Sunday morning starter?

Nigel mentioned he had a problem with his Discovery (1). It’s a V8. Sounded like the starter motor to Adrian, so off he went to take it out for him.

It took some time when he first took ours out from the Series III many years ago, he didn’t realise that it wasn’t just two threaded bolts, but that they are allen head studs, so an allen key/socket is needed to remove them.

But with that at the back of his mind, he went over there this morning fully equipped.

‘It shouldn’t take long,’ he said. A famous Land Rover quote. With that in mind I printed off some geocaching info, although realised that was unlikely to happen.

And some three hours later, he had finally got it out. No geocaching but a successful starter motor day. When Nigel gets it fixed, he will put it back in for him.

A couple of comments. Adrian was working on the street under the Disco which is much lower down than our Series and our Santana. The three hours includes driving there, and loading and unloading tools.

It’s not a difficult job, it is awkward, it can be frustrating, and you have to clean out any crud ie oil, gunge, dirt, before you can get the allen key to fit. If anyone doesn’t know where it is, it’s under the manifold on the driver’s side.

One of the difficult things was to remove the electrical connections to the solenoid, he had to take out the starter motor before he could remove the nuts.

There was also a stud that he couldn’t see. There was one that came out of the top, one wasn’t there in the bottom (but should have been) but the starter motor still wouldn’t come out. So then he had to feel around to eventually find the third one.

Finally, the starter motor is the original factory fitted one from 1991 – even had the original cable tie holding it together. Eighteen years – not bad value for money there.

Nigel – didn’t lose patience and was great at passing the tools.


The starter motor

Idle Adrian decided to drive down to the beach – rather than walking. I suppose because it was late morning and hot.

So he got in – and discovered the starter motor was jammed. He did the usual stuff, whacked it kindly with a hammer, and put it into gear and rocked it backwards and forwards. No joy.

He took it out. Pretty quickly. And then had a beer. It was Sunday so he couldn’t do any more.

The next morning he put it on the back of the bike and cycled the 8 or 10k to the local town to get prices for a new one.

He went to the truck motor factor on the industrial estate that he had discovered when he was helping Bedford Truck Man. Cost 665€ plus IVA at 16%.

He cycled round the town. It’s one of those spread-out sort-of towns with a few hills to add variety.

He managed to get a few more prices. One went up to 776€ plus IVA and transport. But the same shop had another dealer and got a price of 540€ all included.

Poor old Worn-Out Cycling Adrian decided it wasn’t a good idea to come home and tell me this. So he stopped at the auto-electrician on the way home. It happens to be opposite a good bar too.

The auto-electrician is a good old boy. When we first came we had problems with the alternator. He checked to see if it was beyond all repair and sadly it was, so we had to stump up for a new one. We’ve used him ever since and he’s always seemed ok.

Anyway the jefe said he would take it apart and have a look – it would take half an hour or so. Best to wait at the bar opposite, thought Thirsty Adrian.

What a poppet (the old boy). Turned out the starter motor was ok, might need new bushes in a while, but he would clean it up for us. The solenoid was stuffed though. But 55€ for a new solenoid is a lot better than 540€ for a new starter motor.

Very Fit Cycling Adrian came happily back to pick up some money and went back to pick up the starter motor. The old boy wasn’t there. Critical Adrian went to the work bench and took a look at the insides of the starter motor. He stuck his finger on the suspicious-looking stuff. Oil.

“¿Qué pasa aquí?” One of the young urchins came to attention. We think it’s the grandson working in his school holidays.

“I’ve cleaned it,” he said, helpfully.

“Not with oil, you haven’t. It will just chupa the polvo.”

One of the not-so-young ones roared at him.

The jefe came back. He roared at the grandson even more. “It will chupa the polvo.”

“That’s what the foreigner said,” (the young one was catching on fast).

“That’s because the foreigner isn’t an idiot. You are though.”

Old jefe rolled his eyes, and said, “These young ones. They just don’t understand. I’ll clean it up properly for you. Sorry about that.”

Another beer called for. It’s pretty hot at the moment and cycling around with a heavy starter motor isn’t really that much fun.

When he went back to pick it up, the jefe had left it apart so that Critical Adrian could see it was cleaned up.

“I’ve used four litres of solvent to get rid of the oil. That would cost 40€.” Sad Spanish face – this job had become not very cost-effective, even allowing for the exaggeration. Then he connected it to the power. And it worked.

Happy Adrian handed over his money – no extra charge, obviously – and cycled back. New solenoid, cleaned-out starter motor, and a couple of beers and some chat.

And put it in this morning. Using a variety of props to support the motor while he screwed on the nuts. It worked when he turned the ignition too. Vrrrrm. In fact it starts up much better than before.

That’s probably why he had problems with the starter motor last year when he drove back to the UK. The solenoid had been slowly dying. A good result though. Another electrical fix – but the cost is always in the mechanical work for taking out and putting back. Today – Smug Partner.

But the bad news was that he had to throw away his 21-year-old T-shirt from Laura Ashley. When he took it off it ripped. And it was his best mechanicking one too. Gutted.

Any queries about what to do though – please ask in comments.