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Discussion Starter #1
Now I have a problem with my other car!

In the mornings, it sometimes has not wanted to turn over, and I just pulled the key out and tried again and it started. Now it just wont crank any more.

All the dash lights come on as normal and the glow plug light come on and goes off, then when I go to try and start it, it just won't crank. The battery is strong, so that's not it.

Should I start by seeing if I have power to the starter?
 

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Time for a new starter. They go downhill so slowly that you can't really tell the engine isn't turning at the proper starting rpm until it won't start.
 

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It certainley wouldn't hurt to check for power first. The odds are more likely that the starter is bad than a power supply issue.
 

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You don't think I should check to see if I have power going to the starter first?
You could check this, but it would be very uncommon to see the power to the starter interrupted.

When you turn the key does it click at all? If so, then the starter solenoid is trying to engage but is probably stuck. If you are in a bind you can try tapping on the starter and/or starter solenoid with a wrench or hammer a few times, then try starting again (the solenoid is spring loaded and the tapping often gets it unstuck). Beware though, this will not fix your problem long term. It may allow you to get the car started a few times before you can get the starter replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You could check this, but it would be very uncommon to see the power to the starter interrupted.

When you turn the key does it click at all? If so, then the starter solenoid is trying to engage but is probably stuck. If you are in a bind you can try tapping on the starter and/or starter solenoid with a wrench or hammer a few times, then try starting again (the solenoid is spring loaded and the tapping often gets it unstuck). Beware though, this will not fix your problem long term. It may allow you to get the car started a few times before you can get the starter replaced.
No - I am familiar with a starter clicking when it is low voltage or trying to start. This is just complete silence with the dash lights staying on (they are not dimming either when I attempt to start, so I don't think any power is being routed to the solenoid) and nothing happening.
 

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I'll bet your right vitop, if it just stops working altogether, and intermittently, it is probably a power supply issue. Also, this is probably not your issue at all, just thought I would mention that the car will do exactly that if you try to start it in gear. Everything turns on, but the starter won't turn over.
 

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Check your transmission neutral safety switch, car will not crank if this is worn/broken.

Try changing the trans to Neutral, restart, or fiddling with it out and back in to Park.
 

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No - I am familiar with a starter clicking when it is low voltage or trying to start.
The neutral safety switch is actually probably it - good call guys - but the clicking and/or "dead" starter can happen even with strong battery (the clicking sometimes happens when the spring loaded solenoid sticks and won't engage). It sounds similar to a weak battery, but is a different scenario. Bad external or internal connections in the starter can also make it appear dead. At any rate, a few firm (not full force) raps on the starter is worth a shot if the neutral switch doesn't pan out.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Good ideas. Where is the neutral safety switch?

I had seen some erratic behavior of the gas gauge and instrument cluster lights before this happened so I was starting to question the OVP relay or the voltage regulator. Because of that, I never questioned the neutral safety switch. probably not the case, but definitely worth checking out.
 

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Now I have a problem with my other car!

In the mornings, it sometimes has not wanted to turn over, and I just pulled the key out and tried again and it started. Now it just wont crank any more.

All the dash lights come on as normal and the glow plug light come on and goes off, then when I go to try and start it, it just won't crank. The battery is strong, so that's not it.

Should I start by seeing if I have power to the starter?
Hold on vitop! go slow. Do following steps and then let me know what happened.

1- Get a Digital Multimeter and check the voltage at the battery terminals. It must be more than 12.6 volts.
2- If voltage is correct, get a jumper cable and attach negative cord to the negative terminal of the battery and attach other end of the jumper negative cord to the engine block. Do not remove any connection from the battery.
3- If your car starts, that means your negative connection from engine block to negative battery terminal is loose, corroded or rusted. I mean replace with new one.
4- If #3 does not start your car, jump the starter directly from the battery and go from there.

Sahai
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Wouldn't it be dangerous to jump the starter directly to the battery? It would just start turning the engine over...

Also, I assume you would jumper it with the ignition key turned? And you would jumper the solenoid? The starter itself seems to always be hot.
 

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Wouldn't it be dangerous to jump the starter directly to the battery? It would just start turning the engine over...

Also, I assume you would jumper it with the ignition key turned? And you would jumper the solenoid? The starter itself seems to always be hot.
1- After making sure that battery has enough voltage. and starter connection is secured, you can jump the starter.

2- Starter has two circuits-

a- High voltage circuit through starter solenoid - always hot but only works when key switch turn to start position that move the plunger in and completing the circuit.
b- Low voltage circuit that moves the solenoid plunger with key switch, In this circuit transmission park and neutral switch, other safety switches are connected in series.

