2 blown starter solenoids? - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
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2 blown starter solenoids?

Two of my starter solenoids have gone out in about six weeks.

I have a AAW wiring harness and everything seems to be working fine when I replaced the first one.

When I went to start the car today it turned over for a second and then only clicked.


Coincidence or does this sound fishy?

Thanks Rodney
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 10:01 PM
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A lot of the overseas solenoids are JUNK .
Do not waste time or money if you are
buying Chinese made solenoids.
The Motorcraft SW-3 has been replaced by
Motorcraft # SW7663

My local O'Reilly sells them .
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 10:04 PM
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This ^ stick with the Motorcraft one.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 10:46 PM
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The biggest "killer" of starter solenoids is high current. This can be from poor connections, starter heat soak, poor grounds, or low battery voltage.

I'd do voltage drop tests on the starting circuit. You do these with a fully charged battery and the ignition system disabled so the engine won't start when cranked. Typical voltage drop values should be:

Battery post to terminal end of cable = zero (both positive and negative).
Battery post to big lug of solenoid no more than 0.1V.
Front big lug of solenoid to rear big lug of solenoid while cranking no more than 0.1V.
Rear big lug of solenoid to big post on starter motor no more than 0.1V.
Battery post (positive) to starter motor housing while cranking no more than 0.5V.
Battery post (negative) to starter motor housing no more than 0.3V.
Battery post (negative) to engine block/head/manifold no more than 0.2V.

If the circuit has too much resistance (voltage drop), when the contacts inside the solenoid are forced together excessive heat will be generated which can fuse the contacts together (stuck solenoid), arc (burn) the contacts preventing a complete circuit (clicks) or melt the plastic preventing the magnet from sliding properly.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-30-2016, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. Since my current solenoid is shot I'll buy one made in USA and then get out the volt meter.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-30-2016, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Ok that didn't work.

Put in the new motorcraft solenoid (which seems sturdier than what I had before) but the starter just clicks when I turn the key.

I tried jumping across the posts with some screw drivers and there was no spark when they touched.

I'm thinking either a bad connection to or from the starter motor or the starter motor has gone.

Does that sound right?
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 09:23 AM
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been thru all the "Best repops" in the last 20 years. none lasted more than a year or two.

i found a few NOS motorcrafts on the bay for $49 each. i bought 2, installed 1 and have one on the shelf. so i s/b good for life.

as I said b4 i feel the big 5 vendors should get together and take this by the horns and force the mfgs to produce quality units

this has been going on far too long now.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney001 View Post
Ok that didn't work.

Put in the new motorcraft solenoid (which seems sturdier than what I had before) but the starter just clicks when I turn the key.

I tried jumping across the posts with some screw drivers and there was no spark when they touched.

I'm thinking either a bad connection to or from the starter motor or the starter motor has gone.

Does that sound right?
One click or multiple? Turn on dome/courtesy lights.

One click and lights go out = poor connection(s) at battery, engine ground or front big lug on solenoid.

One click and lights stay on = poor connection(s) at starter or rear big lug on solenoid.

Multiple clicks (buzzing) = discharged battery or excessive resistance between battery and solenoid or poorly grounded solenoid.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 10:13 AM
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Are you sure the starter motor isn't locked up??

Working on old cars teaches us patience... and every curse word imaginable!
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodchuck View Post
The biggest "killer" of starter solenoids is high current. This can be from poor connections, starter heat soak, poor grounds, or low battery voltage.

I'd do voltage drop tests on the starting circuit. You do these with a fully charged battery and the ignition system disabled so the engine won't start when cranked. Typical voltage drop values should be:

Battery post to terminal end of cable = zero (both positive and negative).
Battery post to big lug of solenoid no more than 0.1V.
Front big lug of solenoid to rear big lug of solenoid while cranking no more than 0.1V.
Rear big lug of solenoid to big post on starter motor no more than 0.1V.
Battery post (positive) to starter motor housing while cranking no more than 0.5V.
Battery post (negative) to starter motor housing no more than 0.3V.
Battery post (negative) to engine block/head/manifold no more than 0.2V.

