Starter Solenoid? Ignition switch?

Messages
76
Location
CA
my 93 civic lx 5-sp has a starting issue that I cant really pin down... sometimes it will fire right up, but most of the time when you turn the key it has a rapid loud clicking sound, all dash lights come on... wont start, just a rapid click. brand new battery, same thing. but if you jump start it, fires right up after a minute...turning the key produces no clicking sound, just have to wait till it has enough "juice"... so this would rule out the starter solenoid right?
 
Messages
10,060
Location
Central Washington
The rapid clicking noise is the starter solenoid. Remove the battery cables, clean both ends well, and thoroughly check them.. The amperage a starter requires is so high it takes very little resistance to drop the voltage too low. A jump works because you are pushing a bit more voltage to overcome the resistance. I have seen cables that looked fine but the cabling inside was corroded so bad if you bent the cable it would snap the wires.
 

Youthanasia

Thread starter
Messages
76
Location
CA
wow! ok ill check them out, probably replace them since they are likely the original ones from 93
 
Messages
588
Location
Chicago, IL
Yeah, that sounds like a voltage drop issue. Either battery isn't fully charged, or is bad. But that's probably not it since both batteries did it. In addition to checking the battery to starter wires, check the alternator to battery wires- it's possible the alternator isn't able to fully charge the battery due to corrosion. Make sure you check the sense wire too.
 
Messages
7,430
Location
beaver land EH?
Check your ignition key tumbler RE: starter switch contact intermittent (given your vehicle's age, it's not uncommon to have this problem) Check/replace your starter motor (with the solenoid) if solenoid fails to engage properly. Check all the grounding wires for corrosion and also battery terminals for corrosion and replace them if needed. Q.
 
Messages
1,562
Location
St. Paul, MN
Good advice so far. Do you have a multi-meter? Best way to check for corrosion or bad wires is voltage drop. Corrosion often hides, voltage drop will tell you exactly how much voltage your wire is "eating". Anything more than a few tenths of a volt means time for a new cable/wire.
 

Youthanasia

Thread starter
Messages
76
Location
CA
ill have to pick up a multi meter, they are like $2.99 at harbor freight tools... when the car does this clicking thing and i just hold the key turned....the clicking will eventually slow then stop and all i hear is like an electrical shorting type sound coming from the dash....maybe the ignition is getting too hot from keeping the key turned? i dont know. the battery was brand new, put it in and the car fired up, pulled it to the front of the house left it running and washed it....turned it off for about an hour, went to start it to move it... same thing, clicking.
 
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