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Freelander 1 Anyone investigated 'clicking' starter solenoid - design problem??

Discussion in 'Land Rover Freelander' started by andyfreelandy, Jul 29, 2016.

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  1. Joe_H

    Joe_H Well-Known Member

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    With the other symptoms you describe - loss of trip data etc AND a normal start by connecting the battery to the solenoid activation coil (even if battery V is low as you indicated), then it is almost certainly not the solenoid. The solenoid would also NOT cause issues with the trip meter etc.
    A dodgy high current feed or earth with resistance WOULD cause these issues and is exacerbated by lower than normal battery voltage as described above.
    You have already proven that the issue is between the starter relay and the solenoid as bypassing the relay and connecting the battery POS terminal directly to solenoid activation terminal works! - even with the lower charged battery.
    As other circuits are affected then the main feed to or from the high current side of the starter relay , including the live feed to the fuse box in the engine compartment, and the grounding - is the primary suspect.
    If the solenoid was at fault it would be highly unlikely to work with a more depleted battery by jury rigging the battery positive to solenoid.
    It is DEFINITELY NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH THE IMMO CIRCUIT.
    Measure between battery positive (note ! - not negative!) and starter solenoid terminal - this will give a reading of the differential voltage (drop) - which is exactly what we want - on cranking and is unaffected by actual battery load drop - as said above - because it is a differential measurement.
    Then check the same between battery positive and starter relay supply and again check the differential. Repeat between starter relay input and output to solenoid (note - NOT from battery - between the two points this time).
    The battery feed goes to the fuse unit cluster with the starter relay, then to the ignition switch and then to the interior fuse box and onwards to the instrument side.
    There is no way that the voltage from the battery (unless it is totally captain cooked) - can drop to the level of resetting the clock unit - if the battery voltage is not being pulled down at the battery then it is not at fault.
    This is all fairly straight forward fault finding Andy. Do not jump to unfounded conclusions regarding CCU unit etc. just work methodically through.
    You have not supplied any figures at all from voltage measurements at differing points in the system during starting / when the fault arises.
    To stress again - resetting of trip etc is definitely NOT related to a solenoid issue - it IS though HIGHLY likely to be related to a high resistance in the feed circuit.
    A voltage drop due to resistance will show when measured ACROSS the circuit points - as opposed to always from the battery to the article(s) in question. It is usually FAR better and much more informative to measure from one positive part of a circuit to another when looking for a V drop / high resistance. Measuring from negative to point of interest tells us little if anything useful.
    Always work on one fault at a time when there seems to be multiple related ones - as 99 times out of 100 you will solve the other issue by correcting the first.

    I would immediately suspect a poor connection in the high current main supply from battery to fuse box p108 and that would be my first check.

    With high current electrical faults it is almost always a problem further down the line rather than at the affected unit itself. Luckily the fault finding is straight forward if approached in a logical rather than scatter-gun approach.
    Joe
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2016
  2. guineafowl21

    guineafowl21 Well-Known Member

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    I had a few problems like this in the past, and solved them like this: There are several candidates when a car clicks...

    1. Battery/alternator
    2. Cables to starter and their connections (had a corroded earth cable)
    3. Solenoid feed (inc. immobiliser and ignition switch)
    4. Solenoid itself (had a bad one - £10 repair kit from eBay)
    5. Starter

    As Joe_H says, each needs to be eliminated systematically.

    1. Check battery voltage, ideally after an overnight rest. 12.6V is good. This a rough test. If it drops below 9.5V during cranking, it's crap or there's a serious short somewhere. Smoke should be evident in the latter case. If you can get it running, check alternator output.

    2. Measure from +ve battery POST (not clamp) to the +ve terminal on the starter during crank - should be less than 1V or so.
    2. Measure from -ve battery POST to engine block during crank - ditto.

    (Or see if the test light lights in these positions - bad cable or connection if it does)

    If the ++ or -- tests show greater than 1V then remove cable, clean connectors and try again. If no go, replace the cable.

    3. With test light check for 12v at spade during crank

    4. And 5. If you've got this far then, for the price of a kit replace the solenoid innards and if no go replace the starter.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2016
  3. guineafowl21

    guineafowl21 Well-Known Member

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    As I understand things, the immob circuit feeds the starter relay. Once this has clicked (assuming the relay contacts are good, which could be found by swapping in a nearby one) the immob circuit has done its job and the rest is down to the current path from battery to relay board to solenoid spade.

