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Old 06-30-2020, 09:34 AM   #1
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Solenoid fast clicking and generator won't turn over

Need help determining if the solenoid or starter is the problem.



I thought I could jump the solenoid by making a connection between the two side posts (with white and black wires connected in the photo) but testing with a multimeter shows they are already connected? So do I connect the two white wires with the spade lug connectors on top?
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Old 06-30-2020, 09:39 AM   #2
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Jump across them anyway to see if it cranks over. When it don't, look for a weak battery or dirty connection.

That hammering sound you hear from that solenoid is a classic sympton for bad connections or a low battery.

Make sure the generator tray has a ground wire to the chassis and it has a good connection.

That green stuff growing out of the right ( battery ) side of the solenoid isn't good. Peel back the tape to check that connector.
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Old 06-30-2020, 10:09 AM   #3
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+1 for dirty cable or low battery.
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Old 06-30-2020, 02:18 PM   #4
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I removed and remade the ground wire from the generator tray to the chassis.


Removed the solenoid and connected the white and black wires together. The starter makes a continuous, quiet, clicking noise now. Also measured 13 volts at the black wire.



Reaching in past the air filter, I can easily spin the fan so the engine turns freely.


It could be a bad connection on the starter or just a bad starter. Is there any way to remove the starter without dropping the generator? This thing has bad rust issues and everything breaks when I try to remove them.
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Old 06-30-2020, 03:27 PM   #5
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Did you measure 13 volts while the starter was making the noise ?

If you connect them again, read the voltage with a load. Less then 10 volts is a bad connection. More then 10 volts may well be a bad starter.
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Old 07-01-2020, 10:12 AM   #6
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Plus one for a low voltage starting battery.
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Old 07-01-2020, 11:03 AM   #7
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12.7 volts at the black wire, then 12.7 volts with black wire connected to white wire and the starter making minimal clicking noise.


I started soaking the frame bolts with PB blaster. They are a lump of rust - it's going to be ugly.
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Old 07-01-2020, 12:30 PM   #8
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I vote for a bad connection. Because if you've got a good charge on the battery nine times out of ten that's what it is.
Voltage just means there is A connection, doesn't mean it's good. Unfortunately. Picture a fat multi-stranded starter cable. Peel one strand out of it and hook just it up. It will happily read whatever voltage the battery has but if you try to crank the engine with it it will turn red and then melt. Same basic concept with bad connections. Though you can see evidence of power with a voltmeter, that doesn't tell you if there is enough there to do the work called for. To find out where the failure is, you want to look up "voltage drop testing". Articles and YouTube videos abound.

But me, I'd repair or replace every single involved connection. Because if you find one bad connection the odds are excellent there's another one waiting for it's chance to ruin your day elsewhere. Partly because it wasn't being stressed that much as long as that first connection was so bad.
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Old 07-01-2020, 12:45 PM   #9
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Connect your voltmeter to the starter itself - not to a cable leading to the starter. Plus side to the starter + connection, - side to the starter shell (it's ground).
Hit the starter button. What's the voltage that the starter is seeing?

If it's low, then you start looking for the place where the voltage drop is happening.
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Old 07-01-2020, 12:48 PM   #10
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IF the black wire is what feeds the starter, follow it as far as possible or even better connect your voltmeter directly to the starter when you do the test of combining the cables. The voltage may be fine at the connection whey you connect them together but that corrosion as someone noticed may be stopping the power from getting to the starter properly.

IF you cannot get to the starter easily, try to go as far along the cable as you can and pierce the insulation of the cable. A thumb tack or your meter probe sharpened works as well as a sewing pin. Take your measurement downstream from that green connection.
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Old 07-01-2020, 03:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emcee View Post
Need help determining if the solenoid or starter is the problem.



I thought I could jump the solenoid by making a connection between the two side posts (with white and black wires connected in the photo) but testing with a multimeter shows they are already connected? So do I connect the two white wires with the spade lug connectors on top?


Are you sure it’s not just the fuel pump priming ? Mine clicks then starts when holding down start button.
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Old 07-02-2020, 10:08 AM   #12
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Just checked it again. The sound it's making does sound like the fuel pump priming but it never stops while I have the white and black wires connected. I was wondering if the problem is that the starter is just not grounded (and that still may be it) but then why would the fuel pump be running continuously? I might check again and see if I can reach my hand as far as the starter connections but I don't even know where they are. The plan is still to drop the generator eventually - lot's of other work going on inside right now.
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Old 07-02-2020, 10:33 AM   #13
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Put a volmeter on the starter or close.

Sheesh
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Old 07-07-2020, 11:32 AM   #14
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Cool

Removed the generator. I expected to see a ground wire from the starter but there wasn't one. So looked for an engine ground (since there is no continuity between the engine and the generator tray due to the rubber isolators). Found the engine ground and saw that the ground strap that connects the engine ground to the common tray grounding bolt had disintegrated (see photos) a long time ago. Made a new connector from some #10 wire. Reinstalled the generator. It now cranks but doesn't fire. I expected that because from what I've found, I think this thing has been sitting for years. It's a 2004 with 45 hours on it. So I'll check for spark and the condition of the plug then assume the carburetor is gunked up. I do get fuel to drain from the carburetor bowl.


So in summary, good voltage but solenoid clicking? Check for ground between engine and common ground screw.



By the way, 5 of the eight mounting bolts broke from rust and also had to drill out at least 3 of the stripped T30 screws. I worked alone on a gravel driveway with a floor jack and some wood. Dropped the generator onto a sheet of plywood then dragged it around with my lawn mower. Also its been around 90 degrees every day and I've never done this before. I'm 61 years old and have lots of time on my hands. I won this battle but the war continues.
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