The tale of a car that wouldn't start

aBoijj

Active Member
May 20, 2009
104
1
Midlands
I'm writing this up for three reasons
  1. To give you guys a reason to smile
  2. In the hope that someone benefits from it one day
  3. To air my frustration

Last week was a tough week for my car. The window regulator broke when my wife tried to go out in the car on the previous Sunday (one week ago yesterday), so I'd stripped the door down and retrieved the window from its resting place, pinning it in place so it can't drop again. Then, on Wednesday, it failed to start when I tried to go home from work.

I had all the usual lights on the dash and everything else electrical seemed to work. Of course I went straight for the thing that people usually point the finger at first, the battery. So back in the building I went, to get a multimeter. The 20+ year old multimeter said the battery was putting out a healthy voltage (12.75V if I remember rightly - higher than I was expecting).

Next I tried checking for fault codes. Fortunately I am equipped for this - I usually keep a V-checker in the boot. Nothing there apart from the usual moan about the glow plug harness.

Checking around the forum and online in general, I found someone mention checking the ignition switch wasn't faulty - the headlights turned off when I turned the key to position 3 and there was no response from the starter motor when I jiggled or part-turned the key. Probably not that then. I also had the bonnet up checking for audible clicks from the engine bay - again nothing.

I decided to try to bump start the car myself - its a heavy car, but the car park was mostly flat with a slight downward slope a short distance away. Just then, one of the maintenance guys walked past me and engaged me in conversation - work-related at first but he was also curious as to what was wrong with the car. I told him I suspected a fault with the starter motor or its wiring. He offered me a push (I think he regretted it afterwards - he underestimated the weight of the car!) we bump started it and it ran without any apparent issue. I did a lap of the car park and decided to get it home before trying to start it again. Good job, because it didn't start again.

So the car sat at home for the rest of the week while I went to/from work via other means. We had a social commitment on Saturday, so the only day I had to work on it was Sunday. Meanwhile, I had found Muttley's guide to extracting the starter motor from the car - if you're having trouble with your starter, I thoroughly recommend it.

Sunday came and out I went in the rain to start stripping it all down. Using Muttley's guide, I extracted the starter from the car. Imagine my amazement when I saw that there was no signal wire attached to the starter solenoid. In fact, the spade from the solenoid socket was embedded in a female spade connector which clearly wasn't an original feature of the car!

IMAGE - what some bodge merchant had done to my loom

IMAGE - what was left of the solenoid connector


So, I have a solenoid devoid of a signal connector, a botched loom and everywhere that sells parts in a five mile radius is closed. I decided that trying to source a replacement solenoid or starter wasn't going to fix the problem any better than the previous bodge merchant did and would probably end in the same result, so I set about doing a whole new level of bodge to get it working for now, with the view to fixing it properly if it goes again (by getting the proper connector from a scrappy and a new solenoid/starter).

I drilled out a bit of the plastic around what was left of the terminal in the solenoid using a 3mm drill bit, soldered a bit of wire (about 3~4 inches of equivalent or higher grade wire to the signal wire) to what was left of the terminal and soldered the original signal connector to the other end of the wire (I was going to crimp a new connector on, but I didn't find them until I was tidying everything away - typical). Testing confidence in my work, I dangled the solenoid from the new extension wire I had soldered on - success (good job really because it would've fallen on the concrete floor otherwise).

I reassembled the bare minimum amount of the car to test the starter - success, so I put everything back together again, making sure that the signal wire was coated in a generous amount of electrical tape (it wasn't when I found it) and was pointing down for drainage of water. Cable tied the loose cables and that was that. Fixed.

I hope this is of use, or at least some amusement, to someone.
 

Battoussai

Active Member
Mar 22, 2016
337
58
That's a nice hobby to rainy sunday mornings. :)

Well done and narrator type well written. ;)
 

DrewCole

Spannering the Cupra
Oct 19, 2015
699
1
Braintree, Essex
Good effort!

I went out on Sunday to change the fluid in my washer bottle...

I discovered busted top mount cups, split top mount bushes and then discovered that both of my CV boots are devoid of any grease.....

I went inside and drank tea.
 

Headsnap

Active Member
Aug 14, 2014
59
0
Oxfordshire
Good effort!

I went out on Sunday to change the fluid in my washer bottle...

I discovered busted top mount cups, split top mount bushes and then discovered that both of my CV boots are devoid of any grease.....

I went inside and drank tea.

Tea is the fixer of all things. Or at least it makes me feel better for ignoring something!
 

DrewCole

Spannering the Cupra
Oct 19, 2015
699
1
Braintree, Essex
Tea is the fixer of all things. Or at least it makes me feel better for ignoring something!

Well that was my thought, 'Tea will fix this...'

So I went outside and pelted the car with the finest Yorkshire Tea teabags... it was still broken this morning though, but with added brown streaks....
 

Headsnap

Active Member
Aug 14, 2014
59
0
Oxfordshire
Well that was my thought, 'Tea will fix this...'

So I went outside and pelted the car with the finest Yorkshire Tea teabags... it was still broken this morning though, but with added brown streaks....

Haha! Well, there's your problem. Yorkshire tea works better when the bags are added to the fuel tank...:whistle:
 
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