Def 90 won't crank or start - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old November 22nd, 2014, 07:39 PM
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William
1994 NAS Defender 90
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Def 90 won't crank or start

Out of nowhere my Defender 90 will not crank or start. It had a full tune up a month or two ago and it has been running GREAT. Idle's good, runs smooth, couldn't be better. Until yesterday. First thing I did was check the battery and no issue there fully charged and all lights works perfectly.

When I turn ignition, all dash lights come on, I can hear the pump sound go on which is normal, then when I turn a bit more to crank I get nothing just a slight tick/click sound but only once. Not a series of ticks/clicks. Just a single one then silence. Then I tried several times more and sometimes I get nothing not even dash lights or the pump sound. I tried this on and on for a while and nothing.

I gave up but then came back several hours later and it started cranking strong and started up pretty much like normal! But the check engine light stayed on and it is running rough. At idle when I press the accelerator the RPMs actually drop like it is going to stall and when I let off the accelerator it goes back to normal idle. Running completely different than just the day before and check engine light won't go out.

Any ideas what this gremlin could be? I searched around quite a bit but found nothing like I'm experiencing.

Help appreciated!
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  #2  
Old November 22nd, 2014, 07:46 PM
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Joshua
1995 Black ST - Rhinolined edition
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Is it cold there? Check the starter. May be sticking. Could also be the ignition switch potentially. Those two would be my first guesses.
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  #3  
Old November 22nd, 2014, 07:49 PM
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William
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It is very cold here. Has been in the high 20's low 30's for about a week. That's why I first I thought it was the battery but definitely not that.

Any advice on how to check/unstick a sticky starter? I agree the ignition switch could be bad as well. Thanks!
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  #4  
Old November 22nd, 2014, 07:57 PM
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Joshua
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Depends on the sound. You could smack the starter with a large hammer but when mine failed that did nothing. Does it just make a single click sound like it wants to do something and then maybe a high pitched noise but nothing actually turning over?
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  #5  
Old November 22nd, 2014, 07:57 PM
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Craig
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BFH...really. Give it a whack.
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  #6  
Old November 22nd, 2014, 08:04 PM
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William
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Rijosho yes that is exactly it. A single click and a bit of a noise and did not turn over at all or crank. I suppose I could give it a whack. This is likely a dumb question but where is it located? underneath? I have seen pictures of the part itself but not its placement.
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  #7  
Old November 22nd, 2014, 08:18 PM
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Ben
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yea... all starters engage the flywheel. Well... modern ones.

So, the starter is mounted on the side of the engine nearest the back.
Big ass wires attached to it. Biggest wires in the engine bay other than the battery terminals.

I've actually had 50/50 failures of loose starters and failed solenoids. If the starter is even a tiny bit loose or askew, it can fail to engage the flywheel. Grinding or doing nothing (they won't spin unless properly extended).

I want to add a pneumatic starter and a shotgun starter... that would be sweeeeet
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  #8  
Old November 23rd, 2014, 03:39 PM
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Tim Timmins
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Where are you in Greenland? I'd say it gets rather cold there..... I live in the mountains of eastern Arizona, elevation here at the house is about 8100ft or 2465meters. I have had issues with frozen fuel lines on my '95 Disco 1- had to take a blower type propane heater and stick it under the front of the vehicle for a few hours..... I assume up there you have added a block heater, and use fuel/water dryer, and keep a full fuel tank as a matter of routine.....

If it intermittently turns over, then other times it doesn't, I'd look at your grounding points, and make sure your battery terminals are clean- I slather on dielectric silicon grease on all electrical contacts to prevent corrosion......

If it runs intermittently, check your spark to the block off the coil, and then with the #1 plug wire to make sure you're getting voltage to the plugs. If you are not, LR/Prince of Darkness Lucas uses an ignition amplifier that can instantly go bad as well. If you don't have the LR service manuals, someone has them on this site somewhere I'm sure- look on ebay and find some on CD. The manuals tell you how to check all that stuff using s simple multi-meter for voltages and Ohms resistance between components.

NEVER EVER use a battery charger's "START" position to get lots of extra volts/amps for cranking/starting. The electrical signal is so 'dirty' with raw power that it will fry sensitive electronic components like ECMs......

Hopefully these are some ideas as to where to start troubleshooting... could also be an ignition switch- I have an intermittent one on my '87 D110 300TDi that I haven't gotten around to changing out yet ......

Best of luck- let us all know how you're doing....

Tim
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  #9  
Old November 23rd, 2014, 06:01 PM
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William
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Ha I live in Greenland, but Greenland New Hampshire. But yes it gets cold up here but not like Greenland the country! Thank you for the very detailed information. Based on this tread I found the starter, gave it a few hard hits with a hammer and the car started much like normal (takes a few seconds of cranks and then starts).

