What does it mean when you have to tap the starter?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Photonfanatic, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. Photonfanatic

    Photonfanatic Active Member

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    Well the vehicle isn't a mustang, its an 87 chevy truck. But I know this old trick goes for pretty much any vehicle out there. And this sub forum does say "non mustang related". The truck won't start, it won't even try to turn over. Sometimes.

    Anyway, you can get under there and tap on the starter a couple times with a hammer, and it will fire right up. What does that mean? I'm trying to avoid just throwing parts at it, until I finally get the right part. Is that an indicator that its the solenoid? Or could it still be something else?
     
  2. DeepList

    DeepList Administrator Admin SN95 Supporter

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    A starter is basically an electric motor. The graphite brushes inside are spring loaded and when the spring stretches out they have less tension. Tapping it with a hammer allows the brush to move more firmly against the contact. The simple solution is to replace the starter.
     
  3. the5.ohh

    the5.ohh Legend

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    Lol thats old school. We did that on my dads ram van for like 6 months. Than I replaced it. Was a ***** but its better than getting under it all the time with ahammer
     
  4. 96blak54

    96blak54 Legend

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    Now...this is to technical!!!! Good info here but what it comes down to is, we cavemen feel like if something doesnt work right we beat it!!!!
     
  5. D3VST8R96GT

    D3VST8R96GT Well-Known Member

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    I asked this same question about a year ago.... I got an extra year of life out of my starter....

    The D3V
     
  6. Photonfanatic

    Photonfanatic Active Member

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    Well how about rebuilding the starter? If all it is, is just those brushes, maybe I could replace them? Or maybe that is a bad idea for some reason.
     
  7. CC'S95GT

    CC'S95GT Legend

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    You can rebuild it to save a dime or 2.
    The brushes are what usually wear out. And you'll be amazed at the amount of dirt and carbon dust inside the starter.
     
  8. DeepList

    DeepList Administrator Admin SN95 Supporter

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    I would not mess around with trying to rebuild it. Just get a new one, and that way you'll have a warranty on it.
     
  9. the5.ohh

    the5.ohh Legend

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    Just buy a new one. Why go through the trouble of rebuilding it, and than a year later it fails and you have to buy a new one? That means you spent time pulling it out, rebuilding it, reinstalling it, oh and money on parts. To only pull it out, buy a new one, install new one..
     
  10. Photonfanatic

    Photonfanatic Active Member

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    Good point. What about having it professionally rebuilt at one of those typical Alternator/Starter shops?

    And I wonder if you can get a brushless starter. Just a thought.
     
  11. lutter94

    lutter94 Well-Known Member

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    I took a starter to a rebuild shop once. Pretty sure all they did was go down to advance auto and buy a reman.....Could have done that myself.....
     
  12. Photonfanatic

    Photonfanatic Active Member

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    Hahaha that strikes me as funny for some strange reason. Sorry

    But yeah I went ahead and took mine to the rebuild shop. After reading your post I asked to make sure I'd be getting the same one back. The worker said they had to give me the same one back because they've had problems in the past when they got one mixed up that was the exact same model, but the shims would no longer fit. Come to find out he accidentally gave the wrong starter back to the customer. So he said he couldn't give me a different one.

    Perhaps yours was really the same one? He said they clean them all up so maybe that's what they did to yours and it just turned out looking really good
     
  13. lutter94

    lutter94 Well-Known Member

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    Thought that too. But it did say reman on it. It is possible it was already a reman.....1992 F150, with 180k when I got it. Just looked too clean to me.....don't really care either way as long as it starts...
     
  14. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    I don't have much to add to this thread that hasn't been said. But I passed by the title a few times during my scrolling, and every time I thought to myself "What's it mean when you have to tap the starter? Well it means you have a Chevrolet!" thoroughly expecting to open this thread up and be about a Mustang. to my delight, I was correct lol

    Carry on, if it were me, I would just replace it
     
  15. Photonfanatic

    Photonfanatic Active Member

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    Yeah, come to think of it, it does seem to be more of a chevy thing lol. All the ones I've ever had to do it on were chevys, and all the people I talked to that had to do it were chevys.

    The reason I was thinking of rebuilding it myself, is because I watch all those car shows lol. On Musclecar and Horsepower TV, they're always saying stuff like "You can rebuild it yourself bro!" And then they do it and make it look so easy.
     
  16. CC'S95GT

    CC'S95GT Legend

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    It is easy. there's not to many moving parts to wear out. same with the Alternator too.
    The main thing to replace is the brushes and the bearings (if they're replaceable).
    The hardest thing is being able to hold the brushes out when you install the armature back into the stator. But there's usually a toothpick or a pin in the rebuild kit that is used to hold them open.
    You should do it. If nothing more than for the learning experience. How much is a rebuild kit anyway? $20-30?