How does hitting the starter work?

Posted by S_Ranger, Nov 30, 2005
Newbie Forum - Beginner/newbie/general DSM modification questions. First mods, how to run 10's when you haven't run 12's yet, any tech question that doesn't fit in another tech forum. Probationary Members must limit their tech posts to this forum and sub-forums.

  1. S_Ranger

    S_Ranger Banned Member

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    I'm curious. How does hitting the starter w/a hammer cause it to function again?
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  2. mr95gst

    mr95gst Probationary Member

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    The solenoid on the starter seizes up over time. Hitting it with a hammer breaks it loose so it will engage to turn the car over. It is only a temporary solution but will work a couple of times. The starter will unjam maybe for a little while but will go back to that state soon. Buy a new starter it is worth not having the trouble.
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    DSMcrazy3 likes this.
  3. Old Mitsu Tech

    Old Mitsu Tech DSM Wiseman

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    I've never had this question.

    Well, it works on the same principle as wiggling a battery cable sometimes works. 2 things wear out in starters which cause no start. The solenoid which is a pair of high amperage contacts get pitted by their very nature of having to make contact under a very high amperage load. There's an arc every time you hit the starter. You never see it as it's inside the solenoid. Look at one in a starter shop sometime.

    Brushes wear out for the same reason. You are throwing a hundred amps through these things when you hit the key.

    Now, let's say you hit the key, you hear a click and nothing happens. That's usually the brushes and when you hit the starter, you jar the brushes into contact with the commutator on the armature on the starter. This works the same on fuel pumps that sometimes quit. Sometimes and I say sometimes, you can take a 2x4 about 18 inches long and slap the bottom of the fuel tank while cranking and the shock transmistted by the fuel can actually make the fuel pump start working. Try it some time. You will amaze people. Just don't let me see you with a bad fuel pump and carrying a board :)
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  4. MrBoxx

    MrBoxx Moderator

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    This guy can help you. Like he helped this Porsche owner. :)

    [​IMG]


    Sorry, I was just thinking about hitting a car with a 2x4 and had to find a pic like this. :thumb:
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  5. punishercb

    punishercb Proven Member

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    Hahaha, that's movie's actually not that bad.
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  6. SkyLineGtR-R34

    SkyLineGtR-R34 Proven Member

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    hahaha great pic, i bet that always works after you tried everything to fix it and it didn't work
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  7. punishercb

    punishercb Proven Member

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    This post actually brings back some memorys. I remember some hot chick's car wouldn't start(90-91 bonneville) and I was stumped as to why it wouldn't turn over. Then some redneck rolled up, pulled out a bigass pipe wrench and started bashin away. The car started, but the girl actually started crying! ROFL ROFL ROFL
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  8. S_Ranger

    S_Ranger Banned Member

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    Right on, I have the car on 2 jacks as we speak because the starter is akward to get to. Is there a way to test it to see if it's still good?
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  9. MrBoxx

    MrBoxx Moderator

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    When my starter "went out" (it didn't. long story) I was told to get a remote starter and hook it up to the solenoid to test whether it was the starter/solenoid or something in the ignition. You could try to hook up a remote starter to the solenoid, but it's still hard to get to. It looks like a little joystick with a trigger, with two wires coming out of the bottom ending in alligator clips. These can be bought for like $12 at most auto parts stores. Hook it up according to instructions and pull the trigger to start it. Much safer than the screwdriver-across-the-terminals method. I'm guessing that this tests both the starter AND the solenoid, since they pretty much come as a package. If the remote start doesn't work, something's wrong with one or both of them.

    The other option is to take the starter off and bring it somewhere that has a starter tester. The Murray's a block away from me had one and tested mine for free.
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  10. carl5463729

    carl5463729 Proven Member

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    My friend's 87 conquest also had this problem, and like punishercb, my redneck friend came over with a wrench and hit the starter a couple times, it worked perfectly.
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  11. Piranha451

    Piranha451 Proven Member

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    Westchestertonf, Florida
    I had a 1970 4-4-2 W-30 that the starter would overheat due to being close to the header. I kept a hammer under my seat and would have to give it a few hits before starting it. Ah...those were the days... ROFL
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