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Gareth E

Help with 'clicking' starter motor?

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Starter motor replaced last year. There was a slight leak from the water filler on top of the heat exchanger which destroyed it over time.

 

Around half the time now when I attempt to start my engine I get a 'clicking' sound. If I release the key and try again the starter invariably engages and the engine starts. It's definitely a 'clicking' sound rather than a mechanical 'clunk'. With the starter being reasonably new (and dry now) I reckon it's OK and the problem is electrical. 

 

So far I've checked and re done the connections to the battery, isolator switch and starter motor. I was wondering what process of checks I might go through to try to get to the bottom of this problem. Engine is the little Vetus 2 cylinder M2.04 if that makes any difference.

 

Thanks. 

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A single click per key movement or a series of clicks that we call machine gunning?

 

Maybe worth putting all the master switch cables on one terminal to rule out a faulty switch. Also is the battery well charged and with cleaned to bright metal terminal contact faces?

 

Voltmeter between battery positive and the terminal on the solenoid that connects to the actual motor part of the starter assembly. It should read battery voltage. Now turn the key and it should drop to no more than 0.5 volt or less. More indicates a problem in the thick positive escapable, connections or the solenoid.

 

The same between battery negative and starter body. It should read zero and rise to not more than 0.5 volt while cranking.

 

Now battery positive to the small terminal with the single thin cable one the starter solenoid, often a 6mm blade connection. It should read battery voltage. Operate the key and the voltage should drop to no more than 0.5 volt. Anything higher indicates a resistance between the battery and that terminal so cables and terminals (including anything in the multi-plug on the main wiring harness), on or in the ignition switch, in any relay that might be in that circuit, or undersized cables.

  • Greenie 1

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I don't know if the Vetus 2 pot engines have a relay for the starter solenoid, the larger ones (M4.15.M4.17) do.  The relays are mounted in a black box on the back of the engine.  If the relay is making a poor contact it produces a clicking from the solenoid exactly as you describe.  Connect a wire to somewhere live and then, after making sure you are clear of any belts or pulleys, try touching the contact on the top of the starter solenoid.  If it then operates fully then you have a poor contact somewhere in the supply to the solenoid.  On the M4.x engines this invariably means the relay.

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Just now, dor said:

I don't know if the Vetus 2 pot engines have a relay for the starter solenoid, the larger ones (M4.15.M4.17) do.  The relays are mounted in a black box on the back of the engine.  If the relay is making a poor contact it produces a clicking from the solenoid exactly as you describe.  Connect a wire to somewhere live and then, after making sure you are clear of any belts or pulleys, try touching the contact on the top of the starter solenoid.  If it then operates fully then you have a poor contact somewhere in the supply to the solenoid.  On the M4.x engines this invariably means the relay.

 

I think they do but am also unsure.

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And do the two-pots have the same loom multi plug as the larger engines?  I had numerous problems with that plug on my M3.10. If it has one, pull it apart and push it back together a few times. 

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49 minutes ago, WotEver said:

And do the two-pots have the same loom multi plug as the larger engines?  I had numerous problems with that plug on my M3.10. If it has one, pull it apart and push it back together a few times. 

If it were mine I think I would rewire to do away with the multi-plug(s). Luckily for me Viking Afloat knew what gave reliability so I do not suffer a multi-plug.

  • Greenie 1

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1 hour ago, Tony Brooks said:

If it were mine I think I would rewire to do away with the multi-plug(s). Luckily for me Viking Afloat knew what gave reliability so I do not suffer a multi-plug.

Yup, had I kept the boat that was quite high on my to-do list. 

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My first boat had a vetus 4.14 engine, I had a similar problem where there was just a clunk/click sound when the key was operated, if you gave the starter motor a clout with a mooring pin it turned over no problem, I stripped down the starter to find it was bone dry on the end bearing and rusty. Cleaned up and lubricated and no more problems, it could be the same problem.

 

bazza

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7 hours ago, Tony Brooks said:

Voltmeter between battery positive and the terminal on the solenoid that connects to the actual motor part of the starter assembly. It should read battery voltage. Now turn the key and it should drop to no more than 0.5 volt or less. More indicates a problem in the thick positive escapable, connections or the solenoid.

 

Yes, that's probably where the electrons are getting away!

😀

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Thanks for all the replies! I'm always one to look for a quick fix first so: the multi plug: does a quick spray with wd40 do it any favours or is this a big no no?

 

I think my engine may well have a starter relay. There a small black cube fixed with a small nut and bolt to the lifting plate on the back (opposite end to the alternator etc.) of the engine. Is this the one?

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16 minutes ago, Gareth E said:

Thanks for all the replies! I'm always one to look for a quick fix first so: the multi plug: does a quick spray with wd40 do it any favours or is this a big no no?

 

I think my engine may well have a starter relay. There a small black cube fixed with a small nut and bolt to the lifting plate on the back (opposite end to the alternator etc.) of the engine. Is this the one?

almost certainly. Very cheap from car places but make sure the terminal positions and numbers are the same

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2 hours ago, Tony Brooks said:

almost certainly. Very cheap from car places but make sure the terminal positions and numbers are the same

To expand on Tony’s point above, a type A and type B relay will look identical apart from the numbers on the pins. There’s s really good explanation with clear diagrams here: https://www.12voltplanet.co.uk/relay-guide.html

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IIRC, the Vetus M2 and M3 have one relay, which is for the heater plugs. The M4 has 2, one for the heaters and one for the starter solenoid supply.

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3 hours ago, Iain_S said:

IIRC, the Vetus M2 and M3 have one relay, which is for the heater plugs. The M4 has 2, one for the heaters and one for the starter solenoid supply.

Thanks so I can rule out a relay as the possible cause it seems. 

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