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Old 02-03-2010, 11:53 AM
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Truck won't start

Well first off it is friggin cold here. Minus 20C last night. So having a hard time getting the old girl to start. One thing I should note before I forget is every once in a while the truck will not start in park. You turn the key & just a hear a click. I have to put it in neutral & then she will start. Previous owner said that this started after he had replaced tranny . But it would always start up in neutral. This happens on average about twice a month. I don't think this is causing my problem now but I cannot be sure.
Tried to start her up yesterday unplugged & I had to put it in neutral & she cranked over but the batteries quickly died. So I boosted it with my car & after quite a bit of trying she eventually did go. Took her for a good drive to charge the batteries back up. Shut her down & plugged her in overnight. Tried to start her again this morning & she rolled over but batteries quickly died. Batteries are approx. 4 years old. Took batteries to local auto parts store & they tested them on 2 different types of testers & the were down but once charged back they tested ok. So brought them back home put them back in & she would roll over slowly for about 30 seconds & then die. Tried boosting again & would roll over slowly but still wouldn't go. So then I read on here that you can't go by battery load test results & if batteries are 4 years or older they probably need to be replaced. So I went & bought 2. Now truck will not roll over at all. When I turn the key I can hear the clicking noise on the passenger side in the engine bay but engine does not roll over.
I'm wondering if perhaps I have cooked the starter. I would roll her over for about 30 seconds & then wait about a minute for the starter to cool. A couple of times I did see some blueish/black smoke coming from the passenger side in the engine bay when I was rolling her over. I'm wondering now if that was smoke from the starter? I did get under & tap the starter with a hammer but no help.
How do I troubleshoot to find out what the problem is? I've already bought batteries that may not have been needed so I don't want to throw any more parts at it. There must be a way to test the starter. Is it as simple as running a wire directly from the battery to the solenoid on the starter? If so can I try this with the starter still on or should it be taken off to test it?
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Old 02-03-2010, 03:57 PM
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get under there and have someone hold the key in the start position, check for voltage on the small 12v wire. if you have battery voltage and 12v on the small wire and it still isnt cranking, then your starter is junk. check all your batt connections and starter connections. sometimes they can corrode on the starter and not make a good circut.
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:04 AM
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Well I don't have a second person available to help me do that so I checked the solenoid on the passenger fender by jumping the connections with a screwdriver. All kinds of power & sparks & I could hear the starter engage but not turn. So I frigged around some with the screw driver on the solenoid & the starter engaged & the engine rolled over. So I got in the truck & tried to start it. Engine rolled over but before I could get it going starter stopped turning again. So I took the starter out & jumped with my boosting cables. The starter engaged & the gear at the end came out but did not turn. Tried a few more times & the gear would come out but would not turn. I am assuming it is pretty conclusive that the starter is toast. Motor in starter must be fried.

I would appreciate if someone could confirm that the starter is toast. Probably asking the extremely obvious but I don't know what other conclusion to come to. I just want to be sure before I go buy another one.
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Old 02-05-2010, 11:33 AM
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Well I bought a new starter. Haven't had a chance to install yet but quickly did the same test with the boosting cables as I did with the old one. Got the same results?? New starter engages, gear on the end comes out but does not turn. Same thing the old one did. Am I testing it wrong? I can take the new starter back if that's not the problem. I attached the boosting cable ground clip to one of the bolt holes on the starter, the positive to the small terminal on the starter & the other 2 clips to the positive & negative on one of the batteries in the truck. The gear on the end should come out & then turn shouldn't it. It comes out but doesn't turn.The old & new starter both can't be shot. I must be trying to jump it the wrong way. Sorry for being so stupid. Electrical stuff is my weak point.
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Old 02-05-2010, 11:41 AM
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this sounds kind of weird, the gear should pop out and spin. but with the new starter doing the same thing i am kind of stumped. my best guess is the starter is toast. is it a brand new starter?
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Old 02-05-2010, 03:57 PM
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Got it from Carquest.Pretty sure it is a reman but its not one from a junkyard. Well it has to be one of 3 things. Either I am jumping it wrong or the starter is toast or there is not enough power in the battery I am boosting it from.
The battery is brand new & has only seen about 1 minute of engine cranking total. I bought it at Canadian Tire & is a 850 CCA one. I guess it's possible but I find it hard to believe that both the old & new starter are doing the same thing & are both toast. The most likely thing IMO is I am applying power to it incorrectly or not a good enough ground. But I don;t understand what I could be doing wrong. I attached one negative booster cable to the starter where it bolts on to the block, the positive to the where terminal where the small power wire goes. I tried the bigger terminal where the big power wire goes but nothing happened. the other positive & negative booster cables are connected to the battery terminals. Other then not begin grounded well enough I don't know how you would wire it up for a test any different. What I did is correct for a bench test isn't it? I am going to frig around with it tomorrow. Even if it won't work I'm still going to install it & try it & see what happens. My wife is home tomorrow so I have someone to turn the key so I can check voltage at the starter as well. What should I be seeing for voltage? I am assuming much less then 12 volts would be bad.
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:35 PM
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You need to hook the jumper cable to the big terminal on the starter and then jump to the small one . Just putting power to the small one wont turn the motor . You should have 12.4 v or so at the small wire with the key in the start position . Also check the large terminal on the started while you have 12 v to the small wire , you should also have 12 v on the large wire/terminal . If you don't the selenoid on the fender could be bad .

From what you said it sounds like the starter is toast (the old one) . It probably has a bad spot in the windings of the motor . These tend to act up worse when it's cold .
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:50 PM
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Thanks Bad Night. I figured it was something I was doing. That makes sense now cause that's how its wired up on the truck. I will try that tomorrow. So I hook the positive cable to the big terminal & then just run say a 10 gauge wire from the big terminal to the small one right? I still suspect the old starter was bad but then when the new one was doing the same thing I didn't know what to think.

Last edited by simone0414; 02-05-2010 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 02-05-2010, 05:02 PM
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Yep , thats it . Good luck with it
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Old 02-05-2010, 05:07 PM
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Now I can stop thinking about this for the rest for the rest of the night. Thanks again.
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