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Old 06-04-2011, 07:46 PM   #1
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How to test A Sluggish or slow turning starter

Using a volt meter testing voltage drop at two locations. While cranking a 12 volt battery should not go below 9.6 volts. A 24 volt battery should not go below 19 volts.

Step one. While cranking measure the voltage between the positive and negative terminals and record the reading.

Step two. At the starter measure the voltage at the positive terminal and starter housing and record reading. The voltage at the battery and starter should be with 0.5 volts of each other. If the readings are different move the negative test lead from the housing to a ground on the chassis. If the voltage comes up clean the grounds at the starter and battery. If the voltage stays low try also cleaning the positive terminals at the battery and starter.

If the voltages at the starter and battery are both low charge the battery.
If the voltages are different from each other clean the cables, terminals and grounds.
If the voltages are the same replace the starter.

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Old 06-05-2011, 11:35 AM   #2
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Re: How to test A Sluggish or slow turning starter

good post!!


(votes for sticky)
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Old 06-05-2011, 12:46 PM   #3
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Re: How to test A Sluggish or slow turning starter

Got my vote...... whats sticky, him or the starter......
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Old 06-05-2011, 04:45 PM   #4
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Re: How to test A Sluggish or slow turning starter

If anyone is interested in a certain bus or truck related subject or the science behind it just let me know. I am a heavy equipment mechanic of almost 14 years and I have been to school for trucks and heavy equipment. Currently I am in between jobs so I have some time on my hands to make up some tutorials.
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Old 04-02-2015, 06:42 PM   #5
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Hey so I've been having a problem for some time now since first having this problem. When I throw my starter switch on my diesel international it makes no clicking or turning and doesn't engage the starter motor at all. It was blowing the fuse at the solenoid before I got a stronger fuse. After some fuss and mechanic kinda help, the problem has been attributed to the starter getting stuck. If I climb under and spin the starter free with a screwdriver I can throw the switch again and it will usually work. If it doesn't I go under and spin it again and it usually will. I was told this is because of either the starter being faulty or the flywheel being damaged. I've also been told conflicting things and am just looking for more answers. Now my batteries are dead but before I was getting by okay just spinning it free if it got stuck.


My conclusions are, the fuse blows because the motor is stuck and still sending voltage. Pretty sure it's not the solenoid because I switched it and same problem. Batteries have been considered the problem or at least why the starter got damaged, however they were replaced and the cables and the starter would still stick.which leads to the final idea that it's the starter itself or its connection to the flywheel because it seems to jam. Soooo I'm working on replacing the starter and getting a 8d battery. Just wanted to run this pass someone because it's mostly my amateur opinion and a bunch of random peoples ideas and misleading mechanics suggestions.
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Old 04-02-2015, 09:58 PM   #6
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Is that starter the kind that has the solenoid mounted on one side, or is the solenoid entirely separate from the starter motor? I'm familiar only with the former kind. In that type, there's a plunger cylinder that moves up and down inside the solenoid. When that plunger actuates it closes electrical contacts that supply power to the starter motor and it also moves a forked lever which causes the starter motor pinion to extend out and engage the teeth on the flywheel/flex plate.

My experience with starter motors has been that one of the following happens:
- stuff accumulates inside the solenoid body so that the plunger doesn't slide freely (no-click symptom)
- high-power solenoid contacts wear away and don't reliably make contact (solenoid probably still clicks, but motor doesn't run)
- brushes on the motor itself wear out (similar symptoms to contacts worn out)

As to why the fuse might be blowing (I assume this fuse is protecting the circuit to the control side of the solenoid)... if it had been designed with little overhead and you held the key in the start position for a long time, the fuse might eventually overheat and open. Or maybe there's damage in the solenoid coil so that some of its windings have shorted; this would cause it to draw a higher current (blow the fuse) and probably also would weaken it to where it might not be able to pull the plunger far enough to activate the motor (no click, no start). But.. you say you've replaced the solenoid, so I dunno!
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Old 04-03-2015, 09:27 AM   #7
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A bad battery won't blow a starter fuse. The fuse is there to protect the wire, they "blow" by overheating themselves and melting, and a blown fuse means only one thing: overcurrent. That indicates a short of some kind in the device downstream of the fuse, and up-sizing the fuse just lets that condition happen. It is extremely rare for increasing the size of a fuse to be the right way to fix an electrical problem.

