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Discussion Starter #1
I fried my solenoid a while back. Oops. (For the curious, my broken ignition was replaced by toggle switches, but I should have used a momentary switch for the solenoid. I didn't, and so of course eventually forgot to turn that one off until the magic smoke started leaking out.)

The first replacement starter (both used, but from reputable sources) didn't work at all. The second one worked at first, but after the car sat for a month the starter now only clicks, if that. Presumably there's bad wiring somewhere, but I'm struggling to track it down. When I flip the power switch the dash lights come on. When I then turn on the solenoid switch there are a few clicks. The dash lights go off. If then, after turning off both switches, I try again the dash lights do not come on. Have I discharged a capacitor which needs to re-energize?

A friend suggested running a wire from the solenoid and touching it to the battery after I power on. Given that the wire to the tab on the solenoid (green wire) has a sheathed connection, what would the best way to do this? I tried jamming wire into the sheath along with the tab, but that failed completely.

Many thanks in advance for your collective wisdom.
 

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I'd bet reasonable money the problem is the battery terminal - either the cable or the physical post on the battery.

Edit- assuming it isn't the battery itself!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The battery was purchased last March and apparently tests as good. After reading the above I sanded the positive post and cable terminal, then tightened it firmly, but to no avail. I've disconnected and cleaned the connectors at the distribution block (70) on the passenger-side engine wall and where the two braided cables connect to the engine, as well as both ends of the ground wire going from the bit holding the dipstick onto the engine. To the degree those efforts improved current flow, they were woefully insufficient. I can't get past: 1) power switch on -> dash lights on; 2) solenoid on -> clicking and dash lights go off; 3) powering off and trying the power switch again -> dash lights don't turn on. Interestingly, after cleaning the contacts I got some clicking when turning on the power switch but before turning on the solenoid switch.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is a non-turbo, but after the CPS died a few years ago I swapped the distributor for a turbo distributor to make use of its Hall-effect sensor. I made the appropriate wiring modifications at the time, but haven't touched them since.

I am stumped. Flummoxed. Thoroughly frustrated. Thoughts?
 

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Search TSI socket on this board - I would try "manually" engaging the solenoid via the TSI socket and see if you have a different result. That should narrow the problem towards the ignition switch or towards the starter.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh, how mighty is the lowly paperclip! Jumping pins 1 and 3 starts it.
 

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If that works reliably, that suggests the problem is the ignition switch.

On the c900, the battery is connected directly to the starter solenoid via the ignition switch. As the switch wears, you get less than full power to the solenoid and you get the click. You can fix it by replacing the switch.

Alternatively, most modern cars use a relay between the switch and starter solenoid. It would not be very difficult to replicate this functionality. You just need to intercept the wire between the switch & starter at the fusebox and bring that plug battery power and ground to the relay.

Back in the day, Group 6 used to sell a kit based on a Ford starter solenoid to fix this issue. It's less elegant (IMHO) but it would work too. Pull the battery cable off the starter, connect it to the Ford solenoid, pull the solenoid wire off the starter and connect it to the Ford solenoid, then make a new battery cable to go between the Ford solenoid and the starter.
 

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Later classic 900's do have a factory-configured starter relay (that's how my 1992 2.1 sedan is set up), but earlier ones did not so they were often retro-fitted so the ignition switch just activated the relay coil and the relay contacts did the 'heavy' switching of power to the solenoid. The main batt+ connection to the starter motor is a direct (terminal '30') circuit to battery positive. The solenoid's job is to switch that connection.

On the older 8V cars (B motor and first-series H-block) the starter is larger than on the later ones (8V and 16 V with second-series H block) and the starter lives on the exhaust side, which compounds the issues of poor starter operation.
 

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I'm afraid you're mistaken - there is no starter relay on any c900. I've owned numerous examples of each and every year from '79 to '93 (except '82, oddly, not a one) and a starter relay was simply never fitted.
 
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