Fun new problem: starter circuit issue - Defender Source
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Old September 11th, 2004, 04:11 PM
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jaherring
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Jason Herring
94 D90 ST #1253
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: San Pedro, CA, USA
Posts: 582
Fun new problem: starter circuit issue

In the latest chapter in my series as a poster child of what *not* to buy in a used Defender, I've got a problem in the starting circuit.

Just last night it began: when running some errands I returned to the truck, flipping the ignition and nothing happened. I could hear the fuel pump kick in, but nothing from the starter: no solenoid click, nothing. The truck as a brand-new Optima yellow top battery & it was definitely not dead - the lights came on brightly and all accessories worked, aside from that whole starting-the-engine part.

After a helpful man and his sons gave me a push-start, I drove home a couple miles and parked in my driveway. I turned the engine off, then went to start it again and it turned right over and fired up without a problem. I did this a couple of times to confirm it was working OK.

Well, today it's not starting again. I crawled under the truck and jumped the hot wire to the starter motor and it spun up quite nicely. I could do much else without beginning some disassembly.

Any suggestions? With the pain-in-the-butt location of the solenoid, I can't really get to the other terminals to test it without removing the heat shield and perhaps taking out the starter. Since it uses huge allen head bolts, I have to go purchase some more tools to take out the starter... before I go through this I thought I'd ask here if there is something else that could be the problem.

For example: is there a switch that only lets the solenoid/starter fire up if the clutch is pushed in? Perhaps that could be bad. I looked at the (huge) fuses & they passed visual inspection...but a blown fuse wouldn't likely explain the intermittant problem I have.

I probably need to buy the tools anyway - and also pick up a set of sockets for those weird 12-pointed-start-headed bolts I see on the truck here and there. But before I dig in I thought maybe someone here could help.

When I'm done with all this repair work I'm going to post a pretty amusing (in a sad way) summary w/ photos of all the crap wrong with this truck, which was billed to me as a 'ready to be daily-driver-it-could-go-across-country-truck' before I bought it.
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  #2  
Old September 12th, 2004, 03:07 AM
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jaherring
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Jason Herring
94 D90 ST #1253
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: San Pedro, CA, USA
Posts: 582
OK, so I found the problem. After a full afternoon of disassembling my dash and tracing wires between it and the engine compartment I discovered something really goofy. The wire going to the starter solenoid was spliced into in a hidden location by a pair of *speaker* wires. That speaker wire ran up into the dash area and was previously twisted together to complete the circuit. It had come apart, thus disabling the starter circuit. I must have got lucky the other night and the wires were still in enough contact to start at that time.

This was either a 'red neck anti-theft device', or perhaps the remains of a crappy car alarm install..? Anyway, what kind of knucklehead would use speaker wire is beyond me (and being speaker wire through me off for awhile, too, when tracing it), but it's working now.

This truck certainly has personality.
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