Non-Starter - About to call the garage!! UPDATE!!

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Non-Starter - About to call the garage!! UPDATE!!

Postby foxbase » 20 Jan 2009, 14:14

Hi all,

I'm a non mechanically minded owner of a 1985 1.9 Westy Hi-top which until two weeks ago was starting like a dream. I've not been running about since October except for starting it every day and going for a little spin to warm her up once a week.

Two weeks ago it failed to start and I quickly appeared to run the battery down as the starter motor ground to a halt!.

I instantly thought I had killed the battery so first tried jump starting it which enabled me to get the starter motor firing again but nothing from the engine...not a peep.

Not being mechanically minded I still suspected the battery because when I disconnected the jump leads the battery was dead and the starter motor again refused to fire.

My limited knowledge enabled me to disconnect HT leads, dizzy cap, rotor arm thingy and leads to the coil... give them a clean and a spray and replace everything. Still nothing. I even tried spraying some damp start down the air-filter (as the previous owner had told me was required on cold mornings).

Since this I have re-charged the battery which seems to be holding its charge again and is allowing me to get the starter motor whirling again.

Now I'm stuck... AFAIK the engine is fine (was two weeks ago) and AFAI-CAN-TELL the battery/starter motor is fine... what is in the middle????

Be gentle please - if only I can go to the garage with a little confidence in what I'm talking about I'll be most grateful.

Also - I'd like to know how you get the battery out of the van? pushing the seat forward allows access but the seat mounting tray doesn't push far enough forward to enable the battery to pass.
Foxy
Last edited by foxbase on 28 Feb 2009, 15:10, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Non-Starter - About to call the garage!!

Postby jamesc76 » 20 Jan 2009, 14:53

theres a small lever on the side of the seat that alows you tio move it right forward , as for starting lets start at the bigging when you turn the key to the start possition what happens?????
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Re: Non-Starter - About to call the garage!!

Postby foxbase » 20 Jan 2009, 15:41

I'll look for that lever!

I turn the key to start pos and if battery charged I get the red light on the dash blinking and the voltage gauge rises to 12-15v. If battery dead I get none of the above.
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Re: Non-Starter - About to call the garage!!

Postby jamesc76 » 20 Jan 2009, 15:49

No what actuually happens at the engine end!!! ie does it turn over fast slow clunk etc ?
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Re: Non-Starter - About to call the garage!!

Postby R0B » 20 Jan 2009, 15:55

could be the starter motor is spinning but not engaging the engine.have you another starter you could try...

allowing me to get the starter motor whirling again.
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Re: Non-Starter - About to call the garage!!

Postby foxbase » 20 Jan 2009, 16:09

nothing happens at the engine end. Not a peep! No clunking or anything.

no don't have a spare starter motor either... however... the starter motor was replaced last Feb by previous owner because the van wouldn't start after being in storage for a few months. The van isn't stored now but coincidentally the cold snap recently could be a factor?
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Re: Non-Starter - About to call the garage!!

Postby R0B » 20 Jan 2009, 16:19

on the starter motor shaft there is a cog that moves to engage the teeth on the fly wheel when the starter spins.if this is not engaging the teeth.the engine will not turn.
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Re: Non-Starter - About to call the garage!!

Postby jamesc76 » 20 Jan 2009, 16:20

Disconnet the battery drag your self undeneath and undo the cables on the starter and the earth srtap on the front of the gearbox then clean them right up so there nice and clean and give a decent connection reconnect them all back up nice and tight, then give the starter solaniod a good tap with a hammer then reconnect batter and try again?
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Re: Non-Starter - About to call the garage!!

Postby foxbase » 20 Jan 2009, 16:43

thanks - I'll get the Haynes out and have a look at where the starter is and try what you suggest before calling the dreaded garage!
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Re: Non-Starter - About to call the garage!!

Postby jamesc76 » 20 Jan 2009, 16:51

Starter motor is just about inline with the drivers side rear wheel get at it from below, just make sure you desconect the battery first as the big cable going to the starter is perm live and will make you jump if you earth it out !
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Re: Non-Starter - About to call the garage!!

Postby kevtherev » 20 Jan 2009, 19:04

If you have the engine turning over (a woow woow woow sound)
then first stop is spark. take a spark plug out (any plug and rest it against the engine) where you can see the gap in the electrode, get a friend to turn the engine over and watch the gap for a spark. a nice white spark is desirable.

second is fuel
let's see if you have a spark first
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Re: Non-Starter - About to call the garage!!

Postby foxbase » 20 Jan 2009, 23:21

thanks again guys! I won't get to have a look at it until the weekend but will be back here to report my findings.

i thought about fuel actually - it was very low (really low) so thought it might of run out... I put a gallon in so I'm counting out running out of fuel. Whether or not it's getting through is another matter.

You mention the wow wow wow sound of the engine turning over... I'm not sure I'm even getting that. All I'm hearing is the starter motor whirling away and nothing else.
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Re: Non-Starter - About to call the garage!!

Postby Nicola&Tony » 21 Jan 2009, 05:15

foxbase wrote: . . . i thought about fuel actually - it was very low (really low) so thought it might of run out... I put a gallon in so I'm counting out running out of fuel.


That doesn't sound promising. Old fuel tanks get rusty inside and bits of rust end up sitting in the bottom of the tank as debris. If you run the fuel tank low, you start disturbing that debris and bits of it get sucked into your fuel hoses and engine. Keep plenty of fuel in the tank to avoid this.

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Re: Non-Starter - About to call the garage!!

Postby jamesc76 » 21 Jan 2009, 06:59

foxbase wrote:I thought about fuel actually - it was very low (really low) so thought it might of run out... I put a gallon in so I'm counting out running out of fuel. Whether or not it's getting through is another matter.

You mention the wow wow wow sound of the engine turning over... I'm not sure I'm even getting that. All I'm hearing is the starter motor whirling away and nothing else.


Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh were getting some where now! Right you need to clean all the connections bang the starter solanoid like i said before and get some more fuel, more like another 10 ltrs min in the tank then remove the fuel filter bin it and replace it with a new one, you have most likely draged loads of gunk and rubish out the bottom of your tank so even if the starter worked ok the fuel wouldnt get to the carb anyway!
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Re: Non-Starter - About to call the garage!!

Postby foxbase » 28 Feb 2009, 14:42

Okay, first chance I've had to get back to this since posting this a few weeks ago (my dad is here helping me too until tomorrow)

So, we've done this today:

replaced fuel filter (it was full of sh*t as suggested it would be)
replaced plugs
replaced dizzy and rotor
replaced coil

checked fuel pump - fine
cleaned up all the earths we could find

Now here is the odd thing. After replacing all that lot (one at a time) we still got nothing. Out came the Haynes to confirm firing order etc. 1 4 3 2. Confirmed everything was as it should - nothing but a few pops!!

Changed order of plugs on the dizzy to 1 2 3 4 the engine runs but not on tick-over.

My dad thinks its a timing thing now... anyone else have anything they can offer before I get a mobile mechanic out to her??

Thanks in advance

Jason (and his dad)
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