Diagnosing a Problem
We once had a riding lawnmower with a bad solenoid and would keep a long screwdriver in the glove box to use every time we needed to start it. We would reach in and touch the screwdriver to both the ports on the solenoid, and without fail, the lawnmower would start right up every time.
The starter solenoid is a fairly simple mechanism that transmits electrical current from the battery to the starter. When you turn the key, the solenoid engages, using the electrical motor in the starter to get your engine running. If the solenoid is not functioning properly, the vehicle may not start. Determining whether the issue is the starter solenoid, the battery or the starter itself can save you time and money when repairing it yourself and seeking to have the repair work done. Start by locating the starter and work to narrow down the cause of the issue.
I, of course, do not believe that the batteries are being drained. A typical battery is about 50 Amp-hours capacity. That’s 600 Watt-hours. Let’s say that it this case instant means one second. That means that 2.16 million Watts for one second of energy had to go somewhere. That would end up as a lot of heat. Since you didn’t report that the battery or any part of the car was glowing red hot, I don’t think that it happened. I think that you are fooling yourself with some of your measurements and methods.
My Car Won’t Start: Is it the Starter, Alternator, or Battery?
Usually when your car doesn’t start right up, you may immediately suspect that the battery has died. This isn’t necessarily true considering there are several different parts that are involved in starting your vehicle. To help you determine whether the starter, alternator, or indeed the battery are at fault, let’s take a look at each of their roles and what could occur to indicate which element has failed.
Alternator and Starter Diagnosis
Rotating electrical parts such as starters and alternators often have to be replaced on older, high-mileage vehicles. Fuel injection has helped prolong the service life of starters by allowing engines to start more quickly when they are cranked. Such is not the case with alternators. Higher electrical demands on charging systems have increased alternator failures.
What does a bad car starter sound like?
It used to be starters lasted a long time. So long they did wear out the bearings and drive assembly …and made unpleasant noises but still cranked the engine. The starter solenoid …the thing you hear that goes “click” when you have a dying battery …could also be replaced without replacing the entire starter. And starters could be rebuilt. But that was “used to be”.
How do you tell if a battery or a starter is faulty?
Good thing is, they can change out that battery for you, many do it for free, and you don’t have to deal with returning an old battery to get your core deposit back as they’d charge and credit you with the core deposit at the same time (got to keep track.)
What could be wrong with a 97 Ford Escort that only gets a click from the solenoid if the starter has been changed and the new battery tested OK?
I upgraded to an HEI distributor doing away with wire clutter, external coil and ignition module. now the engine dies when I unhook a battery cable. Either one. I installed a new alternator and the on…