View Full Version : Starter trouble

12-17-2006, 08:56 PM
hi guys, first time here. I have a 68 series IIA. I recently had the starter motor replaced and just the other day when I went to start the car all I get is a loud click-not a series of clicks but one solid thunk. I am pretty sure it is the solenoid engaging that i can hear through the fire wall. I have charged the battery, replaced the solenoid, made sure that the solenoid is getting a good contact at the ground to the fire wall but nothing. One odd thing-I left the battery charger for a few hours today, just in case and when I came back nothing but I thought I would give the manual crank a try. I cranked a few times still nothing. As I was putting the crank handle away I tried the key again and the starter motor turned over. I couldn't get the car started so it wore the battery down and I have re-charged the battery but now I am back where I started with just the single 'thunk' when I turn the key on.

Any ideas?

12-17-2006, 09:27 PM
was i running before the starter replacement?

12-17-2006, 10:43 PM
hey scott. yes, the car was running before and after starter replacement. Car ran for a week prior to coming out one morning and nothing but the thunk. One thing I have noticed is that the replacement starter seemed to make noises a little bit like the old starter as it was going bad. The guy who replaced it for me (that is a whole story itself!) seemed to think that it sounded fine. I live in Seattle and we have been experiencing record rain so not sure if that would be a factor. All other power seems to be working, lights, etc.

Rod Turnbull
12-17-2006, 11:55 PM
Do they use spacers on these starters? If so were they all put back in, did the starter loosen off some, could the alignment be out and the bendex just be coming out and wacking the fly wheel? I've had that happen before, it makes a thunk sound and then you get nothing. You might just want to check the bolts and see if they are still tight. I hate starters.

Rod (not a mechanic, just a guy who needs to make his daily post) :sly:

12-18-2006, 12:07 AM
Thanks Rod. That sounds like it could be right, the system is pretty simple and I believe it is getting power which leads me to believe it is the starter-either a bad one or it wasn't installed correctly.

12-18-2006, 09:09 AM
between the starter and the chassis?

Another quick starter test is to take some jump leads and jump straight from the battery to the starter. If it spins you know your problem is the solenoid. If it doesn't do anything then try jumping the neutral as well which would show it is a grounding problem.

Another thing to check is the leads going from the solenoid to the starter. The insulation can get worn leading to a short and no starting. Also make sure the mounting hardware is tight as a loose starter will not engage properly.

Finally, was the replacement a new starter? Older starters can develop a dead spot in the commutator for the brushes or just plane worn brushes which will lead to poor starting.


12-18-2006, 09:48 AM
when you fastened the cable to the starter did you use a wrench to hold the bolt on the stud near the case?

there is a nut on the brass stud near the starter- than another one further out on the stud If you don't hold the inner stud immobile while tightening the outer one on the cable the stud can turn and sometimes break a connection inside. It can make for intermittent or complete failure and is a PIA to diagnose.

It wouldn't hurt to double check all your ground straps, remove and clean them up. "" for the positive leads.

12-18-2006, 11:03 AM
yorker, you might be on to something.

I didn't install the starter-when I removed the old starter the retaining ring on the shaft had disintegrated so when I pulled the starter out one of the thrust washers and the main spring fell back into the bell housing-holy ****e!. I don't have the space or the tools to pull the engine so after three days of fishing around with magnets, mirrors and hooks I had it towed to a local guy who works on old rovers and he installed the starter and pulled the motor to fish out the parts that fell back in.

back to your point about the stud. I was under the car yesterday looking for loose connections and the positive power terminal on the starter seems a little loose, the actual stud. I wiggled the cable to see if I was getting a bad connection and the stud moves a bit but the cable is firmly attached. That sounds like what you are talking about. When you say 'break the connection' I assume that you mean the electrical connection isn't happening not that the stud or something mechanical is broken right? I am guessing what I should do is remove the lead, re-tighten the stud and then hold the retaining nut for the stud while I tighten the cable down. What a PITA, that starter motor is not easy to get to. Okay, this gives me hope.

12-18-2006, 03:12 PM
It has been a while since I have done this and it was on rebuilt starters when I did it. I would put the lead on the brass starter stud then tighten it with a socket or somethign similar- not realizing that t would als end up turning the stud once it snugged down. Apparently when the stud started to turn it would break an electrical connection within the starter. :eek: It was a dumb error on my part and cost me 2 starters before I realized what was happening to them. I can't remember how I discovered my error. I don't have a spare starter- otherwise I'd post a pic of what I'm talking about.

12-18-2006, 03:17 PM
are you saying that my doing this (breaking the electric connection) you actually had to replace the starter or you thought your starter was bad and you replaced it before you realised that it was the issue of the connection being bad due to the stud backing out while you were tightening? I am hoping that I can go home, crawl under the truck, do some tightening and be on my way. I do realise the folley of thinking that ANY repair should be so simple but a guy has to dream right?

12-18-2006, 03:21 PM
By tightening the brass nut on the brass stud I ended up turning the stud within the starter itself. If I recall correctly doing that broke the connection within the starter, so I had to have the starter re-rebuilt, Then- in my infinite stupidity I did it again- THAT time I managed to figure out what was going on and why I was going nuts screwing around with starters all the time.

