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Engine will not turn


Webbo
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Hi ,

Went out for a ten mile run today in my 13/60; first decent run after a two year rebuild. The car went really well. However, when I went to restart it after a half hour break the engine would not turn - just  a few clicks from the solenoid.. When the ignition switch is turned to the on position, both the ignition and the oil warning lights are very dim but start to brighten slowly. 

 

At the same time the voltage reading at the battery terminals are about 4-5 volts, gradually increasing. The solenoid is new and seems to be sending 12volts to the starter motor when the rubber button is pushed. I disconnected the starter motor lead from the solenoid and put it directly to the positive feed from the battery but nothing happened. , Does this indicate that the starter motor is shot?

 

I also disconnected the starter motor lead from the solenoid and turned the ignition switch on and the warning lights were still very dim, but gradually increasing in brightness. Can anyone throw any light on this for me?    Thanks.

 

 

 

 

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If the battery was only reading 5v then I would say that's where you should start.

Possibly something is heavily draining it or it just wasn't charging properly when you were driving and is flat.

I would charge it up and try it again. Then checkout the charging circuit\alternator bits.

Is it a new\good battery, perhaps its just had it. If you have a battery tester or the function on the charger I would check it out.

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If the battery is new, then whats the state of the termial clamps or caps on the leads

these take ona hard coating which insulates and needs mechanicalmremoval with file etc.

 

if you take the starter off to fire it up on a bench make sure its clamped ina vice or it will take off.

 

do the leads get hot when trying to crank ?

 

Do you have a engine earth strap , clutch hsg to battery or body?

 

if cranking takes the battery down to 5v its agree with simon its a tad flat

even if the motor has a problem in the end

 

 

 

pete

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Webbo,

If the battery has 12V it's not fully charged.  A new, fully charged battery should read 13-14V.  But that 12v is to be expected as you have been flogging a dead starting system.

 

That the battery has 4-5v while you try to start is also normal - all the volts are "draining away" somewhere.

"The solenoid is new and seems to be sending 12volts to the starter motor when the rubber button is pushed"  That conflicts with the above.   Which side of the solenoid did you read? And when?  

 

Try disconnecting the cable from the starter, then measuring the Volts at the end of the cable when you hit the starter button.  You should see the same Volts as at the battery, unless some are "draining away" elsewhere (a short in the cabling)

 

You say, "just a few clicks from the solenoid".  Which one?   If you have a Hi-torque starter it is a "pre-engaged" starter, with a solenoid built in that throws the starter pinion at the flywheel starter ring.     If that does not make the pinion complete its journey, the circuit will not be completed to the motor itself, and it won't turn.

If you have an "inertia" starter, as OE, then the pinion is moved in the Bendix drive by the starter motor itself.     

 

If you have full Volts at the starter terminal, and it's not turning, then remove the starter and bench test.   Look for:

A/ Pre-engaged.  That the solenoid pushes the pinion right forward, and the starter turns.   If not, it's not an easy process to explain or do the maintenance; may need reconditioned one.

B/ Inertia.  That the Bendix drive isn't dirty and the pinion jammed.   Easy.  Clean with thinners and lubricate with graphite powder, NOT oil or grease.

 

Ok.  Tell us how you get on.

JOhn

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Thanks gents, will have to do this stage by stage as electrics are not my thing.

Right. The battery is a year old but has a trickle charge on and has always started the car when needed with no trouble, including yesterday . Went for 5 miles, stopped for half an hour ,started perfectly and drove home 5 miles. I stopped, tried to start again, and there was nothing.

 

Just been in the garage ,battery reading with leads off, 13.15 volts. Cleaned clamps and put them on, still reading 13.15 volts off the clamps, and 13.15 volts at the battery terminal on the solenoid, which is a separate one screwed to the bulkhead.

 

Turned ignition switch on, initially no warning lights, then they start to come on faintly,( sometimes the lights come on bright immediately and when I turn ignition to start there is a faint clunk, and the lights go out , but I don't think the starter motor is stuck.) It is a standard starter motor. That's as far as I am. Cheers. Appreciate your help.

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Something else,

when I bench tested the solenoid, on pressing the rubber button a current of 13 volts could be read at the starter motor terminal. However, when it was then fitted back on the bulkhead with all the wires attached I could only get a reading of about 0.3 volts at the terminal. The body of the solenoid had a good earth. Cheers and thanks again.

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Thanks John,

I think it might be the starter motor itself , cos when I disconnected the starter motor cable from the solenoid and pressed the rubber button, I got a 12.9 volt reading at the solenoid terminal. So I have just bench tested the starter motor,( by putting the motor in a vice and connecting a jump lead to the Earth on the battery to the motor body, and the live on the battery to the input terminal of the motor - is this correct? ) and nothing happened, just a weak contact spark . Would this mean that the starter motor is shot ?

Webbo

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Sometimes electric motors can have dead points. Not sure on the reason but if you still have it on the bench try tuning it manually 90 degrees at put power to it again. Could be the reason for the intermittent issue.

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I think I was wrong about the starter motor being the culprit, had it tested at work and was told it was ok.

So I tried it again with the battery on the bench ( reading 13.5 volts) and nothing, then tried it with the battery off my every day car and the motor worked .

Also I just noticed today that the negative terminal on the now suspect battery was getting slightly hot when I was doing the tests. So it looks like the battery might be knackered, it is still under warranty so will see if I can get another. Still don't understand why the battery would not work the motor when it was reading 13.5 volts

.thanks for all your posts.

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If you really suspect the battery (and you have not told us about the starter yet) the you need to do a Heavy Discharge Test (AKA Capacity or Load test)

 

post-139-0-00476500-1440492665_thumb.jpg

 

This is the instrument, although more modern versions look more like a fancy multimeter.

You place the 'pig-stickers' one on each battery terminal for a few seconds.     A large current passes through thick steel strips inside the casing (Care! They get hot!) while the voltage across the terminals is measured.    This simulates what happens when the starter runs, drawing as much as 200Amps from the battery.  If the battery falls below 9.6V at this time, it lacks capacity and is either faulty or was not fully charged.

 

I think you said above that you had, in effect, done this test, as the battery volts fell to less than 5V (?) while starting, so this would confirm your suspicion that the battery is toast.

 

John

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thanks John,

I am going to take the battery back to Halfords they might test it , and hopefully replace it.

 

Their test is just to put a multimeter on it and take a voltage reading (it was in my case anyway), so if you want a replacement make sure it's reading under 12v as anything over and they will tell you there's nothing wrong with it.

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Sorry Daren did not see your post. It read 9.5volts which was pleasing to see and kind of suprised the young man on the end of the multimeter.

 

My first Halfords battery would constantly let me down, but when I took it in it read 12.1v so they wouldn't change it. Put it back on the car, left the sidelights on overnight and took it back next day where it read <12v so the same guy who'd I'd seen the day before swapped it without question.....bit of a pointless exercise really but got there in the end. The replacement battery lasted for many years.

 

Glad you got your one sorted. 

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