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Clicky starter motor

Rob Cowell

Well-Known Member
Nov 15, 2011
Country Flag
So this relates to my Jimny, not the Land Cruisers but there are a lot of helpful people here much smarter than me so...

Twice in the last month the Jimny has failed to start. The starter motor / solenoid makes repeated fast clicks. Sort of what I'd expect if the battery was duff. But the battery is good. About 3 months old. 12.8V across terminals, and charged to make especially sure.

First time this happened was at home, so ignored it for a couple of days. Went to investigate and of course it started first time!

Happened again last week in the village. Got Mrs C to tow me as far as a slope, then bump started it and got it home. Have used it a few times since just bump starting. Decided today to have a proper look at voltage drop with the multimeter and of course it started first time! Pulled the fuel pump relay and took some readings with my assistant holding the ignition on; between battery positive and solenoid input, drop of about 0.15V. Between starter motor and battery negative, about 0.01V drop.

So I don't think I've got any voltage drop to worry about. Only thing I can think now is the contacts in the solenoid are failing. But would they do that occassionally, and then burst back into life after a few days? When Suzuki build the Jimny they start with the starter motor and then construct the rest of the car around it. It's a pig just getting a multimeter probe near it, so if it has to come off I might as well put a new one on for all the hassle it will be.

Any thoughts?
Well if you are doing a volt drop test you need to do across the battery, ie with the meter set to volts
and reading the voltage when the starter is pulled.
But you might be right about the solenoid, but when it fails to start stick a large pair of pliers across
the two terminals, and if it then starts its the solenoid, but if its does not then look else where
Does it start with a jump? Does the battery have enough amps - obviously voltage not the full story
It does not start with a jump.

Well right now it starts on the key! But when it's in its inoperable mode the above applies.

I was testing volt drop from the positive battery terminal to the solenoid. And the starter motor back to earth. I will test across the battery terminals as suggested also.
Back in the day sometimes the starter motor pinion would not release from the flywheel giving the motor too much to do. A knock with a suitable hammer would let the pinion spring back to the correct position. I think modern starter design overcomes this but worth a try to see if something is stuck in the wrong position.