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frozen starter?

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by meborder, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. meborder

    meborder Senior Member
    Messages: 142

    83 k20 350v8.

    was plowing for about an hour and parked the truck outside to take my son back in the house.

    truck sat for about 2 hours outside in the cold and wind. guessing 9 or 10 degrees outside with about 20+mph winds.

    went to start it back up to push new drifts and put it away for the night and the truck wouldn't spin over. acted like a dead battery, but the gauge showed 12v static and 10v with the starter "engaged"

    thinking it may have gotten moisture in the starter, and with visible ice cycles hanging off the starter motor (not huge, but visible),i got out the heat gun and tried to heat the starter up a bit to see if that would thaw out any water that may be causing problems. it didn't work.

    laying on my back, single digits, 20+mph winds, with numb fingers and face, i decided a hammer was appropriate (i know it is not good to bang on them), that worked and the truck turned over as good as it always does.

    so my question ...
    can starters freeze up?

    or is my starter just at the end of it's life?

    only been plowing for a couple years, so every time i use the truck i learn something new (or break something new).

    thanks for any insight!

  2. kimber750

    kimber750 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,676

    Not gonna say a starter can't freeze because I dont know if it can or not. But I am willing to bet your starter is on it's way out.
  3. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    yes they can. We push slush one day and my cousin plows for me and he park his rig out side. The temps drop big time and would not start next morning. So I help push it inside we thought it was starter gone bad.
    We removed it and slap another one in truck started. Old one was lock up when we tested it. We got back later and seen a big puddle around the starter on the floor. We tested the starter again and it was good it was just frozen. That's only time I seen one, to freeze up.

    But once you start using a hammer on one to get to start its about time for new starter.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  4. kimber750

    kimber750 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,676

    Just didn't think that tapping on frozen starter would fix it. But that will get a starter to work if it is beginning to go south. Same thing works for fuel pumps mounted in the tank. That saved me tow once. :mechanic:
  5. meborder

    meborder Senior Member
    Messages: 142

    the more i think about it, the more i think it may be on its way out.

    i've been having some hot start problems in the summer as well, but i always attributed it to the headers.

    never had hot start problems with the manifolds, but once started acting up when i put headers on.

    if it acts up again i'll have to drop it off at the starter/alternator witch-doctor and tell him to get it back to me 2 days before the next snow.

    i just don't see how it could have gotten enough water into or onto it to cause this problem. it wasn't that wet at all, really.

    got a new alternator, might as well have a new starter to go with it.

    thanks for all the replies.
  6. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,390

    end of its life. solenoid contact is going bad internally hitting it usually adjusts something inside lol
    just get a new one and be done.
    might want to look at a heat shield or starter wrap for the hot no start
  7. WILLD420

    WILLD420 Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    You can take it all apart and clean up the contacts, grease the bearings and seal it back up with silicone if you are broke like I usually am. Check the brushes over real good. If they are more than 1/2 gone, just go buy a new starter. It's more work to solder new ones in, than it's worth.