Manufacturer’s Professional Repair Information for the “Car Savvy Do it Yourselfer” Over 90 years of  service.

IGNITION SYSTEM TROUBLESHOOTING

NOTE: This is GENERAL information. This article is not intended to be specific to any unique situation or individual vehicle configuration. The purpose of this Troubleshooting information is to provide a list of common causes to problem symptoms. For model-specific Troubleshooting, refer to SUBJECT, DIAGNOSTIC, or TESTING articles available in the section(s) you are accessing.

Fig. 1: Ignition Secondary Troubleshooting Chart

ignition secondary trouble shooting chart

 

STARTER TROUBLESHOOTING

NOTE: This is GENERAL information. This article is not intended to be specific to any unique situation or individual vehicle configuration. The purpose of this Troubleshooting information is to provide a list of common causes to problem symptoms. For model-specific Troubleshooting, refer to SUBJECT, DIAGNOSTIC, or TESTING articles available in the section(s) you are accessing.

BASIC STARTER TROUBLESHOOTING CHART

CONDITION & POSSIBLE CAUSE CORRECTION
Starter Fails to Operate
Dead battery or bad connections between starter and battery Check battery charge and all wires and connections to starter
Ignition switch faulty or misadjusted Adjust or replace ignition switch
Open circuit between starter switch ignition terminal on starter relay Check and repair wires and connections as necessary
Starter relay or starter defective See Testing in STARTER article
Open solenoid pull-in wire Testing in STARTER article
Starter Does Not Operate and Headlights Dim
Weak battery or dead cell Charge or replace battery as necessary
Loose or corroded battery connections Check that battery connections are clean and tight
Internal ground in starter windings See Testing in STARTER article
Grounded starter fields See Testing in STARTERS
Armature rubbing on pole See STARTER article shoes
Starter Turns but Engine Does Not Rotate
Starter clutch slipping See STARTER article
Broken clutch housing See STARTER article
Pinion shaft rusted or dry See STARTER article
Engine basic timing incorrect See Ignition Timing in TUNE-UP article
Broken teeth on engine flywheel Replace flywheel and check for starter pinion gear damage
Starter Will Not Crank Engine
Faulty overrunning clutch See STARTER article
Broken clutch housing See STARTER article
Broken flywheel teeth Replace flywheel and check for starter pinion gear damage
Armature shaft sheared or reduction gear teeth stripped See STARTER article
Weak battery Charge or replace battery as necessary
Faulty solenoid See On-Vehicle Tests in STARTER article
Poor grounds Check all ground connections for tight and clean connections
Ignition switch faulty or misadjusted Adjust or replace ignition switch as necessary
Starter Cranks Engine Slowly
Battery weak or defective Charge or replace battery as necessary
Engine overheated See ENGINE COOLING SYSTEM article
Engine oil too heavy Check that proper viscosity oil is used
Poor battery-to-starter connections Check that all between battery and starter are clean and tight
Current draw too low or too high See Bench Tests in STARTER article
Bent armature, loose pole shoes screws or worn bearing See STARTER article
Burned solenoid contacts Replace solenoid
Faulty starter Replace starter
Starter Engages Engine Only Momentarily
Engine timing too far advanced See Ignition Timing in TUNE-UP article
Overrunning clutch not engaging properly Replace overrunning clutch. See STARTER article
Broken starter clutch See STARTER article
Broken teeth on engine flywheel Replace flywheel and check starter pinion gear for damage
Weak drive assembly thrust spring See STARTER article
Weak hold-in coil See Bench Tests in STARTER article
Starter Drive Will Not Engage
Defective point assembly See Testing in STARTER article
Poor point assembly ground See Testing in STARTER article
Defective pull-in coil Replace starter solenoid
Starter Relay Does Not Close
Dead battery Charge or replace battery as necessary
Faulty wiring Check all wiring and connections leading to relay
Neutral safety switch faulty Replace neutral safety switch
Starter relay faulty Replace starter relay
Starter Drive Will Not Disengage
Starter motor loose on mountings Tighten starter attach bolts
Worn drive end bushing See STARTER article
Damaged engine flywheel teeth Replace flywheel and starter pinion gear for damage
Drive yolk return spring broken or missing Replace return spring
Faulty ignition switch Replace ignition switch
Insufficient clearance between winding leads to solenoid terminal and main contact in solenoid Replace starter solenoid
Starter clutch not disengaging Replace starter clutch
Ignition starter switch Replace ignition switch contacts sticking
Starter Relay Operates but Solenoid Does Not
Faulty solenoid switch, switch connections or relay Check all wiring between relay and solenoid or replace relay or solenoid as necessary
Broken lead or loose soldered connections Repair wire or wire connections as necessary
Solenoid Plunger Vibrates When Switch is Engaged
Weak battery Charge or replace battery as necessary
Solenoid contacts corroded Clean contacts or replace solenoid
Faulty wiring Check all wiring leading to solenoid
Broken connections inside switch cover Repair connections or replace solenoid
Open hold-in wire solenoid
Low Current Draw
Worn brushes or weak brush springs Replace brushes or brush springs as necessary
High Pitched Whine During Cranking Before Engine Fires but Engine Fires and Cranks Normally
Distance too great between starter pinion and flywheel Align starter or check that correct starter and flywheel are being used
High Pitched Whine After Engine Fires With Key released. Engine Fires and Cranks Normally
Distance too small between starter pinion and flywheel Flywheel runout contributes to the intermittent nature