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Wierd Problem: Starter/Solenoid?


 
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vegan_jeep_man
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Joined: 18 Jan 2005

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2005 12:59 pm    Post subject: Wierd Problem: Starter/Solenoid? Reply with quote

Hi. I would like some advice on troubleshooting and repairing or replacing the starter and/or solenoid on an '87 YJ. I have the Haynes manual and the Chilton manual, and I can turn a wrench, so I'm not worried about the basics. But I would like to hear your experiences.

Currently I have the (awful) Motorcraft starter/solenoid unit.

Here's what happened:

I forgot to turn the lights off when I got home today and drained the battery. Bummer. When I go to jump it, I can't get a good electrical connection with the cables (and yes, I am planning on replacing the battery cables. They are kinda chewed up). When I do have a connection, the battery is so dead that it won't turn the engine. So I wait while it charges, and turn the key a few times.

Then, suddenly, the engine fires, but I Do Not Have the Key in the Ignition! What the f***? The starter will not turn off. A rancid burning smell fills the air. The engine is racing and the starter is screaming. I pull the jumper cables off and the starter and engine die. Just to double check that what I saw did indeed happen, I tap the hot cable to the battery with one hand while I hold the ignition key in my other hand, and yep, whenever the battery is hot the starter fires.

Wierd! So now I've got to do something. That burning smell suggests that I burnt something out. But what? The solenoid or starter? How do I tell?

Final point: If I need to replace the starter motor, I would prefer not to keep the Motorcraft unit, but the only alternative I can find on the web is the Mean Green, and it is more than twice as expensive. Are there other starters that I could use as a bolt-in replacement? Is the Mean Green worth it?

Thanks.
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Jeep'n'John
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Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Location: Utah

PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What probibly has happened is the contacts in your Start Relay ("solenoid") arced for whatever reason and welded closed. So now any power applied to the cable goes through the Start Relay to the starter. thats probibly the burn smell you smell too. Id bet its the Relay ("solenoid").

Im fond of the Ford Style start system with the Relay ("solenoid") remotly mounted from the starter. Makes troubleshooting the key switch and the starter a little easier...Buy a good one and youll probibly never have to worry about it... If you dont mind spending the extra money, get one that is rated "Constant Duty".

Pollak and Cole Hersee both make a good 12volt Constant Duty Start Solenoid... I think they even make a marine version...
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vegan_jeep_man
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Joined: 18 Jan 2005

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your reply, Jeep'n'John. I think you were exactly correct. I replaced the Start Relay today and now everything is just fine. I took the Starter Relay and the Starter Moter off a couple of days ago to troubleshoot the problem, and now I can see what you mean about the convenience of having the Starter Relay mounted on the firewall right next to the battery. It sure is easier to remove than the starter motor.

But I had no idea that I had a choice of Start Relays to choose from. I might have ordered one of the Constant Duty ones that you mentioned by Pollak or Cole Hersee if I had known. Instead, I picked one up today from the Napa parts store down the street. It looks identical to the one I replaced, and that one was new about two years ago, so I will probably get another chance to put in a higher quality unit. But until then, problem solved! Very Happy
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Jeep'n'John
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Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Location: Utah

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool Cool....

In all actuality you probibly dont need a constant duty but they will handle alot more because the contacts are heavier duty and the coil can be energized for continus amount of time, hence CONSTANT duty...

The only things that can really go wrong with a start relay is the contacts can melt down or weld shut, or the coil becomes weak or open.

Constant duty realys are built for extreme conditions so if you want a little insurance, its not a waste to use them in my opinion.

Also, heavier duty relays can pack alot more amps and that is a good thing... the relays for your winch or are constant duty...
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