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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

My wife and I are in a road trip in my Duetto and have run into a little snag. I’m hoping the collective wisdom of the AlfaBB can help me with a fix!

First, let me say I have figured out a workaround, so we’re not actually stranded, just a little inconvenienced. But on our first stop, after about2 hours of driving I found turning the key did nothing except make the “Dynamo” light dim a little. My first thought was a stuck starter solenoid, but I had the starter rebuilt and solenoid replaced about a year ago, and that wasn’t it. Eventually I found if I pushed on the back of the solenoid (picture below; wire to the ignition switch is removed in that photo) it worked every time.

I tried replacing the spade clamp at the end of the wire that goes to the ignition switch, but that didn’t help. It seems like there’s a loose connection internal to the solenoid. When I get home I’ll pull the starter, but anyone got a brilliant idea which will spare me the embarrassment of having to pop the hood every time I have to start the car?

Thanks in advance!
Alex
1654811
 

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Where are you geographically at the moment?
I'm in the Louisville KY area and have QuickJack and tools...and beer and single malt.
We could pull the starter and just fix it, and off you go...ready for the next problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Where are you geographically at the moment?
I'm in the Louisville KY area and have QuickJack and tools...and beer and single malt.
We could pull the starter and just fix it, and off you go...ready for the next problem.
Thanks for the offer! But I’m in Watkins Glen, NY at the moment.

Although the single malt sounds like it may be worth a side trip!

Thanks,
Alex
 

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Keep your fingers crossed that your current trick keeps working otherwise the next step is to always park on a hill so that you can push start it.
 

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you say the photo shows it with the spade wire (to ign. switch) removed.....

but is there not also something fallen out from the hole I arrowed here?
a screw maybe, like the screw diagonally right opposite?
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
you say the photo shows it with the spade wire (to ign. switch) removed.....

but is there not also something fallen out from the hole I arrowed here?
a screw maybe, like the screw diagonally right opposite?
View attachment 1654816
Ah, I think you may be right! A screw working loose would explain the sudden onset of the problem. I’ll take a look! Thanks!!
 

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but is there not also something fallen out from the hole I arrowed here? a screw maybe, like the screw diagonally right opposite?
Gee, I don't know. I hate to question spiderserie4, but I don't see anything metallic or the presence of threads in that hole at the lower right of the solenoid in that photo. My guess is that the crimp to the wire at the solenoid that comes from the ignition switch is just flaky. Or the male terminal that wire attaches to isn't riveted on properly (yes, I know the solenoid is almost new). But honestly, until you take things apart, all we can do is guess.

Not knowing the exact cause, the only work-around I can think of would be to obtain a long, heavy gauge wire and (securely) crimp a female spade terminal to one end. Plug that onto the solenoid instead of the wire from the ig. switch. Touch the other end to the battery "+" to start the car (yea, still requires opening the hood every time). If that works consistently, it tells you that the terminal on the old wire isn't tight. If you still need to push on the solenoid, it tells you that the male terminal is loose.
 

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Jay you might be right, to be honest I can't make out threads in that hole either, but that might just be the photo....and something is, almost certainly, missing from that hole....well, I think so:)

maybe the screw was missing for a time (hence it is not shiny clean) and then the other screw has started to come loose so the cap is working loose, losing contact (or more precise, something inside is working loose....as the cap will be held on tight by the big nuts still)....when Alex presses on it something makes contact again?

there are some solenoids that have a big bakelite type end cap, fitted by 2 screws diagonal to each other.
I tried to find a decent photo, but can't!

......best I can find is this here, the 2nd from left, the lower right screw is almost hidden by the spade connector, but I think there is one there.
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It makes me think, if those screws come loose, then maybe some internal contact is lost.

Like I say it is a guess - I haven't looked inside one of those to say what the screws are holding!...if anything.....but I think a valid one and easy enough for Alex to check out on the roadside and let us know.

PS Edited to be a bit clearer as at first I was as clear as mud;)!
 

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spiderserie4 said:
there are some solenoids that have a big bakelite type end cap, fitted by 2 screws diagonal to each other.
I see your point. In three of the four starters in your picture, the black bakelite cap is held on by swaging the steel cylinder over the cap (all but the 2nd from the left) while on the one at 2nd from the left, the cap is deeper, there's no swaging and those two screws are present . It's tough to tell from arswaim's photo which type of starter is on his Duetto.

arswaim: When you press on the back of the solenoid, can you feel any motion? e.g., Does it feel loose?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I see your point. In some of the four starters in your picture, the black bakelite cap is held on by swaging the steel cylinder over the cap (two on the right) while on others the cap is deeper, there's no swaging and those two screws are present (2nd from left). It's tough to tell from arswaim's photo which type of starter is on his Duetto.

arswaim: When you press on the back of the solenoid, can you feel any motion? e.g., Does it feel loose?
It doesn’t feel loose, although I can rotate it a bit.
I found a picture of a similar vintage solenoid that shows two screws:
1654866

So, I’m inclined to believe that’s the culprit. Now, for the $64,00 question: does anyone know what size they are? A little googling brought up a later style one that’s an M5-0.8, which sounds reasonable. I’m a little leery of pulling the other screw at the moment to check :)
 

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Having that cap rotate does NOT sound right. You're convincing me that a missing screw might be the cause. Yes, a 5 mm screw sounds about right. But it's a cheese head screw; a round head from a local hardware store might not fit down into that recessed hole.

