Starter Motor won't turn over

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Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby Bern » Wed 07.04.2021, 10:43

I think this is what happened, the Elan is in my parent's garage (or was!). It's not been used much at all in the last year (no surprise there!).

- Father started it and drove it out of the garage
- A while later he went to start it to put it back in again, but the starter wouldn't turn over
- He charged the battery
- Still wouldn't start

It's not even operating the solenoid. All the warning lights come on, the fuel pump primes but turn the key to operate the starter and nothing. The lights don't dim or anything!

I've not had a chance to look at it too much, but all the fuses are fine, and the switch thing (!) next to the battery is down. I've tried jump leads to another battery and I also have a "charge and start" battery charger. Neither made any difference.

It has a Gemini alarm which is turned off. I turned it on once a few years ago and the siren went so I turned it off!! I'm wondering if this is the issue, if the battery went flat and the alarm has reset somehow into an "immobilised mode". I've tried turning the alarm back on but that made no difference - there's a hidden toggle switch, I don't really know what it does!

I've found a key fob for it, I'll try replacing the battery in it and see if that helps in any way! Or I may strip the alarm out, there are 3 wires coming off the cables behind the ignition switch all on separate in line fuses - I'll have to work out what they do!

I was wondering if any of you had any other ideas of what the issue could be?

Cheers :-)
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby Rambo » Wed 07.04.2021, 13:27

Bern - no consolation, but there have been quite a few LEC'rs on here recently with starting problems. Usual stuff with batteries, fuel pumps, dirty earths etc.... but the majority of the cases eventually come down to the immobiliser, usually an after market one that is playing up

It does sound like an immobiliser thing to me. Well, that's my gut feel and initial thoughts

BTW, the "switch thing" to which you refer is the inertia switch. It is there in the event that you crash or flip the car and it cuts the fuel pump, minimising a fire. Yours is in the correct down position for normal use

PS Saltire (Jonathan) is quite good at diagnosing starting problems. I'm sure he'll be along post afternoon siesta
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby dapinky » Wed 07.04.2021, 13:52

Bern,

I'm going off-piste with my idea......

.... when mine was having similar issues (many many years ago now, but I remember being a bit stranded one day at work).

The car fired up straight away with a push from a couple of colleagues, and I found the issue to be with the ignition switch.

Basically, the plastic 'hole' in the actual switch had been worn by the metal 'peg' on the end of the key barrel, and it wasn't turning sufficiently to always make the final connection to the starter circuit.

A new ignition switch fixed it instantly.

So, I would suggest before you get too far into the wiring, try to bump-start it - that will tell you if it's the actual ignition circuit being affected, or simply the starter circuit.

Getting to the switch is a bit of a faff, but not at all hard to diagnose in situ - if you remove the cowling you can get access to the rear of the switch and see the wiring connections - just turn the key with a multimeter (if you have one) on the connections and you will see if they are completing the relevant circuits - failing that, short out the connections with a piece of wire and see what happens to the starter (if anything).

Removal of the switch is a little more complex as you need to have very tiny and bendy hands, or remove the whole barrel (which is fitted with shear bolts, so may need a slot cutting in the head with a Dremmel). You can then remove the item for either replacement or repair. I replaced the shear bolts with normal M6 bolts when I did mine (or it may have been M5 - I can't remember! - basically, whatever fits!!!!) but have never needed to remove it since.
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby Rambo » Wed 07.04.2021, 14:49

Good idea Dave. A bump start might just sort it
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby Bern » Wed 07.04.2021, 16:46

Thanks for the excellent advice Rambo and Dave. I'll try pushing it, and I've already got the cowl off for access to the switch!

I think it may be too cold to try it today though!

My initial thoughts were that the battery had died, the fuel pump sounds "slower" than I remember, and the dash voltmeter reads 11V. But the lights seem OK, and it didn't start from the charger or the spare battery. And I'd have thought there'd be enough power for the solenoid to engage even if the starter won't actually turn.....
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby Rambo » Wed 07.04.2021, 17:22

Have you got access to anotherc car and strong jump leads Bern? Might be worth a try?

Your battery sounds a bit low if its only reading 11V on the dash. I'd be looking for about 12-12.5V from a good battery (and about 13.5 - 14.5V once you've got the engine running obviously)

Keep plugging away. It doesn't sound too hard a fix
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby Bern » Wed 07.04.2021, 18:57

The problem is that where the Elan currently is (and where the battery is in the Elan) I haven't got jump leads long enough to reach!

We'll have to push it out (and maybe try to bump start it at the same time).

