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Starter Motor problems


New Member
May 28, 2020
Country Flag
1st time poster but have read quite a few posts on this issue.....

I have a 78 series Troop Carrier that has starter motor problems. Most of the time I try and start, I hear the Bendix click in, but it fails to spin to start the engine. When I take the starter motor out and test it (completely remove) it click out and spins every time. I thought it must be the wiring of the cruiser that was defective, so I have now reconnected the starter motor to the cruiser however have not bolted it into place. This allows me to see the starter motor is working correctly when I turn the ignition without it having to crank the engine. As this works, would my assumption be correct that the starter motor is just no longer strong enough to crank the engine everytime?
Most of the time I can rock the cruiser back and forth and then the starter will work, but it is getting harder to start it this way. Any thoughts would be appreciated as I am about to buy a new starter motor but just wanted to check I was on the right track first.
I have had a similar problem with my Iveco. New starter motor fixed it. Even a repairer said it happens sometimes, and he was not trying to sell me a new unit! I don;t know if it is the same with the Toyotas but the new unit was smaller and lighter and as a consequence easier to fit and better all round. I was told something to do with better magnets but can't confirn that.

I have a similar problem, some of the time I turn the key and hear a click no crank. If I continue to cycle the key eventually it will engage the starter. It has never failed to start though. I have the same problem on another Toyota car changed the starter no problems for about 4 months, but its back to doing this again. Neither one has ever left me afoot so IDK!
as far as I know it can be weak starter motor, weak batteries, bad wiring conection, bad earth, sticking solonoid. Starters can be rebuilt but if the armature windings are weak then the motor will loose its power...I am not a mechanic but this is what I have been led to believe and as I said before happened to me and a brand new one did the trick on my Iveco.


There was absolutely nothing wrong with my terminals and i connected/disconnected them umpteen times while trying to find a fault so imagine my surprise when one fell to bits when i took it off to replace it just because i seen them for sale :crazy:
Starter motors can easily be refurbished and inspected. Windings do not go weak. They can have other issues which can be tested for plus the starter can have all sorts of crud built up inside it. Contacts in the solenoid can burn away.
Take off the cover for the solenoid first. Check the condition of the copper contacts. Spares will almost certainly be available. Contact Robson and Francis and speak to Mike. Then mark where the two parts meet and carefully undo and remove the rear end plate of the motor. There may be a cover you can remove first to check brushes (I don’t know your motor, post a pic or two perhaps). Lift the springs if there are springs to be seen on the brushes and remove them, note carefully/Mark their orientation. Carefully Remove the end plate a little to reveal a heavy connection which probably has a screw, remove the screw to separate the connection and the end plate should come off, either with or away from the rotating portion (armature). Watch for spacers or a spring washer in the end where the bearing goes. Chances are the main body of the motor will come away with a few light taps from the gearbox. Again, mark orientation before separating the parts. A scratch or light dot from a centre punch is good for this.
Check the commutator (copper cylinder with multiple bars or segments at the non drive end of the armature) for any sign of wear or burning between segments. Post pics. Check for any loose parts that may be lurking so as not to lose them.
Clean the motor parts with brake cleaner or paraffin. Petrol used to be used for this but obviously needs care not to ignite it.
Check with a multimeter set on ohms between each bar of the commutator. The resistances should be more or less equal at almost zero. If one or more is higher then the armature needs repair. Check the brushes move freely in their brush boxes and are not so short they allow the springs to bottom out. Assemble the armature back into the end plate temporarily to check this.
If it needs it, and why not while you’re in there, clean out the rest of the parts including solenoid and gearbox. Check for wear and corrosion then reassemble with plenty of grease around the gears. High temp bearing grease is fine.
Reassemble in reverse order taking care with the screw connection. A bit of low strength stud lock is a good idea on the thread as is a MUST on the screws holding the solenoid cover.

If all is well and no parts are worn or need replacing, this shouldn’t take much more than an hour to hour and a half.
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