Rather than try to make it work, the goal is to keep it in the defective condition so you can diagnose it. Given that it works for a while when moving the starter, I'd be inclined to look for a corroded battery cable at the starter. To find that, connect a test light to that fat terminal. You can connect the test light's ground clip to that terminal, then connect the probe up on top of the engine where you can see it.
The light should be bright all the time. It will normally dim just a little during cranking because the battery voltage gets drawn down a little, but if you see the light go out completely, you know there's a bad connection. Then it becomes a matter of narrowing it down. The least confusing way is to start at the battery with the test light's ground clip and probe on the two terminal bolts. Have a helper try to crank the engine. If the light goes out, you have bad connections right there at the battery. If the light stays bright, move the clip from the negative terminal to the body and try again, then to the engine block and try again. Leave the clip on the engine block, then move the probe from the positive terminal to the starter. You're looking for the point at which the light goes out when trying to crank the engine.
All of this assumes the starter solenoid is kicking in with a fairly loud clunk. If it's not, head for the starter relay. We'll have to determine which measurements to take there. Feel if that relay is clicking when your helper tries to crank the engine.
Sunday, August 7th, 2011 AT 9:22 PM