Sounds like you have an attitude, but if I don't ask, there's no way you can expect me to know what you know.
First of all, the battery in my minivan is nine years old and it cranks the engine with tons of power, ... For about ten seconds, then it's dead. The voltage is fine but there's no capacity left because most of the lead has flaked off the plates. The battery will run a little inverter to keep my laptop going for about an hour and that's it, then the battery is too run down to start the engine. The new battery in one of my cars that I rarely drive will run that inverter for over eight hours, then it still cranks the engine.
Your observation of the brightness of the lights is a good one, but it sure doesn't tell the whole story. As a professional, I've been tricked too many times, especially on cars that don't use a starter relay, into thinking the battery wasn't the cause of a no-crank, and I don't want to make you run in circles for the same thing. Don't assume anything. If you're too confident to measure the voltage, at least try starting the engine with a battery charger or jumper cables from another car. If it still doesn't crank, we will both rest assured we didn't overlook something simple and stupid, ... Like I've done before.
You need to use some punctuation in your replies, otherwise those huge sentences can be read a number of different ways, and I want to get the information right the first time.
Your comment about, "as for a relay if I could find that or fix that I wouldnt be on here asking how do I fix it" suggests you think I want you to suspect the relay is defective. What I said was the relay socket provides four test points, each corresponding to one fourth of the starter's electrical system. That can be used to identify which part has the problem so you don't waste time testing things that don't need testing. If you knew what to do, you wouldn't be here. Since you ARE here, take advantage of my experience and knowledge. I'm dishing it out for free to help anyone who asks for it.
When your car doesn't use a starter relay, as is the case with a lot of imports, testing becomes simpler in one respect as there's less tests to make, but there's more potential causes for the problem within those tests.
The place to start is by measuring the voltage on the smaller wire on the starter solenoid. You must find full battery voltage there when the ignition switch is turned to "crank". If you do not, or the voltage is very low, there is a defect in the ignition switch, the neutral safety switch, or the wiring between them. To verify everything else is working properly, touch a temporary wire between that terminal and the battery's positive terminal. That will engage the starter drive and turn on the starter.
If you DO find voltage on that smaller terminal, you have one of two things. Either your battery is not as strong as you think, or there's an open coil in the solenoid. To get the necessary clues, run that wire again from that terminal to the battery, and 1) watch for a small spark, and 2) measure the exact battery voltage, or I suppose in your case, watch the headlights, to see what happens to the battery's voltage.
2) There's always two separate electromagnetic coils in the starter solenoid. The strength of both of them is needed to pull the starter drive into engagement, then one is switched off to make its current available for cranking. Only the one remaining coil is needed to HOLD the solenoid in engagement. If either one of those coils is open, the solenoid still might engage with a jump start thanks to the much higher voltage that supplies, but that varies with every starter so it can't be used for a valid clue.
1) If the headlights get dim or the battery voltage drops more than about half a volt when you connect that jumper wire, either the battery has suffered the same fate as the one in my van, or there's a loose or corroded cable connection. I doubt this is what you're going to find based on your previous observation.
You still didn't tell me where you connected that switch to that you added. Knowing that might tell me what's still not working. Also keep in mind that where you connect the jumper wire there's going to be a spark. Batteries give off explosive hydrogen gas so we want to keep sparks away from them. Make the last connection with the jumper wire the one at the starter, and make that the first one you disconnect. The spark will occur down there and not near the battery.
The third possibility is there's no spark when you connect that jumper wire. That would imply both coils are open in the solenoid, and that would be very uncommon. It's more likely you'd find that terminal is heavily-rusted and you're not getting a good connection.
If you get a real strong spark with your jumper wire but the solenoid still doesn't engage, the housing may be warped and the metal plunger is sticking. That was a fairly common problem with the starters GM redesigned and started using for the 1987 model year, but the good news is your car doesn't use that starter. You have the little silver Nippendenso starter similar to what was used on Toyotas, Hondas, and Chryslers. I put one on my van many years ago to replace the less common model it came with. These starters have a REAL common problem with solenoid contacts burning away. The symptom is a single, rather loud clunk, each time you turn the ignition switch to "crank", but the starter doesn't spin the engine. At first it will be very intermittent and cause a no-crank perhaps once a week. Then it will be twice per day, and pretty soon you'll have to cycle the ignition switch many times before the starter works. In the case of my Ma's van that I ignored as long as I could, she lost count after 700 attempts and a blister on her thumb, but it did still eventually start. If you hear that single clunk, suspect the solenoid contacts.
The last thing is the shaft the starter drive slides on is gummed up. The drive has to fully engage the teeth on the ring gear before the contacts are switched on for the starter. If that shaft is coated with grease that has turned gooey, the electromagnets may not be strong enough to overcome that. I've never run into that yet on these starters, but it was somewhat common on older starters. The clue is you'll get a strong spark on that jumper wire, and you'll hear a light, dull thumping noise from the solenoid, but that's all.
Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 AT 10:39 PM