If the circuit has too much resistance (voltage drop), when the contacts inside the solenoid are forced together excessive heat will be generated which can fuse the contacts together (stuck solenoid), arc (burn) the contacts preventing a complete circuit (clicks) or melt the plastic preventing the magnet from sliding properly.
WoodChuck, could you elaborate on:
#2- is the "big post" the front big lug? How would you get a voltage drop unless you crank it or something?
#6,7 this must be while cranking?

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 02:59 PM
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Yes, The second test is the big lug on the forward facing side of the solenoid.
Yes, tasks #6 and 7...as well as all the other tasks need to be done with the starter cranking.

To do a voltage drop test the circuit must be complete. If you had the proper equipment, you could use a carbon pile to load the circuit with amperage equal to the starter motor but for lack of a few hundred bucks of test equipment..... just pull the wire off the coil+ so the ignition is "cold" and watch your fingers with the belts and fan.

If you were to check the charging system for voltage drop you'd do it similarly, but load the system by turning on the lights, heater, etc.

So, why do we do voltage drop tests instead of just checking with our ohmmeter? Because with our multimeters, which are powered with (typically) a 9V battery you can check the resistance of a component to see its nominal value.... take something simple, like our car's 1.5 ohm resistance wire. If we put our ohmmeter on the ends of the wire it will read 1.5 ohms. If we feed it 12V when the points close and complete the circuit, 8 amps will flow through until the points open. The wiring in the circuit, and the resistance wire, itself, are capable of handling that 8 amp load.

Now, let's think about a battery cable. It has multiple strands of copper twisted together and covered with an insulating jacket. If ALL the strands, except one, were corroded and broken, if we put our ohmmeter on each end of the cable, it will read low resistance because that one remaining strand of copper wire is more than adequate to carry the multimeter's load and there is no other resistance in the wire. However, if we send 12V through the cable and add, to the circuit, the load of a starter motor, our amperage requirement of 150+ amps can not be carried by that small wire and it will fry.

Bart

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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Single click, lights stay on.

The other day the engine turned over and started briefly before the starter quit. I doubt it is a loose connection but I'll check.

Before I toss the starter motor in the trash I'll pull it from the bell housing and see if it makes a sound when I turn the key.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney001 View Post
Single click, lights stay on.

The other day the engine turned over and started briefly before the starter quit. I doubt it is a loose connection but I'll check.

Before I toss the starter motor in the trash I'll pull it from the bell housing and see if it makes a sound when I turn the key.
Actually, give the starter motor a couple light taps on the end with a VERY small hammer. Not SLUGS, just taps, and try it again.

Before you junk the starter you can buy brushes, and bushings from rockauto & others.

Brush Set - $3.77 More Information for STANDARD MOTOR PRODUCTS FX40

Bushing - $1.66 More Information for STANDARD MOTOR PRODUCTS X5203

Bushing - $0.26 More Information for STANDARD MOTOR PRODUCTS X5204

Drive - $10.81 More Information for STANDARD MOTOR PRODUCTS SDN3A

On the other hand, you could go to a JY and get a PMGR unit for $15-20....

Bart

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Single click, lights stay on.

I dove under the car and checked the connection to the motor and it was a little loose. I tried to tighten it and the stud itself got loose. I suspect the wire from the stud to the motor windings is shot.

If I drop the header to pull the motor off, can I reuse the header gasket? It only has 300 miles on it.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney001 View Post
Single click, lights stay on.

I dove under the car and checked the connection to the motor and it was a little loose. I tried to tighten it and the stud itself got loose. I suspect the wire from the stud to the motor windings is shot.

Possible, but the lead to the brushes is pretty heavy. Is the lower nut loose?

If I drop the header to pull the motor off, can I reuse the header gasket? It only has 300 miles on it.

Hard to say. If it's a metal-faced gasket, possibly.
...

Bart

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