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Old 12-30-2017, 10:42 AM   #1
Johnnya101
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Default Turning key makes a clunk noise, but no start

Hi guys,

My 1988 240 started doing this about a few days ago. When the key is turned, something in the front makes a clunk sound, but nothing turns over. I have wiggled the shifter and moved it back and forth, so I don't think it's the neutral safety switch.

Is this something like a worn starter?

It starts up fast usually, and the temperature here is always below 0 (for now at least).

Any ideas? Sometimes after letting it sit it will start.

Thanks!
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Old 12-30-2017, 11:39 AM   #2
VB242
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Have your battery and charging system checked for free at an auto parts store the next time it starts. Check your battery terminals for corrosion to start out with.
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Old 12-30-2017, 11:41 AM   #3
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Load test the battery with a tool.

Do voltage drop tests on the cables to MEASURE for excessive resistance from corrosion.
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Old 12-30-2017, 12:14 PM   #4
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Also try starting it in neutral.
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Old 12-30-2017, 12:18 PM   #5
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It could be an issue like this even if it starts most of the time?

Starting in neutral does not work (When it will not start).

All lights work great and such too, so I would think the battery would be okay...

Looked it up a little more and it is really seeming like a bad starter. Just want to see what all you think.

Last edited by Johnnya101; 12-30-2017 at 12:29 PM..
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Old 12-30-2017, 01:23 PM   #6
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Google: battery cable voltage drop test.
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Old 12-30-2017, 02:17 PM   #7
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While it is possible that the 'clunk' you reported is the starter solenoid pulling up without the starter operating I would make sure that that both voltage and current are getting to the starter before firing the parts cannon.

If the solenoid is pulling up and with the head lights on do they dim when the key should have activated the starter. If not it is probably an electrical problem such as worn brushes in the starter.

I chased a starter problem where voltage was getting through the key switch, interlock and all wiring to the starter but nothing happened. High resistance contacts in the key switch prevented enough current to even operate the solenoid.
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Old 12-30-2017, 02:56 PM   #8
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Turned the key multiple times and got the engine to turn over. Now it is turning over reliably again.

Then it turned over slowly. Jumped the battery.

Started right up.

I will be replacing the starter soon. Thank you Test! I'll check all that out, it has got to be worn brushes or something or a worn spot...
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Old 12-30-2017, 03:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnya101 View Post
Turned the key multiple times and got the engine to turn over. Now it is turning over reliably again.

Then it turned over slowly. Jumped the battery.

Started right up.

I will be replacing the starter soon. Thank you Test! I'll check all that out, it has got to be worn brushes or something or a worn spot...
More likely a bad connection or bad battery. A starter draws an incredible amount of power compared to the car's lights. The fact that you put jumpers to it and it started right up indicates an insufficient power problem, not a starter problem.
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Old 12-30-2017, 03:09 PM   #10
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The battery is pretty old so I don't doubt that. I will be replacing that soon also. Connections on it look perfect, also on starter.

Looked up battery date code. D3. Think it's April 2003 or 2013? Either way gotta be replaced!

Also it's been in the negatives for the past week or two so I'm sure that doesn't help it.

Last edited by Johnnya101; 12-30-2017 at 03:16 PM..
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Old 12-30-2017, 03:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TestPoint View Post
While it is possible that the 'clunk' you reported is the starter solenoid pulling up without the starter operating I would make sure that that both voltage and current are getting to the starter before firing the parts cannon.

If the solenoid is pulling up and with the head lights on do they dim when the key should have activated the starter. If not it is probably an electrical problem such as worn brushes in the starter.

I chased a starter problem where voltage was getting through the key switch, interlock and all wiring to the starter but nothing happened. High resistance contacts in the key switch prevented enough current to even operate the solenoid.
I had a problem like that too. Starter was fine as was the battery and cables, and the solenoid was getting 12v from the switch, but often times it would click and thats it. If you kept clicking it over amd over it would eventually start and be fine for a while. It is something in the switch because when I put a relay in the system to activate the solenoid (using the ignition switch only to activate the relay) the problem disappeared. I didn't even have to replace the ignition switch as it was still passing plenty of voltage to activate the relay coil, but it wasn't enough to activate the solenoid reliably every time.
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Old 12-31-2017, 07:30 AM   #12
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* most auto parts store will check your battery free, there are ways of determining this with a battery charger too
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Old 12-31-2017, 08:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnya101 View Post
Connections on it look perfect, also on starter.
Looked up battery date code. D3. Think it's April 2003 or 2013? Either way gotta be replaced!
Though it does sound like an aging battery, remove and clean both positive and negative cable connection ends first. Do that whether you change the battery or not.

Do not just go by "they look good".
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