Intermittent Starter problems after contacts and plunger

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Feb 18, 2005
Saratoga, CA
Hi All,

I started having intermittent starting issues about a year ago. I pulled the starter and checked the contacts. They were in-spec, but pretty heavily fouled. I took a wire-wheel to them and buttoned it back up. It ran fine for ~1year, but recently started acting up on me again.

Figuring that they'd finally gone out of spec I ordered up a new set and opened it up again. They were indeed worn out of spec, so I put them in and figured I was good. After getting back on the road the first 20 or so starts were flawless, but then it was back. No start without a good bang on the side of the starter.

I pulled starter again and checked my work and everything looks right. The contacts are clean and co-planar. The studs are torqued to spec. I could see the erosions from my 20 or-so starts.

So here's the weird thing. I connected the electrics back up and clamped the starter to the frame, and it starts everytime. I put it back in the bellhousing, but this time left it finger-tight and it starts everytime. Once I even get it snug is starts getting fussy again.

The teeth on the starter gear are clean, there doesn't appear to be any binding, just no start.

Anyone ever run into this before?

Thanks for any help.

Interesting. I had proposed a lack of decent grounding in a different thread as a possible culprit for the intermittent no-start, but your testing seems to indicate that is not correct.
I know somebody cured their issue by using a generic relay and bypassing the entire factory starting circuit utilizing only the ignition switch. Otherwise they went around the pnp switch, starter relay, etc.

There are a lot of mudders experiencing this so please post up if you find the cure...
One word for you: Battery Terminals

Sometimes the issue is this obvious, in my case it's not as the battery is new, the terminals are super clean, the fusible links are new, and all grounds have all been cleaned.
I have similar prob with a 91. Starts on first start, and then70% chance it won't on next. Let it sit for awhile and then it will start. Already changed starter and batt is good. Any suggestions?
Sometimes the issue is this obvious, in my case it's not as the battery is new, the terminals are super clean, the fusible links are new, and all grounds have all been cleaned.

Try checking how hot your starter wire gets after you try to start and get nothing. It possible that your starter wire may have deteriorated over time or may have breaks under the sheilding... just a thought
I started having similar issues today. I replaced the starter contacts and plunger about 3 months ago when I was clearly having contact issues and haven't had any starting problems since. Today all it would do is click once if you tried to start it. I connected jumper cables to another car and it started immediately. I then drove it a few miles and cut it off. This time it wouldn't even click when I tried to start it. Jumped it off again but this time it took a good 5 or 10 minutes to get it to actually start. Also when it started it was sudden and immediate; not indicative of a weak battery in need of a charge.

I have an 84 month interstate battery in there which is a bit over a year old. I drove it to an interstate dealer and shut the engine off. Well wouldn't you know that it started right up immediately and the battery and alternator tested fine.

Is there a relay in the main system that might be going bad or is the relay in the starter? The only other thing I can think of is that I washed the engine bay down yesterday and maybe water got in somewhere and needed to be driven for a bit to dry out?

It's not a DD but I hate stuff that doesn't work when you want it to.

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