Starter Motor Woes

Discuss mechanical problems here.

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Napoleon Boot
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Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Sat Jun 08, 2019 5:07 pm

Tried to start my Traveller Peggy after a few weeks rest, and nothing doing.
Up until the last time I drove her there was no trouble starting; since fitting a new battery she’d start first time. But now all I get is an ear splitting whine from the starter motor and the engine won’t turn over.

Here’s a video in case it helps identify the problem: https://youtu.be/xFx0qTC3qhw

Any suggestions? I need to fix it soon as the MOT is due this month, plus my other half thinks old cars are inherently unreliable.

I’ve cleaned the distributor, checked electrical connections and everything else I can think of, even the radiator coolant!
Last edited by Napoleon Boot on Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Napoleon Boot
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Sat Jun 08, 2019 5:15 pm

PS- I’ve tried to start with the starting handle but despite reading instructions and watching videos, never managed. I feel pressure increase and then throw the handle round but not even a cough. Is there something obvious I’m missing?
The car has an automatic gearbox but the original 1098 engine.

ianmack
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby ianmack » Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:33 pm

It sounds like your starter motor is turning but not engaging with the engine. You’ll need to take the starter off and clean it thoroughly. Make sure the gear is sliding easiy before refitting.

oliver90owner
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby oliver90owner » Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:36 pm

First thing to check is whether there is an ignition spark. Video is unclear. It seems as though the starter was cranking the engine? At the same time, it sounded as though the battery was badly discharged.

Napoleon Boot
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Sat Jun 08, 2019 7:02 pm

Thanks both,

I haven't checked for a spark, though I will; I've got a feeling that the tracker I've fitted may be draining the battery, although the battery's still showing a green light to say it's OK. I'll check it with a multimeter and also look to see how strong the spark is.

My other thought was that the starter bendix might be stuck or worn. The starter is wedged in quite an awkward place; I couldn't seem to find the bolts to remove it. Is it just a case of removing the power leads, loosing the two bolts and pulling it out?

Seb

simmitc
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby simmitc » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:17 pm

Your description doies not match what appears to be in the video - you say nothing but aa whine and the engine does not turn over; but the sound track seems to indicate that the engine is turning. How do you know that the whine is coming from the starter motor? It could be from a number of sources. Can you post another clip, but this time with the bonnet open, looking at the engine.

Any electronic gear will draw power form a battery. The instructions for the tracker should tell you how much. Even a modern radio in standby mode can flatten a battery given time. Fully charge the battery and see what difference that makes.

If you do need to remove the starter then yes, disconnect the power cable (insulate from body to prevent accidents if the key is operated. Remove the two bolts, one above and one below the starter and then lift away.

To use the starting handle, check for neutral and handbrake on, siwtch oin ignition and apply whatever choke is normal for your car, and then swing the handle - thumb and fingers on same side in case of kickback.

As above, check for spark. Have you knocked a wire off the dizzy when looking at the starter?

Not sure what green light shows that the battery is OK? A multimeter will show voltage, which shoujld be about 12.8 at rest. A battery tester will give a more complete picture of battery health, but try just charging it and see what happens.

As a matter of intere4st, what box is fitted? Does it have any connection to prevent starting in gear, because that could have an impact on fault finding.

Report back for further advice.

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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:31 am

Thanks Simmitc,

I was on my own so couldn't video the engine bay and turn the key at the same time! It may not sound like it from the video, but it's clear in person that the starter is turning but not engaging with the flywheel; I'm used to the sound and feel of the engine turning over and it's definitely not.

The battery I bought to replace the worn out one which came with the car has a built in status light, it shines green when the battery is charged, is dark when it needs charging and shines white when the battery needs replacing. It's been shining green but obviously that's not as accurate as a multimeter or looking at the colour of the spark, I'll check these today. I think I may need to get a battery charger to top it up. The alternative solution may be to clean the starter motor bendix; there is some oil in the engine bay around the starter (from clumsy topping up from me I think) and this may have got in and gummed it up. I watched a load of videos last night and looked through some old manuals that came with the car and that seems like a possibility.

The auto gearbox is from a Toyota Starlet; the previous owner managed to make it fit the original 1098 engine and it's been recently looked at by my local auto specialists who say he's done a good job. I have tried starting on the handle with the ignition on and the gear box in neutral, but however much I try nothing happens; I feel pressure building in the cylinders but it doesn't get close to starting or turning over on its own. The previous owner says that he was able to start it on the handle so it must be something I'm doing wrong... I've replaced the spark plugs and cleaned the distributor contacts, and checked everything is securely connected.

