Difficulty starting.

Discussion in 'Mech Tech' started by Merlin Cat, May 16, 2018.

  1. Merlin Cat

    Merlin Cat Moderator

    after being a smug braggard for ages my van has suddenly started to be a bit of a slow starter!!

    Initially it does nothing, no click, not so much as a by your leave.

    Due to my perseverance it eventually starts to turn over, finally it starts.

    Is this likely to be a starter motor, alternator or battery problem please?

    Thanks :)
  2. My bet is starter motor as the alternator is not needed for starting and a battery isn't going to improve with perseverance.

    Hope you have a starter relay fitted as that may be your solution.
    Merlin Cat likes this.
  3. Check the connections on the starter motor. There are 3 connections. A thick red wire, comes direct from the battery. Make sure it is good and secure. A much thinner cable with a spade connector. This feeds the solenoid. This one is a common issue. Make sure the spade connector is a good clean and tight fit. Then that it is earthing properly. It has an earth strap to the gearbox.

    If all these check out to be fine you need to start thinking about the ignition switch or the starter motor itself. Start cheap, connections.
    Jack Tatty and Merlin Cat like this.
  4. I had exactly this issue with my van last year. It cost me nothing to fix. it was the spade connector on the solenoid. Just needed a new spade connector and a clean up with the dremel.
    Merlin Cat likes this.

  5. there is a 4th wire which packs in .. its the link wie between the starter windings and the solenoid. Mine gave no warning, was starting fine then with no warning, failure.. at first sight everything looked good. Closer inspection showed that this link wire was totally wasted, it was basically a loose bundle of wire swarf that disintegrated on touch with the last remaining strands flicking out with a screwdriver, worth a check ..
    Merlin Cat and earlylatebay like this.
  6. Merlin Cat

    Merlin Cat Moderator

    Ok, I’ve finished work early so about to look for everything mentioned above :).

    I may chock the wheels as my van has been known to move whilst in gear with handbrake on!
  7. Could be ignition switch ...
    kiddy12 and Merlin Cat like this.
  8. Disconnect the battery before you start faffing with the starter terminals:hattip:
    Merlin Cat and nicktuft like this.
  9. Merlin Cat

    Merlin Cat Moderator

    I was just thinking maybe I’d best do that before I touch anything! :)
    philntfc likes this.
  10. Merlin Cat

    Merlin Cat Moderator

    Am I being a spanner? There seems to be more cables than I was expecting?

    7CBCB54D-3FA3-4BD5-AD86-BB258752F735.jpeg I’m
  11. Merlin Cat

    Merlin Cat Moderator

    Also, can anyone tell me what this is please? Some of the cables go to this.
    Thanks :)

  12. Not sure. don't have that on my bay. In your top picture of these two. The most likely contender is that spade connector on the top of the solenoid.
    Merlin Cat likes this.
  13. It looks like someone's tried to solve the "hot starting" problem with a whopping great contactor, rather than a simple 40A relay (John Muir started all this nonsense). It may well have packed up. Does it click when you turn the key to Start?

    As a first fixing step if it doesn't operate, pull off the connection to the solenoid tab terminal at the top, get a thickish piece of wire and short the main starter terminal (with all the cables on it) to the solenoid terminal tab (may spark a bit). The starter should operate. Make sure van isn't in gear when you're lying underneath ;).

    Then report back...
    Merlin Cat likes this.
  14. Thought it looked like a giant relay but wasn't confident enough to say.
    Merlin Cat likes this.
  15. Thats a typical American 1930's style automotive relay , I think from Ford.

    The wires that go to that relay should go instead to a modern 40 amp relay somewhere in the engine bay where it is drier and cleaner.
    Merlin Cat likes this.
  16. Merlin Cat

    Merlin Cat Moderator

    @snotty because I’m a baby and my van always smells a bit petroly I may wait for Sarah’s return home before trying to short it across. Especially when I will be laid close to it :)

    I’ve just started the little monkey and despite being a bit slow on turnover it started fine.

    A few times before there had initially been a big wall of silence when I turned the key, no clicks, nada.

    The van always started eventually but I would prefer not to go through the emotional has my van died process!

    Ps @earlylatebay if you just preface things with I think........ I won’t hold you to it :)
    earlylatebay likes this.
  17. Merlin Cat

    Merlin Cat Moderator

    Is that cos my van is American?
  18. Looks like a contactor from the days when starters weren't pre-engaged, so had to have "relays" that could switch the whole starter current (several hundred amps). Problem with using them as a hot-start relay is a) they're big and clunky and unnecessary, and b) if the contactor coil pulls sufficient current, you haven't actually solved the problem.
    earlylatebay and Merlin Cat like this.
  19. Merlin Cat

    Merlin Cat Moderator

    DF4BC822-1E13-4750-A524-FCF7B945B547.jpeg @mikedjames there are also these unknown items in the engine bay?

    The van was a fuel injection but now twin carbs.
  20. Do that - 'tis a bit scary underneath while you're sparking away. Even more exciting if you've left the van in gear :)...

    If the starter springs to life, it would be worth replacing the contactor thing with a simple relay (many threads on here). The less current there is flowing down your ageing wiring from the front of the van, the more sprightly starting will be :thumbsup:
    nicktuft and Merlin Cat like this.

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