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Starter Motors - Components

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This section deals with testing the individual components of a starter. It is not a definitive list but a guide. Don’t think that just because the component appears to test without problems that it has no faults. Unfortunately life isn’t that simple!

I am assuming that the starter has been stripped, cleaned and that you have read the other relevant sections of this web.


1. Solenoid        

Sometimes you can replace the caps. Check whether there are screws holding it to the solenoid itself. 

If there are, remove and replace the cap and contents. Firstly though, sniff it to check for burning. If it is burnt, replace it.

2. Armature 

With your meter or light, check that all segments of the armature are connected to each other. Do this by holding one lead on the commutator and running round each of the segments in turn. Next check that the windings DON’T go to earth, by putting one of the leads to the body. Visually it should be un-burnt with lacquer on all windings and the commutator should be fairly smooth and parallel across its face. If it isn’t, then skim in a lathe - but make certain that the insulators between the segments are clear of dirt or metal.

3. Field Coils  

Normally held in by extremely tight screws that go into the pole-shoes - they should be un-burnt and not shorting out. Because they can be extremely difficult to remove I would suggest that you test all other components prior to removing this.

4. Brushes/Brush Box

Springs should be of even tension, brushes long enough, and not badly burnt.


5. Drive and Gears

Visually check for cracks missing teeth worn shafts or bushes. The drive should turn smoothly in one direction and lock up in the other without any back-lash.


Bearings – If noisy replace them, but always repack with grease.

Bushes – Check/Replace worn or broken.

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