There are lots of ways you can get shorts in starters, in both the solenoid and the motor itself. You can even get partial shorts, like partially shorted windings. Those allow the motor to spin but not with enough torque to start the engine.

Don't use this starter until you know what's wrong with it. Up-sizing the fuse is almost always the wrong idea. There is a condition in the aircraft I used to work with where one failure mode of a starter is for it to get stuck "on", and because this component isn't meant to run longer than 15s at a time, the high current starts a fire. To address this failure mode, many aircraft have a "starter contactor" IN ADDITION TO the solenoid itself that the switch wires to. This allows the pilot to force the system off in the event a solenoid short keeps the starter engaged.

Most land vehicles don't have these because unlike in an aircraft, you can pull over to the side of the road... but that doesn't mean they're safer or it happens less. Plenty of engine fires are started by faulty starters. Just Google around and you'll find tons of cases of this happening. Here's just the first one I saw: Starter causes fire | IH8MUD Forum

"No click" is usually the solenoid portion of the starter. It used to be the standard "fix" was to whack it with a wrench or hammer before turning the key. Nobody climbs under their cars anymore.

Take the starter out and bring it to a shop that specializes in rebuilding them. If in the unlikely event the starter is working, their evaluation will determine that. You can still pay them to clean it, replace brushes, etc, and extend its life (while it's on the bench anyway) and then you can evaluate other components of the starting system (like the cabling). And if it's faulty, then you'll know 100% for sure what to do next - rebuild or replace it.

New starters are cheap on eBay - you can get them for $50-$200, although you have to watch for counterfeits. IMO, a starter is one of the spares people should carry. They're a mechanical item that's prone to failure, it ruins your day when they break, they're not very large, they're (relatively) easy to install (at least compared to something like piston rings), and they're not very expensive.

While it's out, inspect its gear teeth for signs of wear. Broken or missing teeth are a very bad sign that your flywheel ring gear is also damaged. A new starter should not be installed in that case until the flywheel is replaced. You can also have a helper spin the engine with a breaker bar or rotating a wheel while you inspect the flywheel teeth. While the starter is out is the best time to inspect them. It's a pain to do, but better than not knowing.
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Old 04-03-2015, 02:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taskswap View Post
While it's out, inspect its gear teeth for signs of wear. Broken or missing teeth are a very bad sign that your flywheel ring gear is also damaged. A new starter should not be installed in that case until the flywheel is replaced. You can also have a helper spin the engine with a breaker bar or rotating a wheel while you inspect the flywheel teeth. While the starter is out is the best time to inspect them. It's a pain to do, but better than not knowing.
I know that Raven19988 mentioned he has an International and what I'm about to say relates specifically to Cummins.. but maybe International has a tool like this too.

Cummins (and after market) sell an "engine barring" tool which is absolutely worth its price if you need to rotate one of their engines for various kinds of service (check the starter ring teeth, (dis-)connect a torque converter, adjust valves, etc). There's an access hole on the exhaust side where this tool is inserted. It engages the teeth on the starter ring, and the tool is rotated with a 1/2" ratchet. Makes turning the engine manually a piece of cake. I learned this after splitting two sockets and nearly ruining the bolt head trying to turn over a 5.9L Cummins via the bolt on the crankshaft serpentine pulley.
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:00 PM   #9
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I'm glad you got this far. Did my post in the other thread help?

I can't get rebuild kits or parts for starters anymore. That one is too small to bother rebuilding it at the motor rewind shop.

You need a new starter.

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