Topic: We kill starters on a regular basis.

We've gone through 4-5 so far. Usually it happens at a race. We pit, we fuel, we crank, expect the crank step does not work. Fortunately the car push starts easily. The Judges have push started us numerous times.

Once I killed a good starter in my carport. After an engine install I did the 20 minute cam run-in and that went well. Turned off the engine, did some odd jobs, and tried to start it again. The starter would engage but not turn the motor. I feared the motor has seized. I bench-tested the starter and it spun. I tested another starter and it spun much stronger.

In general first signs are weak cranking or even having to push start the car. After things cool off the starter is fine again, but not always. I'm not getting the click-click of a weak solenoid.

Heat is probably killing the starter. This happens on my Tahoe where the starter is near the exhaust, and it gets a new starter ever two years.

Odd thing is the starter on the Opel is away from the hot parts of the engine. It's on the driver's side. The exhaust is on the passenger side. How is it getting enough heat to be damaged? Should I water-cool my starters?

Mike

Re: We kill starters on a regular basis.

I had a hot start issue that took me a while to chase down. I swapped starters and the problem continued.
1) At first I thought it was heat soak. I wrapped my starter and wrapped the exhaust manifolds. Didn't seem to solve the issue
2) Then I thought it might have been inadequate/cracked power AND ground wiring. I ran a new dedicated 4ga power wire from the kill switch to the starter and then a dedicated 4ga ground back to the battery. That seemed to help but I wasn't sure
3) Finally, I replaced the starter control wire. THAT seemed to solve the issue
- My starter has the solenoid+relay integrated into one unit that sits on top of the starter.
- At first, I tried using an external starter relay. While this would run the starter, the gear that spins the flywheel wouldn't pop out without energizing the solenoid so the engine wouldn't start (experimented with the starter on my workbench to confirm this behavior).
- I suspect that after 20 yrs, the starter control wire (that runs around the front of the engine, down the driver side fender, into the car in front of the driver, and back towards the ignition wire behind the dash) had developed a crack somewhere and wasn't reliably starting. I replaced this with a fresh 12gauge wire from my push to start button straight to the starter and now the car fires up every time.

Only downside (besides time lost trying to root cause this issue) is that i think I have a few extra TYC starters with lifetime warranties on them. I should hook them up to a battery and my kid's tricycle. If I only had a spare son (not just the heir)....

Myopic Motorsport's #888 Bosozoku Texino Thunderbird (1995 tbird w/ 93 V8 swap + shopping cart rear wing)

Re: We kill starters on a regular basis.

We have a bit of ducting to ours to keep it cool.

Re: We kill starters on a regular basis.

My guess would have been heat. We used to kill a starter ever 1.5 races because it sat directly under the turbo. I beefed up the heat shield, put shielding on all the cables, made the grounds as good as possible. But we'd still cook them so bad they just stopped doing anything. Had a lifetime warranty so we'd just go back to the store and swap. Think I got a good 5 free starters out of the deal.


Checking all the signals might not be a bad idea. One of my motorcycles the starter would not disengage after the engine started, for some reason the signal was still going to it. Thankfully I caught it after only riding a mile. But if something similar is happening it could explain the rapid kills without high heat.

14 Time Loser FutilityMotorsport
2008 Saab 9-5Aero Wagon
Retired - 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby 2011-2015 "Lifetime Award for Lack of Achievement" IOE, 3X I got screwed, Organizer's Choice

Re: We kill starters on a regular basis.

Check all of your grounds. Then check them again.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: We kill starters on a regular basis.

Mr.Yuck wrote:

Check all of your grounds. Then check them again.

Second this.  Make sure have good battery -> chassis; chassis -> engine ground cables.  Copper wire will wick water up the stranding of the wire and corrode within the insulation.  The best test is to remove the cable and pull both ends by the terminals. 
These are the specs we use for battery cable manufacturing:
8 Gauge = 90 lbs
6 Ga = 100
4 Ga = 140
2 Ga = 180
1 Ga = 210
0 Ga =250
2/0 = 300

These are no where near the failure point, but a good test to make sure the terminals are crimped correctly.  If your cable starts to stretch real bad, breaks or a terminal comes off during this test, you need to replace it.

If it doesn't have 2 doors, 3 pedals, and 5 lug nuts per wheel - It isn't a real race car

Re: We kill starters on a regular basis.

Must be the 15:1 compression

Re: We kill starters on a regular basis.

I hate to be captain obvious but the push to start buttons that a lot of us use (longacre, standard motor products, NAPA, etc.) do not last very long. They develop high resistance through them and then don't supply the starter solenoid with enough current to reliably operate. Most starter solenoids draw between 8 to 12 amps, that's a lot.

I have misdiagnosed this as a bad starter myself. I now carry a spare starter switch and a good quality high current toggle switch for my ignition circuit.

If I did it over again I would use a relay to switch the starter solenoid. Race cars seem to kill switches quickly, vibration?

Greg

1987 Alfa Milano (Bellissima since 2008), LeMons racing since 2008 Stafford Springs,  2nd overall 2011 NJMP, 4th at NHMS 2011, 2nd at Summit point 2011, Into the wall hard at Stafford Springs 2011, 2nd at Monticello 2013, 3rd at NHMS 2013, 2nd at NHMS 2016.

22,000 racing miles over 29 races in 10 years. Yes its the same motor. Tell me again how Alfas suck? Update: Big moneyshift = new motor

Re: We kill starters on a regular basis.

I thought starters always get run through a relay? At least all the ones I've ever seen.

14 Time Loser FutilityMotorsport
2008 Saab 9-5Aero Wagon
Retired - 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby 2011-2015 "Lifetime Award for Lack of Achievement" IOE, 3X I got screwed, Organizer's Choice

Re: We kill starters on a regular basis.

