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Old 02-01-2019, 12:04 AM   #1
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Engine starter options

The starter on my 2000 Cummins 6BT 5.9L-M engine has stopped working. Turning the ignition key to the "ON" position energizes the instrument lights and gages. Pushing the "START" button results in metallic clicks but no engine starting. Am I correct to assume that the ignition switch, the relay switch and the starter solenoid switch are working properly and that the fault is with the starter itself? The start battery was replaced 9 months ago with a new Lifeline 4D AGM 12 VDC battery. The voltmeter reads 13.2 before pushing the "START" button. A multimeter test confirms that the starter is receiving power.
If the starter is the problem, it seems to me that I have 3 options to obtaining a working starter:
1. Remove the starter, send it to a starter shop for repair and then re-install it.
2. Remove the starter, purchase a new one and install it.
3. Remove the starter, purchase a reconditioned starter and install it.
The OEM starter was manufactured by Delco Remy. Cummins offers two starter options:
1. A new Delco Remy starter listed at $474
2. A Denso reconditioned starter listed at $366
I do not have a cost estimate for sending the current starter to a starter shop.
The opinions of the TF community would be appreciated.
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Old 02-01-2019, 05:53 AM   #2
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What is the voltage at the starter when the start button is pushed?

The solenoid can clunk but not pull the contacts close enough to give good voltage to the unit.

What is the result of a jumper to power the starter?
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Old 02-01-2019, 05:57 AM   #3
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Take starter off but leave wires connected and see if it works properly, at least you will know if itís trying to work
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Old 02-01-2019, 06:31 AM   #4
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Take it to a reputable shop that repairs starters and alternators. Tell them you think you have a solenoid contact problem and let them troubleshoot it. Had the same issue about 30 years ago with a 4BT. One shop wanted to sell me a rebuilt starter. The next shop diagnosed it as a bad solenoid and replaced it while I waited.

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Old 02-01-2019, 06:34 AM   #5
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Simple first. Have someone turn the key to start while you tap the starter with a small hammer. Maybe a dead spot. If it starts with a tap you have a starter issue.
Also check battery connections at all points. Make sure they are clean and tight.
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Old 02-01-2019, 06:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
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Take starter off but leave wires connected and see if it works properly, at least you will know if itís trying to work
This or try jumping it directly from the battery with jumper cables.
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:53 AM   #7
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the starter is the least likely thing to be bad unless it was dunked in water. Battery, battery terminals are first. The open circuit voltage of the battery is irrelevant as a bad cell or bad connection can limit current.
next is all connections in the system and the solenoids including ground.
Can you move the engine over by hand?
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Old 02-01-2019, 10:02 AM   #8
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the starter is the least likely thing to be bad unless it was dunked in water. Battery, battery terminals are first. The open circuit voltage of the battery is irrelevant as a bad cell or bad connection can limit current.
Yes, you could check the battery integrity/capability with a load meter...virtually free at Harbor Freight. Careful...they get hot.
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Old 02-01-2019, 04:18 PM   #9
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Another use for a clamp-on DC ammeter. Use in conjunction with a DVM measuring voltage at the starter motor terminal.
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Old 02-01-2019, 06:17 PM   #10
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Test for voltage drop

Test for a voltage drop
1. Positive lead of volt meter on main power cable at starter at rest should be battery voltage. If it drops significantly (3 volts or so when trying to start) chances are itís the starter itself. Unless you have a bad connection.
2. Positive lead of volt meter on main power cable to starter, neg lead on lead to starter itself ( short lead to internal parts of starter). If more than .3 (three tenths) of a volt , solenoid is bad.
Read up on voltage drop testing, itís pretty basic once you understand it.
Work down the circuit step by step, youíll find the bad spot.
PM me with questions if you wish. We can talk on the phone.
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:23 PM   #11
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Here's a $95 starter on ebay and there are others: https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Starter...Frs6:rk:8:pf:0
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:15 AM   #12
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Here's a $95 starter on ebay and there are others: https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Starter...Frs6:rk:8:pf:0
Do not go this route, I have never been so mad as when I brought a starter in to be repaired and when I picked it up it turned into a Made in China piece of crap and they mailed my starter off as a core. Nothing replaces a OEM starter like an OEM starter. I made that shop find another starter and rebuild it (my original starter just had a grounding problem)
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Old 02-02-2019, 09:22 AM   #13
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One and done. No replies.

