Engine bay noise - starter, what else? - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old September 25th, 2017, 01:12 PM
Vedrover
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Alex
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Engine bay noise - starter, what else?

Calling all engine bay noise, clicking, thudding, grinding, whining and thundering sound experts!

Prior to the vehicle being parked for a month or two, the engine ran flawlessly without any suspicious noise. Nothing in the engine bay seemed to have leaked, all levels were normal.

So, yesterday, after the moving and car sitting for a long time, last time I started it, it ran with a constant whining noise, coming from the LHS of the engine. The noise seemed constant and would not change with the engine RPMs. After about 2 minutes I could hear the clicking sounding exactly as the starter solenoid does. At that point I shut her down.
Here's a video of the video (sorry, will repost the original video later) of the noise:


Engine starts very easily and runs otherwise and doesn't stall. But battery cables are pretty hot.

I pulled the starter off, and tested its operation. The solenoid works as it should and the motor runs with some normal whine, but there seems to be higher impedance on the motor, which is what I suspect causing battery cables to heat up. So that's clear.

But I'm still not 100% positive that this was the source of noise, as it would need to stay engaged in order to cause that.
Is there anything else that can cause this noise or should I first put in a new starter motor and see?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old September 25th, 2017, 01:32 PM
OH+D
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Adam
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Sounds like the power steering pump is completely dry or there is something stuck in the turbo. Check the PS fluid level and remove the turbo intake hose and check the compressor wheel.
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  #3  
Old September 25th, 2017, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OH+D View Post
Sounds like the power steering pump is completely dry or there is something stuck in the turbo. Check the PS fluid level and remove the turbo intake hose and check the compressor wheel.
Thanks, that's what I thought first time I heard it. But PAS reservoir level is good, and turbo is brand new and didn't vibrate at all (and sounded normal with RPMs getting up to the point where it kicks in) , although I'll pull the hoses apart and check it again.
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Old September 25th, 2017, 02:20 PM
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How many volts is the alternator putting out?
I'm discounting potential for water pump.
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A friend of mine runs a land rover / range rover specialty repair shop. Based on his experience, they are capable of stopping anywhere, anytime, at any cost.

I don't know about the brakes, only their unreliability.
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  #5  
Old September 25th, 2017, 02:23 PM
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John B.
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Slacken off v-belts one at a time and see if the noise goes away.
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  #6  
Old September 25th, 2017, 03:00 PM
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Alex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
How many volts is the alternator putting out?
I'm discounting potential for water pump.
Will check, thanks.
Current plan is to clean up the starter motor a bit, give it a bit of pounding in the hopes of improving how hard the battery needs to work to turn it (I will replace it for sure once I get to the bottom of the issue), put it back in and keep diagnosing the alternator (it does sound a lot like a bad bearing), as well as check the v-belts too as Red90 was suggesting. Water pump is new, so shouldn't be the culprit.
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  #7  
Old September 25th, 2017, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vedrover View Post
as well as check the v-belts too as Red90 was suggesting.
Red90 isn't suggesting to "check" the v-belts. What he's saying is to basically remove one v-belt at a time from the equation, each belt removing something from potentially making noise.

1 belt is power steering pump
1 belt is the alternator belt



In theory, you could run the engine minus all the accessory belts, albeit for a short time. This is a diesel, so you don't even need the alternator.
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  #8  
Old September 27th, 2017, 10:03 AM
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So, I cleaned up the terminals and contact surfaces of the starter motor, cleaned alternator terminals, pulled and cleaned the engine block grounding link contact surfaces and, while I was at it, replaced the positive battery cable (old one was getting rough and I bought one way back when and was looking for an opportunity to replace it) and put it all back together.
Car starts fine, the loud noise is gone, there's some quiet whining coming from the alternator (rebuilt Bosch unit dated 2007). The battery was at 11.4VDC, so I couldn't fully test the alternator. With a discharged battery, no accessories on and at idle, the draw was around 3A, which seems high to me, but I'll revisit this. No ground leaks at all, so that's good.
Charging the battery overnight and will run the proper alternator tests today.
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  #9  
Old September 27th, 2017, 11:56 AM
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Matthew
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FYI a charging alternator will still charge at 14 volts even if the battery is totally flat. Measure the voltage in two places. Measure at the battery output stud on the back of the alternator. And measure at the battery terminal. they should both be 13 volts or more slightly above idle, or if you have an underdrive pulley at idle
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  #10  
Old September 27th, 2017, 10:32 PM
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12.4VDC across the battery with engine running. Slowly ramping to 12.95 with RPMs above 2000 and even at 3500 or so (with turbo kicking in).
So, it's a verdict: I need a new alternator.