I'll take another look Saturday, and take my multi-meter and code reader this time!
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby Saltire » Wed 07.04.2021, 20:20

Bern

If after your weekend investigations, you’re still of the view that it’s the immobiliser, feel free to PM. I’ve quite a bit of useful info I can let you have about the Gemini alarms (particularly if your Elan’s an S2), but I don’t post it on the open forum for obvious reasons.
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby Simon_P » Wed 07.04.2021, 21:43

You mentioned that all of the fuses are fine but did you check the 50A starter fuse behind the radio?

Following dapinky's suggestions, but he's used to hot wiring things. A slightly easier method would be to test it at the relay, that way you can test the whole circuit.
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby Simon_P » Wed 07.04.2021, 22:02

Rambo wrote:PS Saltire (Jonathan) is quite good at diagnosing starting problems.
shall we call him the alarm whisperer

dapinky wrote:I'm going off-piste with my idea......
quelle surprise!
A hotwirer's guide to 1990s car rental. It always struck me that if they carried a smaller screwdriver they wouldn't need to do as much damage.
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby GeoffSmith » Wed 07.04.2021, 22:05

The heater fan and window motors are disabled if the start relay is being energised from the ignition switch. If you can still blow and move the windows when the ignition switch is in the crank position then the problem is either the ignition switch or the start relay. If they are switched off then the problem is at the starter/solenoid.

http://wikilec.com/images/7/79/MJ25-02_ ... nition.gif
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby Dave Eds » Wed 07.04.2021, 22:13

If you can't start it with a fully charged booster pack Bern it ain't starting at all.

It'll be the immobilizer in my opinion mate, they only immobilise us owners :shock:

Strip it out, it's 30 year older technology than when it was fitted, let alone being old design then...

I really hope Dave or Simon are right though.
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby Simon_P » Wed 07.04.2021, 23:01

I'd go with the immobiliser too, but worth checking the easy things first.

Dave Eds wrote:I really hope Dave or Simon are right though.
Dave's idea, I was just trying to be a little more subtle... But streets ahead is el profesor :bowdown: :bowdown: :bowdown: you can test the operation with the heater fan... Sublime
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby dapinky » Wed 07.04.2021, 23:50

Simon_P wrote:A hotwirer's guide to 1990s car rental. It always struck me that if they carried a smaller screwdriver they wouldn't need to do as much damage.


All the scrotes back in the day would carry a 12" length of scaffold pipe to snap the steering barrel (and thus the wheel lock) off, and the 'black box' part of the ignition switch to plug into the exposed loom in case the original got damaged during the first phase.... then it's off to do a ram-raid in their Cavalier SRi (pre 'm' reg, as that was when Vauxhall fitted immobilisers)
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby Bern » Thu 08.04.2021, 14:09

Thanks for all the replies, much appreciated.

I did think that there ought to be a large fuse somewhere, but I didn't see it mentioned in the handbook.

Jonathan - it's a series 1 car. Thanks I'll PM you if I've got any queries. I think the biggest issue is going to be finding all the points where the alarm interacts with the main loom.
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby Saltire » Thu 08.04.2021, 18:23

No worries; I have a schematic wiring diagram if that helps
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby Simon_P » Thu 08.04.2021, 21:17

You can test the fuse with Geoff's fan switch or Windows method... I think.
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby GeoffSmith » Thu 08.04.2021, 22:29

Simon_P wrote:You can test the fuse with Geoff's fan switch or Windows method... I think.

Yep. They're sourced via D5 (the 50A fuse that goes to the starter) so if you can move your windows, the fuse is intact.
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby Bern » Fri 09.04.2021, 09:08

GeoffSmith wrote:
Simon_P wrote:You can test the fuse with Geoff's fan switch or Windows method... I think.

Yep. They're sourced via D5 (the 50A fuse that goes to the starter) so if you can move your windows, the fuse is intact.


Brilliant, I'll give that a go today!

I guess if the fuse has gone it raises the question why? But I'll not worry about that yet....
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Re: Starter Motor won't turn over

Postby Bern » Fri 09.04.2021, 14:54

I've taken a quick look and found:

1. The electric windows work
2. The blower stays on when the key is turned to the starter
3. The battery was reading 8V

So it looks like it could be the relay, but maybe 8V isn't enough to switch it (though I'd have thought it would've been fine with the 10V it had the other day, and 12 V from the booster)?!

I'll go down and get the battery later and charge it with my battery reconditioner. I can't do it right now because a) I didn't have any tools and b) the battery charger is currently charging my van which also won't start!! I've also had to get a new battery for the Land Rover this year!

But I suppose it still could be the alarm/immboiliser, if it's not letting current get to the relay it's not going to turn off the blower.

I'll condition the battery and check everything tomorrow, including voltage at the ignition switch poles.
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