There's the starter solenoid (usually on the starter, unless older Ford or bike or something), and the optional starter relay, which I skip by running 12v directly to the small terminal through a 30-amp push-button switch. I have a bag of them but never had one go bad. I did burn a 10-amp one at some point, and had to start the car by a ratty contraption made of blade terminals and electrical tape, for the rest of the race.

K Car Stalker

11 (edited by EyeMWing 2017-05-14 06:14 PM)

Re: We kill starters on a regular basis.

I've heard of this some voodoo from small block Chevy guys on occasion. They insist some sort of eddy current shenanigans are happening, cooking the starter and/or solenoid. Their solution is to run a SECOND Ford-type remote solenoid on the supply line to the main solenoid.

Solenoids are in series on the high amp line, parallel on the trigger.

The totally insane thing is I've seen this appear to work.

Driver, Pit Monkey, Rod Buster and Engine Fire Starter
Team FinalGear

Re: We kill starters on a regular basis.

EyeMWing wrote:

I've heard of this some voodoo from small block Chevy guys on occasion. They insist some sort of eddy current shenanigans are happening, cooking the starter and/or solenoid. Their solution is to run a SECOND Ford-type remote solenoid on the supply line to the main solenoid.

Solenoids are in series on the high amp line, parallel on the trigger.

The totally insane thing is I've seen this appear to work.

I'm trying to understand this proposed insanity.
This is even nuttier than the comment that some ppl directly trigger their starters without a relay (meaning all the amperage req'd to run the starter goes through the switch/button inside the car.


In the suggestion of having a second Ford type remote solenoid, I suspect you mean like a Ford Remote starter relay like this thing
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/mof-sw1951c
https://static.summitracing.com/global/images/prod/mediumlarge/ACF-SW1951C_ml.jpg

1) Are you proposing that the signal wire from the starter button that is supposed to trigger the actual/primary/"real" starter actually gets split and gets sent to this Ford ignition relay AND the onboard relay/starter wired in series?  I'm not 100% certain I understand what you mean by eddy currents but this doesn't seem like it would isolate things.

2) Or, are you proposing that the signal wire from the starter button triggers the ford remote starter relay which in turn closes a circuit that is actually the control circuit for the actual/primary/real starter solenoid. In this case, you are adding added complication into the car with the hope that you are further isolating the starter from the original signal button. I guess.

-g

Myopic Motorsport's #888 Bosozoku Texino Thunderbird (1995 tbird w/ 93 V8 swap + shopping cart rear wing)

Re: We kill starters on a regular basis.

gunn wrote:
EyeMWing wrote:

I've heard of this some voodoo from small block Chevy guys on occasion. They insist some sort of eddy current shenanigans are happening, cooking the starter and/or solenoid. Their solution is to run a SECOND Ford-type remote solenoid on the supply line to the main solenoid.

Solenoids are in series on the high amp line, parallel on the trigger.

The totally insane thing is I've seen this appear to work.

I'm trying to understand this proposed insanity.
This is even nuttier than the comment that some ppl directly trigger their starters without a relay (meaning all the amperage req'd to run the starter goes through the switch/button inside the car.


In the suggestion of having a second Ford type remote solenoid, I suspect you mean like a Ford Remote starter relay like this thing
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/mof-sw1951c
https://static.summitracing.com/global/images/prod/mediumlarge/ACF-SW1951C_ml.jpg

1) Are you proposing that the signal wire from the starter button that is supposed to trigger the actual/primary/"real" starter actually gets split and gets sent to this Ford ignition relay AND the onboard relay/starter wired in series?  I'm not 100% certain I understand what you mean by eddy currents but this doesn't seem like it would isolate things.

2) Or, are you proposing that the signal wire from the starter button triggers the ford remote starter relay which in turn closes a circuit that is actually the control circuit for the actual/primary/real starter solenoid. In this case, you are adding added complication into the car with the hope that you are further isolating the starter from the original signal button. I guess.

-g





I have done this on some dirt oval cars we built in the past.  I don't know where the "eddy currents" thing comes from.

We put the "Ford" style solenoid inside the driver's compartment on the passenger side firewall.

We did it for two reasons.  First, you do not have to run the wire from the starter button out to the solenoid on the engine, just to the firewall.  One less thing, albeit minor, that has to survive the nasty environment of under the hood of a dirt oval car.

The second is the battery side post of the solenoid in the car gives you a great place to pull 12v positive from for gauges and switches.

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14

Re: We kill starters on a regular basis.

Eddy currents can be used to create heat (induction ovens) but they are an AC phenomenon caused by a changing magnetic field (not DC current as found in a car). When eddy currents are present, they will tend to counteract the magnetic field that established them in the first place. That's one reason why transformers are made with laminated cores, it reduces the amount of eddy current and associated losses.

Technically, there is a very small eddy current as the starter solenoid goes from off to on, but since the amount of eddy current is not dependent on temperature, that does not explain why the starter does not start at high temps. If the starter solenoid works at room temp, it will work at high temp.

High resistance in the circuit is usually the issue, can be caused by excessive heat soak of the wiring, or poor connections at any step along the way (including the el-cheapo starter switches mentioned by Greg S). The "remote solenoids" mentioned are really just relays (relays use a solenoid to complete the electrical circuit), all they do is move the smaller diameter wires away from the engine where they stay cooler. You still have the larger diameter wire going from the battery to the starter motor. The smaller diameter wire from the ignition switch to the starter solenoid coil has a high resistance to start with, and when its heated up the resistance can increase to the point where the current going to the starter solenoid is not sufficient to actuate the starter solenoid (which pushes the pinion gear into place to engage the flywheel as well as closing the high current path for the starter motor).

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