When I turn the key the starter clicks

Tiny
DARIN CAMP
  • MEMBER
  • 1994 CADILLAC DEVILLE
  • 114,000 MILES
When you turn the key it clicks, I had the starter tested and it is good.
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Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 AT 4:30 PM

12 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
A single, rather loud clunk each time you turn the ignition switch to "crank"? A light, barely-audible single click from the starter relay? A rapid clicking/buzzing from the starter solenoid? What happens to the brightness of the headlights when you try to crank the engine? Have you measured any voltages? If so, where, and what did you find? If you are a mechanic, you should be able to provide a lot more information than the typical car owner.
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Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 AT 5:11 PM
Tiny
DARIN CAMP
  • MEMBER
It is a loud clunk from the starter.
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Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 AT 5:16 PM
Tiny
DARIN CAMP
  • MEMBER
The battery was tested and the starter been tested, where do I go from there?
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Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 AT 5:17 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Did you observe the brightness of the head lights?

If the starter was removed for testing, that is inconclusive because it needs to be loaded down for the test to be accurate. The loud clunk is likely the starter solenoid engaging. When it does, it turns on the heavy battery current to run the starter motor. That is not happening. The best suspect is a bad cable or connection.

Ground the clip lead of a test light on a paint-free point on the engine or transmission. Probe the larger terminal on the starter solenoid. For the most accuracy, place the probe on the stud or nut, not the terminal bolted to that stud. You should see twelve volts there all the time. The test light should be bright. Now watch what happens to the light when a helper tries to crank the engine. The light can be expected to dim a little, but if it goes out completely, there is a bad connection that we have to locate.
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Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 AT 5:52 PM
Tiny
DARIN CAMP
  • MEMBER
Thank you, I been to a Votech and we only got to work on what was brought in. I am trying to make a career out of turning a wrench. I have no experience before I started school. You have been very helpful and I appreciate your response.
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Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 AT 5:57 PM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
Different guy,

Was there any sort of issue that recently happened prior to the "no crank" situation (like overheating)?

You are 100% sure the clunk is at the starter?

What about the headlight on, your pal watches them while you attempt a start, what do they do?

With the starter removed, can you see the condition of the flywheel teeth?

Can you rotate the engine 2-1/2 full revolutions with a wrench or ratchet in it is normal rotational direction? (See picture of my Jeep engine below)

Is this the same starter you had prior to this problem. If not, sometimes manufacturing tolerances vary.

I looked at a picture of your starter, can it be shimmed away from the flywheel with shims?

The Medic
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Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 AT 6:01 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Which classes have you taken, and where did you go to school? Finding related live work for my students was a problem at first, so I built a dozen "bugged" cars, including many with starter and charging circuit problems. Once you understand basic electrical theory, these circuits become easy to diagnose. I had an entire website devoted to Auto Electrical, but I took it down due to the increasing cost every year. I plan on starting it up again in a few months with a different company.

Knowing your experience and skill level helps us tailor our replies. For now I will keep it as simple as possible, but be sure to be very clear and specific when you post test results. I will be back tomorrow to see how you are doing.
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Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 AT 6:07 PM
Tiny
DARIN CAMP
  • MEMBER
No over heating and the clunk is definitely at the starter. We did not turn the lights on but we will do all these test after work. A matter of fact I drove the car to work at 5:30 am, then I drove it home for lunch at 11:00. My son drove me back to work at 11:30. They tried to go to the skate park a hour later and that is when it would not start. It has been running fine since I got out of prison two months ago. My son has been driving it prior to that.
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Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 AT 6:11 PM
Tiny
DARIN CAMP
  • MEMBER
I was in prison for a DUI, and while I was in I decided to take the class. It was a prison in Hodgen Oklahoma, I was in engine performance. We worked on the correction officers vehicles. There was not very much experience. I got a student ASE cert. In engine performance and steering and suspension. Our instructor wanted to do more but was limited.
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Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 AT 6:17 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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Dandy. My other specialty areas are suspension and alignment and brakes.
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Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 AT 6:22 PM
Tiny
DARIN CAMP
  • MEMBER
Thanks for your help, it was a seperated wire but the coating was still there couldn't really tell where it was. I checked all the wires before putting the starter back in and one wire didn't feel right. I repaired the wire and it fired right up.
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Sunday, January 8th, 2017 AT 9:46 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Wonderful news. Happy to hear it's solved.
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Sunday, January 8th, 2017 AT 1:07 PM

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