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Turn the key and everything goes dead

2142 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  MartyG
First post here and I'm hoping someone can help diagnose this issue.
I have a '97 Sport 4x4 that has been sitting for over a year. I recently have put in some new components along with a reman starter. The positive battery cable to the starter is also a reman but everything is clean. I've had the battery tested under load and it is good.
When I have the key in the ACC position everything works fine.. radio, lights, etc. As soon as I turn the key to start I get a single click from the starter and -bang- everything goes out. Turning the key again results in nothing. Until I "reset" the system by removing the battery cable and reconnecting it everything remains dead. This "reset" works until I decide to turn the key to start again.
Interestingly I've tried this with both a 70A charger and another car hooked up to the battery. This prevents the system from going totally dead but the starter just does its click-click-click dance. With the charger connected, letting go of the key everything remains live (radio, etc). I noticed, though, when I was putting up the power windows, when the window hit the top of its track the electrical draw from the motor "straining" caused a lot of feedback (loud buzzing from the speakers, the radio went silent and the lights dimmed). Until I released the window up button I kept getting this feedback.
I spoke with some others and they suggested cleaning the battery and cables. This has been done and, as I mentioned, the battery has been tested. All is good.
I've performed some basic voltmeter tests and can see that I've getting good voltage at the starter input terminal. Are there other recommended tests to rule out something obvious?
Also, could this just be a matter of corrosion at a ground somewhere? Are there problematic grounding locations that I should clean and check?
Thanks for any help diagnosing this. I'd love to get back on the road before too much longer.
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Signs are pointing to your remanufactured starter. But before you replace it, check out all the circuits. You said you have a new positive lead from the battery. Are you sure you have a good ground? Try a star washer in the starter mounting bolt. Look carefully at the battery negative lead, especially where it meets the engine block, by the water pump. That is another good spot for corrosion.
If all is good, then "bench check" the starter this way: Remove the starter from the engine, and place it in a secure place, like a vise. Pull the vehicle battery, or use another one. Connect negative to starter chassis. Connect positive to big starter positive connection. Connect jumper wire to the same positive connection. Then, carefully touch the other end of the jumper wire to the smaller connection on the solenoid. That is where the start signal goes. The starter solenoid should jump forward, and the motor should spin the starter gear. If it does not, then take the starter back. If it does, then the starter works well, and look deeper into the engine, the "turn-ability" of the crankshaft, and the engine electrics.
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