Is it my starter thats knackered?

Is it my starter thats knackered?

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TriumphVitesse

Original Poster:

939 posts

143 months

Tuesday 17th May 2011
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For the 1st time in 6 1/2 years of ownership my 21 year old Eunos finally let Me down.....She refused to start, and by that I mean it was totally dead, not even a click from the starter. The dash lights worked, the headlights, windows etc etc & the battery is only a year old so its not that. I managed to bump start it, turn it off & then start it with the key successfully 20 TIMES without any issues. I therefore assumed a niggle and put it back on the drive. That was a couple of days ago. Sunday went out to take it for a spin & same thing....DEAD! Rocked it back and forward in gear, turned the key, nothing, turned the key again & started!! Took it for a 10 mile blast and parked it up again. Went to it last night & it fired first time! Does this sound like a starter thats jamming??


MX-5 Lazza

7,952 posts

178 months

Tuesday 17th May 2011
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Do the dash lights dim when you turn the key? If not I'd suspect a faulty ignition switch or starter relay.

Tomoose85

1,899 posts

130 months

Tuesday 17th May 2011
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MX-5 Lazza said:
Do the dash lights dim when you turn the key? If not I'd suspect a faulty ignition switch or starter relay.
This.

TriumphVitesse

Original Poster:

939 posts

143 months

Thursday 19th May 2011
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Seems to be behaving itself now, will check dashboard lights one night when its dark. Cheers.

TriumphVitesse

Original Poster:

939 posts

143 months

Wednesday 25th May 2011
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Tomoose85 said:
This.
Ok so last night after not using the car for 3 days its dead again. I turned on the dashboard lights and then the ignition & the lights did not dim so I suspect a faulty relay. The ignition switch must be ok as I had the usual oil/battery lights on the dashboard. Of interest I kept the key turned a couple of times and it suddenly fired. Switched it off & successfully fired it 3 times! If I use the car every day its fine, if I leave it more than a day I have this dead non firing problem - WHY??
Of interest if it is the starter relay where is this located & how do you change it? Is it easy?

Thanks!

mmaatt25

6 posts

114 months

Wednesday 25th May 2011
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Hi,

The problem with intermittent faults like this is they happen at the most inconvenient time and you can't search for the fault all the time it's "behaving itself".

On the starter motor body you have the starter solenoid, this will have two cables going to it. There will be a big cable, this is the main feed from the battery to the starter motor and supplies the power to turn the starter motor. The second cable is much smaller, this provides power via the iginition switch to the starter solenoid, which in turn throws the electromagentic switch (Solenoid) and engages the starter motor.

To identify exactly where your problem lies when it's dead next time disconnect the smaller cable and with the help of an assistant see if your getting voltage at the starter motor end when the key is turned to the starter position. Multimeter set to voltage (should read approx 12v) or simply a 12v testlight.

If your getting power (which I suspect you will) then your starter motor is the problem. There are couple things that could be wrong with the starter motor/solenoid and replacement would be the best option.
If in the unlikey event your not getting power then your ignition switch maybe worn and causing the problem.

Hope this helps.

Matt

TriumphVitesse

Original Poster:

939 posts

143 months

Wednesday 25th May 2011
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Thanks Matt,

I did initially suspect the ignition switch and had the thing out to inspect it (I assume its the thing with the cables attached to it at the opposite end to the ignition barrel - it has a little keyway in it which turns when the key is turned?) Thing is its a sealed unit so all you can do really is replace it & see what happens. Because I was still getting dashboard lights I didn't think it was the switch as I assume that I wouldnt get any lights with a duff switch? I'm assuming its starter motor related as it will bump off or even start by just keep turning the key until there is power - as if it has to be woken up!!! Like you say intermittent faults happen when its on my drive.....I had it down to the local garage who checked everything and could not find anything wrong! I bet it will start tonight as I started it 3 times yesterday....its not the end of the world as if it totally refuses I can bump it off anyway. Think I will just get a new starter fitted unless something glaringly obvious rears its head.

This must be punishment to relegating it to an 'occassional car'!! it was my daily driver but being in such good rust free condition I wanted to keep it off the salty & wet roads & only run it when its nice, but cars were built to be used I suppose and not molly coddled!!

Cheers

MX-5 Lazza

7,952 posts

178 months

Wednesday 25th May 2011
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If it's the ignition barrel it could well be that position 1 & 2 are fine but turning to position 3 doesn't engage the switch that fires the starter. There is probably a way to test it - cross the ignition wire from the switch to earth (hot-wire in other words) but someone else will have to confirm which wires need crossing as I have no idea. If hot-wiring works reliably then the starter is fine and the switch is knackered.

mmaatt25

6 posts

114 months

Wednesday 25th May 2011
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MX-5 Lazza said:
If it's the ignition barrel it could well be that position 1 & 2 are fine but turning to position 3 doesn't engage the switch that fires the starter. There is probably a way to test it - cross the ignition wire from the switch to earth (hot-wire in other words) but someone else will have to confirm which wires need crossing as I have no idea. If hot-wiring works reliably then the starter is fine and the switch is knackered.
You can test it by simply checking for voltage at the ignition feed on the starter motor solenoid (smaller of the two cables), when it wont start of course. As said this then confirms exactly where the problem lies.

The problem for the garage or anyone for that matter is you can only find the fault when it's present.

If I was closer to you I'd give you my number so I could look at it for you when it played up. It would only take a minute to identify the problem.

Matt

MX-5 Lazza

7,952 posts

178 months

Wednesday 25th May 2011
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You're probably right. I only suggested the ignition wires test because while I do own a multimeter I have no clue how to use it and I know that the starter solenoid isn't the easiest thing to get to paperbag

mgrays

187 posts

149 months

Thursday 26th May 2011
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Got a bunch of keys on your keyring? This is known to knacker ignition switch..

TriumphVitesse

Original Poster:

939 posts

143 months

Thursday 26th May 2011
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Yeah, I have a few keys plus a pool ball keyring....!!!

Fired it up last night and it started first time, because I'm doing it every day. I will get to the bottom of it I'm sure. I could do with leaving it at the garage over a weekend so when they come to fire it up first thing Monday morning it will be dead.....probably!!

MX-5 Lazza

7,952 posts

178 months

Thursday 26th May 2011
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It does sound more like a sticky solenoid/relay than the switch to me but it could be either.

Odie

4,187 posts

141 months

Friday 27th May 2011
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I read the op first post and thought stuck solenoid, next time it does it try whacking the starter with a hammer or block of wood, then try starting it again.

rovermorris999

4,709 posts

148 months

Friday 27th May 2011
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It might just be a poor connection. It's worth checking everything is clean and bright. Disconnect the battery then take off the cables at the starter motor one at at a time, clean them up and replace. Likewise any other connection in the circuit you can get at, plus earth straps if there are any. Then reconnect the battery, making sure the connections are good and tight. Start with the cheap and simple first before throwing any money at it.

SparkUK

6 posts

112 months

Sunday 31st July 2011
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Did you sort this out?

Stu126

2 posts

44 months

Wednesday 21st October
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Hi my brother has a Mazda mx5 mk2 1998, we have put a new battery in, it clicks in the engine bay, it doesn’t start when key is turned all the way. Could someone help me find out what the problem is!

ILikeCake

152 posts

103 months

Friday 23rd October
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Do you have an immobiliser fitted?

Stu126

2 posts

44 months

Saturday 24th October
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Hi yes it does, it just clicks when I try to turn it over