That being said the "check engine" light stays on now and in the past I would turn the key and get nothing intermittently meaning no sound, no dash lights, nothing just a silent key turn. Then trying again it would just start up so I think I will check the grounding points, electrical contacts you mentioned including the battery terminals.

Lastly I am still suspect of the ignition switch. Something seems like it could be going on there as well.

Thanks!
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  #10  
Old November 23rd, 2014, 06:27 PM
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Daniel Leach
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The hammer should do the trick when a starter solenoid is sticking.
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  #11  
Old November 24th, 2014, 10:39 AM
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I am in New Hampshire too and I have had this exact same problem. I turned the key and just got a loud click and that was it. Then tried again a while later and it would start. I checked the starter and the wire connecting to the uppermost terminal had come off. It continued intermittently after that. I also put the battery on a charger for a day and the problem went away and hasn't happened since.
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  #12  
Old December 7th, 2014, 07:14 PM
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William
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D90884 View Post
I am in New Hampshire too and I have had this exact same problem. I turned the key and just got a loud click and that was it. Then tried again a while later and it would start. I checked the starter and the wire connecting to the uppermost terminal had come off. It continued intermittently after that. I also put the battery on a charger for a day and the problem went away and hasn't happened since.
Cool, another 1994 Def 90 in the 603! Thanks for your post. My Def is with my mechanic for a replacement of the rear crossmember with a galvanized one so he is looking at the start issue. I shared your post. I also bought an ignition switch just in case that is a culprit here as well.

What set up you have for your Defender? You run a soft top all year or have a fiberglass top as well?
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  #13  
Old July 2nd, 2015, 10:54 AM
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Rick Mabus
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Well, I am not feeling this pain. I had some serious cranks but won't start issues. Got those resolved, took it to a shop to get the front end looked at. They did an awesome job on the front end but after a 1 mile drive now my truck is in my garage and won't budge. I went to a gas station after I got it back, put some fuel in, went to start it, and it wanted to crank but died 3 times. It finally cranked and I got home fine. I pulled it in my driveway and had to get my kids crap out of the garage. When I went to restart it, it did not even crank at first, then fired right up. I pulled it in, and turned it off, and now it does not want to even crank.

I am thinking 3 possible things.
1. The key ignition tumbler.
2. The starter is going out ( I actually moved it on the starter motor chasing old gremlins).
3. The Battery is failing differently than any other battery I have ever had.
4. Maybe it is the Alternator, but the lights do turn on.

Any other ideas? I am going to try and put some jumper cables on it tonight and see if I can get it to do anything differently.
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  #14  
Old July 2nd, 2015, 11:03 AM
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Kevin C. Doyle
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I'd definitely change out the ignition switch. Super easy to do, super inexpensive and it could definitely be part of the problem.
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  #15  
Old July 2nd, 2015, 11:16 AM
RickM
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Rick Mabus
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I did just replace that about a year ago, but I know those are not super well made.

RickM
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  #16  
Old July 2nd, 2015, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickM View Post
Well, I am not feeling this pain. I had some serious cranks but won't start issues. Got those resolved, took it to a shop to get the front end looked at. They did an awesome job on the front end but after a 1 mile drive now my truck is in my garage and won't budge. I went to a gas station after I got it back, put some fuel in, went to start it, and it wanted to crank but died 3 times. It finally cranked and I got home fine. I pulled it in my driveway and had to get my kids crap out of the garage. When I went to restart it, it did not even crank at first, then fired right up. I pulled it in, and turned it off, and now it does not want to even crank.

I am thinking 3 possible things.
1. The key ignition tumbler.
2. The starter is going out ( I actually moved it on the starter motor chasing old gremlins).
3. The Battery is failing differently than any other battery I have ever had.
4. Maybe it is the Alternator, but the lights do turn on.

Any other ideas? I am going to try and put some jumper cables on it tonight and see if I can get it to do anything differently.
My 90 recently had starting issues and it turned out the battery was shit. It even tested fine at 'autozone' or pep boys. Essentially I wouldn't completely trust the battery test. Replaced my bargain battery with a AGM 850CC and viola, all apparent 'battery drain' issues where resolved. Auto stores can also do an alternator test via the battery connectors to see if it is putting out juice. Its symptomatic of a stuck starter motor however.

Old school, when it clicks and won't start, get under the truck and give it a few taps with a hammer, this will allow the starter gear to disengage (usually) and if it fires right up there is your problem
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  #17  
Old July 2nd, 2015, 03:11 PM
RickM
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Rick Mabus
95 D-90 ST
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Thats my plan right now. I have replaced 2 starters on this truck already and the one I have now may have a lifetime warranty!! The idea is to whack the starter, and if that does not work, then put cables on it and give that a try to see if there is a difference.
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