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Is it my starter or the operator?

i took out my starter and hooked up jumper cables to it. twice it sparked, it kicked and spun once then just kicked once, then just sparked again. is that abad solenoid/starter? any help at all would be great.

Sounds like toasted contacts. When the 12VDC is applied to the solenoid it not only slides the gear into engagement with the flywheel, it also engages two sets of contacts that complete the circuit that powers the motor. If these are fried they can operate intermittantly.

You need a new starter assembly.

If it doesn’t work in the car and it doesn’t work on the bench, maybe it shouldn’t go back in the car. The cost of the replacement should be a factor here. If you have a $40 starter, replace the whole thing. Everything doesn’t work every time on the bench because of the doubtful connections when jumper cables get touched. Most people want to have the age of the starter and make and model of car and why you removed the starter.

thanks for the help, and the reminder to include more info. start over w/ the starter. gottit.

Depends. If the solenoid is attached to the starter you have to touch the positive cable to two points at the same time.

Making sure that you have good contact on both ends of the negative cable, and good contact on the battery with the positive cable, CAREFULLY touch the other end of the positive cable to the large copper connection between the starter and the solenoid. then ALSO touch the positive cable to the small connection on the solenoid that held the wire from the ignition switch. MAKE SURE THAT YOU DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING ELSE.

The big connection is the one that provides the power to spin the starter. The small connection is the one that energizes the solenoid to make the internal connection to turn the starter on and make it spin.