Solenoid Chatters, engine doesn't turn over.

SchmidtAl

Contributing Member
Member
#1
Issue is the solenoid started to chatter and the car won’t turn over.

What I have done:
Going online, everyone seems to say, the solenoid is never the issue, look elsewhere so I did.

I pulled the starter and checked all of the leads, all seem ok. I took jumper cables and jumped the starter and triggered it. It will spin. So I assumed the starter is ok. The trigger lead from the car solenoid to the starter solenoid seemed a bit weak, so I used heavier wire and soldered all connections and reinstalled. No help.

I finally pulled the car solenoid, it has the correct impedance from start post to ground. I can hook up a battery to it and it passes 12.5 volts to the terminal that connects to the starter solenoid trigger. I cleaned everything and reinstalled. No help. I have 12.5 volts to the solenoid. When I trigger the solenoid with a jumper wire from the 12.5 volts in, I still get chatter. Finally, I unhooked the main heavy cable from the solenoid to the starter. Everything else as it should be. The solenoid clicks as it should. EDIT: checked voltage when trying to start and just got chatter, starter pulls it down to 3-5 volt range, unhooked the starter wire at the starter, solenoid works as it should. I am pretty confident the starter is bad. Summit has some reviews on this starter, a dozen 5s and a couple 1s... Linwood had one fail after 15 starts, all were dinged on reliability.

What do I think: I think the starter is drawing too much power. That cuts the solenoid trigger voltage which causes it to chatter. Does this sound logical? What are good 351W hi torque starters besides Ford M11000-B51?
 
Last edited:

zimmy

Contributing Member
Member
#2
Crunch: Look into PowerMaster starters. I have one for the big block and it is an awesome unit. They are a great company to work with and they are car enthusiasts. I had a small problem with mine after about 5 years (well past warranty) and I sent it to them for check and/or repair. I got it back a few days later completely rebuilt and looking like new with no paperwork or invoice. When I called and asked, they said that there would be no charge because they could tell that it hadn't been used much so they thought it should be waranty. He said they are used to Hot Rodders and custom guys that take a long time to get a car on the road after they buy the starter and then probably don't drive it often or frequently. Awesome company - awesome products.
 

Tom Wells

Contributing Member
Member
#3
Al,

Have you tried to jump it using a known good battery?

If the battery is bad, and 3-5v under load would say to me it probably is, a jump should crank it right up.

This is a suggestion from one who diagnosed a bad starter (same as you did), bought a new starter and then had the same symptom... It turned out to be the battery.

Tom

PS: Dunno about 351s, but on 460s the Ford factory starter is the best replacement. Cheaper than the fancy failure-prone gear reduction aftermarket starters too.
 

Jim Harding

Contributing Member
Member
#5
My thought is the cable between battery and starter. You mentioned reduced voltage at starter when trying to start. Repeat this step with volt meter measuring voltage at each terminal (battery & starter) on solonoid. They should be equal when solonoid is closed (trying to start). If low between terminals, solonoid is problem. If voltage is low at battery terminal of solonoid, problem between solonoid and battery. Also check ground connections at battery, vehicular chassis, and engine ground strap....this is a common problem.
 

StephenP

Contributing Member
Member
#6
I did have an issue with not so clean (read painted) battery ground connection to the frame. Heavy current draw dropped voltage... Or something close to that. Getting old and can't remember all the details, but a wire brush on the battery to frame connection solved it.
 

Craig S

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Member
#7
I think the solenoid is still a possibility. In situations like this testing w/o the actual load can give false results. It may pass 12.5V w/o the starter but corroded internal contacts could offer a ton of resistance when trying to pass the 150-200 amps that the starter uses. Another way to test the system is w/ the VOM (in DC volt mode) in parallel to the various legs. The theory is that the VOM offers a very low resistance alternative path to the electricity. So whatever amount of current can't get through the resistance goes through the VOM. Good results are 10% (1.2V) or less. This has to be done w/ the starter in the circuit. Check each part of the circuit individually. If you have leads w/ alligator clips you may be able to do this yourself. Otherwise you need a helper to turn the key. If your VOM is digital, which way you connect the leads doesn't matter. Just read the number and disregard whether the is a + or a - in front of it. If it's analog it's been too many decades since I used one to remember how to connect it.
20180813_071900
by craig stuard, on Flickr
I combined each step into one picture. Note that I start w/ the battery ground and end w/ the engine to frame ground. BTW, I have seen cables that had internal corrosion under the insulation layer so they can go bad also.
 

Eric Nelson

Contributing Member
Member
#8
I think the solenoid is still a possibility. In situations like this testing w/o the actual load can give false results. It may pass 12.5V w/o the starter but corroded internal contacts could offer a ton of resistance when trying to pass the 150-200 amps that the starter uses. Another way to test the system is w/ the VOM (in DC volt mode) in parallel to the various legs. The theory is that the VOM offers a very low resistance alternative path to the electricity. So whatever amount of current can't get through the resistance goes through the VOM. Good results are 10% (1.2V) or less. This has to be done w/ the starter in the circuit. Check each part of the circuit individually. If you have leads w/ alligator clips you may be able to do this yourself. Otherwise you need a helper to turn the key. If your VOM is digital, which way you connect the leads doesn't matter. Just read the number and disregard whether the is a + or a - in front of it. If it's analog it's been too many decades since I used one to remember how to connect it.
20180813_071900
by craig stuard, on Flickr
I combined each step into one picture. Note that I start w/ the battery ground and end w/ the engine to frame ground. BTW, I have seen cables that had internal corrosion under the insulation layer so they can go bad also.
And I have had a similar problem caused by corrosion hidden inside a wiring junction.
 

InProcess

Ken Caniglia AKA Superfly
Contributing Member
Member
#9
The battery cable supplied by LSC for me was also a little on the small size and as long as it is, would be more susceptable to corrosion or damage causing current capacity issues. Having said that, did you supply 12v directly to starter solenoid with starter installed in car and tried to turn over engine? Jumping free standing starter is a good step, but it doesn't load the starter up.
 

SchmidtAl

Contributing Member
Member
#11
Fixed: I always think back to when other CACCers have had electrical problems and I have always said, remember, this is a plastic car, check your grounds! I guess I always look for the most expensive or complex solution...

Of all things it was the battery to frame ground wire, most likely the end that I handled every time I hooked the battery up and unhooked it... I had been concentrating on the solenoid forward, had made new cables up, done correctly, soldered, shrink wrapped etc and they are very pretty but did not fix the problem. After looking at Craig's diagram and Jim's comments, I decided to go backward, solenoid to battery. There is only one hot wire, battery to solenoid so that was ruled out, battery to ground... looked like crap, removed, made up a new cable... works.

Thanks for the comments and suggestions!
 
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