Fickle car

I have a 1974 mgb gt .it will start some times and wont turn over at other times.i was told that I needed a starter.i changed starters and the problem persists…on occasions when the engine will not turn over if I pus it a few feet and try to start the car it will start.can it be the starter as I was advised.

What, exactly, happens when it won’t start? Noises, etc?

When it doesn’t turn over, do you hear anything? Whirring or grinding noises perhaps?

With not turning over, does the starter spin but the car does not turn over?

If so, you may have a bald spot on your flywheel. The starter’s gear is supposed to mesh with that and perhaps some of the teeth have been ground down such that they don’t anymore. Moving that car a foot or so while in gear could reposition the flywheel such that its teeth mesh again.

If no noise at all, it could be a bad connection on the battery and moving it probably just jostles a connection. Besides batter connections, I’d also check the 12V on the starter, both on the skinny lean and fat lead: You should have 12V on the skinny lead while starting, 12V continuous on the fat lead.

You could also have a bad ground. Use a booster cable’s NEGATIVE lead only and bridge the connection from the battery’s negative post to the engine. Any bare metal piece will do. Do not use the positive connection at all. Just clamp the booster cable from the negative post to the engine and try to start it. If it now starts, you have a bad ground connection somewhere.

When the car won,t turn over you will hear a ticking sound coming from the battery, then just moving the car a few feet it will turn over.

Clicking from the battery? How about maybe from a solenoid mounted near the battery?

If it’s actually coming from the battery, the only thing I can think of that would do that would be a spark jumping, very dangerous. Have the battery clamps been removed, cleaned (along with the battery posts), and tightened back up?

On a car this old, bend the battery cables to see if the wires inside are brittle and breaking. If the cables are good remove both cables and clean the ends and where they attatch to, especialy the non battery end of the ground cable.

This is a 12 volt car, right? Measure the voltage at both of the starter’s electrical terminals during attempted cranking. When it doesn’t crank, are they both above 10.5 volts? If so, then the problem is likely still the starter. Starters can be finicky. That’s why sometime you’ll find one that has a long of dents on it, somebody has been hitting it with a stick to get it to work. Dead spots can crop up on where the brushes touch the slip rings, and just bumping the starter slightly will move it to a point that works. It may be that when you move the car, it jostles the starter enough. You could also try hitting the starter with a stick, see if that works. Then you too will have a starter with a bunch of dents.