ford escort solenoid / starter motor problems

19 Feb 2006
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United Kingdom
I had a problem where my escort didnt start after i returned from my hols. When i turned the key the car made a loud continuous clattering sound when the key is turned. I checked where the noise was coming from it was coming directly from the starter motor and vibrating right through the car.

Some of you kind guys sugessted a flat battery which i though strange since i have never heard this sound from a flat battery so i charged the battery. but at the same time i took off the starter motor because i was sure it was at fault and i was going to buy a new one the next day.

Well i thought i would just check before replacing a new starter motor, so i put the old starter motor back on and then reconnected the newly charged battery and the car seemed fixed.

But now i have gone out to start the car again and now its not turning at all. Not the loud clattering sound like before but just a click on the turn of the key. All lights are good, seems to be plenty of power in the battery.

question is.. could it be the solenoid or starter... and i am not sure where the solenoid is... Is it connected to the starter motor as a one unit piece or is it somewhere else. There seems to be two bits to my starter motor, and i think the smaller bit attached to the starter motor is the solenoid.

Can anyone help?

Many thanks
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Your right about the piece attached to the starter, that's your soleniod, sounds like the starter is goosed, for £15, from the scrapper, just go and get one.

Quick check of your connections before you do.
why have you started a new thread over the same problem? This will confuse people!

How about you get your battery tested to see if it is holding charge correct? Im still guessing its flat.

O and 99% of cars built in the last 10 years will make a clicking sound, but still light the dash up as normall when the battery is flat.

Still there is a 1% chance its the starter or just s bad earth conection.
For what it's worth, a bad starter can cause you to run to earth slowly, you don't need to understand why, which will flatten your battery.
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A failing battery can appear to have the correct voltage across the terminals, and light up all the dashboard lamps, but when you turn the key to start the engine it won't deliver enough current to spin the starter. Release the key, and the battery voltage rises enough to light up the dashboard normally.

I would give it a try with a known good battery or a set of jump leads before condemning the starter.

It's not unknown for a worn or stretched accessory drive belt to go unnoticed until the alternator stops delivering enough output to charge the battery.
thanks to you all so far. been and got a second hand starter (only £20) with solenoid attached and i have now fitted. car now turns but battery is as flat as a pancake. at least its turning now. before it just just clicked so something has changed.

battery is on charge now so will reconnect after a good charge and see what i get.

if it was the solenoid at fault, would this be why the battery has gone flat agin do you think?

what is the exact purpose of the solenoid?

many thanks

The solenoid is an electrically operated switch which closes when connected to another electrical source. The reason for this is that the high current draw of the starter motor requires large cables which you do not want running up to the ignition switch (which would also be required to be huge!). Most modern starter motors have the solenoid on the body of the motor (as yours) and this also 'throws' the starter pinion onto the ring-gear before the motor starts turning.
The most likely cause of the initial clattering noise was this gear engaging, then not having enough power to turn the engine, and hence then not having enough power to keep the solenoid engaged, so dropping out and then repeating the cycle - usually caused by a flat battery.
I would suggest that instead of chasing your tail and wasting money and time on thinking it's the starter motor, that you change the battery instead. It is clearly shot.
well, i have charged battery and put on new (second hand starter) turned and started straight away. i suppose i will have to wait for next couple of days to see if battery holds charge. i will let you all know

thanks again for your responses

Just out of interest, how long have you had this car? How long was it inactive when you were away on holiday? Also, do you know how old the battery is (quite often still on the sticker on the battery)?
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