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From the workshop Maintenance 1 Compiled by Josh Giumelli. Photos: Nicole Baxter The solenoid performs

From

the

workshop

Maintenance

From the workshop Maintenance 1 Compiled by Josh Giumelli. Photos: Nicole Baxter The solenoid performs two
1 Compiled by Josh Giumelli. Photos: Nicole Baxter
1
Compiled by Josh Giumelli. Photos: Nicole Baxter

The solenoid performs two tasks: it engages the drive pinion in the engine flywheel and operates a high current switch to allow the starter motor to turn. If the solenoid just clicks when the key is turned, the plunger is not being drawn back far enough to engage the switch. This can be caused by insufficient current (flat battery or poor connections at the battery terminals and starter motor) or a sticking solenoid plunger. If the fault is traced to the solenoid, remove the cable between the solenoid and the starter motor.

2
2

Remove the nuts securing the solenoid to the starter body.

3
3

Withdraw the solenoid from the starter. It may need to be tilted upward slightly to disengage the plunger.

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Steps for starter motor repair

4a
4a

Inspect the plunger for corrosion and oily build-up, which may cause it to stick in the solenoid.

4b
4b

Degrease

or

polish

with

a

fine

wet

and

dry paper.

5
5

To test the solenoid switch, hold the plunger in as far as it will go. There should be minimal resistance across the two terminals. This can be measured with a multimeter as shown or by using a battery and test light.

6a 6b
6a
6b

To test solenoid action, connect jumper leads to the spade terminal (which is energised by the ignition key in the vehicle) and the terminal which is connected to the battery (not the one which connects the starter to the solenoid). The plunger should spring in when current is applied (left) and pop out again when disconnected (right).

applied (left) and pop out again when disconnected (right). 7 To disassemble the starter motor, remove
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7

To disassemble the starter motor, remove the long bolts that extend through motor body.

8
8

Remove the drive end casing and set aside.

9
9

Remove the end cap, taking care, as the brush wires will be connected to the motor body. The brush unit may be attached to the end cap, requiring removal before the cap can be separated.

10
10

Disassemble the brush unit, taking care not to lose the springs.

FARMING AHEAD

No. 125
No. 125

May 2002

11a
11a

Withdraw the armature from the motor body and inspect the commutator for damage. The commutator is the series of copper contacts that the brushes press against.

11b
11b

The armature pictured has a ring commutator, which is more common than the radial commutator on the armature in this article. The same repair

12
12

Inspect the commutator for damage. The surface must be smooth and not badly worn. The commutator on the left has lost a segment, while the one on the right has shorted at some stage and melted. Both armatures are beyond use.

13
13

Light scratches can be polished out with wet and dry paper. If the commutator is damaged then specialist repair services are required or the starter can be reassembled and swapped for a service exchange unit.

14
14

Inspect the bendix gear for correct operation. It should slide forward without sticking. Remove any dry grease or dirt that may have accumulated on the spiral grooves.

FARMING AHEAD

No. 125
No. 125

May 2002

Maintenance

15
15

Check the operation of the over-run clutch by turning the drive pinion. It should turn freely in one direction and lock on to the armature in the opposite direction. If it does not turn freely then the starter motor can over-speed when the engine fires, eventually leading to starter motor damage.

16
16

Clean the end cap of any dust build-up. Inspect the bearing for wear (inset) but it can usually tolerate some scoring. If the armature sits loosely in the bearing, due to excessive wear, it may come into contact with the field coils with disastrous results.

17
17

Using a brush or compressed air, clean dust from the field coils inside the starter body.

18
18

The field coils can be tested for damage by using the resistance function on the multimeter as shown. Alternatively, a test light and battery can be used.

19
19

Clean any grease build-up from the drive end cap using degreasing fluid or warm water and detergent. Inspect the pinion bearing for wear (inset). Just as with the end cap bearing (step 16) it must not be too loose.

From

the

workshop

(step 16) it must not be too loose. From the workshop 20 With all components clean,
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20

With all components clean, attention can be turned back to the brushes. Worn brushes are a common cause of starter failure and are best replaced even if they still have some life left. The brushes pictured are more than ready for replacement.

21
21

Remove the brushes from the field coils by de- soldering or use pliers as shown. New brushes are inexpensive and are made of carbon or soft copper.

22
22

Solder the new brushes to the field coil where the old ones were attached.

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23

Assemble the brushes into the carrier. On some starter motors this may need to be carried out before soldering. Remember to fit the springs that keep the brushes tensioned.

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24

Reassembly is a reversal of the disassembly procedure. The bearings and bendix gear should be greased lightly. Too much grease will attract dust. With the starter motor reassembled, check that the armature can be rotated by hand by turning the pinion against the over-run clutch.

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25

To test the starter, use jumper leads. Ensure the starter is secured firmly before testing. Earth the motor (negative) and apply the positive lead to the solenoid actuator spade terminal and the large battery lead terminal. The pinion should shoot forward and the motor will spin if the repairs were carried out correctly.

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