7.3L IDI No Crank / Click / Changed Starter / Bypassed Starter Relay / Tried starting in Neutral - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
7.3L IDI Diesels (Not Power Strokes) Technical discussion of topics related to vehicles powered by the 7.3 Liter In-Direct Injection Navistar engines.

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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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7.3L IDI No Crank / Click / Changed Starter / Bypassed Starter Relay / Tried starting in Neutral

Hi everyone, Having trouble with my 92 IDI 7.3

The problem is that when I try to start it, I hear a loud click(A solenoid click)


Anyway, Here's what I tried. I can't figure it out.

-Changed the starter/starter solenoid(No change, except a slow crank(Could have been from weak
batteries) the very first time I tried after letting the truck sit for 6 months prior to starter change)

-Bypassed Starter Relay on passenger fender. Still hear the same click

-Tried starting the truck in neutral to test gear position sensor. Same click.

-Tested the old starter outside of the car by hooking the ground from another battery to the starter body, then positive to the starter positive. Spun fine.


The starter I got was from a junkyard, but it had been tested before.



Thanks for any ideas/suggestions to check!
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 09:52 AM
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testing a starter with no load is useles for all except knowing it can spin in free air.

You need a way to load it to spot if it is weak internally.

Hook it all up, get a good heavy wrench and short the two big bolts on the main relay with the big cables on it on the passanger* fenders side, there should be a descent spark and the starter will engage if it's main solenoid is good. If it does engage and spins the engine, then you know it is in the ignition train.

All so ensure the cable to battery conections are good and clean, you are sinking 400 to 700 Amps here at a meer 12V, every bit of resistence hurts you here!

*I put in drivers side, I errored on that!

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Last edited by Xeonpony; 03-02-2016 at 09:58 AM. Reason: added info
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 09:56 AM
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I didn't see where you charged the batteries. These trucks need 2 strong batteries to turn over the engine fast enough.

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 10:43 AM
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Before buying batteries, take a good, long look at the terminals. If there are 2 bolts in a strap holding the cables in the terminal...



You'd be amazed how much impact those garbage terminals can have on ANY vehicle; but moreso one with such a high starting demand.


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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 10:59 AM
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FIRST, try to turn the engine by hand.

Are you hearing the click from the relay, or from the solenoid?

When you swapped the starter, was the terminal on the big wire from the battery in good shape?
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xeonpony View Post
testing a starter with no load is useles for all except knowing it can spin in free air.

You need a way to load it to spot if it is weak internally.

Hook it all up, get a good heavy wrench and short the two big bolts on the main relay with the big cables on it on the passanger* fenders side, there should be a descent spark and the starter will engage if it's main solenoid is good. If it does engage and spins the engine, then you know it is in the ignition train.

All so ensure the cable to battery conections are good and clean, you are sinking 400 to 700 Amps here at a meer 12V, every bit of resistence hurts you here!

*I put in drivers side, I errored on that!
Buddy, I tried that. Look on my first post. Nothing happened when I shorted the starter relay. Just the same click.

Thanks for your help, though. I didn't mean to sound like an ass!
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
FIRST, try to turn the engine by hand.

Are you hearing the click from the relay, or from the solenoid?

When you swapped the starter, was the terminal on the big wire from the battery in good shape?
Cleaned both terminals with a steel brush before swapping the starter.

I guess I could track down where the click is coming from. It seems like it is coming from the starter solenoid.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 02:35 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by chuckster57 View Post
I didn't see where you charged the batteries. These trucks need 2 strong batteries to turn over the engine fast enough.
Before starting the starter swap, I hooked up the two batteries to my car and left my car idling/charging the batteries until I was done swapping the starter(Don't worry, I had the batteries unplugged and hooked in parallel with two jumper cables.

The first time I tried it with the new starter, I heard a slow crank. Then, I tried right away and got nothing.

So, I hooked up a newer gas silverado with a brand new alternator. Tried it, nothing, same click.

After I left the silverado charge the batteries for a while I unplugged it to test how much voltage drop there was.

