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Starter motor swap and refurbish

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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 23:28   #11
John Halford
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Thanks again, everyone. Stephen, time is something I seem to have quite a lot of at the moment, and it hasn't cost any money yet. The donor car will rot eventually as it sits outside. I do wash it occasionally to keep it looking reasonable, but some of the problems are these:

Driver's door difficult to open
Passenger door impossible to open
Central locking doesn't
Fuel gauge doesn't work
Odometer doesn't work
One bonnet hinge mounting badly corroded
Some rust coming through on at least one wheel arch
Rear wiper doesn't work
Alternator adjuster bolt sheared
Paintwork tired
Sluggish
Doesn't like starting in cold or damp
Bonnet release stiff

Now I know lots of these can be put right, but is it really worth it?

HonestJoe, I read somewhere that you shouldn't grease the shaft the pinion slides out on in case grease gets onto the clutch. Having said that, it has to run freely so I will put the minimum amount on (and wipe most of it away).

Laird Scooby, very useful stuff, thanks. I have now dismantled as much as I need (I think), and have withdrawn the rotor from the body. I can see that there is still life in the brushes and the commutator looks clean, if a little scored. Everything seems to turn reasonably freely; the only thing with significant resistance is the one-way mechanism. Perhaps that doesn't matter too much as it won't rotate when transmitting the drive to the flywheel; presumably it's for when the engine fires and suddenly tries to spin the starter much faster in the same direction, which the one-way mechanism will allow.

I'm looking forward to reassembling and (bench) testing.
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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 23:38   #12
Laird Scooby
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Halford View Post
HonestJoe, I read somewhere that you shouldn't grease the shaft the pinion slides out on in case grease gets onto the clutch. Having said that, it has to run freely so I will put the minimum amount on (and wipe most of it away).

Laird Scooby, very useful stuff, thanks. I have now dismantled as much as I need (I think), and have withdrawn the rotor from the body. I can see that there is still life in the brushes and the commutator looks clean, if a little scored. Everything seems to turn reasonably freely; the only thing with significant resistance is the one-way mechanism. Perhaps that doesn't matter too much as it won't rotate when transmitting the drive to the flywheel; presumably it's for when the engine fires and suddenly tries to spin the starter much faster in the same direction, which the one-way mechanism will allow.

I'm looking forward to reassembling and (bench) testing.
You're absolutely correct on the bare minimum of grease on the starter shaft for the pinon to slide along. :tuhmbs_up:

While you rebuild it, put a little clean engine oil onto the end bushes (they're phosphor bronze so easily recognised) to soak in, preferably at least overnight - wipe off the excess before assembly though.

If you have some emery tape, give the comm a quick clean up (don't use sandpaper though) to make it bright and shiny again, the gaps between the commutator segments should ideally be about 1mm below the surface of the segments but if you're doing a minimum-effort/maximum-effect job then just clean the comm with emery tape.

You're right in your assumption about the drive pinion, it has a one-way clutch built in so the engine doesn't over-speed the starter when it fires before the key is released from the start position.

Also clean all electrical connections, surprising how much difference this can make!
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Old Feb 26th, 2021, 17:55   #13
John Halford
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Dave, thank you. I have now reassembled the starter motor and bolted it back into the "donor" car. On switch on ... nothing! Well, not quite nothing. There was a click, indicating that the solenoid was activating, but either not feeding current through to the motor or there was something else wrong with the motor.

I dug out my test light bulb on a bit of wire ... and discovered that there was a dry solder joint at the bulb. After resoldering and testing the bulb, I attached the test wire to the solenoid "output" terminal and turned the ignition switch. This time the bulb lit up ... and the starter turned. And it has worked every time since.

So ... all I really did was to dismantle, clean, lubricate where appropriate and reassemble. I didn't remove the brushes assembly as it all looked OK. My hunch is that the real issue was the solenoid armature sticking as I was never aware of a click when I had the original fail-to-start scenario.

At least I am now much more confident in removing and servicing the starter.
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Old Feb 26th, 2021, 21:33   #14
Laird Scooby
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Excellent news John!

If the solenoid plunger isn't able to move all the way in, it won't push the contact plate in the end of the solenoid into position to bridge the heavy contacts together to power the starter motor.

There are in fact two coils in the solenoid, one is a pull-in coil which earths through the actual motor (hence the motor turning slowly on the bench) and a hold- in coil which takes less current as it only needs to hold what has already moved - this coil is energised when the contact plate makes contact with the main contacts and bridges out the pull-in coil.

I suspect what may have happened is a ridge developed in the aperture where the solenoid plunger lives and it stuck momentarily (causing the click and nowt else) and the second attempt removed this ridge and the plunger went all the way.

As long as it keeps working then it's all good!
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