Replacing starter solenoid on '94 Chevy S10

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  #1  
Old 04-09-08, 01:54 PM
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Replacing starter solenoid on '94 Chevy S10

I have a 1994 Chevrolet S10, 2wd, 2.3 liter, straight 4 cyl., automatic

It won't start. You turn the key....nothing. I removed the front driver-side tire, and tried the screwdriver trick on the starter solenoid and it fired right up. This tells me the starter solenoid is bad. (right?)

Is it possible to replace just the solenoid, (which appears to be mounted on the starter motor), instead of the solenoid AND the motor? Or is it all one piece?

Also, any tips or tricks on replacing this would be appreciated. Does anyone know if other items need to be removed to make this happen on this model truck? (ie. Exhaust)
 
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  #2  
Old 04-09-08, 04:59 PM
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It depends what you jumpered. How your car is wired.

It is possible that all you did is bypass the whole ignition (switch in start position) + neutral safety switch + a possible separate relay switch. All depends on how your car is wired, I believe. [Note that neutral safety switch and relay switch are not shown in the submitted pic. I can bring up another online pic to show illustration that shows these.]

Check out the illustration below. In the submitted pic, you can see that if "S" terminal is jumpered to the red terminal on the right/top coming from the battery, that what you are doing is bypassing all that circuitry on above left.

A better way to find out for sure is to find out with voltmeter, or 12 volt DC test light, if the small "S" wire gets 12+ DC volts juice to it when someone turns the key to start. If you DO, let's say, then that means the starter or solenoid is bad, for sure. Then you can jumper directly to the starter, where the brass jumper wire goes into the starter itself, to see if the starter spins (it won't engage, it just spins). If so then the problem could likely be the solenoid, UNLESS one is being fooled that those jumper tests are sending more amps through bigger wire or screwdriver, and you are sort of giving it a jolt.

If you are ambitious and really think it is the solenoid and find out that you CAN get just a solenoid (check that out before beginning on this), then you will know by taking it apart. I used to do this years ago and am out of practice. From what I remember, I found arced contacts inside that proved it out.



Most places recommend that even if solenoid is the only thing bad, that you should replace the starter while you are at it, and have it off anyway. If solenoid windings or contacts are bad, so could some connection be in the starter.

You are weighing out removal cost of starter-solenoid in one unit, up against removal of starter-solenoid unit + solenoid from starter + installation of solenoid, getting the plunger mechanism all hooked up inside. Also, when you buy a new complete unit you get back a sum of money when you take back the old one.

http://autorepair.about.com/cs/troub.../aa080203c.htm

And here is the site that show the circuitry that includes the neutral safety switch and relay, real big and clear, even though the first site also does.

http://www.samarins.com/glossary/starter.html
 

Last edited by ecman51; 04-09-08 at 06:15 PM. Reason: added more
  #3  
Old 04-09-08, 05:27 PM
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if the engine started, then the starter and solenoid are ok. all you did was apply 12 volts to the solenoid terminal...same thing the ign switch does. is it a manual or automatic? the manual will have a clutch safety switch mounted to the pedal assembly, the automatic will have a neutral safety switch mounted on the side of the trans. when checking either switch, you should have B+ or 12 volts on both sides of the switch (normal operation) during crank. check for this on the heavy purple wire. if no power on the purple wire...suspect a bad ignition switch.
 
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Old 04-10-08, 08:37 AM
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It is an automatic.

When you mentioned:

"when checking either switch, you should have B+ or 12 volts on both sides of the switch (normal operation) during crank. check for this on the heavy purple wire. if no power on the purple wire...suspect a bad ignition switch."

Do I test this with the ignition in the key in the start position? How do I test? Voltmeter?
 
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Old 04-10-08, 08:42 AM
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Yes, the key must be turned to the start position. That's the only time current flows through that circuit. Use a voltmeter or a 12 volt test light.
 
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Old 04-10-08, 09:26 AM
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goldstar is correct. place the black meter lead to ground and the red lead on the wire to test. then switch the red lead to the other wore in the connector.

with a test light...connect the clip end to ground and probe the wire with the pointy end...then switch to the other wire.
 
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Old 04-11-08, 06:55 AM
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How do I get to/Where do I find the ignition switch?
 
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Old 04-11-08, 07:10 AM
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lower steering column area...drop the hush panel (the black plastic thing above drivers feet) and loosen or remove the 2 nuts/bolts that hold the column up. the switch is mounted on the top side at the lower end.
 
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Old 04-14-08, 07:27 AM
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Is a voltmeter the same as a multimeter? I can't find anything called a voltmeter. Where can I buy a real cheap device to test this? All the multimeters I can find are 30+ dollars. I've looked at walmart, autozone, and radio shack.
 
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Old 04-14-08, 11:22 AM
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Yes. And I bought 4 of them on sale at Harbor Freight on sale for $2.99 ea. and they are 7 function with light. Big box stores sell them for $10-15 plus tax.
 
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Old 04-14-08, 11:56 AM
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Just a quick note...

GM often uses a yellow wire from ignition switch to Neutral switch.....Neutral switch to starter sol. will be purple.
 
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Old 04-15-08, 09:36 AM
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I was able to find a 12v test light. I pulled off the hush panel and there hundreds of wires running around. Can someone help me pinpoint exactly where the wire is that will allow me to test the ignition switch?
 
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Old 04-15-08, 02:05 PM
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test it somewhere easier...start at the starter on the purple wire. if the test light lights, you are getting voltage and the switch is fine. if you need to test closer to the switch, look for the purplr wire going thru the bulkhead connector, left side under hood in the corner near the brake booster. only test at the switch if you don't get a light during crank anyplace else...to get to the switch, you'll have to drop the column as i described above.
 
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Old 04-16-08, 07:44 AM
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Thanks for everyone's input on this. It appeared the issue had to do with the ignition switch, but not a bad ignition switch. This particular S10 had an after market security system on it. It appears there was some type of kill switch on the ignition that needed to be reset.

Here's what I did: Charged the battery fully. Turned the key to the on position (not start), depressed the brake, and put it in neutral (it's an automatic). Then tried to start the truck while quickly flipping a toggle switch under the dash that is supposed to reset the alarm system. It fired up.

Now, I successfully turned it off and back on several times last night, while the vehicle was in Park. This morning, I tried it, and nothing. So, I put it in neutral and tried to start it and it worked. Any ideas why Neutral seems to be the difference maker here? (Especially since it's an automatic transmission)
 
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Old 04-16-08, 09:37 PM
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check the linkage, cable for correct indexing, also the neutral safety switch for proper adjustment.
remember Murphy was an optimist
 
  #16  
Old 04-17-08, 04:17 AM
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definately check the switch adjustment...and get rid of the aftermarket security system...they are a PITA.
 
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