22R Starter Motor Solenoid Switch Repair

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Tim86
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Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:58 am

Hi Chaps

This is my 22R's starter motor:
IMG_20181011_184020.jpg
I got the typical click whenever I turned the key i.e. power was going through both wires and the solenoid was working (also checked wires with voltmeter), just the starter motor power supply switch within the solenoid was not making good contact. Generally after a few tries the motor would spin.

I have got the solenoid piston out of the cylinder but the rest of the contraption appears rather sealed. You can see on the rear of the solenoid body there is a punch mark where it has been deformed to fix to the switch assembly. Is it possible to get in there and clean up the switch contacts or replace the switch, or do you have to replace the whole solenoid??
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Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:20 am

In my experience, it's better to replace the solenoid than go through the schelp of stripping it. Been there, ruined the T-shirt. Solenoids are not particularly expensive
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Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:22 am

Thanks Nic. From where did you attain your new solenoid?
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Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:39 pm

This is the most common problem with all starters. The main contacts in the solenoid wear down by the arcing that takes place with each start. These copper contacts are replaceable and are generally available from dealerships as well as many of the after market spares outlets. I know that Midas keeps for the more common range of starters and in fact just last week I replaced the contacts in the starter on the Rav4, which I got from Midas for the princely sum of R24.00 (trade price). Diesel Electric also carry spares.

I've done this repair to a number of starters on my vehicles over the years without any problems thereafter. One in particular had a very high mileage and the original contacts had already been replaced prior to my ownership and although the contacts were not badly worn, the copper contactor ring on the plunger itself was. In that case I replaced the plunger as well and as I recall it was also not expensive ... somewhere in the region of about R40 at the time.

IMO it's well worth stripping and replacing the contacts. When you reassemble just brighten up all the connection points and lugs. There are also normally water seals in the form of washers or o-rings on the external contact bolts - replace these if they are broken or perished. Lube the bendix at the same time with a little MS grease or lithium grease. You'll be good to go for many more years. :winkx:
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Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:48 pm

P.S. I cannot speak definitively on this but it's my experience that the brushes in the motor itself seldom need replacement and probably last the lifespan of the vehicle. Bearings and bushes also last very well unless there has been a lot of water ingress.
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Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:40 pm

Thanks Andy, I'm a bit stuck as the black bakelite solenoid end cap casting appears to have been 'press' fitted into the metal solenoid cylindrical housing. I say press due to lack of a better description - you can see in the pic where the metal housing has been punched to fix the cap in place. There is a thin sleeve within the solenoid in which the piston travels - I am fearful to try and pull this out as it may get damaged and prevent smooth operation.
The non-removable end cap and sleeve prevent me from getting at the contact points.

Judging by the identity number it appears to be an original even though it has been meddled with in the past - have you repaired this specific solenoid before and experienced the same obstacles?
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Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:08 am

No, I've never repaired one like that and I assume that you've removed it by releasing the two through-bolts from the bendix side of the solenoid. Looking at your pic more closely I see what you're up against and it looks like the contacts are moulded into that black end cap.

In a case like that I would imagine that the complete solenoid would be available as a unit. Still worth replacing just the solenoid instead of the complete starter. Phone around to the agents, Diesel Electric and Midas to enquire on availability and price (sometimes the dealers are surprisingly competitive). Then take it with you as a sample to whichever one you decide to go to just to make sure it's the right thing.

Good luck. :winkx:
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Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:42 am

Dealer informs me that the solenoid & starter is discontinued although Auto Magneto here in Die Kaap stocks the solenoid for R260.00 although I haven't bought one as I seem to have got it operating 100% so far.
I sprayed some electrical contact cleaner/lubricator deep into the unit and gave the little push button within a good couple of jabs - the motor spins at the first turn of the key now.
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Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:06 pm

I got mine through my local Autoelectrician, Mettes Auto Electrical in Stellenbosch
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Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:55 pm

Good to hear Tim, but I doubt it will be a lasting solution. The cleaner could have improved the contact area sufficiently for now, but the main problem is errosion / wear. I suspect the problem will come back to haunt you sooner than later. Might be a good idea to get that solenoid while they are still available. :winkx:
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Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:59 pm

Will do! Next paycheck :thumbup:
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Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:10 pm

Oh well, replaced the solenoid and I still have the same problem. It seems that the drive gear is not always engaging fully with the flywheel and therefore not allowing the contacts to connect although everything is well greased, the drive gear does not appear damaged and neither do the flywheel teeth. There is also ample current as there is an audible thunk whenever you turn the key, and whenever the starter does spin the motor it goois lekker.