Resting voltage was about 12.6. Then, when I turned the key to crank it, voltage dropped to 12.3. Is there a minimum voltage to turn the starter?
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 05:04 PM
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I don't know the minimum offhand, but it will crank at lower voltage than that. In fact, I would expect to see considerably lower voltage (aprx 11V) while attempting to engage the starter motor, just from the draw of the starter itself. It is sounding like the relay is energizing the solenoid, but the motor itself is not drawing any power. That would make the main wire from the battery to the starter motor the prime suspect.

This is exactly the scenario I had when the terminal at the starter end of this wire broke off on one of our trucks. Of course, it was also visually obvious what had happened. One way to test for a break in that wire is to use a jumper cable, clamp one end on the starter main terminal and the other on one of the battery positive posts. Then see if it will crank.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
I don't know the minimum offhand, but it will crank at lower voltage than that. In fact, I would expect to see considerably lower voltage (aprx 11V) while attempting to engage the starter motor, just from the draw of the starter itself. It is sounding like the relay is energizing the solenoid, but the motor itself is not drawing any power. That would make the main wire from the battery to the starter motor the prime suspect.

This is exactly the scenario I had when the terminal at the starter end of this wire broke off on one of our trucks. Of course, it was also visually obvious what had happened. One way to test for a break in that wire is to use a jumper cable, clamp one end on the starter main terminal and the other on one of the battery positive posts. Then see if it will crank.
YES! This is most likely the answer. I will do this and report back. Definitely feel like the voltage drop should be lower, too. I will use use an additional ground jump, too.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 06:16 PM
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Kind of hard to get those jumper cable clamps in there to the starter with it on the engine. Check for voltage drop at the starter, not at the relay on the fender. Slow crank, then nothing...I'd be turning that engine by hand to see if it will. Then if all is OK, start looking at batteries, starter, and cables.

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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by oldrebuiltdodge View Post
Kind of hard to get those jumper cable clamps in there to the starter with it on the engine. Check for voltage drop at the starter, not at the relay on the fender. Slow crank, then nothing...I'd be turning that engine by hand to see if it will. Then if all is OK, start looking at batteries, starter, and cables.
I know the engine is good. It always ran strong and had very minimal blow by for it's age. This happened when once before and I cleaned the battery terminals. Started up. But, when it stopped working, I had shut the truck off to go inside of a food place. When I came out, it gave me this click. It's also not a THUD like the starter is engaging and not spinning or engaging and not mating with the flywheel teeth. I've heard the sound of trying to start a seized engine before. It's definitely not that.
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 07:51 PM
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Kind of hard to get those jumper cable clamps in there to the starter with it on the engine.
I was able to do it when the terminal failed on our truck; that's how I got it started to get it to the store to buy a temporay replacement terminal (we were away from home). You only need one cable, one clamp on the starter terminal, and there's lots of room down there.
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 08:19 PM
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In that case I would start by load checking the batteries, then check ALL of the terminals, and cables all of the way down to the starter, then the starter itself. The most common causes of fail to turn the engine over are weak batteries, then poor/corroded cables/connections. Don't just check the batteries with a volt meter. Get a good load test done to them, that's the only way to really know if they're any good. Most parts stores will check them for nothing in the hopes that you'll buy replacements from them. Go to one you trust. There is a possibility that the solenoid is pulling in, but not making good contact from batt. pos. to starter motor, which would explain the solenoid "click", then there isn't enough to make the starter spin under a load. If you still have a starter laying around, pull the solenoid off of it, and swap it out. If you can, carefully take the top off of the solenoid, and look at the heavy copper washer inside. How badly is it burned? If you can't take it apart, then go to a starter rebuild shop, and get another solenoid. Check the starter brushes and bushings ANY of that stuff will cause a starter to drag. Never trust a junkyard starter.

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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-03-2016, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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YES! This is most likely the answer. I will do this and report back. Definitely feel like the voltage drop should be lower, too. I will use use an additional ground jump, too.
OK! MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH...kind of.

Things I tried today and their results:

-Ran a jumper cable from the Battery Side of the Starter solenoid Positive- Same Click

-Also ran a jumper cable from the starter body to the negative battery terminal and verified that I had 12V - Same Click. Ground is good

-This is the interesting part....
I ran a jumper cable from the positive on the Starter side of the Starter Solenoid to the switched side of the Starter relay. Truck CRANKED WHEN I TURNED THE KEY!



So what the hell is the issue? Doesn't that mean that the solenoid is good since it pulled the gear in?
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