Starter motor makes clunk and nothing more . Engine turns freely using the solenoid , is this something that could be cured with brushes , or is the starter knackered ?
If it turns ok when you press the solenoid button it won’t be the starter. Most likely the solenoid coil is kaput.
These solenoids can be found secondhand as they were standard on lots of cars.
New ones are also available, although I am suspicious of repros as there is a lot of dubious stuff about
Is that the one that’s attached to the starter ?
The original mk7 starter is just a plain inertia type starter, which is cylindrical.
If yours has also got a smaller cylinder attached to the top of it that’s a solenoid, and not standard.
Any chance of a photo, so we can get on the right track?
I’ll get the info from the book , photo might be difficult
I think I am confusing you . Starter is just a standard item . Are you saying that the solenoid in the engine bay is at fault ?
I don’t know about the Mk VII specifically, but if it’s just a standard inertia-type starter then it’s very simple.
The starter takes a lot of power so the dashboard switch is not strong enough to take that power so it uses a solenoid. The switch on the dashboard supplies a small amount of power to the solenoid which closes the contacts inside the solenoid and allows a large amount of power through to activate the starter.
One side of the solenoid is connected to the battery and the other is connected to the starter, both using big fat cables.
So if you can turn the engine by pressing the button on the solenoid, all the big fat side of it is working fine, as is the motor itself, so the fault lies either with the smaller wires which provide the small amount of power needed to activate the solenoid, or the solenoid itself.
Typically, on the small wire side of the solenoid, one wire will come from the starter switch on the dashboard and the other will go to earth. So if the earthed one isn’t, or has a bad connection to earth, the current won’t flow and the contacts inside the solenoid won’t close. The earth side is probably the easier side to check as you can use a multimeter to check that the resistance between the end of the cable connected to the solenoid and the bodyshell is zero, or very very close, and the wire is easily replaced with a temporary one connected to the body shell to eliminate it.
The other wire, the one bringing the current from the dashboard switch to the solenoid, is a bit more difficult - you have to have the ignition on and the switch on the dashboard pressed, or turned, or whatever you do in a MkVII so you need a helper - you should get a steady 12V while the starter switch on the dashboard is activated and you would expect the starter to turn. If the voltage is there, but the starter doesn’t turn, and you have confirmed that the earth side is working, the solenoid is faulty but if you don’t get your 12V then the wiring to the solenoid is faulty. You can use a substitute wire like on the earth side, but be aware that there will be sparks! They may seem a bit intimidating but they’re quite weak really and if you wear gloves you’ll be fine. This wire should connect the live side of the battery to the connector on the solenoid that DOESN’T go to the bodyshell. Connect the wire to the solenoid first then hold it firmly against the live terminal on the battery with the other end - doing it this way round will mean that you don’t have a live wire floating around which may touch something it shouldn’t.
Using a substitute wire will activate the starter even if the ignition is off so take proper precautions - handbrake on, gears in neutral, etc.
Sorry if I’ve waffled a bit or gone over things you already know. And if you’re a bit unsure, you can do all the multimeter stuff safely but get an educated helper before you do he substitute bits.
Profound , as always , Bob , and in perfectly lucid and understandable text that even I can understand . Can’t do much today , picking the mk2 up from the body shop , bit of bubbling paint on the front Valence . I will let you know how things turn out , thanks for your help regards Ken .
your MK7 starter should have a separate solenoid, mounted on the firewall,
it has a button, which if depressed manually, should turn the starter.
the in-cabin push button operates the solenoid
Got it Tony , thanks , the problem is likely the wiring between solenoid and starter button . Bad earth maybe .
And all in wonderful technicolour ! Thanks Rob