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Starter malfunction....proper way to test if the motor is locked up

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  • Starter malfunction....proper way to test if the motor is locked up

    After a couple weeks of sitting my 250k MarkVIII has a no crank / no start problem. Before I removed parts I tried jumping the solenoid on the starter it made a rotational noise but did not turn the motor. The battery showed a drain my mid 12's to high 11 when I turned the key. wires at the starter seem fine. 12 volts at the other end of the cable and 12v on the smaller one when the key is in the proper position.

    The starter tested fine at the parts store and a battery which also tested fine.

    My ASSUMPTION is this 9 year old starter just got too oily and had bad connections / no ground. This car always has been an oily mess underneath...amazing for how few drips I get on the driveway if I drive her regularly.

    What's the proper way to see if my 21 year old motor is locked up? There is no rational reason it should be but ya never know. I assume the plugs come out and I spin it by the crank bolt but it seems safer to ask before I go break a timing chain or balancer.

    Thanks in advance.
    230,000 mile, 98 Sprung MarkVIII on Gabriel Air Shocks

  • #2
    You're being a lot more cautious than I would. (less confident, perhaps?) I think I'd slap the starter back on there, and give 'er a whirl.

    Taking the careful route, I do believe that a breaker bar on the crank bolt should be enough to tell you if you have any movement one way or the other.. I'm definitely not an expert on this level of troubleshooting, but unless you drove it through floodwaters before you parked it a couple weeks ago, I don't think you have much to be concerned about.
    Mike Martin

    1997 Mark VIII LSC 5.0
    2001 Dodge Dakota

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    • #3
      Before I removed parts I tried jumping the solenoid on the starter it made a rotational noise but did not turn the motor.
      Sounds like you jumped across the starter terminals engaging the starter motor but you failed to energize the solenoid to engage the starter drive gear to the flywheel which drives the engine rotation.

      In my experience, either the internal contacts or the solenoid coil is the first to fail. Either way, anything beyond loose or corroded terminals are best resolved by replacing the entire starter.
      JP

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      • #4
        Originally posted by tixer View Post
        You're being a lot more cautious than I would. (less confident, perhaps?) I think I'd slap the starter back on there, and give 'er a whirl.

        Taking the careful route, I do believe that a breaker bar on the crank bolt should be enough to tell you if you have any movement one way or the other.. I'm definitely not an expert on this level of troubleshooting, but unless you drove it through floodwaters before you parked it a couple weeks ago, I don't think you have much to be concerned about.
        Agreed.

        No flood water was disturbed by me last time out.

        I was just having a bad day mechanically. First the MarkVIII went down. Then my ol 89 Simplicity rider died while driving and the bar in my garage door popped when I walked back and opened it tobget tools to fix the mower.

        The new starter arrived from Rockauto and since things have been going better lately AND the crank bolt requires a step to get my breaker on I'll probably just swap starters and see what happens.
        230,000 mile, 98 Sprung MarkVIII on Gabriel Air Shocks

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        • #5
          For follow up, the new starter sure did fix the no start problem.

          On other threads I've heard ppl complain about getting that top starter bolt back in. At least one poster on another board reports the starter will work on just the bottom two.

          That top one is difficult to get back in. What to do is:

          Get the bottom two in place and probably 80% tight, where the starter is back in place.

          Use about two feet of extensions with a swivel at the half way point. Go in through that hole above the sway bar and use something like old school thick wheel bearing, tie rod or grease gun grease to hold the bolt to your socket.

          Work the socket and bolt up over the starter and use a screw driver or similar device to guide the bolt/socket assembly in place above the starter. I swear there has to be a better tool than a long thin screwdriver but I couldn't find it.
          230,000 mile, 98 Sprung MarkVIII on Gabriel Air Shocks

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          • #6
            Glad you got it fixed.
            JP

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            • #7
              Glad to hear it was the "quick" fix!

              Hopefully the tractor and garage door are even easier fixes. I like the old Simplicity tractors.
              Mike Martin

              1997 Mark VIII LSC 5.0
              2001 Dodge Dakota

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