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RWD - failing starter ?

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failing starter ? 200 1992

Hi Greg,

I've had a similar condition on two of my 240's.

First was on a well worn 87 that would consistently click but fail to turn the starter motor at temps below -20 F. I found that putting a hair dryer on it for a couple of minutes would make it work every time. Despite complaints from the owner of the dryer, I got by with it like that for a couple of years until I scrapped the car.

I pulled the starter and disassembled it. I don't think it was original to the car because it had wound field coils, but it was in very good condition with very little wear on the brushes. 240 starters don't do a lot of cranking and the brushes are large so I don't think it's a likely problem on yours. I did find that the large copper wire that connects the solenoid to the motor was almost completely severed except for a couple of strands. The two ends of the break were touching each other so it may be that the cold was pulling them away. It's hard to say. This wire is welded to a metal tab with a stop on it where it connects to the solenoid, and the stop was broken off. My guess is that a PO broke it when tightening the nut on the solenoid. I replaced that wire which required soldering inside the motor.

I disassembled the solenoid which required an impact screw driver and some de-soldering. It was clean and free, but showed some wear and oxidation on the large motor contacts. Others have speculated here that this wear may be enough to prevent full contact when other parts of the solenoid contract with cold. I can't say. I could have replaced the solenoid for about $20 but I opted to clean and lube it. It operates fine on the bench although I've never tested it in the cold.

My current winter car is a 91 245 with 235k. I've had it 12 years and put 125k on it so it probably has it's original starter. It pulled the same trick a couple of times last winter, but the car would start with repeated tries.It hasn't repeated that this winter so that's not much help to you either.

Have you tried jumping the motor as Dave suggested ? If it spins it would indicate a problem with the solenoid. No spin would suggest the motor or it's connection to the solenoid. Clicking of the solenoid indicates power to it, but doesn't guarantee it's making the motor connection.

Any testing is easier on the bench, but maybe the hair dryer trick will work until you can get to it.

Good luck,
Peter






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New failing starter ? [200][1992]
posted by  riverbend  on Tue Jan 22 13:24 CST 2019 >

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