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Old 09-07-2000, 01:46 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Culver City, CA, USA
Posts: 62
I have a question about the starter system on the 300TD (123 chasis). This is my moms car and it was built in 1983.
Here is the problem:
when the ignition is turned to the starter-engage position the starter does not crank. Not even a sound is heard from around the engine, no clicking, nothing. The only way to get it to turn is to either to keep turning the ignition on and off, or to wiggle the shifter back and forth over the P or N position.
My father thinks its the starter or the transmission switch. I think they are O.K. and that there is a seperate solenoid that is busted. The reason I think that is because the lights on the dash dim slightly as the ignition is turned to the start position, as if a solenoid is engaging or trying to engage but can not. Also I looked at a spare starter we have and there is only a battery supply cable on the starter and no solenoid engage wire.
Is there a seperate solenoid on these cars? Do they go bad? Where is it located?
Any help greatly apreciated.
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Old 09-07-2000, 02:19 PM
SW SW is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Houston, TX. USA
Posts: 590
I had the same problem with my old 240D. The problem is with the starter (it was sticking), especially if you have the original one in there after all these years. I replaced my starter with a rebuilt one (cost around $120). I don't know if the starter has a solenoid. A trick to get the starter to turn is to contact both leads on the starter with a screw driver while the ingnition is on. Make sure the car is in park or neutral and dont stand infront of the car. You should hear the starter turning. Hopefully, it will turn enough to get unstuck so that you can start the car using the ignition key. Good luck

'82 300D Turbo 216k miles
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Old 09-07-2000, 07:05 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Canada
Posts: 127
Mark, at separate times I had a bad neutral safety switch and a bad starter solenoid. The symptoms with the bad neutral switch were that sometimes it would not turn the starter or make any noise whatsoever in Park. In neutral, it worked fine every time.

With the bad starter solenoid, it would intermittently not turn over or make any sounds no matter what I did. Then a few hours later, it would work fine. Go figure! To find out if it is the starter solenoid, connect a thin wire momentarily from the + battery terminal to the small terminal on the starter solenoid that is mounted on top of the starter. This will eliminate the neutral switch, ignition switch and wiring connections as possible sources. If nothing happens when you try this, it is most likely the solenoid at fault. Mine wasn't too tough to replace, I don't know about the turbo though. Before you start replacing anything, make sure that all connections from the battery to the rest of the car are absoulutely clean and in good condition.

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Old 09-07-2000, 09:55 PM
Posts: n/a
If the solenoid is the problem, many times you can take a small hammer and tap on it to get it unstuck.

'81 240 d manual
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Old 09-07-2000, 11:30 PM
Wm. Lewallen
Posts: n/a
Check the shifter bushings(2 needed). They do wear and will cause the problem described by you. Cost:about $0.65 each..Good luck
Bill Lewallen Lex. Ky.
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Old 09-08-2000, 01:38 AM
MikeTangas's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430
My money is on shifter bushings as well. Just lift up or push forward the shifter toward park, hold there and turn the key. That'll hold you until you can replace the bushings.

BTW, on mine, if I don't get it in park 'just so', when I turn the key the warning lights go out when I try to start.

Mike Tangas
73 280 SEL 4.5

[This message has been edited by MikeTangas (edited 09-08-2000).]
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Old 09-08-2000, 12:41 PM
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Culver City, CA, USA
Posts: 62
Bill & Mike,
where are the bushings located? Are they on the trany or are they at the shifter?

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Old 09-09-2000, 12:31 AM
Wm. Lewallen
Posts: n/a
The bushings are on the linkage from the shifter to the lever on the transmission. If you replace them,I believe your problems will be gone. Good luck. Bill Lewallen Lex.Ky
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