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starter and selenoid connections  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: 01-28-2006 03:34 am
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Glen
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I wanted to clarify my understanding of how the electrical connections on the starter motor are made.

My car doesn't have, nor has it ever had that battery junction on the battery cable as described in Mark R.'s earlier post.  So.. on the back of the selenoid, I have

1) 2 brown wires coming out of the wiring harness which are attached to the same post on the selenoid that the battery cable is attached to.  One of these wires appears to be slightly thinner than the other, but they are both relatively thick wires and both seem to provide power to the entire car when I touch the positive battery wire to them.  There is no thin brown wire that I can see that goes from this post on the selenoid to the alternator. 

2) The flat metal copper strap from the starter is the only thing attached to the other post on the selenoid.

3) The white-red and white-yellow wires are attached to blade connectors on the back of the selenoid.  I have the white-red one attached to the blade connector closest to the passenger side.  It will fit on either blade connector, but I don't think it matters which blade connector it's attached to, or does it?

Is this correct?  It's not turning over.  Iwas thinking it might be a low battery, but the lights, fan and all the electrical work fine.

 

 

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 Posted: 01-28-2006 02:58 pm
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Mark Rosenbaum
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If your car doesn't have the battery junction, one would need to connect the brown wires to the main battery cable terminal on the starter solenoid.  You'd need three wires: two to the three-pin engine bay connector, and a third to the alternator.  It would be acceptable but not desirable to hook up the alternator to one of the brown wires on the engine side of this connector.  Obviously, if the alternator isn't connected properly, it isn't going to charge the battery. 

The second large terminal on the solenoid connects to the starter motor through a thick copper strap that protrudes from the starter.  When the solenoid is activated, current from the battery flows through it into the starter, then goes to ground through the starter's case.  The electricity runs through the chassis then through the negative battery cable and returns to the battery.

There will be two other terminals on the solenoid.  These are normally blade connectors, and yes, it does matter how they are connected.

One of these terminals activates the solenoid when +12 volts is applied to it, provided that the body of the solenoid is grounded through the body of the starter.  Solenoid operation is pretty noticeable, so you can determine which terminal does this is by momentarily applying +12 volts to each blade in turn.  The red-white wire should come from the ignition switch etc. and therefore will connect to whichever terminal activates the solenoid.. 

The second terminal provides voltage from the main battery cable when the solenoid is activated and the starter (hopefully) is cranking.  When this terminal is wired to the junction between ballast resistor and coil, it bypasses the ballast resistor during cranking only, so that the car will be more likely to start.  The white-yellow wire should connect to this terminal.

Unfortunately, the remaining wiring gets a bit complex due to federal 'safety' mandates.  The START position of the ignition switch connects to the Infamous Seat Belt Warning Module (ISBWM).  The module, in turn, connects to the Start Relay, and this relay, when energized, connects +12 volts to the red-white wire that runs to the solenoid.

Only the ignition switch and Start Relay are necessary.  The ISBWM can be bypassed by jumpering together pins 11 and 12 of the round connector that plugs into the device.  The entire system could also be removed entirely, and only the 'Fasten Belts' warning light would be disabled.  (If you elect to remove the wiring, note that there are two switches in one package attached to the underside of the parking brake handle; one connects to the ISBWM, the other to the 'Park Brake Fail' warning light.)

Other than the ISBWM, the system is quite conventional and normally very reliable.

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 Posted: 01-28-2006 08:17 pm
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Glen
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Still not working:

Ok .. first this was a running car (#19667) that I replaced the clutch plate, throwout bearing and pilot bearing on.  The battery has 12+ volts and is fairly new, but has been sitting for a year.

Second... my 18 year old son was to take off the starter when I began this mission, but instead took off the selenoid and left the starter on the car, and then took off the starter and put the selenoid back onto the starter. ... hence my lack of knowledge as to how the wiring for the starter was originally hooked up.  Is is possible he wrecked something in doing this? 

I'm pretty sure I've got the wiring hooked up right.   Interestingly, the selenoid has "ign" marked next to one of the flat connectors, but that is where I had to hook up the White-yellow wire. Doesn't the White-red wire come from the ignition? I have a parts car I was able to compare this to, but it is older and different in a few ways.  It has the battery junction, but the selenoid is the same and it has the same white-red and white-yellow wires. The small brown wire from the alternator is actually a brown-white or brown-yellow (I can't tell which) wire that goes into the wiring harness and I think goes up to the 5 pin connector.  It doesn't hook to the selenoid directly.