Will report back once I've got hold of a battery charger and topped up the charge.

Best wishes,
Seb

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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Myrtles Man » Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:45 pm

Just a random thought but don't (all?) automatic boxes require the lever to be in P to enable the engine to be started?

Napoleon Boot
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:05 pm

Yep, I know modern ones do and I’ve always started in Park before; just thought I’d also try hand cranking with it in neutral in case it made any difference!

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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby oliver90owner » Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:44 pm

Myrtles Man wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:45 pm
Just a random thought but don't (all?) automatic boxes require the lever to be in P to enable the engine to be started?
No. I’ve driven quite a few (the middle ‘70s was probably the first time) and none of those, as I recall, have specifically required the selector to be in the park position.

Park, actuates the transmission brake/lock. Not a good idea to select park while the vehicle is moving.

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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:48 pm

Well I think (hope) I've found the culprit. I've checked the battery with a multimeter and it's only showing 12.2v, when it should be at least 12.6v. I've got a battery charger from Argos and am charging it up now. The tracker I installed must have drained the battery sufficiently to stop the car starting, though as the instrument lights still came on and the battery's status light was green, I didn't realise.

Will reinstall the battery tomorrow evening so fingers crossed. Assuming the battery charge is to blame, I'll need to work out some way of installing a separate battery for the tracker which charges from the main battery when the car is running; or failing that get a mobile phone battery charger to run it off and just try to remember to top it up.

I hope I have found the cause as the starter motor is in a very awkward place; my car has quite a crowded engine bay!

newagetraveller
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby newagetraveller » Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:50 pm

You don't have to turn the ignition key to turn the engine over.
You can also press the button on the underside of the starter solenoid.

paul 300358
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby paul 300358 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:50 pm

Not all the solenoids have the button.

simmitc
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby simmitc » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:55 pm

Or use a small jumnp lead from the small terminal on the solenoid where the white/red lead connects up to the non-earthed battery terminal. That will have the same effect as turning the key..

Bowie69
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Bowie69 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:04 pm

12.6V at rest is a *full* battery.

12.2V isn't great, but should easily start an a-series, the battery is about 50% full.

Napoleon Boot
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:58 am

Well, the rain stopped for long enough to let me refit the fully charged battery, but nothing has changed, inevitably. I found the button on the starter solenoid which I hadn’t noticed before, but it doesn’t do anything.
Will try to get a better video tonight, when I get home from work. I’m flummoxed to be honest- the car was absolutely fine when I parked it up!

Seb

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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby myoldjalopy » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:03 pm

Is it possible that your battery dropped to 12.2v after trying to unsuccessfully start the engine several times? It is unlikely, although possible, that a new battery would have failed so soon after purchase.
If now with a fully charged battery the starter is whirring round but not turning the engine over, then it does suggest that the starter pinion is not travelling far enough down the starter drive shaft to engage with the motor, due to being gummed up with oil or dirt. It is possible that there is some mechanical damage in the starter engagement mechanism but the sticky bendix scenario is more likely. Best get the starter out to inspect/clean it. Do not oil the mechanism as this will gum it up again at some point.

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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:38 pm

Thank you; I’ll just check the spark plugs once more in case I’ve flooded the engine, but failing that I’ll have to get the starter out and look at it. What’s confusing me is that the starter seems to be slung underneath another larger cylinder, and I’m not sure what that cylinder is! It doesn’t look like the spares on Charles Ware etc, or photos of other people’s engine bays. The garage remarked what a tight fit the starter is, I think I’ll have to crawl underneath to remove it. Here’s a not very good picture.
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby Napoleon Boot » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:43 pm

Ah- scratch that, I’ve just seen a starter motor online which looks like mine- I’d assumed it would be the standard Lucas one but it looks more like this (but upside down). That explains why the button on the starter solenoid wasn’t working, because it’s been replaced with one attached to the motor! The wiring diagram that came with the car refers to a ‘redundant solenoid’ but I didn’t get the relevance until now.
Seb
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oliver90owner
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Re: Starter Motor Woes

Postby oliver90owner » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:55 pm

Your pre-engaged starter motor will not have a bendix. There should be an adjustment to ensure the starter dog is fully engaged with the flywheel starter ring gear before energising the starter motor.

Normally that adjustment is never needed to be set after a rebuild, but they can be set wrong....

I’m sorry, but I still suspect your battery. I looked at your vid again and noticed the illumination appeared to go dim during your first attempt, although the warning lights did not (or not as much). It certainly does not sound like it is just the starter motor turning, to me.

To what voltage did you recharge your battery? What is the battery voltage while trying to crank?


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