So the best way to jump the starter is to remove it from the engine and jump it directly from the battery( Google it how to bench test starter).

Alternate method is to jump the starter is called by a nick name - they call it screw driver trick- but I do not recommend this although I have done this many times. All you have to do is take a plastic or wooden handle large screw driver and bypass he solenoid and jump the starter directly while the starter is still in the car. Well this is dangerous if you don't know what you are doing?

Sahai
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The car started fine this morning (no condensation though this morning). Battery voltage is 12.75 (battery is only about 2 months old).

I am going to wait until I get a morning that it does not start again and do more testing. This morning the fuel gage was dead for about 20 seconds after the car started before it started working - wondering if it all connected.
 

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Next time it will not start, try to start in neutral. this will tell you if the neutral safety switch is the culprit. You can always shift between D and N and back to see if it will start too. if it does start in N r after the D-N-D shift then more than likely it is the Neutral safety switch.
 

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This morning the fuel gage was dead for about 20 seconds after the car started before it started working - wondering if it all connected.
My fuel gauge works intermittently too. From others I have spoken with, this is not an uncommon issue and more than likely not related to your starting problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
ok, I've got somewhat of an update but still have some issues. I swapped out the ignition switch and the little vacuum shut off switch on the assembly.

The starting seems to be solid, but I still have some weird stuff on the fuel guage. It is dead upon starting the car for maybe 5 seconds and then wakes up. While driving the guage goes dead and then wakes up. I have had the cluster checked and they said everything was fine.

A new issue I now have - when I turn off the car it takes a second or two for it to turn off. I wonder if I messed up the ignition switch somehow. I replaced the pawl on the bottom which was a little bit of a rubics cube. But the switch and key seem to work fine other than that.

Anyone have any ideas?
 

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The starting seems to be solid, but I still have some weird stuff on the fuel guage. It is dead upon starting the car for maybe 5 seconds and then wakes up. While driving the guage goes dead and then wakes up. I have had the cluster checked and they said everything was fine.

It is likely a bad sending unit in the tank, or a bad ground on the wires for the sending unit. You should be able to access the sending unit from inside the car. Under the package shelf behind the rear seat on the driver's side. Some models you can get to by just removing the plastic tray for the first aid kit. Others you need to pull the rear seat and package shelf (not as hard as it sounds, only a few bolts - just be careful not to damage your plastic speaker grills if you remove the package tray). Search the forums and you will be able to find threads about how to access the sending unit for your model. Since the problem is intermittent, it will likely be tough to test with a voltmeter, but check the harness connection and wires to see if all is OK. If you have access to another sending unit I would swap them out to test, as that is likely your problem.


A new issue I now have - when I turn off the car it takes a second or two for it to turn off. I wonder if I messed up the ignition switch somehow. I replaced the pawl on the bottom which was a little bit of a rubics cube. But the switch and key seem to work fine other than that.
Most likely this is the vacuum shutoff switch (or a leaking vacuum line to the switch) located under the hood of the car near the fuel injector pump. The shut-off will have a lever on it. (HINT: With the engine running, if you depress the lever it will turn the engine off)

Because diesels don't have an electronic ignition system, turning it off isn't as simple as turning the switch to cut power to an ignition system (engine compression is what ignites the fuel). As such, you need to actually shut off the fuel supply to stop the engine. When you turn the car off, the vacuum switch is supposed to be activated to shut off fuel. The lever is there in case the vacuum fails (so you can manually stop the engine - otherwise it would continue to run till it is out of fuel). If this shut-off switch (or the vacuum lines/fittings leading to it) has a leak, it can take a bit longer to engage. Once the leak gets big enough, it won't work at all.

If you have a mity-vac you can check the switch to ensure it holds vacuum. If you don't - start with inspecting all your vacuum lines and fittings. Replace any lines that are cracked. Replace any fittings that are swollen or cracked. When in doubt, just replace them. You can get these parts at any auto store (probably even at WalMart) for a few bucks.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The sending unit is new but I could check the connections again. I have two cars and I am thinking about swapping the cluster to see if the other does the same. Just because they said the cluster was fine doesn't mean they knew what they were doing.
 

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The sending unit is new but I could check the connections again. I have two cars and I am thinking about swapping the cluster to see if the other does the same. Just because they said the cluster was fine doesn't mean they knew what they were doing.
Correct, and since it is an intermittent problem it is possible it was "fine" when they tested it.

When you have it off, look on the back of the cluster for burnt or "black/discolored" areas in the imprinted traces. I have heard others mention that they had bad areas or "breaks" in the traces that they repaired with solder (basically jump the bad spot).
 
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