Your 80 won’t start, battery seems ok, lights are on, CEL is ON when key is turned to RUN.... (1 Viewer)

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Aug 2, 2020
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Ok, so this is to help out the fools like myself that get caught in a parking lot or someplace and your truck won’t start....

This has happened to me a few times now (and I will be replacing my starter motor soon) but the first time this happens to you it can be a giant pain in the @$$....

Symptoms: Truck won’t start, won’t turn over or “click”. Battery and power seems fine. Lights are on and CEL (check engine light) come on when you turn the key to run. Connection to and from battery seem fine and the fuseable link looks ok.... ie the CEL is on....

Cause: your starter motor is probably sticking.... at least mine does....

Remedy: get a hammer / mallet ( rubber preferably) crawl under the rig. You will see the starter motor hanging down just outside the driver side wheel well. See attached. Talk to it, say “Why you so sticky?! Don’t you like to work? Are you tired? Are you just being lazy?!” After that hit it!!!! A few goods hits. I mean don’t dent it.... but give a few good ones. Try turning the engine over....

Obviously this won’t always work for everyone BUT it may help a few.... esp when you’re sitting in disgrace in a parking lot in the middle of the day cursing at your otherwise beautiful rig with melting ice cream and screaming kids in the car....
7D1979E8-41F0-4E81-BD85-23622EF08391.jpeg


B614C104-E85A-464E-9B18-18A368479888.jpeg
 
Joined
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Sydney, Australia
Don't get too carried away with the hammer though, or you can fracture the housing around your starter motor where the bolt holes are. I'd replace the starter solenoid on any 80 series that's still running the original, even if you don't have starter problems yet. They're past their effective life by now. If you've still got issues or you want to go the extra mile, get yourself a second starter from a wreck and buy the service kits to replace all the wearable parts, then swap it over. You'll have a brand new starting system and a replacement waiting for a rebuild in your garage. Only costs a few hundred. Well worth it.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Don't get too carried away with the hammer though, or you can fracture the housing around your starter motor where the bolt holes are. I'd replace the starter solenoid on any 80 series that's still running the original, even if you don't have starter problems yet. They're past their effective life by now. If you've still got issues or you want to go the extra mile, get yourself a second starter from a wreck and buy the service kits to replace all the wearable parts, then swap it over. You'll have a brand new starting system and a replacement waiting for a rebuild in your garage. Only costs a few hundred. Well worth it.

No totally fair and I have a rebuilt starter ready to swap in..... just lazy, especially when a hammer works well for a bit :).
 
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Sydney, Australia
Yep, the hammer works surprisingly well in the short term. Unless you happen to be driving a Kia Grand Carnival (people mover here in Aus), and you pull up at the service station, fill up, then can't start the car. Then since it's two inches off the ground you've got to jack it up to get eyes on the starter. Then you find it's got a metal shield around it, so you've got to remove three bolts by feel from places you can't see at the bottom of your hot engine, before you can give the starter a good whack. And you're doing this in the middle of the Australian summer with a wife and four kids in the car, who now don't have AC because the engine won't start.

Yep, fun times....

Oh, and for the record, the reason the starter broke in the first place is because Kia were cheap and used plastic gears in the damn thing! Seriously, at least spring for a few cents of aluminium you cheap @*$@*$. Modern cars make me appreciate my 80 more and more each day.
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
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Location
Bay Area Ca
Yep, the hammer works surprisingly well in the short term. Unless you happen to be driving a Kia Grand Carnival (people mover here in Aus), and you pull up at the service station, fill up, then can't start the car. Then since it's two inches off the ground you've got to jack it up to get eyes on the starter. Then you find it's got a metal shield around it, so you've got to remove three bolts by feel from places you can't see at the bottom of your hot engine, before you can give the starter a good whack. And you're doing this in the middle of the Australian summer with a wife and four kids in the car, who now don't have AC because the engine won't start.

Yep, fun times....

Oh, and for the record, the reason the starter broke in the first place is because Kia were cheap and used plastic gears in the damn thing! Seriously, at least spring for a few cents of aluminium you cheap @*$@*$. Modern cars make me appreciate my 80 more and more each day.

Hahaha! Sorry brother!
 

ppc

M Go Blue
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Nashville, TN
With the starter exhibiting those symptoms the problem lies with the plunger and contacts in the solenoid. The dangerous thing is that the problem can progress into the starter staying engaged and potentially causing a fire. Get it fixed ASAP.
 
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The starter circuit is completely separate from almost every other system on the vehicle. The CEL and the rest of the EFI system is not in play, 2 of the 3 fusible links could be open, and the starter will still crank the engine.

I also prefer not to take the Neanderthal approach and beat the crap out of something to make it work, but that's just me.
You should heed what @ppc Phil said above about the starter contacts welding together. When that happens, things get interesting VERY quickly.
 
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categorytheory As PPC, and Jonheld said above, why not just spend 29 bucks to buy a factory set of contacts and plunger to fix your starter the right way. Instead of using a Chevy tool (hammer) to start it.​

 

Dirt Ferguson

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There’s definitely that thread in the 80 forum where some guy in Canada had his 80 burst into flames on the side of a forest rd because his starter was bad. I’m not having any trouble with mine, yet, but I have a remanned Denso starter motor in a box waiting to go in, just because that sounds like a crappy thing to happen.
 
Joined
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There’s definitely that thread in the 80 forum where some guy in Canada had his 80 burst into flames on the side of a forest rd because his starter was bad. I’m not having any trouble with mine, yet, but I have a remanned Denso starter motor in a box waiting to go in, just because that sounds like a crappy thing to happen.
I was on a trail ride and watched it happen to a guy in our group. By the time a wrench was brought to the battery, smoke was billowing. Very exciting stuff.
 

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