Starter cranking without key in ignition! (1 Viewer)

Joined
Sep 11, 2009
Messages
115
Location
Stouffville, ON, Canada
What a weird one!

Had a drained battery this past week. Put it on the trickle charger for hours and it did not hold charge. So I boost it and go to the local shop, purchase a new one. While putting it in I connected the ground then connected the positive (read different things about which to connect first, please advise) but when I touched the positive terminal to the battery the starter began to crank! Went inside to check and the key wasn't even in the ignition. With the terminal disconnected I fiddled with the key a bit, turning it on and off. Connected the positive terminal again without issue.

Drove the truck for many trips over the next day, even pulled a buddy out of the ditch as we had some very icy weather on Saturday. Later that morning just sitting down to have a coffee and my son comes running downstairs asking if I am trying to start the truck ... NO!!! I run outside and the start is cranking ... this time out of no where. Jump in the truck, put in the key turn to on and the truck starts but the starter continues to crank ... turn off the ignition and the start continues to run ... pull the positive terminal but only after the battery is fully drained.

I have a remote starter so I called the installer to isolate that as the issue. He had me remove all the wires to the remote starter brain unit and said that it is essentially useless and not connected to anything at that point. Connect the battery and again, the start cranks.

Down to 2 possible issues, AFAIK. The key tumbler is stuck in the crank position or the start solenoid is stuck. Call my local shop and get him to pull me 1km to his shop. Got it to the bay and now we have to push it in. We try connecting the terminal again and this time, the starter doesn't crank. OK, so I start with the key ... it works!

Drive it in and turn it off and on about 4 times ... on the 5, it sticks again ... pull the positive terminal. Pulled the starter. Took it to a local starter rebuilder today and he tests it ... 'besides smelling like it's been run continuously, there is nothing wrong it'

So the other option is the tumbler ... the problem for me is that to engage the starter, you actually have to turn the key forward ... how can that fail? And how can it self engage just sitting on my driveway!

Help please!

Sorry for the epic story but the details of the problem might help to find the solution.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Messages
373
Location
Arkansas
 
 
Had the same problem after having a remote start installed in my LX450 about 4 years ago. The problem you are having sounds the simular with intermittent rendom cranking and starter running with the the engine running.

The problem was a short in the ignition wiring when the remote was installed. Had the remote removed and all the ingnition splices redone. No more problem.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2009
Messages
115
Location
Stouffville, ON, Canada
So even though the remote starter brain has been disconnected, the wiring is still in place which could cause this problem if the wires are causing the short.

Going to call my mechanic and my remote starter guy now.

Thanks. Will keep you posted.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Messages
373
Location
Arkansas
 
 
Yes, Tried the same thing with disconecting the remote control box. It seemed to work for a while then did the random starting thing again. Redoing all the splices seemed to fix the problem.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2002
Messages
8,019
Location
Kamloops, BC Canada
 
 
 
 
IT IS NOT YOUR REMOTE STARTER ---

Your starter solenoid contacts are welded together.

Take your starter out, put in new contacts and a plunger and away you go.

Easy fix as long as you haven't killed your starter already, because then it gets expensive.

~john
 
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Joined
Sep 11, 2009
Messages
115
Location
Stouffville, ON, Canada
As a first order effort I pulled the starter and sent to a starter repair shop that I know. I had changed the contacts and plunger last year and when we opened it up, all looked good.

I wish it was the fusing of the contacts but not so.

The problem is intermittent which makes me believe it is electrical. My mechanic today reinstalled the starter and the intermittent issue continues. At least we can start it and pull the ignition wire to the starter.

Taking it to the remote starter installer tomorrow. Hopefully he can diagnose the electrical issue. Seems that's the only option left after the tumbler.

Keep you all posted.
 
Joined
Jun 28, 2008
Messages
235
Location
Coquitlam BC
I had the exact same problem. I repaired the solenoid contacts and I've never had trouble since.(3years ago) Might be worth another look.

Cheers
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2009
Messages
115
Location
Stouffville, ON, Canada
So took the truck to the remote starter guy yesterday. Starting the truck with key in the ignition and just connecting the wire harness at the starter, then disconnecting to kill the starter.

He spent about 15 minutes testing the tumbler with the harness disconnected. Then put it back together and started pulling the remote starter wires. Got everything out and tried the key start again .... starting and stopping without issue. Then he went to his toolbox and the starter began to fire on its own. Perfect, he now knows I'm not imagining this!

He pulled a wire under the column and this killed the crank. Voila, problem found! That wire was running to a component that he added ... a started pulse relay which controls how long the starter will crank. It was filled with water and was creating the short. So this was replaced and repositioned and the problem is solved.

Now, how did water get in there? It was located just above the fuse panel on the drivers side foot panel. The rest of the wiring wasn't wet and there wasn't water on the floor under the carpet. When he had his trouble light around that area, drivers side floor, I could see some glare from the engine compartment. Is it likely what water was making its way from the engine compartment into the panel? This is the next problem to trace I guess.
 
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