91 Caravan Starter

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Old 03-26-08, 02:03 PM
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91 Caravan Starter



Just had the starter off and brushings fixed. We had a no start condition, and no sound other than the starter relay and the fuel. It was working fine, and starter great after that. Today, after 1 day of insured driving, we go to it, and instead of a nice starting sound, we get more of a heavy click, coming from the starter (I could feel it). Almost as if it couldn't engage. After a few more tries, it worked again. Whats wrong everyone? Thanks for any help, yet again.
 
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Old 03-26-08, 03:00 PM
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Brushings? = brushes or bushings? What?

Did you do any rebuild work or looking inside the solenoid on the starter? You could have burned contact points in there.

You could have any bad electrical contact or connection along the route that allows 12 volts to the starter but insufficient amps. (Envision trying to get the vehicle to turn over if you had a good connection from battery thru ignition thru relay thru solenoid thru starter, - only somewheres in there the wire was only as fine as a hair, or a contact was burned and allowed the equivelant of the same thru it, sometimes. It maybe could even smoke at that location and not have the ability to turn over the engine.

Another cause of a 'hard' click, as opposed to a weak one, is if you are getting a bind in the engine, such as coolant in the engine cylinder or some other cause, or from the starter drive teeth getting into a bind with the flywheel teeth, usually on one spot in the flyweel. You'd have to shim the starter if you suspect that.

Of course, all that is said is on the assumption your battery is good.
 

Last edited by ecman51; 03-26-08 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 03-26-08, 03:40 PM
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I believe it was brushes, sorry.

A friend in the business did the work not myself also.

I believe all relays and switches/wiring is good, maybe the solenoid isn't. Also, the battery is good (tested with voltmeter). We never had any major mechanical engine problems before that would cause it to do something like this. Is it possible that it's something like that, and still for it to be possible to start intermittently like I mentioned. We were driving it for a while when we first fixed it, and then over night we left it, and mid afternoon the next morning is when it wouldn't start.

I also heard someone mention something about a part of the starter called the "bendix". Could it be that? I felt and heard the hard click from the starter.

And one more thing... is it possible that our repair guy did a shoddy job... that there is a brush or some other part inside there sticking? Thanks!
 
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Old 03-26-08, 03:54 PM
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The bendix is the mechanical part that actually engages the flywheel. In the situation you describe it's likely going to be either the solenoid contacts, circuitry or the starter motor itself as ecman suggests.

Here's a pretty good description of the bendix:

http://www.ctci.org/membership/Gilsg...rterBendix.htm

and a pretty good troubleshooting guide:

http://autorepair.about.com/cs/troub.../aa080203b.htm
 
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Old 03-26-08, 04:04 PM
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Thanks for the information. We'll probably take it off again and get it checked out.
 
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Old 03-26-08, 04:09 PM
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Have someone check out the battery with more than just a voltmeter, also. That should be stage 1.
 
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Old 03-26-08, 04:59 PM
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Okay I can even try another one, thanks for the tip.
 
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Old 03-26-08, 05:48 PM
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More news just in...

Battery is indeed okay. So anyway, when I went back now after leaving it for a few hours, it wouldn't start again. Same sound... a click when I push forward on ignition, then a "da-clunk" when I let go. I went and tapped the starter, it still wouldn't start. Then I went back under, and this time tapped the solenoid/solenoid contacts, and when I went back what-do-you know, it started again... So now does this mean it's the solenoid's contacts or the solenoid itself? I just sorta didn't understand how the solenoid makes the starter click/clunk like that. Is it common for the solenoid/solenoid contacts to go after replacing brushes or something?

Thanks everyone! (I'm getting better at this diagnostic stuff!)
 
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Old 03-27-08, 10:33 AM
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35 years ago when I was really a Curious George about cars, I had taken these things all apart, and also starters. The solenoid has copper or brass contacts inside, and also is what gets the starter to throw out the gear while it spins the starter at the same time. You can have a perfectly good starter motor, but if the contacts are burned-pitted in the solenoid, it may be hit or miss if it allows current to go thru. There is some kind of plunger-spring and yoke system in there, to my memory, that works in conjunction with the bendix drive. I should refresh my memory and try to find an exploded view on one of these things on the web.
 
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Old 03-27-08, 03:20 PM
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Thanks for the new info. here. I'll keep looking into it. This intermittent start is bugging me... sometimes we tap on the starter or solenoid to no avail, and then hours later outta the blue it fires up. I'll keep everyone posted.
 
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Old 03-27-08, 03:30 PM
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Old 03-27-08, 06:44 PM
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Thanks for all of the information everyone.

Instead of pulling out the starter and solenoid right away, we tried some simple things today. Cleaned the negative strap from the battery to the engine, cleaned the battery posts, made sure the neutral safety switch was on good, and swapped our starter relay (from the wrecker) for another working on (original). We let is sit for an hour + and this time it fired up right away. I'm now hoping we nailed the problem by doing one of things we did, and I will continue to check it (try again after it sits until morning).

Once again, thanks.
 
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