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Intermittent starter


Jedi Hopeful
I'm having a few head-scratchingly curious problems with start up at the moment

1967 BJ8. When I turn the key to start her up, all I get is a "click" sound and no crank turns......and then I'll try again for between 8 to 12 times and suddenly something will "bite" and she'll turnover and startup.

I can always start it manually by getting under the bonnet and pressing the button on the starter solenoid (works everytime) but I'm curious as to why it's become intermittent and need to find the source of the problem. Lifting the bonnet to start the car is such a bad look!

Interestingly, once she's warm she often just starts stright up without a problem.

Any suggestions? Am I right in thinking it's a starter solenoid problem or could it be something else?



Jedi Knight
Hi Rob,

If it starts when you push the button on the solenoid then the next step is to find out if you are always getting voltage to the pick circuit of the solenoid. Put a meter lead on the pick circuit of the solenoid and put the other lead to frame ground.
See if 12 volts is low/missing when it doesn't want to start. If it is missing/low , then the ignition/ start switch is bad. Or the wire to from the start position of the ignition/start switch to the pick of the starter solenoid is bad or making a poor connection.
If you see 12 volts , then the starter solenoid is bad.



Common cause is a loose solenoid, it earths through the hold-down bolts
Country flag
Initially, I figured it was just poor connections at the battery, but manually pushing the solenoid contact tells me that the pull-in coil is the culprit.

Verify the ground by tightening the mounting screws (as 57 BN4 suggests) and then replace the solenoid if that doesn't cure the problem.


Jedi Hopeful
As ever, Gentlemen, I give you my thanks.

An evening of tinkering and the engrubbing of fingernails and t-shirts beckons! I'll check the mounts first and failing that, I'll go and buy a meter lead and see where the voltage is being lost.




Jedi Hopeful

I did find that the uppoermost end of the mount for the solenoid was sitting a couple of mm awayaway from the panel it's attached to but upon trying to tighten the screw I was met with considerable resistance - I got it a little tighter but couldn't see a reason why it would be earthing through the bolts some of the time but not all of the time.

Over the cours of the weekend, the starter motor would fire up after about 5 to 10 attempts...consistent with recent behaviour.

I also tried pressing the button on the solenoid and it didn't work on one occasions, dispelling my earlier conclusion that the button always worked.

Does this still sound like an earthing issue or a faulty solenoid?


Try a dirty trick... short the two big solenoid terminals with a large screwdriver that you don't care much for. Obviously have to be very careful not to touch anything else with the screwdriver as it is full live unfused battery current. If that cranks it over when pressing the button doesn't, then the solenoid is not working correctly. If it produces no cranking then either the battery terminals/starter cable/earth straps aren't connecting properly or -more likely- the starter brushes are worn down and need replacing


John Turney

Country flag
I had this problem BR (before restoration). I found it was the on/off switch in the trunk/boot. Sometimes I would get a good conection, and sometimes I wouldn't. A voltmeter would show good voltage, but it wouldn't pass starter current. Bypassing it allowed me to start the car until I replaced it. Although they can be disassembled and cleaned, the heat causes the spring in them to lose its ability to force the contacts together.


Senior Member
I had the exact same symptoms (click, click, click, click, vroom!), and replacing the solenoid fixed it.
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