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Old 02-16-2009, 06:49 PM   #1
NicFunkadelic
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Default HELP!!! My swap won't start... Clicking starter?

Ok, 07 STi engine into 00 RS, and I've searched A LOT.

Here is my out of date thread:
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=1694567

Anyway, the starter just clicks, fast, machine gun style.
I've searched my butt off, and tried cleaning the terminals on the starter, the battery, I've checked grounds. I've also tried jumping it, so it's not a dead battery. I even swapped the starter out for a different one, and same problem. SO: I checked that the motor turned over, which it did, smoothly, so the rotating assembly is not binding. I've running out of ideas...

Anyone?
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Old 02-16-2009, 07:07 PM   #2
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Where do you have the heavy gauge ground cable attached? It should be right on the top starter mounting bolt.
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Old 02-16-2009, 07:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zephyr View Post
Where do you have the heavy gauge ground cable attached? It should be right on the top starter mounting bolt.
+1 I have done a million clutch installs, engine swaps, trans swaps, etc and I almost ALWAYS forget this stupid cable. The symptoms are identical to your description.
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Old 02-16-2009, 08:27 PM   #4
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Or dead battery. You have to deliver 80-90 amps of current to start the car so, if your battery's real dead the jumpers might not cut it. I might ground the solenoid wire by hand and see of that'll make it start.
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Old 02-16-2009, 08:33 PM   #5
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Thanks for the reply's... The ground from the negative terminal of the battery goes to the ground on the starter solenoid (the terminal towards the tranny) , which has a strap that goes into the starter itself. Should there be an additional ground wire? Or should that ground wire not go to the starter at all?

Kwan, I tried jumping it several times, and tried two different batteries.
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Old 02-16-2009, 08:36 PM   #6
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Zephyr, the neg cable from the battery terminal doesn't go to the starter solenoid terminal? just ground it on the upper starter mounting bolt?

If this works I will be SOOOOO HAPPY! been trying all kinds of crap for 2 days and I'm so sick of that clicking noise!

Nick
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Old 02-16-2009, 10:17 PM   #7
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You have 12v from the battery to the starter solenoid, you have ground from the battery to the upper starter bolt and you have a skinny wire from the ignition switch that goes to the small connector on the starter.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:47 PM   #8
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Kwan,
The upper starter bolt meaning the one that goes through the tranny bellhousing into the motor, the ground doesn't fit there. I had it on the other terminal of the starter, not the +. I also grounded that main strap on the chasis at the strut tower and got the same exact result. CLICK CLICK CLICK really fast clicking. Unless I have 2 bad starters, I'm stumped...

Any other ideas?
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Old 02-17-2009, 12:18 AM   #9
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Me and the other guys are telling you where it goes. If it doesn't fit it might be time to change battery cables or maybe you have the battery in backwards. The battery negative has to go to the block or the transmission case right next to the starter it doesn't bolt to the solenoid though a starter bolt goes through it.

It sounds like you don't have it wired up right.

You understand how a solenoid works right? Battery connects to the outer bolt (farthest from the starter) on the solenoid. The other bolt coming out the solenoid goes into the starter. You can just look at the starter and see this. When the solenoid is active the 12 volts from the battery wire COMES OUT the other solenoid wire into the starter. You make it sound like you have the battery on one side of the solenoid and the ground on the other so, every time you click the key, you short out the battery.

The ground cable bolts to the block even if it's not right next to the starter.
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Old 02-17-2009, 08:43 AM   #10
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Thanks for the input Kwan, I appreciate it. That ring on the main ground wire in question from the battery was too small to fit the starter bolt through, but I grounded it somewhere else (strut tower, shouldn't make a difference) and still got the clicking starter issue. Is is possible I fried both of my starters by connecting them wrong the first time?
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Old 02-17-2009, 08:53 AM   #11
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Have you tried turning the motor over by hand? You know, socket on the crank pulley bolt?

You can also make the starter operate when it's not bolted down in free air. I might unbolt it and operate it in the air to make sure it still works. If you have it bolted up the way I guessed, you may have screwed up the solenoid. Shorting the battery across the solenoid would make it see much more current than it normally see. You might have melted the contacts in the solenoid. I'd do the free air test and make sure you can turn it over by hand.
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Old 02-17-2009, 09:05 AM   #12
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Ok, so I guess I need to test the starters then. I tested the motor with a breaker bar on the crank pulley bolt, and it turns over normally. I hope it's just a bad starter. So how do I test them, should I pull the starter out, but leave the wires connected and try turning the key?
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Old 02-17-2009, 10:15 AM   #13
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NO, EVERYTHING IS CORRECT OTHER THEN HOW YOU HAVE THE GROUND CONNECTED AND YOU ARE NOT LISTENING TO WHAT ANYONE IS SAYING.

