starter problems

Ok, here were I live it has been -4 at night and -15 in the mornings, I have a problem with the starter on my van its a 2000 montana, when I go out first
thing to start all it will do is click (like the solenoid isnt kicking in) but if I click it awhile the starter will turn right over, then once the engine is warm it starts fine. could this problem be related to the coldness?
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Sure could. The click you are hearing is the solenoid "kicking in", or more properly, picking. You could have a weak battery that cannot provide currently enough for starting a stiff, cold motor. The connections on your starter may be slightly corroded as well, which makes for a high resistance connection that would act this way. Lastly, the starter itself may be the culprit. The car should start easily at those temperatures, so I would look at these, starting with the battery.
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I've checked the connections, they are clean and tight, the battery cant be the culprit, it would turn over and start if I clicked it for awhile eventually it would spin over fine and start, now it doesnt do anything but "click".
you are right it should start smoothly even at this temperature, my 93 jeep starts like its still summer

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The starter can be the culprit. There exist a plethora of problems---well, maybe not a plethora, but several ---which will cause a starter to be intermittent.
Starter "drag" is one. It can be caused by worn bushings among other things.
I had a dealership replace the entire charging system once because of a starting problem. Didnt help. My father finally took off the starter and replaced the bushings. End of problem.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.nix wrote:

Hi...
Not a mechanic; just an old retired electrical guy - but nevertheless will throw in my two cents worth, if I may ?
The OP suggests that clicking it several times *may* allow it to start, so given that the battery will be an iota worse off after each click, I suspect that the battery isn't his problem.
I'm leaning waaaaay more in favor of the solenoid being his problem, and to easily be sure of it, I'd propose this easy and simple test.
For the next few cool mornings turn on the interior lamp or lamps, stare at them while attempting to crank the engine.
If there is no to very very little dimming of the overhead lamp while "clicking", then the starter solenoid is bad - there are contacts in it which will be corroded.
If the overhead lamps dims to almost out while clicking, then the battery itself or the battery connections are the problem.
Of course a more sophisticated test would be to simply hook a meter across the battery and watch it. Again, if the voltage drops waaaay down then the battery or connections. If the meter barely budges, the the solenoid contacts.
Take care.
Ken
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wrote:

This is the thing, the lights dont dim at all, so I am probally right to assume that the solenoid is bad.
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abomb69 wrote:

Hi...
Yeppers, go ahead and change it. Even if you can get a few more starts out of it, do it now - at your convenience.
Don't leave it up to the car's convenience, which might be terribly inconvenient and expensive for you.
Take care.
Ken
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Already waited to late, cant even smack it with a hammer to get it to turn over....

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It sounds to me (an old shade tree mechanic) that the brushes are hanging up (worn out). As I read the schematic on GM solinoids there are two coils in the solinoid. The weaker of the two is connected to ground and the stronger is grounded through the armature (brushes) to ground. One the solinoid throws the latter is effectively disconnected and not competing for current. Bad brushes = no second solinoid. A hammer blow disloges brush and then normal solinoid.
It took me 20 years before I figured out why GM starters acted as they do.
abomb69 wrote:

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wrote:

You should take a look at those connections before you jump to any conclusions. Ken may be right in what he's pointing out, but don't overlook the basics.
A solenoid is going to draw very little current in order to pick it. If there is a bad connection at the starter you will also see little/no dimming of your lights.
I just don't see a lot of GM solenoid failures. I do however see a good amount (sorry - can't qualify "good amount") of starter related problems that are faulty connections, very often right at the starter. You can't just check to see if they are tight. You have to check for corrosion as well.
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Its at the shop, they are gonna inspect it before putting the starter on, like I said it clicked for awhile then eventually the starter would turn over, but this last time it turned REALLY slow.

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A good starter and Battery will turn over an engine at -40 . Do an starter draw test and Battery cca load test these tests will soon determine where the problem lies, assumption is of little value when dealing with mechanics!!
Sal

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