Solenoid chatter?

Whenever I try to start my 89 Taurus, the solenoid just chatters like hell. I tried it off my battery (measures at 12.3V), and jumping it off a running
car (measured at 14.9V). When I turn the key to ON, the voltage drops down to next to nothing (1.3V). Same with the lights, accessories, etc. Is this a problem with grounds? Already replaced the battery, starter, and solenoid. Suggestions? al
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Battery cables, all of them. From battery to the relay, from the relay to the starter. Replace the battery ground cable. Do not use those clamp on battery cable ends, they are junk and will cause just this problem. I'm willing to bet they are on the car now.

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I replaced the battery cables, with standard LYNX 4 gauge wires, and also the Voltage regulator, with a little but significant change. Now when I jump it off a running car, it reads 14.7 with the key off, 14.7 with the key on (accessories, etc), but 5V when I try to crank it, and I still get solenoid chatter. The rest of the electrical works a whole lot better (fans, windows, door chime, etc), but still no joy when starting it. All the connections are nice and tight and clean. Is there any good way to measure the resistance of the whole starter circuit, and compare it against what it should be? Would any other ground cables be at fault? I don't know about 'clamp on battery ends'.; the ones I bought came with the eyes already attached, and it uses post clamps on the battery ends. If they are some kind of crimp connection you do yourself, this is the first I've ever heard of it.
Alan

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Seeing as the car starts normally when you jump it, and assuming you jump it with the ground clamp connected to the car body and the positive connected to the battery post, it leaves only the battery or battery ground cable as being bad. Battery positive and the starter motor wires must be good. Use your multimeter to measure restance from the actual negative battery post (not the cable clamp) to any part of the car chassis. It should be zero. Or, use your multimeter leads to measure battery voltage when trying to crank the engine. Connect the leads to the actual battery post, not the clamps. If your voltage drops when you crank the engine, your battery is bad. No ifs and or buts, the battery is bad if voltage drops significantly.
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have you tried trying a different battery? That would have been my first step.... start with something easy... if you want to try it temporarily just disconnect yours and use jumper cables to tie into your leads... if that works... get a battery
Ken

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Measured the battery, worked pretty good. Did the test, and it dropped .8 volts. I just replaced it, so it's only a couple months old. Also tried it off a friends known-good battery (without mine attached), with the same result. Same with a jump from two different running cars. The voltage only drops when you try to start it. Just for the record, new battery, cables, starter, solenoid, regulator. alan

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Bad solenoid ground, assuming battery comes back up after starting & shutdown, If not, I'd suspect excessive current draw from the starter (new or not), or a bad solenoid to starter CABLE; it may be shorting out only when you try to start the car.
RedSkull wrote:

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Dude, I think your battery is dead......
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You are rather confusing on what you did and results.

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so wait the sol chatters even with a jump frm another car.. that was not the info in your original post...
The solenoid is a large coil of wire basically... an inductor.. when the solenoid is disengauged there should be protection circuits to prevent the large voltage spike that will be present when releasing the enegry from an inductor...
I do not know this for sure on automobiles however in other electronics ive personally delt with (large relays, etc..) we always have what we call a freewheeling diode across the coil so that any voltage spike will flow through the diode and it bascially puts itself out
Ken

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There are diodes all over the car for electrical spike protection.

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possibly a bad freewheeling diode then?
Just an assumption
Ken

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No.

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how come it couldnt poissibly be that?
Thanks for the info
Ken

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If the solonoid chatters under normal conditions and when jumper cables are used with another car, and we have a new battery, new cab;les and new starter, have we looked at the control circuit? What are the chances the 12v wire from the ignition key is not staying good? geez, how many times have i seen these little connectors crap out? Try using a screwdriver or something to jump 12v from the battery side of the solonoid straight to the 12v control stud on the solonoid. Hell, even try putting the 12v from battery side straight to the starter side. It'll make a large spark, but will at least tell you where or where not the problem lies..................
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just because you replaced the starter ,that does not mean it is any good. i have seen many "new"starters that were so poorly put together ,they would not even spin hooked up out of the car
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good, you must have a bad connection. It would be the ground somewhere between the battery and the solenoid, between the battery positive and the solenoid, or possibly a bad connection between the battery and the "crank" terminal on the solenoid. Have you tryed to jump from the battery pos. directly to the crank terminal of the soleniod? That would test your "crank" part of the ignition switch and the wiring between. You can also jump between the 2 large terminals on the solenoid with an old wrench or screwdriver (something that you dont mind getting weld marks on) :) there will be lots of sparks, but its only 12 volts, it wont kill you, and see if it cranks. It is possible that your new soleniod is bad but not likely if the results where the same as the old one. Try those two tests real quick and post back. Good luck.
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