The ground does NOT go directly to the starter, it goes to the upper bolt that attaches to the starter to the transmission. There is a small L shaped bracket that slips over the bolt and then the ground attaches to that bracket with a smaller bolt. It will NOT work if you attach it to the starter, it will NOT work if you attach it to the strut tower. It MUST be attached right where it is intended to be attached next to the starter on the long bolt that connects the starter/transmission/engine. Correct this and it will work just fine.

People seem to screw this one up every three or four months and post about it. This IS the solution.

Z
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Old 02-17-2009, 11:28 AM   #14
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Yeah, I guess he doesn't get it does he? I didn't notice the strut tower comment. Any bolt on the block is I believe what I said.

I think I'm done. Clearly it's not getting through.
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Old 02-17-2009, 11:32 AM   #15
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Ok, thank you Zephyr. I didn't mean to come across like a thick headed newb. I will see if I can find that L shaped bracket after work today, and hopefully I'll be back with some good news. Thanks again for your time guys.
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Old 02-17-2009, 12:55 PM   #16
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I have had people attach this wire to the manifold before and it gave the same symptoms that you are describing. If it is attached where it is supposed to be it will ground nicely to the body of the starter as intended. Since you'll have a good solid ground that way the energy of the circuit has a shorter path to flow through and therefore less resistance.
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Old 02-17-2009, 10:26 PM   #17
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VICTORY IS MINE!!! thanks to you guys of course. Sure enough, that seemingly stupid little L bracket was the only thing I had F*ed up. Zephyr, Kwan, thank you guys SO MUCH! I am sorry once again for bothering you with such a stupid error. Maybe we can create a sticky out of this under troubleshooting or something, because I spent a good 2-3 hours searching and reading on here. This might prevent many future frustrations.
Nick
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:04 AM   #18
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You owe me a beer. Next time I'm in the Guilford area you can buy me one.

Z
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:17 AM   #19
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I owe you a case my friend, and definitely hit me up if you're ever in the area.
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Old 03-18-2009, 02:07 PM   #20
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Does anyone know why these symptoms would be happening, the 'machine gun' clicking and no turning over, on a car that hasn't had any recent work done to it?

My 02 WRX went through a bad battery a few weeks ago, and I needed to bumpstart and jump start it several times. Could I have fried the starter solenoid?

What is the easiest way to get to it? The intercooler is a beast to work around
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Old 03-19-2009, 09:23 AM   #21
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It is usually a symptom of a weak battery or a bad ground. In the case of the OP it was a bad or incorrectly attached ground.
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:06 AM   #22
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Thank you for the reply, Zephyr.

The battery was tested 2 days ago, and was rated strong - 605cca, and has a near full charge - literally a week old. The car started without trouble for 3 or 4 days. It sat for a day, and then wouldn't start again.

So this would imply that there is a bad ground somewhere. I'll run through it.
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Old 03-19-2009, 11:25 AM   #23
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It implies to me that something is draining the battery and it needs to be recharged again.

You should say "Battery HAD a full charge and after it sat a day, it doesn't any more". It's unlikely to be a ground with your symptoms. You have a sub and amp in this thing? Maybe the sub isn't turning off. You old battery might not have been bad.
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Old 03-19-2009, 07:53 PM   #24
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No ICE in the car, just a receiver, head unit. Thanks for working with me here fellas.

After purchasing the new battery, I drove it, it sat, then the car didn't start, I jumped it, and took it in to NAPA. They tested the new battery, said it had near-full charge and had 605cca. Put the battery back in and had to be jumped to get out of the parking lot with the guy saying, "you prolly got a bad starter," which he couldn't even point out to me.

All of this after making no modification to the car in more than 3 years, since the previous battery had been replaced.

Timeline:
April '06: Replaced battery
December '08: Battery dies, hear the 'machine gun' from the starter, car sits for extended period of time.
February '09: Jump the car, drive it normally for a few weeks.
March 10, '09: Car refuses to start at the same sound from the starter, and it sits again.
March 13: Old battery tested, found to be 'bad'. Purchase a new battery.
March 14, 15: Car runs fine.
March 16: Car sits
March 17: Car won't start, jump it to get to Napa. Clerk meters the battery says it has a near full charge, with 605cca. Jump car and go home.
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Old 03-19-2009, 09:53 PM   #25
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Well, it could be the starter. The thing is, I'm not sure about a starter responding to a jump. The starter's under the intercooler so, you're not going to see it easily.
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