He seems to have started another thread about botched up bolts while going ahead and removing the starter.
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Old 02-03-2019, 03:40 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swampu View Post
Do not go this route, I have never been so mad as when I brought a starter in to be repaired and when I picked it up it turned into a Made in China piece of crap and they mailed my starter off as a core. Nothing replaces a OEM starter like an OEM starter. I made that shop find another starter and rebuild it (my original starter just had a grounding problem)
I don't want to pop your balloon, but most starters are made in China. All US starter manufacturers I know of switched their production to China many years ago. Few engine makers produce accessories like starters. They are made by a company that specializes. Only GM and Ford (in the old days) made their own starters and both spun off Delco and whatever Ford's was called, many years ago.

I've been using "Chinese" starters and alternators for about 20 years and they seem to last just as long as "oem" starters, for less than half the price.
Sometimes they have the same casting numbers.
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Old 02-03-2019, 06:31 AM   #15
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Man I guess if you donít know what Iím talking about I hope you never find out the hard way like I did. Next time your working with an oem starter before you send it in for a core look at the two side by side, especially on older engines. There is a huge difference
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Old 02-03-2019, 07:14 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Do not go this route, I have never been so mad as when I brought a starter in to be repaired and when I picked it up it turned into a Made in China piece of crap and they mailed my starter off as a core. Nothing replaces a OEM starter like an OEM starter. I made that shop find another starter and rebuild it (my original starter just had a grounding problem)
I agree 100%. Been burned once, not a second time.
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:09 PM   #17
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Unhappy Engine Starter Options

Shortly after purchasing the Celestial - 1987 Albin 43SDtr - that had twin Cummins 6BT5.9M engines, one starter started to drag. I took it to an alternator/starter repair shop in Panama City, FL. Fixed in less than a week - bad bearing. During a discussion at the counter, the supervisor made the comment that they could fix almost any starter as long as the housing, armature and brush holders had not been damaged. Most unrepairable alternators had bent armature shafts from being dropped or the brush holders were damaged by excessive heat and the damaged parts were not available any more. Some simply were not economical to repair as replacements were available. So, about a year ago, I took the motor from a Maxwell windlass to them - the motor was the same as the starter motor found in an English Ford Anglia from the 50-60's(?). The brush holder had simply disintegrated into dust and there was, of course, no replacements available. I bought and installed a used windlass and a month or so later, the Celestial was lost in Hurricane Michael.
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Old 02-16-2019, 12:23 AM   #18
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Something often overlooked is the ignition switch itself. Over the years, these switches can become quite frail (like me!). Try changing or swapping it.

And as above, check every major earthing point on the engine, making sure they are bright, clean and well made.
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Old 02-16-2019, 08:56 AM   #19
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What happened to the OP???
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Old 02-24-2019, 03:30 PM   #20
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Engine starter options update

The original starter has been replaced with a reman starter purchased from the local NAPA Auto Parts store. The starter replacement has been delayed because of inept mechanics, unusually heavy snowfall for our area and because I seem to have forgotten a lesson I should have learned from my Dad. We have received over 22 inches of snow is the past 3 weeks and snow is falling again as I write. We live less than 5 miles from saltwater at 180 feet above sea level.
Two diesel mechanics attempted to remove the third starter bolt but only managed to strip the bolt head. The third bolt is tucked up behind the starter next to the engine block and cannot be visualized even with a mirror. I dismissed the mechanics and bought a fiberoptic video camera from a local auto parts store. I was able to remove the stripped bolt using the video camera and an extractor socket. I should have recalled my Dad's admonition about; "If your want it done right, do it yourself." Thanks Dad.
I appreciate the comments and advice from the TF members.
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