I also located the source of noise heard in the video: the front exhaust pipe was not attached to the engine block and was vibrating and rubbing against it. That's why there was that metal grinding noise heard in the video.
That's how it was originally and when I was putting it back together in a hurry for the move from AB to QC this spring, I didn't have the right bolts and left them as they were, was not a problem until this time. So, I'll get them bolted to the block to avoid another freakout down the road...
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  #11  
Old September 28th, 2017, 11:01 PM
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The starter motor is struggling: + cables got hot enough to melt the plastic around the solenoid connector (image attached, see the glossy black plastic under the + terminals and the yellowing of the solenoid wire section directly above it).


The solenoid to motor cable heats up pretty good too. Solenoid works and doesn't stay latched once the engine is started and I already confirmed that the generator is not charging at all (and also observed 3-4VDC voltage drop at idle with no accessories on).
Since I saw the cables heating up during the test with starter off the engine and known good jumper cables, I'm going to assume that it's shorting inside and that's causing the connectors/cables to heat up.

Tested the cable from the starter to the generator for continuity and resistance, reading 0.1 Ohm across the cable. Ground link and battery negative cable all have good connection (0.1 Ohm as well). Battery is less than 1 year old Optima RedTop.

Aside from the suspected starter shorting inside, can the bad alternator also cause/contribute to this issue? Am I missing something and should I look for more issues? I'm not the greatest Sparky and don't want to risk frying brand new alternator and starter motor shortly after replacing them.
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  #12  
Old September 29th, 2017, 12:21 AM
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To me it sounds like the starter motor is continuing to run. Retracted, but running would be my guess. That would explain the melted wires as well. Put a stethoscope on the starter and see what you hear. This would be an odd one, no doubt. Havent seen it before and it is purely on what it sounds like... I hear what I sure think is an electric motor spinning at high speeds.
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  #13  
Old September 29th, 2017, 04:47 AM
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If the starter is running, the ammeter or voltage meter will tell the story.
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A friend of mine runs a land rover / range rover specialty repair shop. Based on his experience, they are capable of stopping anywhere, anytime, at any cost.

I don't know about the brakes, only their unreliability.
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  #14  
Old September 29th, 2017, 11:23 AM
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could be one hella bad ground causing some of these issues. Like, some kind of high impedance connection (not open circuit, necessarily)
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Old September 29th, 2017, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonoronos View Post
could be one hella bad ground causing some of these issues. Like, some kind of high impedance connection (not open circuit, necessarily)
That was my first thought and that's why I tested the grounding cables from the battery to chassis, engine block to chassis, starter motor body to chassis and alternator body to chassis. All came back with 0.1 Ohms which is great for impedance. I'll re-check again keeping the neg probe on the battery terminal this time (vs. testing individual paths to chassis) and see if it makes a difference.
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Old September 29th, 2017, 12:19 PM
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Alex
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[/FONT]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
If the starter is running, the ammeter or voltage meter will tell the story.
You mean it would show a voltage drop/amps spike? I'm seeing that at idle, as I mentioned, 2V drop on average, going to 3-4VDC drop periodically.

I'll check the starter relay, to confirm it disengages. Other than the relay fault, what else you think could keep the motor spinning?
When I bench-tested the starter, the solenoid didn't stick and the motor stopped when I broke the solenoid connection while testing the starter removed from the vehicle, in general the mechanical operation was correct but the jumper cables were still getting hot.
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  #17  
Old September 29th, 2017, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vedrover View Post
All came back with 0.1 Ohms which is great for impedance. I'll re-check again keeping the neg probe on the battery terminal this time (vs. testing individual paths to chassis) and see if it makes a difference.
That's a good idea.

0.1 ohms resistance will cause a pretty severe voltage drop when pulling the current of a starter motor. It's not a great impedance well, that is unless you're designing a board
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  #18  
Old September 29th, 2017, 04:35 PM
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Alex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonoronos View Post
That's a good idea.

0.1 ohms resistance will cause a pretty severe voltage drop when pulling the current of a starter motor. It's not a great impedance well, that is unless you're designing a board
Well, that's the best my crappy Cambodian Tire multimeter can measure on a 200 Ohm scale (shows the same 00.1 for the two probes touching each other) and I was running under assumption that anything lower than 0.5 Ohm is good enough.
Will try to measure an actual voltage drop from the battery all the way to the starter and alternator next time as well. This damn thing is actually training me to be a better Sparky
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  #19  
Old September 30th, 2017, 02:22 PM
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Alex
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Still running the deenergized tests, testing impedance of a non-energized circuit.
I think I might be on to something here: the starter relay measures close to 23 Ohms across the coil in an open state. To me that's not right (I`m under the impression that an open state should be 0.2~0.5 Ohms range, only increasing when it`s energized). Does anyone know the normal open impedance of a YWB10032L relay (Google was helpless)?
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  #20  
Old September 30th, 2017, 10:02 PM
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Alex
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Nevermind, it's actually measuring 76 Ohms across the coil and that's what it should be for this type of a relay. Voltage drop across the coil is measuring out to be less than 0.1V. Aaaargh, I hate Electrickery! I'll stop writing until I find what's causing me grief.....
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