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Old 03-03-2007, 05:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
High Sierra 2500
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How to repair a starter solenoid

In this post I will describe how to repair a worn out solenoid at no cost. If done as I describe the solenoid will be effectively new again. This only works one time... When the solenoid wears out again after being repaired like this you need to replace the solenoid or at least the contacts in the solenoid.

I'm sure many of the people on this forum have been using this method for a long time, but I figured I'd write it up anyway for the benefit of anybody who has never done it. I may have gone overboard with the pics now that I look at it, but hey... A picture is worth a thousand words...

This isn't a complicated procedure... Once the starter is off of the truck it doesn't take very long at all (less than half an hour).



To begin, you must have the starter off the truck. I suppose you could do this with the starter still on the truck, but it makes it much simpler to have the starter on the bench.





(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)

(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)


Next you remove the solenoid assembly from the starter. To do so you simply remove the two mounting bolts that hold the solenoid to the starter and the one bolt that holds the starter connection to the solenoid.





(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)

(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)


Once you have removed the bolts you rotate the solenoid to disengage the locating tab from the starter and pull the solenoid assembly off.





(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)

(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)





(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)

(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)





(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)

(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)


The next step is to remove the endcap from the solenoid. First remove the fasteners...




(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)

(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)



...And then carefully pull the cap off of the solenoid. Make sure that when you pull the cap off you don't break the small wires inside the solenoid (if you do the solenoid is essentially garbage unless you want to get into some fairly extensive surgery which would include some soldering).




(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)

(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)


This is what you will see once you have the endcap off:




(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)

(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)


Basically, this is a big, magnetically actuated switch. The way it works is actually quite simple... When you turn the key it energizes the S terminal which connects to a coil inside the solenoid that is grounded. Current flows through the coil and creates a magnetic field. This pushes the actuator shaft (which the contact ring is mounted on) up until the contact ring touches the contacts. One of those contacts is energized with battery power, the other one goes to the starter. When the contact ring touches both contacts it connects them and provides power to the starter.

From here it will be pretty clear what needs to be done... If the solenoid is bad, you will most likely see that one or more of the contacts is burnt quite badly. The solenoid in the pictures is nearly new and still 100% functional and the burn marks are what I would expect to see on a fairly new solenoid. A bad one will look dramatically worse and will most likely be pretty much black all over inside. There will probably be nothing left of the contacts where they touch the contact ring. The goal is to use a new, unused part of the contacts and contact ring as the contact surface.

I like to start with the contact ring itself. Start by pulling the contact ring/actuator shaft assembly out of the solenoid. You will have to push the one contact gently out of the way while you do this... Be careful not to break the small wire connected to it.




(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)

(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)


Once the shaft is out you can disassemble it. First remove the spring on the end of the assembly (just pull it off), then put the other end of the shaft against the table and push down on the contact ring with your thumb and forefinger until you can remove the C-clip with your other hand. Then you can slide the contact ring off the end of the actuator shaft. Just flip the contact ring over and slide it right back on. Then reinstall the C-clip and the spring. Set the actuator shaft assembly aside for now.

Here's a pic of the actuator shaft assembly fully disassembled... You won't need to take it apart that far to flip the contact ring over, but for reference purposes here it is.




(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)

(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)


Next, remove the nut that holds the contact in the endcap, pull the contact out, and reinstall it with the worn section facing towards the outside of the endcap. Here's a pic... Once again, this solenoid is nearly new, so it isn't nearly as burnt up as most of them are, but it should give you an idea of what you need to do. Just make it so the burnt part of the contact faces the other way.





(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)

(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)


Next you need to do the same thing with the other contact, although that is a bit more difficult because that contact is held onto the wire using a few small tabs. You must not break the wire and out of all the times the wire could break this is the most likely time. Underneath the contact there is a small tab bent over that holds the brass terminal to the contact. Bend it away so the terminal can come straight out (I've found that a small screwdriver or a nail is perfect for the job). After that you will need to use a small screwdriver to gently pry the terminal off of the contact without breaking the terminal or the wire. I didn't manage to get any pictures of this besides this one because it definitely takes two hands to do...