Anyway .. The selenoid "clicks" when I try to start the car, but the starter doesn't turn.  The White-red wire has about 12.8 volts coming out of when I turn the ignition key to start the car.  This is connected to the terminal that activates the selenoid.  If I touch the positive cable to the post on the selenoid (the one connected to the copper strap from the starter) the starter will turn.  The white-yellow wire seems to have 5.8 volts coming out of it even when I turn the ignition key to start the car.  This doesn't sound quite right.

Help?

 

Last edited on 01-28-2006 08:19 pm by Glen

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 Posted: 01-28-2006 09:07 pm
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Mark Rosenbaum
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Sounds like your wiring hookups to the starter solenoid are correct. 

Since the starter turns when powered directly by the battery, the starter is almost certainly OK.  Probably the battery is OK, but it is possible that it is decrepit due to age or poor storage conditions, and can now deliver only a little current.  The reason the starter would still turn if this were the case, is that there is no load on the starter because the solenoid is not activated and therefore did not move the Bendix gear back to engage the teeth on the flywheel.

Depending on the type of  'click' the solenoid makes, this could be (a) a bad battery per the above, (b) a defective solenoid, or (c) poor contact (perhaps a missing washer?) between the starter's copper strap and the solenoid stud that connects to it.  Recall that electrical connections need to be clean, bright, and tight.  With the solenoid activated (i.e. key to START position), a couple of voltage measurements should tell you what's gone wrong.

A solenoid can be damaged if the nuts securing the cables/straps to its studs are grossly over-tightened.  Usually this will be apparent because the stud(s) will move around with respect to the body of the solenoid.

The brown-yellow wire is probably the alternator sense or field wire.  I can't speak for cars with Lucas alternators, but mine has a Delco part, which uses three wires: ground (black), power (brown), and sense or field (brown-yellow).  The brown-yellow wire runs directly from its pin on the alternator connector to the pin of the brown wire on the same connector.

The +5.8 volts on the white-yellow wire is normal for the junction of ballast and coil when the points are closed and the solenoid is not activated (i.e. the engine is not cranking).  You should see +12 volts on this wire when the points are open, or when the solenoid is activated (i.e. the engine is cranking).

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 Posted: 01-28-2006 09:23 pm
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Glen
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What would cause the white-yellow wire not to go to 12+ volts when the car key is turned to the start postion?

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 Posted: 01-28-2006 10:28 pm
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Mark Rosenbaum
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Bad or inoperative solenoid.

Inside the thing is a copper(?) plated disk that mounts to the end of the iron shaft that moves when the solenoid is energized.  This disk makes electrical contact with (a) the inner end of the stud for the main battery cable, (b) the inner end of the stud for the strap from the starter motor, and (c) the inner end of the blade connector that ends up being wired to the junction of ballast and coil.  If the solenoid doesn't energize, or if the plating on the disk has burned away due to use, that would cause the problem you describe.

I suppose the solenoid would in theory be repairable, but it's much easier to buy a new one.  AFAIK there's nothing even remotely special about the part, so you should be able to get one from any of the usual sources.  If not, then I'd think that a solenoid from any car with a Lucas negative-ground starter would be likely to fit and work.

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 Posted: 01-28-2006 11:09 pm
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Gary Martin JH 15371
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Glen, I aggree with Mark, sounds like the solenoid. But first I would check battery connections, and where the negative battery cable connects to the car body. Also check the ground strap between the frame and the engine near the alternator. If you have a weak connection at any of these places you may get 12 volts with no load, but not enough when activating the starter causing the clicking. I did not like the original route for the negative battery cable to the body, and instead have mine connected to the engine near the starter bolts. You still need the ground strap from frame to body. One other thing you could try is jumping the start connector on the solenoid directly from the positive battery post.  If all this fails and your sure the battery is charged, then it has to be the solenoid. Swap in your spare one and test it.

Gary 

Last edited on 01-28-2006 11:12 pm by Gary Martin JH 15371

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 Posted: 01-29-2006 03:32 am
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Glen
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Veiy odd indeed. I did take the selenoid off the starter and cleaned the copper piston inside and applied some WD40 because it seemed to be binding.  The selenoid seemed to operate better after this , but still....the starter didn't crank.  I tried and tried and tried. and then....

All it took was a magic touch, I guess.  I disconnected the white-yellow wire and had a voltage tester connected between it and the negative ground on the battery to test the voltage ... again. 

I then had my daughter turn the key to the start position, and much to my surprise, the car started right up.... the white-yellow wire wasn't even connected to the selenoid.  And it never registered more than 5.8 volts even when the starter was cranking.  I hooked the white-yellow wire back up and it starts every time, although sometimes I have to back the key off just the tiniest little bit for a split second. 

As always.. thanks for your help. 

#19667 Back on the road again...

Last edited on 01-29-2006 03:48 am by Glen

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