What if you just tighten the screw at ten O clock? Might that secure the solenoid cap enough to get you home? If you try this, disconnect the battery "-" before poking screwdrivers near the solenoid!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Having that cap rotate does NOT sound right. You're convincing me that a missing screw might be the cause. Yes, a 5 mm screw sounds about right. But it's a cheese head screw; a round head from a local hardware store might not fit down into that recessed hole.

What if you just tighten the screw at ten O clock? Might that secure the solenoid cap enough to get you home? If you try this, disconnect the battery "-" before poking screwdrivers near the solenoid!
Yea, I tried tightening the other screw, no luck. But I have found that if I press on the cap I don’t have to hold it to get it to run—that is, I can press the cap, then get in the driver’s seat and start it (once). I can deal with that until we get home. In the meanwhile I’ll see if a local auto parts store might have something that’ll work.
Thanks to everyone for all your help! I’ll let you know if I find a solution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I got hold of an M5 hex head bolt that was 25mm, but no luck. Can’t tell if it’s too short or something else. Anyway, it’s just a long weekend trip, so I think I’ll have to manage with an added step to the starting process. It doesn’t really detract from the fun of the trip, so no big deal.

Thanks to @spiderserie4 for the sharp eyes for noticing the missing screw, and everyone for the help and suggestions! Should be an easy fix once I’m home.

Thanks,
Alex
 

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I found a picture of a similar vintage solenoid that shows two screws. So, I’m inclined to believe that’s the culprit.
Well, I'm still not 100% convinced. That solenoid in the post #10 picture has one spade connector, while your solenoid has two. My point is that Bosch made many variations of these solenoids - some have two screws, some have none and some might just have one. That hole visible on the lower left of the photo in post #1 could be evidence of a missing screw OR it could simply be that Bosch uses the same black plastic part for 2, 1 and 0 screw solenoids and drills out the holes as needed.

My advice would be to get home, pull the starter and really examine the solenoid on the bench.
 

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Just for giggles, go through the entire routine except for pushing on the solenoid. What if that is a 'red herring'? And it actually has something to do with opening the hood or slamming the door or ?

And, to satisfy my OCD, I'd straighten out the battery cable on the top stud and move the red wire away from the throttle bell crank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just for giggles, go through the entire routine except for pushing on the solenoid. What if that is a 'red herring'? And it actually has something to do with opening the hood or slamming the door or ?

And, to satisfy my OCD, I'd straighten out the battery cable on the top stud and move the red wire away from the throttle bell crank.
Worth a try—nothing to lose, and stranger things have happened.

And @Alfajay, I’ll definitely pull the starter when I get home. Even if it is a missing machine screw, I’ll need to pull the other to see what size it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I checked the Duetto parts manual, which surprisingly shows the solenoid parts:
1654945


And the description indicates two are needed:
1654946


But no size for the machine screw, alas.

When I search for the Bosch part number the results I get back look similar, although most of the pictures show some sort of sealant over the screws. Maybe too keep them from working loose ;)

Anyway, idle speculation until I can pull the starter.

And, again, I really appreciate all
 

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screws and spades........

you see that little bump/shoulder around the outside of the hole (your solenoid has it too)....that tells me the hole is designed to take a screw, not just some plug.

It is possible the screw (as it is located right beside the spade) somehow connects the spade to another contact under the bakelite cap....its possible that that contact inside the cap has moved slightly...but who knows.
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Enjoy the rest of the trip...that's the main thing.

Like you say,once back, best get it on the bench and investigate. It'd be great to see some photos when you do
 

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Worth removing the remaining screw, and using it as a sample when you go hunting for a replacement ? They are more than likely going to be identical.
 

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I once posted on BB this link to a really great illustrated Bosch starter overhaul guide (for a Guzzi, but same principles!)...was years ago so I forgot all about it.

scroll down to no. 36 for the solenoid:
Starter and solenoid repair (Bosch) - Loop frames - Moto Guzzi - Topics - Gregory Bender

I now see that even if you unscrew the 2 screws, that end cap will only come off once you 'unsolder' the spade solder points.
(Photo courtesy of Gregory Bender)
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