(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)

(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)


Once you've got the contact out, turn it around and reinstall it. Make sure the tab is bent back over and the contact is fully seated in the terminal.

Now you are ready to reassemble the solenoid. Reinstall the actuator shaft/contact ring assembly...





(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)

(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)



Reinstall the plastic endcap...





(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)

(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)



Install the fasteners that hold the endcap on and you're done.





(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)

(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)



The solenoid should be as good as new...

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Old 03-03-2007, 07:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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does this work the same on a 28mt starter as well?
paul

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Old 03-03-2007, 08:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Nice job, I will stick this thread!
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Old 03-03-2007, 08:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
does this work the same on a 28mt starter as well?
paul
I think so... I never actually tried it on a 28MT, but as I recall they had the same type of solenoid so it should be the same. This trick works for many GM starter solenoids. They used this type of solenoid on all kinds of stuff...

Quote:
Nice job, I will stick this thread!
Thank you!
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1996 gmc suburban 6.5 diesel 2500 leather etc etc 225k miles and counting

2000 K1500 Silverado Z71 ext cab short box 5.3 gas. 320,000 miles and counting Sold at 325k miles

1927 Ford Model T pickup. Bone stock 22 hp 4 cylinder. Driven to work on a regular basis...
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Old 03-05-2007, 03:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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What a coincedence, my starter solenoid just died today at the gas station. All I get is a click and sometimes nothing at all. Thanks for the how to.

Hopefully this is just a coincedence and if you ever post an engine rebuild how to my engine won't blow up or something .
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Old 03-05-2007, 04:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Great thread congradulation .

The glowplug controller work exactly the same


(Image has been resized. Click it for full size.)


Ed
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Old 03-05-2007, 10:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
What a coincedence, my starter solenoid just died today at the gas station. All I get is a click and sometimes nothing at all. Thanks for the how to.

Hopefully this is just a coincedence and if you ever post an engine rebuild how to my engine won't blow up or something .
Yeah, I think it is just a coincidence... Hopefully, anyway...

Quote:
Great thread congradulation .

The glowplug controller work exactly the same
Good information on the glow plug controller. I never had to take a glow plug controller apart, but it's good to know they can be repaired...
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1996 gmc suburban 6.5 diesel 2500 leather etc etc 225k miles and counting

2000 K1500 Silverado Z71 ext cab short box 5.3 gas. 320,000 miles and counting Sold at 325k miles

1927 Ford Model T pickup. Bone stock 22 hp 4 cylinder. Driven to work on a regular basis...
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Old 03-06-2007, 12:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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too bad its not that easy too change my sisters head if it were i would have done it long ago but nooooo i am stuck with someone that doesnt use their head hmmm sounds kinda like my wife aka soon too be ex as well hmmmm wemon sorry for the rant but at this point the only descent gal with a set of teets is my momma figures we arent in arkansas though so no mom doesnt count towards being a girlfriend/ future wife lol thats just sick damn arkansanites great thread bro i will keep in my favs thanks a ton john
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Old 03-07-2007, 02:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Well I finally got some time to crawl back under there and pull the starter back out. I followed your instructions and it works great now! Thanks! It was nasty in there, it's a wonder how it ever started.
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Old 03-09-2007, 11:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Well I finally got some time to crawl back under there and pull the starter back out. I followed your instructions and it works great now! Thanks! It was nasty in there, it's a wonder how it ever started.
Glad it worked for you!

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1996 gmc suburban 6.5 diesel 2500 leather etc etc 225k miles and counting

2000 K1500 Silverado Z71 ext cab short box 5.3 gas. 320,000 miles and counting Sold at 325k miles

1927 Ford Model T pickup. Bone stock 22 hp 4 cylinder. Driven to work on a regular basis...
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