    From my RAVE diagram, power comes from a red cable to the engine fusebox and fusible links 1 and 7 to the relay high current terminals. The relay coil is earthed and gets a feed from the ECU via a RW wire when key is turned to crank.

    Power is fed to a NR wire then a B wire to the solenoid spade.

    By supplying 12V directly to the solenoid spade you are actually bypassing the fusible links, relay and wire to the spade. The immob circuit supplies only the relay coil. The fault you have is far more likely to be in the bypassed circuit, not the immob one. Swap the relay and check for corrosion/voltage drop in the wiring. Also, run a jumper wire from the solenoid spade and 'walk' it all the way up to the fusebox until the problem disappears. The fault will lie somewhere between the ends of the jumper.

    That said, you could put an earthed test light (or scope) on the RW wire to the starter relay coil and check for some sort of intermittent signal there.

    image.jpg
     
  4. Alibro

    Alibro Well-Known Member

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    Wifey's TD4 has developed a very intermittent not starting problem so very interested in this thread. It clicks but doesn't start, usually when cold. I believe this is a very common fault in the Freelander and can normally be fixed with a starter motor repair kit but here is the question. When people fit these repair kits, is it the fitting of the kit that fixes the problem or the disconnecting and reconnecting the starter connections? I've ordered a kit anyway as they are only £13 but wouldn't be surprised if doing nothing but reseating all the connections fixed it.
    Think I'll give that a try tomorrow. :)
     
  5. guineafowl21

    guineafowl21 Well-Known Member

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    When I fitted the solenoid repair kit to our Freelander, the old one was clearly thin and worn out. I had already cleaned and copper greased the connections to no avail. So yes, the kit fixes the problem.
     
  6. Nodge68

    Nodge68 Well-Known Member

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    I've done loads Ali. The solonoid contactors burn away to nothing. Replace all contact points and all will be well ;)
     
  7. Alibro

    Alibro Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys, I'm glad I went ahead and ordered the kit then. :)
     
  8. Alibro

    Alibro Well-Known Member

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    Mmmm, It's baltic cold here today and wifey's car point blank refused to start. When I turned the key the starter just clicked but not like a dead battery click. It clicked like it wanted to turn over the engine but then didn't if you know what I mean I guess it was more of a thud than a limp dead battery click. If I held the key in the start position it clicked repeatedly, so I put it in gear and rocked it back and forward a as best I could on my own and tried it again and hey presto she fired up straight away so now I'm happy it is a starter motor problem like you all told me and will hopefully sort it tomorrow if the parts arrive in time.
     
  9. andyfreelandy

    andyfreelandy Well-Known Member

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    So - more investigation ! I was convinced that there is a design problem somewhere as I have 3 TD4's and when it gets cold they all do the same - that is the start position on the key causes a clicking as the starter solenoid tries to engage but keeps dropping out and re-energising.

    So - having had the problem today I followed the above guidance (thanks to all) and found the following:
    With the fault on, removing the start relay R2 and connecting a couple of leads and a push switch, all worked fine. Pressing the switch (with ign on) started the car. So - all high current stuff eliminated. Also - there is nothing in the low current side (immob etc.) that changes with the cold weather apart from the supply voltage.

    Monitoring the feed to the start relay coil, the feed (from the immob etc) disappears intermittently when the fault is on. Battery voltage at 11.7 when trying to crank. So am concluding that something in the feed circuit to the start relay R2 is failing to work when the voltage drops due to the cold weather and higher load.

    Now - I am sure that a new starter with higher efficiency and clean contacts or a new battery with higher cranking capacity would solve the problem, but I am seeing some sort of design problem here. I am adding a waterproof starter button across the relay contacts mounted on the fuse box case, this will allow me to press when it fails !

    A longer term solution is to get the circuitry for the ECU and put it on a variable voltage source and see what happens at a low voltage supply.

    More thoughts ?!?!?!
     
  10. Alibro

    Alibro Well-Known Member

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    That's very interesting as SWMBO thought it might still be happening even after I replaced the contacts. I'm still waiting to confirm if she is right but if so then there must be an issue around the relay or relay contacts.
     
