Originally Posted by Merlin93
The most common cause of the "clicky starter" is worn-out ignition switch contacts.[/b] After years of starting an unsuppressed inductive load (the starter solenoid), the switch contacts can no longer carry the (~10A) current required.
This is the worst kind of load for any switch, as it causes arcing of the contacts every time the switch is released. Bit by bit, arcing wears away at the contacts until they can no longer carry enough current to drive the solenoid. Luckily, there is still enough contact left to actuate a standard automotive relay, which needs only about 1/8th Ampere.
Installing the "clicky starter fix" is a lot easier than replacing the ignition switch. More discussion at:
Next time I have my starter out, I'm gonna give it a cleaning overhaul as discussed. New brushes and a good cleaning couldn't hurt. I don't ever want to have to walk home!
is a matter of opinion.
If I were to list the causes I have personally witnessed for "clicking" starters, and I'm going to define that as nothing but a click when I turn the key, here's what my list would look like, starting with the most common...
1) Weak, flat or defective battery
2) Loose or dirty battery connections
3) Loose or missing ground connection to engine block
4) Loose connection at starter motor
5) Defective starter solenoid
6) Worn starter brushes
Notice I don't even have the ignition switch in the list? It's not because I haven't experienced a defective ignition switch, but because my defective igntion switch did not result in the starter going click - turn the key, dash lights came on, and there was silence, no click, no start, just dash lights.
I'm not doubting that a defective starter switch can cause a clicking starter, merely disagreeing that it is THE MOST common cause for it.
And with every one of the above "faults", I have been able to just turn the key a few more times, and get a start.
I won't debate whether installing a relay is easier than replacing the ignition switch, in my opinion replacing an ignition switch is not a complex task - depending on the vehicle, maybe three or four screws to remove the shroud, two screws for the switch itself and then you unplug it - you do know that the switch is available separately from the lock,right? - and reassemble in the reverse sequence.
Compare that to finding somewhere to mount your relay, getting down behind the exhaust manifold to reach the various connections, and then hooking up four wires.
And here is the kicker - when you're done - does it actually fix the problem?
If the cause of the click is anyone of the six items on my list, it doesn't - on a purely statistical basis your suggested fix has a 1:7 chance of solving the problem - and if we factor my "biased opinion" in to those statistics, the probability is a lot less.
Let's go back to my original point...
A clicky starter is a symptom and can have multiple causes.
Before jumping into a "clicky" starter fix that only addresses one possible cause - please be aware that there are several other reasons that your starter may be clicking and not cranking, so you need to investigate and determine the reason before implementing a repair.