I went outside and took a quick pic:
in a nutchell:
Just make sure you hold nut B with a wrench when tightening nut A down.

12-18-2006, 05:35 PM
yorker, thank you for taking the time to clarify for me and I am sorry to make it so painful to get there. I was thinking that it is something that is different. The post or stud on my starter is actually a little wobbly, I was thinking that maybe it had somehow backed out of the motor a bit and the connection was bad. At any rate I think my issue is the starter but I am going to double check by running power straight to the starter and then checking the ground as well.

thanks again for the help.

12-18-2006, 07:25 PM
Well if all else fails you can use the crank to start it! I did for years- and would you believe it is a great way to meet women? :D

"is that an old Range Rover? Do you always have to start it that way?"

12-18-2006, 10:16 PM
Man oh Man Yorker....I did the same thing!!! on a new ACR motor! I sent the starter off to STAR Auto Electric, he called back and said he would fix it for shipping costs, but if I wanted it done right, I would have him rebuild it, I saw what crappy job was done on the original starter when I took it apart to see if I could fix it, basically a "paint" job on an old starter. I had them rebuild it and have been VERY happy with their work.

Just FYI:

Telephone: (866) 969-STAR(7827) Toll Free
Telephone: (626) 357-2333
Fax # (626) 357-2334

Email:starautoelectric@aol.com (starautoelectric@aol.com)


12-20-2006, 01:53 AM
thanks guys. how tough are old rovers to hand crank? I am not weak but I have trouble turning mine with enough speed or force to get anywhere. I am also leary of it firing back on me and breaking an arm. I had an old harley that would do that and I damn near broke both of my ankles. Great information on the starter rebuild. I have both the old starter and the 'new one' that I think is causing me a lot of trouble at the moment.

12-20-2006, 06:49 AM
The series trucks are fairly easy to crank start- this is of course assuming it is in good tune, and the carburettor is full of fuel...

I hand-cranked mine 1/2 way across North Africa, and that was a freshly re-built engine. A couple turns and it spins fairly easily, if it is in good tune less than three revs will have it running.

My procedure for a cold truck is to pop the hood and pump fuel up to the carb. Make sure the key is on and set the choke. Start spinning! It helps to have another person on the throttle and choke to get the revs up and keep it running, and a hand throttle helps if a helper is not around.

Naturally, bad timing, bad fuel, no fuel, low battery, weak spark etc. all make the job harder...

I went through three starters and four solenoids before I had it sorted. I finally ended up with a mean green starter and a Kenworth starter solenoid. NOW, it starts with the key!

12-20-2006, 07:37 AM
thanks guys. how tough are old rovers to hand crank? I am not weak but I have trouble turning mine with enough speed or force to get anywhere. I am also leary of it firing back on me and breaking an arm. I had an old harley that would do that and I damn near broke both of my ankles. Great information on the starter rebuild. I have both the old starter and the 'new one' that I think is causing me a lot of trouble at the moment.

As J!m said, they're not hard, just make sure it's on and choked (and in neutral with the parking brake on! ;) ).

Don't close your hand on the crank, ie, don't wrap your thumb around, you want to leave your thumb alongside your index finger.... if it kicks, you want it to be able to kick out of your hand without taking your thumb off.... the starter dog on a Series is designed to kick the crank handle forward and out when it starts, and should keep the kickback injuries to a minimum, but, you really want to take any safety precautions you can....

12-20-2006, 08:29 AM
"Don't close your hand on the crank, ie, don't wrap your thumb around, you want to leave your thumb alongside your index finger"

X2!! other than that if it is in good tune it is easy to do, the first crank to get up momentum is the hardest. You won't break yout arm but you can dislocate your thumb if you wrap it around in the normal fashion.

12-20-2006, 08:34 AM
Wow, I've been quoted loudly! ;)

12-20-2006, 10:47 AM
Ha! I remember trying to throw my starting handle through my radiator* in an insane fit of anger and pain after making the above error. Was not a fun day and took a long time before I could use my thumb again.

*thank god for the metal IIa grille

12-22-2006, 07:53 PM
hey guys, starter update and hand cranking is FUN, not really.

so the problem with the starter was indeed the positive lead to starter, it was on the stud tight, but the nut that is supposed to hold the stud in was not tight against the starter motor case. I finally had the time today to get under the truck and remove the exhaust pipe so I could get in there and tighten things down. BINGO!. I also managed to start her up with the crank handle with no problem. The first couple of times I tried it the lead from the coil to the distributor had come off during all of my digging around under the hood to replace the solenoid so when I originally tried to hand cranke it I was not getting anywhere. thanks again for all the replies and help. This is my daily driver and I am very happy to have it back up an running again.

Also, another thanks to Yorker, I saw the link you posted to the bayourovers web site for timing by ear which I used today to time it so I was not getting preignition on the many hills around town.

Great stuff.

12-23-2006, 12:23 AM
I'm glad you got it sorted out!:thumb-up:

Timing by ear seems to work best for these old crates, whenever I had mine done by the book it just wasn't optimal- maybe fuel has changed? Some other variable? Anyway tune it till it knocks and then retard it until it doesn't. Simple!