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652 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just changed my starter relay for the second time.
02 about 45000 miles.
When it acts up the starter will not stop without taking the terminal off the battery.
I then can use a long screwdriver to reach in an give it a tap.
It then is OK for a while.
Gets me along until I can get a new relay.
It takes me about 45 minuites to change it.
Am I the only one with this problem?
Twice in 45000 seems a bit much to me.

22,240 Posts
I am hearing about more and more failures of the starter relays, so no, you are not alone.

I went ahead and replaced mine at 100K miles just so I wouldn't have to worry about them.

The design of them is a bit odd. I took one apart, and discovered that there is a spring above the contacts that tries to push the contacts closed, and another stronger spring on the solenoid that holds the solenoid actuator arm up forcing the contacts open. When the solenoid activates, it pulls the rod down and relieves the pressure on the contacts, allowing the spring above them to force them closed. So if the solenoid spring gets weak, then the contacts will close. Just seems like a strange design, with two springs pushing against each other.

I am not sure if the failures are caused by the springs getting weak, or if the solenoid rod is sticking or if the contacts are welding. I would have to dissect a failed one to know for sure.

In the photo below, you can see one of the spings on the solenoid rod. There is another spring you can't see above the contacts, which pushes them closed.

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