View Full Version : Starting Problem

08-26-2004, 03:23 AM
I hope that someone can help me because I am at a dead end. First off the problem with my 68 sprite is that when I turn the key to start all I get ia a click from the solenoid. Also the battery and starter cables get really hot, on the verge of melting. I recently replaced the starter, solenoid, cables, and battery. Before I replaced the starter I had never had this problem except the starter disengaging prematurely. I have double checked everything to make sure all the wire are connected properly but to no avail the car will still not start. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif

08-26-2004, 09:23 AM

The clicking of the solenoid suggests a couple possibilities - Bad battery or improper ground connection - one quick way of eliminating the bad ground is to turn on your headlamps, have somebody watch the lamps and turn the ignition key to start - If the lights go down or out immediately it can possibly be a bad ground - However, the cables getting very hot does suggest either a dead short somewher in the ignition circuit, improper connections, or bad starter - If the store where you bought the starter offers free testing (Like Advance Auto Parts, Pep Boys, etc.) I'd pull it off and have it tested - If It's bad , or weak it'll show up on the bench and you can apply for a refund or swap it out. When I buy parts from these jokers like starters or alternators I always go for the one with lifetime warranty - If you keep the car forever you'll never have to by that component again - just bring it in for replacement when it fails.

Last idea - Is the starter pinion gear jammed in the ring gear teeth? - Occasionally the starter in my Sprite will hang and produce much the same symptoms as you describe - I give the starter a moderately enthusiastic rap with a ball peen hammer and that usually frees it, or put the car in gear and push it forward and rock it to and fro - when the pinion gear releases you'll hear a distinct "PING" and you know it's free. - If the condition seems to be chronic you may look into whether you need to shim the starter to get the correct engagement ( Were there any shims under the old starter when you dissassembled it?)

Anyway, Your question will draw a bunch of good replys from the forum members, so don't despair -

Good Luck!

Bob M.

90 XJ-S
08-26-2004, 10:23 PM

Bob's got it mostly right. However, I wouldn't try the headlight trick. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/nonod.gif
It sounds like either the starter is jammed as Bob described or you have somehow (and that could include a BAD starter) grounded your Main wire to the starter.
The reason I suggested against the headlight trick is two fold.
1. You don't need it...If your starter cable is heating significantly, you have a short. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif
2. if the short is that bad you can kill a battery fast (they can even explode) /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif
My rule in these situations is to double check everything I have done. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif Usually, it's my bad. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif
If you have a meter, disconnect everything from that main terminal and measure Ohms to frame ground (or engine) You should have several (never checked a Lucas starter (shame on me)) but if it is reading less than 5 ohms the starter is bad. Take it back and exchange it. If you don't have a meter, pull the starter and take it back to whoever you bought it from. put the onus on them to prove it's not bad.

Let us know. I am sure there will be more advice and I'll keep an eye on this thread. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif


08-26-2004, 11:08 PM
After considering Mike's comment about exploding batteries I agree - Don't try the "Headlight Trick" at home - This worked well for older american cars and was taught to me by my Dad, who admittedly was not a true auto mechanic but seemed to know his way around the block. I could never master the basic functions of a multi-meter so I relied on cruder methods. ( I remember when my job was repairing oil burning furnaces, I'd test the burner transformer by licking my fingers and placing them on the terminals of the HV Ignition transformer. If my teeth chattered hard enough to chip the enamel the unit was seviceable (Could this be why I now enjoy dentures?) - At least I had enough sense not to do it if the floor of the basement was wet. God protects drunks and children - I know what category I fall into.)

Brian, I told you somebody with a better grasp of things would be along directly - Check this posting tomorrow - You'll have Mike's and my (meager)experience times three - This forum is a great resource!

Bob M. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thirsty.gif

08-27-2004, 01:08 AM
One thing to check is if the new starter was painted, clean the paint off the inside of the mounting ears. This could be causing a bad ground at the starter/engine.
Another "oops" is tightening the nut for the wire without holding back on the inner nut. You can spin the inside post and cause it to short against the starter body or even break it off.
If your starter is stuck, you can put the car in 4th gear and rock it or turn the square nub on the back of the starter with a 7/16 wrench and see if it pops free.

Super 7
08-28-2004, 12:58 PM
I was playing with a car battery in the garage when I was a little kid, shorting the terminals with a pair of pliers, making sparks. The battery exploded. The entire top of it blew off in numerous pieces, and a splash of sulfuric acid. Even though I had my face right above the battery, I was not touched by any of it.

I even found all the pieces of the battery top and refit them into place like a jigsaw puzzle and my dad never pinned the crime on me.

09-11-2004, 08:18 AM
Ancient MG trick from back on my old "T" series cars and still works on my 68 Midget. Take an open end wrench that fits on the starter armature shaft and give it about 1/4 turn. The problem can occur when the brushes in the starter end up in just the wrong spot on the armature.