A tip that may get you home

Old 11-17-2002, 04:46 AM
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A tip that may get you home

You may know the feeling of being on the highway stalled. Wondering how your going to get home, and most important to enthusiasts how quickly you can get your "baby" truck back before someone steals your truck, stereo system, scratches your paint, etc.

I have been there and recently when my 94 F150 would not start I hit on the starter with a hammer to start it. The tip from my garage actually worked, although he said I was lucky as someone should have be turning the ignition key while I was hitting it.

From a technical perspective, what did hitting it with the hammer do? The mechanic mentioned something about internal windings exapanding and contacting that I did not understand.

Problem solved with new starter. Original lasted 94K.
Old 11-18-2002, 04:06 AM
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Where is the starter??

Is this a joke or are you serious?...you should smack your starter with a hammer?
Old 11-19-2002, 08:17 AM
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I am a little amazed that you do not know where your starter is. This is no joke as I would not waste time posting junk. See "starter problems" at www.ford-trucks.com for another post on hammering.
Old 11-19-2002, 07:31 PM
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Hi Evan LMAO!

True...true...true. Done it years ago for the exact same reason. Starter was sticking...but i did have helper on the ign....smack..smack and yep...starter engaged.

I forgot exactly why it hung up when engaging flywheel. As i recall there were some parts on that starter that a DIY could fool with. Anyhow, i ended up with new starter.

Thanks...thats a really old mechanics trick...that is still known by some today. As you said it worked for you.

Good luck...OT
Old 11-19-2002, 08:28 PM
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Same thing happened to me sort of. Starter wouldn't work in my Lincoln. Took the starter to Autozone for testing or to buy a new one. Dropped it in the store. It is still working two years later. Apparently, the starter will land in a "dead spot". Hitting it with a hammer (or dropping it in the middle of a store with everyone watching) moves the armeture just enough to get it off the dead spot. FWIW!
Old 11-19-2002, 10:16 PM
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Thumbs up

Truck wouldn't start.
I got hammered.
Everything was fine.
Old 11-30-2002, 01:24 PM
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Like mtucker stated, most of the times when you have a starter problem it's due to a "dead spot".

The starter is a DC motor. It has copper windings in the stator and copper windings in the rotor. The cooper windings in the rotor are connected to commutotors (long, skinny, copper bars) at the end of the rotor. These commutators are connected to DC power through brushes that ride on the commutator.

For the starter motor to work correctly it has to have DC power to the stator windings as well as power to the rotor though the brushes and commutators. This all sets up a magnetic field.

Anyway what happens is one of a few things,

First a few windings in the rotor, through the commutators due to heat or age could open up and thus no DC power to the rotor. No DC power to the rotor then the starter does not move (maybe only hear clicking)

Another possibilitiy is the commutator bars become shorted togeather due to excessive amounts of carbon from the brushes, this too due to age of the starter. In this event usally you will get the "dead spot" as well as the open windings in the rotor.

In any case when you have to hit the starter to move the rotor to a "good spot" or out of the "dead spot" it's time for a new starter. It's only a matter of time and hitting will do nothing. You don't want that to happen on a cold winter, snowy night...

Mind you it don't take much movement of the rotor to get it out of the "dead spot" even 1/16" is enough at times.

I forgot to mention that there is another possibility rather then a dead spot that hitting the starter helps it to start. Sometimes the starter motor can be slightly binding, just enough it will not turn with just DC power. This can be because of heat, and/or age of the starter, wearing out etc. By hitting it you are unbinding the motor and allowing it to turn freely.

Last edited by 01 XLT Sport; 11-30-2002 at 01:29 PM.
Old 12-05-2003, 12:23 PM
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Thumbs up Hit your starter - its no joke

I have a 1994 F150 with 195,000 miles on it. Last winter, the truck wouldn't start after stopping at a 7-11. A guy walked by who said, "Yeah, I had one of these trucks, and it did this all the time." After checking to make sure the starter relay was good (you can bypass it by pulling off the small wire, and using your key to connect this small terminal and the larger terminal towards the rear of the vehicle), we determined that was good. So he told me to hit the starter a couple times. I got out the wheel lug wrench, gave it a couple of taps, got in the vehicle, and it started right up. I had to do the same thing a couple days later, so I replaced the starter.

Well, I don't know what all these guys are talking about, when they say AGE and HEAT cause this to happen, because today it happened again on my new starter that is less than a year old! I had to get under the vehicle and rap the starter pretty hard, but it finally did turn over.

And you don't have to have someone turning the key while you hit it. I never did that, and am 3 for 3!!!

Old 12-05-2003, 01:50 PM
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Originally posted by Raoul
Truck wouldn't start.
I got hammered.
Everything was fine.

ROTFLMAO @ Raoul-----

I think he left out the last part of the post though--Everything was fine.(Until I woke up the next morning)

Old 04-08-2015, 06:53 AM
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shake things up

My '94 F150 had the same problem, the starter has something loose inside and has been going out intermittently for the last two months. I've found that giving the front bumper a good shake, like grabbing it and shaking the truck up and down as much as the suspension and your upper body strength will allow for 15-20 seconds, gets things rolling again. She's going out more frequently now though and taking more and more shaking to start so tomorrow is Replace Your Starter Day at my house.
Old 04-13-2015, 07:44 AM
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hitting the starter will sometimes help the worn brushes to re-seat on the armature, causing the starter to work one or two times more. Hit it too hard and you break it.

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