Delta0; 10-22-2021 at 12:39 PM.
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post #5 of 22 Old 10-22-2021, 08:56 AM
Mr. Bitey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mak_v8 View Post
In any case, replacing or rebuilding, could you tell me if bolts are metric or imperial dimensions (the heads, not the threads)?
Metric. I think the mounting bolts were 15mm. The terminal on the solenoid was a 12 or 13mm....
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2004 WJ 4.7 N, daily driver
1967 Jeep J100 panel truck (a-rusted development)
1970 'Cuda, 340 4bbl (10.952et @ 123mph)
1972 Dart Swinger, Gen III 6.4l Hemi (11.223 @ 113mph)
1974 AMC Gremlin X, 440 6bbl (sold)
1975 Jeep Cherokee Sport 2-door (in progress)
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post #6 of 22 Old 10-22-2021, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
mak_v8
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Many thanks to all.

I will go under the jeep to check if my wrenches are good to reach the bolts; I saw some videos on YT, space for wrenches is a little bit confined

Grand Cherokee WJ 4.7 V8 HO. m.y. 2002
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post #7 of 22 Old 10-22-2021, 10:18 AM
Delta0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Bitey View Post
What is the dead spot?
I think the "Dead spot" happens when a brush stays up in it's guide away from the armature Mr B.

The vibration caused when you tap the starter with a hammer encourages the spring to push the brush down.
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post #8 of 22 Old 10-22-2021, 10:36 AM
Mr. Bitey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delta0 View Post
I think the "Dead spot" happens when a brush stays up in it's guide away from the armature Mr B.

The vibration caused when you tap the starter with a hammer encourages the spring to push the brush down.
Could well be. Regardless, I personally still just throw a new starter at it. If I am going to take it out, I am only going to take it out once as there are more wear parts on a starter than just brushes.

2004 WJ 4.7 N, daily driver
1967 Jeep J100 panel truck (a-rusted development)
1970 'Cuda, 340 4bbl (10.952et @ 123mph)
1972 Dart Swinger, Gen III 6.4l Hemi (11.223 @ 113mph)
1974 AMC Gremlin X, 440 6bbl (sold)
1975 Jeep Cherokee Sport 2-door (in progress)
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post #9 of 22 Old 10-22-2021, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
mak_v8
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my WJ has 154.000 km (more or less 96.000 miles) more than half done on highway, I wonder how the brushes get worn out....

I hope that the temporary issue is due to the 18 month sitting in the garage

Grand Cherokee WJ 4.7 V8 HO. m.y. 2002
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post #10 of 22 Old 10-22-2021, 11:57 AM
AVR2
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Be prepared for the small electrical connector on the top of the starter to fall apart when you try to disconnect it. It's a royal PITA when that happens, because there's so little slack in that wire when you're trying to solder or crimp a new connector on.
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post #11 of 22 Old 10-22-2021, 12:41 PM
Delta0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Bitey View Post
Could well be. Thanks. Regardless, I personally still just throw a new starter at it Me too. If I am going to take it out, I am only going to take it out once as there are more wear parts on a starter than just brushes.
. . .
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post #12 of 22 Old 10-22-2021, 12:44 PM
Delta0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mak_v8 View Post
my WJ has 154.000 km (more or less 96.000 miles) more than half done on highway, I wonder how the brushes get worn out.... Starters are made to a price.

I hope that the temporary issue is due to the 18 month sitting in the garage
. . .
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post #13 of 22 Old 10-22-2021, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
mak_v8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVR2 View Post
Be prepared for the small electrical connector on the top of the starter to fall apart when you try to disconnect it. It's a royal PITA when that happens, because there's so little slack in that wire when you're trying to solder or crimp a new connector on.
Many thanks for the advise, I will pay maximum attention to it; hope to not destroy that connector...

But.... the connector that falls apart is the one in the starter or the one on the car wire harness?

Grand Cherokee WJ 4.7 V8 HO. m.y. 2002
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post #14 of 22 Old 10-22-2021, 06:12 PM
AVR2
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The connector on the end of the harness from the car.
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post #15 of 22 Old 10-23-2021, 02:14 AM
Delta0
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Is there room to use a nut cracker / splitter on the connector nut?
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