Any other ideas? Maybe within the starter motor itself? Brushes are good...
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Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:17 pm

Are you sure that it's getting enough juice? I would check out all the connections (sweated lugs) and the contact points on both ends of the positive cable from the battery to the starter and the negative cable to the engine block. If the wire cores are exposed anywhere at the lugs, have a look at the colour ..... if they're black then the cable has been heating up and something isn't right. Lugs must make good metal to metal contact.

Once had an elusive problem on the 22R and it turned out to be the negative connection at the block.
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Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:04 am

Auto Magneto also do rebuilds. I normally use them, they do good work.
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Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:53 am

I agree with Andy.I experienced the same problem on my colt work bakkie.After replacing the solenoid ,the starter still had the same problem of clicking and not spinning over.I checked the wiring and found the main earth between the battery negative and the engine block had a bad connection on the lug.I replaced the lug and the problem was solved.
This can very well be your problem.You can do a quick test by using a jumper lead between the battery neg and the engine block and then try starting the engine.
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Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:34 am

Alrighty, will check with external cabling and also clean up all the connections - maybe it is getting enough current to spin nicely but juuust not enough to ram the drive gear home fully. This does make sense as after a few tries it seems to have jiggled the flywheel enough to slide in and at other times it works first try (when its all lined up I suppose).

Thanks for the advice.
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Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:44 am

That's pretty much what I was thinking. Test it like Tony suggests but when you check the cables / connections, make sure that there is bright metal to metal contact on the block, but just as important is to check the connection of the lugs to the wire core. These should be sweated on but sometimes they're just crimped and corrosion over time compromises the connectivity. Good luck. :winkx:
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Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:09 am

Lotsa flux and some solder:)
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Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:35 pm

The negative side is easy to sort out and so is the big positive to the solenoid switch but actually, now that I think about it, could it also not be the current running through the smaller positive wire to power the solenoid itself that is inadequate??
As this current route runs through fuses, relays, ignition key or whatever there would be a good/greater chance of a poor connection or bad workings would there not?
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Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:41 pm

Perhaps, but unlikely. Worth checking out if nothing else fixes it. You can always use it to trigger a relay directly from the battery positive.
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Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:17 pm

Agree with Nic, but if you end up having to do that, then put an in-line fuse at the battery (before the relay). :winkx:
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Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:31 pm

I was on the right track actually. Stripped, cleaned & soldered all the big stuff no joy. Jumped a wire from battery pos to solenoid small lug many many times and everything works 100% always. Tried the standard wire running through ignition system many times also and it was haphazard as always.

Small solenoid wire is lacking current capacity - can anyone advise on where best to look to sort it out? (I haven't pulled out my wiring diagram yet, which may be slightly different as its for a 4runner). Not too keen to fill up the bay with numerous relays etc...
Last edited by Tim86 on Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:18 am

I may be mistaken but I don't think there's a relay on that wire - straight off the ignition switch AFAIK. In that case the switch itself may be making poor contact. Other possibilities that come to mind are that the wire is damaged somewhere along the line and a few strands are broken, or there is a bad connection which could be at the fuse boxes. :scratch:
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Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:36 am

I have had it on a few older cars wher the contacts inside the ignition switch that energises the solenoid have degraded/eroded to a point where there is insufficient current to properly kick it in. You must either replace the ignition switch or if I still get reliable continuity over the solenoid wire then I will use that to energise a relay switching a feed directly from the battery to the solenoid. In more modern cars there is a relay in one of the fuse boxes that switches that current. Then it is a simple case of relacing that relay.
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Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:41 am

Many Thanks.

I'll trace the wire and see what it does.

If I were to implement a fuse and relay, approximately what amperage would I be looking at? 30/50 amps?
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Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:05 am

A 30A in line fuse would do it. The solenoid itself doesn't draw too heavily. Put the fuse close to the battery and you can put the relay close to the starter and use the solenoid trigger wire (from ignition switch) straight onto the relay to trigger it. Then you just need a short piece of wire from the relay to solenoid.
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Life is like a jar of Jalapeño peppers ... what you do today, might burn your ass tomorrow.
Don't take life too seriously ..... no-one gets out alive.
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And be yourself ..... everyone else is taken!
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Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:03 pm

I agree with Andy. 30 Amps relay and fuse should do the trick.
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