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Working now! Sluggish Herald 1200 starter motor


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My Herald has not been a great starter since I bought it 3 months ago, but the last couple of weeks it's just not starting.


The starter motor felt very slow on turnover, and would emit a clunk from the bell housing.


The battery is good, and chuck's out around 13.6V, so no issues there.


The cabling between the battery and solenoid looked shonky, so I have replaced it along with the battery clamps, taking the opportunity to turn the battery around in the process.


Still slow.


So I took the starter motor out and cleaned up the Bendix gear as this was sticking.







Here it is post clean up, and mounted in the vice for a bench test.


The Bendix gear is no longer sticking, but even on the bench, connected directly to the battery, it doesn't feel particularly energetic.


I've tried it back in the car, but no joy.


I also tried bridging the solenoid contacts, but that made no difference.


Therefore is there anything else I should try before getting a replacement starter motor?



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its sounds like a field winding has failed this makes the motor behave like a flat battery,  all a bit slow winds up a bit  but never has the punch to whizz it over 

 whats called hi torque is really a small high speed armature works through a gear box to develope the torque , these consume low current and fly the engine over fast with hardly any battery 


but they cost more £££  club shop £160     exchange  bendix drive £40 ish 


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Hello Burdfunker

Can I add a comment here on this issue. I bought a hi torgue starter motor for my Herald about a year ago and I must say it is well worth the money. As Pete says it turns my engine over faster and you can tell the effort required from the starter motor if negligible the car just bursts into life instantly. Just buy one from the club shop as I did you will not be disappointed



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I have one that I got in 2005, I have fitted it to a 1500 Dolomite, then my GT6 and it now some 11 years later resides in my Herald, that along with an electric fuel pump means my Herald starts like a modern at the first turn of the key. I think Petes estimate of costs for a recon inertia starter are a little off the mark, try £75+ depending on where you try, this makes the club shop price for the Hi Torque ones a lot more attractive. :)

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Thanks for the feedback guys.


I've gone down the reconditioned route, and ordered a replacement from Rimmer Bro's.


The hi-torque unit sounds interesting, but the car already has an alternator fitted, so as long as you can actually get the thing started, battery charge isn't an issue.


Did think about reinstating a dynamo that for period look and feel!



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New starter motor arrived today, so after dinner I duly took it off to the garage for fitting.


Removed the old unit, and replaced with the new one.


Checked the battery, and it was reading 12.8 volts, so all set to fire up.


Well, no.


Still won't start.


The problem appears the same as before, slow turn over, which just gets even slower.


Another check of the battery, post this attempt, still showed over 12v.


Tried connecting the battery directly to the starter motor, but no change, so not solenoid or cabling related.


The only things I can think of, is that I've got a dud new starter motor, or it's an earthing fault.


Any ideas?



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Recons can be as good as new or as bad as a coat of paint in a new box,


and whilst you may show 12+ volt, at the battery terminals it can be sulphated and not have the current capacity to supply the starter motor


so if you bench test to compare the two do clamp them firmly they can jump out a vice on take off.


check earth straps and make up a additional block to battery earth


get the battery drop tested .


Is there an engine turning problem like head gasket and bore full of water



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Based on your feedback Pete I hooked up a temporary earth between the bell housing and the earthing point on the bulkhead using a jump lead.


No change.


Starter motor churns over sluggishly, and gives the impression of a dying battery.


Battery checked and all looks to good with voltage above 12.5 even after churning. Battery is new and fitted by the dealer before I bought the car, so should, and I stress, should, be OK.


Tried moving earth connection around, both in terms of where it attached to the engine and the shell, but with no change, so removed.


Gave the ignition one last go before heading off to bed and it started perfectly!!!


Completely at a loss to understand what had changed.


Will try it again when I get home tonight to see if it can repeat the performance.


Thanks for all your advice everyone.



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Give the new post clamps and the battery posts a good shine up with some course sandpaper

the lead can get a very insulating clear coating which can seriously reduce current

even new can have this


You know these little cars sit out there and listen to you

Then get their own back just when your not wanting any hassle

Never dip the oil before you go out you know the stick will drip on your clean shirt

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There's certainly no rhyme or reason Pete.


Tried it again this afternoon, and although it did start there were a couple of times when it emitted a loud clonk, and I could still hear the starter motor spinning.


Once started, the car restarted without issue.


The new starter is definitely a lot more lively than the old one, so I think that was the right move.


Not sure what the clanging sound is. Would suspect something not meshing properly with the ring gear, so may remove the starter at the weekend and perform a visual inspection of the ring gear.



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I use a Ctek battery maintainer but have thought for a while that the battery doesn't seem to have the same push. Although, even with the Ctek disconnected for half a day or so, the voltage has been showing a healthy 12.5v+. It's a "065" size; when I bought the car the one that was fitted was a tiny little thing and it failed fairly soon after but it was still under warranty, just and so, with weeks to go. The store manager let me go for the bigger battery by paying the difference in price and it's been a winner.

 However, this afternoon I went to fire the car up, the started reluctantly churned over a couple of times and that was it...battery dead as a nit.

I have to say though, to the credit of the Ctek, it is nine years old...not bad going.

In this case, this proves Pete's point that  the voltage isn't necessarily an indicator of battery condition.

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unfortunate but lack of use is a battery killer ,,they need cycling with a regular and  decent discharge  like  the starter and a goodly  charge up to replace what used,   


sitting idle and they croak  quite quickly 


my Ctek conked out and i now have a Lidl £12 one thats seems just as good.  


think Ctek have a lifetime warranty  so need to look into that 



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I took the Herald out for a spin last night, and the old git started perfectly first turn of the key!


I will still take the starter motor out over the weekend and check both the Bendix gear as Pete suggested, as well as taking a look at the ring gear itself.


But feel is that the battery is good, but who knows?



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The new starter motor came out again on Saturday, at which point I noticed that the top bolt on the starter hadn't been fully tightened up.


Might explain the noise. Oops!


I checked the number of teeth on the Bendix gear on old and new units, perfect match.


A thorough inspection of the ring gear showed no wear at all, so everything went back on, and the car started perfectly.


With that out of the way I replaced the engine side valance, and put everything back in place.


Time to take something else apart!



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