starter clicking (I know... I know...) - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old Jun 24th, 04, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so this question has been asked a hundred times... I should know, I read the volumes of archived posts!. But, my starter is acting very strangely... I will be very detailed as to what is going on to give you a good idea.

Here is the situation. I hadn't started the car in about 2-3 weeks. I hop in, and turn the key...

It cranks for a little bit, but isn't starting. I've been having a little bit of a hard starting problem, so I am not surprised. I let it crank like that for about 5-10 seconds. Then, I stopped.

I sat for a few seconds and had another go at it. This time it starts cranking again... but just a little bit slower. I cranked for a few seconds and then stopped.

Then, I give it another try... and "click click!" I try again... "click click." Voltometer is reading 12 volts. Dome light does dim a little bit when turning the key.

So, I try to jump it with a screwdriver. Lots of sparks and the motor is turning. At least... I can hear a "Vvvvvvvv" noise like a motor turning... but it isn't engaging the flexplate. No screeching either, so I don't think it is hitting the flexplate... I believe it is shimmed down enough.

Get back in the car thinking perhaps there is just a dead spot. Turn key... "click click"...

I turn the key a few times and suddenly it catches... but only gives a weak, slow crank. Try again several more times... "click click" a few times... then another slow crank. Tried playing with the shifter thinking neutral safety switch... but when I disconnect the switch there is no "click" at all... plug it back in and get the "click."

Starter is a pretty new mini-starter. Never had a problem before like this. All other electrical stuff is working fine (lights, wipers).

Bad solenoid? Any thoughts? What to try next?! I've got the battery on a charger right now... but don't think it is going to help.

John

- '68 Chevy Camaro (sort of done, but always subject to improvement)
- '63 Pontiac Tempest (work in progress)
- '72 Datsun 240-Z (back-burner for now)
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old Jun 24th, 04, 07:15 PM
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Sounds like the bat. is going south on you.
After it is fully charged have it 'load' tested.

There is an outside chance the main battery to starter lead is bad.

When you tried to jump it with the 'solid-key' you only hit the motor connection - not the solenoid terminal - so only the armiture spun without engaging the bendix.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old Jun 25th, 04, 12:42 AM
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Also, to add to Vintage's suggestions, battery could be sulfating due to not being used as often.

Yes, I've had new batteries do this to me. I try to keep them all, qty 3, exercised, by rotating them once a week. Using the battery keeps the chemicals 'busy', thus, less time to 'build' sulfate. Heat between the plates minimizes sulfating.

Food for thought. Now if the cable is good and connections are good, and battery is good, min SP of 1.15, SP of 1.26 is 100% charge, you might have some resistance. Measure from bat pos post to the starter motor stud, measurement s/b less then 0.4 volts with solenoid engaged.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old Jun 25th, 04, 02:56 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips guys.

After having the battery on the charger for a few hours, I went back out...

Got in the car... turned the key... "click click." Did it a few more times, then tried to engage and gave me a slow crank. Then more clicks...

So, hopped back out and tried the screwdriver again... being sure to hit the terminals (kind hard to see with the headers in the way and I didn't want to be under the car and do it... just in case.

Well, jumping it worked. Almost the second I touched the terminals the engine fired right up. The starter definately turned the engine faster than I've ever had it turn before. Usually it always sounds like it is a little slow... but this turned the engine like there weren't any plugs in it.

Makes me wonder how much of a voltage drop I am getting across the ignition system... I'll try and check on that. I do have the battery in the trunk... so it is kind of a long way up to the starter (using wire that came with relocation kit... 2 guage if I remember right.) Shows that the battery-to-starter connection is doing fine though.

John

- '68 Chevy Camaro (sort of done, but always subject to improvement)
- '63 Pontiac Tempest (work in progress)
- '72 Datsun 240-Z (back-burner for now)
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old Jun 25th, 04, 03:44 AM
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Go out and buy a Yellow top Optima Battery. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old Jun 25th, 04, 05:23 AM Thread Starter
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Don't tempt me!

I would like to, but it will have to wait awhile... my internship this summer is unpaid, and I've got a bit engagement ring purchase (shhhhh, don't tell!) that has drained the Camaro budget for the year. Right now I'm just hoping I can afford some harnesses to put in once I've got the roll bar installed! [img]graemlins/hurray.gif[/img]

John

- '68 Chevy Camaro (sort of done, but always subject to improvement)
- '63 Pontiac Tempest (work in progress)
- '72 Datsun 240-Z (back-burner for now)
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old Jun 25th, 04, 05:07 PM
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I have battery in trunk also. I have measured from positive post to solenoid stud, 1.5 volt drop. This is with 4/0 cable and soldered terminals.

I would bypass the ign switch with a remote starter switch and see if you get the same results as with a screwdriver. This action will tell you something about the switch circuit if it works better. Too much loss from the battery post to the S solenoid terminal.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old Jun 28th, 04, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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Haven't really had time to tinker with it in the past few days... but today I felt the urge to take a drive!

So, I try the key again and get clicking. I use the screwdriver method and bridged the terminals and it did the "Vvvvvvv" thing again... It is a mini-starter with only two terminals and sometimes it gives me the "Vvvvv" and sometimes it fires it right up?! Very strange...

Well, after getting "Vvvvv" I tried the key again and sure enough it cranked and after a few slow turns the car fired up.

Strange things... strange things... Hopefully I'll have some time to actually tinker with it more soon.

John

- '68 Chevy Camaro (sort of done, but always subject to improvement)
- '63 Pontiac Tempest (work in progress)
- '72 Datsun 240-Z (back-burner for now)
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