1HD-FT 'click-click-click' no start. HDJ81 stuck at body shop

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Denver, Colorado
Hi all, reaching out for help here...

My '95 HDJ81 has been at a local body repair shop in the Denver, CO area for some rust repair and restoration for about two weeks when I was told the engine no longer started. Seems like a common issue on this forum where you can hear rapid loud clicking from the engine when you turn the key to ignition but the engine doesn't fire up. Previously the engine would start almost immediately with a turn of the key. The shop says they never touched the engine before it stopped working - I figured the likeliest problem was drained batteries through repeated moving of the vehicle inside and outside their garage.

After reading through old threads on this matter, I checked the engine for corroded wiring and didn't find any. Tried jumping the batteries without luck - both batteries read 12.1 V. The shop owner tried rotating the crank to see if the problem was due to broken starter/flywheel teeth without success. Due the shop's and my busy schedules I don't have much time to dig deeper into diagnosing the problem. No local auto shops or Slee are willing to work on this engine due to limited experience. By this weekend I'll need to choose to get it towed to someone who can work on it (if I can find someone) or have it towed back to my house and slowly diagnose and fix.

Does anyone on this forum know someone around the south Denver area familiar with and able to work on the 1HD-T/FT? Is there something else I can try such as jumping it a certain way or replacing the starter or starter relay?

I appreciate any advice or help you all can provide.
 

SNLC

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24v needs a solid 24v at the starter, much more particular than a 12v starter and system.

The starter may have died, it happens. Smack the starter while cranking.

Any good auto electrical shop can rebuild the starter, new OEM are $$$$.

So check for 24v at the starter first.

Cheers
 
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Not sure on availability over there but starter motors for them are really cheap here in Australia.

considering the age and cost of a tow and how easy it is to change the starter I would do that first
 
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Not sure on availability over there but starter motors for them are really cheap here in Australia.

considering the age and cost of a tow and how easy it is to change the starter I would do that first
$300 usd for a 24v starter, and the body shop owner offered to install so potentially just another $50 for install. Probably worth a shot if hitting the current starter doesn't work.
 
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I guess timing would kill you, but they are around $180AU/$130USD on special here in Aus with a 5 year warranty...
Not sure what shipping would be...

Good luck though
 
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I guess timing would kill you, but they are around $180AU/$130USD on special here in Aus with a 5 year warranty...
Not sure what shipping would be...

Good luck though
Thanks, unfortunately I shouldn't leave this vehicle sitting in their lot for many weeks waiting. I can order a 24V starter and get it in a week. I'll just go ahead with that just in case nothing else works.

I actually do have a 12V starter sitting in my garage for a 24V to 12V conversion down the road - unfortunately the wiring for that seems pretty complicated and requires other parts I don't yet have.
 

TonyP

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If both batteries are at 12.1V, then they're both pretty much dead.
Bring them to your local Autozone/O'Reily's/whatever and have them charged up and tested.
I wouldn't buy a starter before ruling out the batteries first.
 
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"Rapid loud clicking"? Surely textbook flat battery symptom, the relay clicks away. If there was an issue with the starter you'd normally just get one click as the relay opens.
If both batteries are at 12.1V, then they're both pretty much dead.
Bring them to your local Autozone/O'Reily's/whatever and have them charged up and tested.
I wouldn't buy a starter before ruling out the batteries first.
The shop will leave the batteries on charge all day. Fingers crossed that juices them up enough, otherwise I'll pull them and check with a nearby Autozone.
 

Squash

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If your batteries check out ok then its most likely the fusible link from the right hand battery(looking at engine) or the attached wire which runs under the windshield wiper washer reservoir to the starter relay located in the right fender.
To test this, jumper the main starter feed and the small wire at the starter. Best to do this from underneath.
 
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Everyone, thanks for all the advice and suggestions.

I just received a text from the shop that they found the batteries were low on fluid. They've topped the batteries off, juiced them up, and managed to get the engine to start! They will check again tomorrow morning to be sure it still starts and provide an update, but it sounds like that was the problem - low electrolytes. I'm not too surprised of this with the dry and hot Summer air here in Denver, and frankly a little embarrassed the problem was something so simple... I'll follow up soon whether the problem persists or if I get it home successfully after the other work is completed.
 
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The batteries need a good charge or replacing. The clicking is because there is not enough power to rotate the starter. 12V at the terminals means nothing, its the voltage you get when you crank it. The batteries can only be assessed with a "load test"
The starter would not magically die after being in a shop for a few weeks. Starters nearly always die slowly and give you plenty of warning. So if the battery was good when it went there, it is almost certainly still good.
 

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