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Old 02-09-2002, 11:16 PM
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126 starter problems

I could not start my car (1982 300SD) on Monday since it was so cold and I was told that part of the problem was the starter. On Friday I picked up a rebuilt starter and had that installed. At the same time I switched my ignition switch. After the starter was installed the car started without a problem. On the way home I stopped at the gas station and it took two tries to start the car. The first time all I heard was a click. The engine would not turn over. When I went out at night it took two tried to start the car. I was at a restaurant for about an hour and again it took two tries to start the car. We stopped at a different place and where there for about 20 mins. I lost track of the number of times I tried to start the car. Eventually it started and I dropped it off at the garage that had done the work and took a bus home. This morning I kept switching the car on and off to get it to replicate the problem. It did not. I drove to where I got the starter from and when I got back in the car it took multiple tries to start the car.

I put in another starter and had the same problems. We hooked up a cable directly from the battery to the starter and still had the same problem. Hooked up a boosting pack to the battery and still had the same problem.

Mechanic says itís the starter. Place I got both starters from says there is something else wrong.

Any ideas. Any help would be really appreciated.

I am desperate

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Old 02-10-2002, 12:16 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
I think something else is wrong. There is obviously a bad circuit. You have replaced the starter portion of the circuit (twice without repair), you need to evaluate the problem; which is real simple if the problem exists when you are checking.

You need three things to happen for the starter to work. The engine block needs to remain a ground, the large cable from the battery must deliver full battery voltage to the top post of the starter, and the 50 terminal from the ignition switch must bring battery voltage to the small solenoid activating wire.

All three needs are easily verifiable with a volt meter using the voltage drop test. Test the ground first. To do the test one would place one lead of the voltmeter on the ground battery terminal (not the cable but the terminal inself - touch the center not the connector) and place the other lead on the body of the starter. Try to crank the car while viwing the volt meter. Because both leads are on ground there should be no voltage. An acceptable voltage (voltage drop) would be .1v maybe .2 (in reality). If the connection is the problem the drop may be as high as full battery voltage. By testing from the center pole to the starter body the whole ground circuit is tested. If it flunks, each component can be tested till the problem is centered using similar technique. If the test showed high voltage drop I would next do the test with the lead on the center of the battery but the other lead on the cable connection attached. If good move down the line. MB batteries ground to the frame so there must be another wire carrying the ground to the block (usually from the trans to the frame). Follow each segment and till the point of the voltage drop is found - the volt meter won't lie.

Do similar testing to the positive cable which has fewer connections as it does go straight from the battery to the starter solenoid. There should only be voltage drops through resistance. In theory there should be no resistance to wiring.

Test it.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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Old 02-10-2002, 12:40 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 507
When you turn your key into the on position, do all of your dash warning lights light up?
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Old 02-10-2002, 02:05 PM
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I have no problems with any of the lights. The radio, the heater and the headlights all work with no problems.

When I took the first rebuilt starter back the shop tested it and told me that it was fine. They did give me another one to try but that one had the same problem.
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Old 02-10-2002, 02:31 PM
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I just thought of something. There are three connections to be made on the starter. I was wondering what they should be. Could this problem be the mechanic wired the starer incorrectly?

You have the small wire, and two larger connections how the the two larger connections meant to be made.
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Old 02-10-2002, 06:07 PM
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I will test the system with the volt meter. It will probably tomorrow so I will post my results then.

Once again thanks
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Old 02-12-2002, 07:28 PM
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Hello everyone

After testing the batteries, testing the ground connection uninstalling testing and reinstalling the starter three times I finally found out what the problem was. It was the solenoid.

I was just lucky and got two rebuilt starters with bad solenoids

Thanks for your help.

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