  11. andyfreelandy

    andyfreelandy Well-Known Member

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    I have tested the relay - all good. I have tested the pick up voltage (7v) and drop away (2.5v) and contacts show a short circuit when made. BUT as I said, the feed to the relay is dropping when cranking and then re-appearing when the start position is released. SO it is in the box of tricks that manages the isolation for the alarm and when in gear (auto). This is also providing a voltage drop of over 1v compared to battery when measured at the start relay.

    My rubber waterproof start button has just arrived. I am wiring it across the contacts of R2 and mounting inside the fuse box so as to reduce risk of questioning pinkies pressing it). I am aware that I will need to be absolutely sure that the car is in N or P myself, but I am labelling it and it will be useful to have a 'crank' button in the engine bay.
     
  12. andyfreelandy

    andyfreelandy Well-Known Member

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    Anyone got the ECU - Engine Immob internal wiring diagram with the components on it that are internal to the box???

    TD$ - will get part number but it is D139 on Rave.
     
  13. Joe_H

    Joe_H Well-Known Member

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    It IS NOT the CCU / ECU - it is a fault in the wiring on YOUR car.
    It is NOT a design problem.
    Take it to an auto electrician or someone who at least has a clue at fault finding - unfortunately you do not appear to.
     
  14. guineafowl21

    guineafowl21 Well-Known Member

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    I hadn't picked up that it was an auto. What about the neutral safety switch in the gearbox?
     
  15. GrumpyGel

    GrumpyGel Well-Known Member

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    You obviously have not read what has been said.

    Andy acknowledges that the setup is not as "pure" as when rolled off the production line - but there IS sufficient power to turn over the engine if the starter solenoid relay is replaced by a simple switch.

    Correct me if I'm wrong @andyfreelandy but I believe what you are trying to get at is why it will start on the switch and not the CCU/Immobiliser controlled relay?

    People, @Joe_H in particular, have been at pains to point out "It is DEFINITELY NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH THE IMMO CIRCUIT." - well you have proved that it is - so it rather begs the question as to who hasn't got a clue at fault fixing.

    I imagine that although there is sufficient power getting through to energise the solenoid and turn the starter. The volts are probably dropping below what is viable for the CCU/immobiliser to function. So it turns off, it may even have in built circuitry/logic to turn itself off if the voltage "goes out of range" - hence you are seeing all the other functions of the car controlled by the CCU disabled at the same time. This won't be a design fault in the Freelander - every car made today is controlled by computers and will need viable volts for them to function.

    So, this will almost definitely come back down to poor electrical efficiency (ie corrosion in cables/joints etc) or a failing battery - but I imagine that you are right in that it is the "computers" that are turning off before there is insufficient power getting through to the starter/solenoid to actually start the car.

    Maybe a 2nd battery to power the computers will enable the starting system to work until the power getting to the starter really is to small to start the car, but that is overkill ! The solution is still to fix the battery/cabling - or continue with your fancy modern "Push to Start" button :)
     
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  16. Joe_H

    Joe_H Well-Known Member

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    It is DEFINITELY nothing to do with the IMMO circuit as I said. And you know very well that I am referring to the CCU /ECU control output.
    Dont be a cock !
     
  17. GrumpyGel

    GrumpyGel Well-Known Member

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    I know you are - that's why you are wrong.

    The electrical system on this car, regardless of whether the wiring or battery is in perfect condition or not, has the capability to start it. So what's stopping it from doing so? Bridging the starter relay with a switch allows it to start - therefore the computers (or the starter relay) are stopping it from starting.

    Can I explain it any easier?
     
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  18. Diesel Do

    Diesel Do Well-Known Member

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    I'm with GG on this. Fitting a switch as has been done is a tried and tested method of ruling out a huge part of the circuit. It's not high tech but it works. So if it starts fine from said switch the problem is before said switch! It's not complicated.
    DD
     
  19. Alibro

    Alibro Well-Known Member

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    My issue might be different to the OP. This morning the car wouldn't start again so I put a multimeter across the battery terminals and watched the Voltage drop from 12.5V to 10.5V when the ignition was turned on. I jumped it from a spare battery and the car started first go so I'm off to buy a new battery.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2016
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  20. guineafowl21

    guineafowl21 Well-Known Member

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    Did you just turn to position II or actually try to crank it?
     
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