Lotus Elan

Tilton Super Starter Clicking

PostPost by: disquek » Sat Aug 08, 2020 4:57 pm

Hi Everyone,

When the car is hot, the starter clicks rather than turns over.

I'm just wondering if anyone with a Tilton Super Starter has experienced anything similar.

There is a relay between the key and the solenoid. When this first began, I replaced the cheap 30/40 generic relay with a Bosch 40/40 and it seemed to fix it. Now it's doing it again. I've replaced the relay again with a 120. I know that these Tilton starters pull far more current on the solenoid than a typical starter.

I cut open the Bosch and the terminals were a little scored. Given that it's only been in the car a couple hundred miles is why I decided to try the 120. Clearly it's pulling some current.

I know that one way to do this is to use the OEM solenoid as the relay. My car has had the OEM solenoid replaced with a Hella battery disconnect switch. This is a tidy install done by a PO. BTW: I have also ordered a new disconnect since that could be contributing to this.

Battery and all cables are new or redone.

-Kyle
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PostPost by: mbell » Sat Aug 08, 2020 8:12 pm

Do you have the main power feed to the starter going through the relay?

If using a relay rather than standard solenoid setup you should have a permanent live to the main power connection on the starter and then the output of the relay going to the solenoid input on the starter.

Ingnition switch on powers the relay, relay powers the solenoid on the starter, starter solenoid connects the main power feed to the starter motor.
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PostPost by: disquek » Sat Aug 08, 2020 10:45 pm

The relay doesn't replace the solenoid. It's used to power it so the key switch doesn't have to pass the current needed to drive the solenoid.

The battery cable is run to the starter (through the cut off switch).

The solenoid is wired through the relay.
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PostPost by: mbell » Sun Aug 09, 2020 2:50 am

If they relay is just powering the solenoid on the bulk head that is very unlikely to be the issue and easy to test.

If starter clicks but doesn't turn there are limited options:
- bad main power/connection
- insufficient power to turn starter (eg bad battery)
- something is blocking the pinion travel, not allowing it to travel far enough to make the connection that energizes the starter motor
- engine won't turn
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PostPost by: disquek » Sun Aug 09, 2020 3:08 am

Thanks Mbell.

Gear reduction pre engaged starters have very high amp draws on the solenoid. Not enough current in the solenoid wire is another potential cause of the "click". The start up load can be 35+ amps.

As I said, I'm looking for other Tilton Super Starter users and if any have replaced the OEM solenoid (used only as a relay) with a typical automotive relay.
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PostPost by: gus » Sun Aug 09, 2020 1:09 pm

Tilton starters are a standard Hitachi starter, and a new solenoid should be readily available.

I doubt the tilton solenoid draws significantly more current than an OEM solenoid.
I have run gear reduction starters through the original solenoid since I like the remote push button. Mroe recently I use the firewall solenoid only to switch solenoid current on the starter.

What you need to determine is what your failure point is. If it is the relays, rather than the starter, then buy better relays, they should not be dying under these loads.

It is also possible that if relays are seeing accelerated decay, a resistor across the coil, or a diode in reverse will help slow that down. When an inductive load is switched off, the field of the coil collapses and causes a voltage spike, which holds the relay weakly open for a short time, causing contact arcing and eventually kills the relay.
The resistor/diode prevents this and is common practice in industrial designs
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PostPost by: prezoom » Sun Aug 09, 2020 5:10 pm

Here's a weird one. My Plus2 has a pre-engaged starter, Hitachi starter motor. When first installed, the solenoid would work, but the starter would not turn. Starter out, clamped in a vise, and a battery hooked up. Starter test button between the main power stud and the solenoid connection. Press the button and the starter motor turned just fine. Back in the car, and the same problem happened again. More tests in and out of the car, where in the vise it worked, but in the car it didn't. Finally took it to a repair facility to have it checked out. When I went to pick it up, The shop owner showed me what was happening. There is a breather hole in the starter motor, with a rubber plug grommet fitted loosely in the hole. When the starter was installed in the car, the rubber plug had enough movement due to its different position when mounted in the car rather than in the vise, to allow it to slip between the two electrical contact discs in the starter motor, which are brought together by the solenoid, thus preventing contact between the discs. Solenoid worked, but the starter motor was not getting the electrical contact. A different rubber plug for the hole, and everything was just fine. A two second problem taking several days to solve.
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Sun Aug 09, 2020 5:45 pm

All great info, but before you start throwing money at the problem, check your battery terminals for clean and tight, check battery ground to chassis, chassis ground strap to engine block. Check both ends of cable to starter positive terminal to starter

Then check your battery for condition, charge it, pull it and have it load tested.
I is likely something simple.
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PostPost by: disquek » Sun Aug 09, 2020 10:59 pm

As I said, cables and battery are new.

Tilton motors are Hitachi motors. But the solenoid is unique to Tilton and 50% larger than typical OEM. Presumably it pulls more current. I've seen current traces for typical starters where the start up amps were 35+.

Thanks for the help folks. It appears that no one has direct experience with these Tilton starters and relays.

-Kyle
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PostPost by: Andy8421 » Mon Aug 10, 2020 6:56 am

gus wrote:It is also possible that if relays are seeing accelerated decay, a resistor across the coil, or a diode in reverse will help slow that down. When an inductive load is switched off, the field of the coil collapses and causes a voltage spike, which holds the relay weakly open for a short time, causing contact arcing and eventually kills the relay.
The resistor/diode prevents this and is common practice in industrial designs


A flyback or snubber diode will stop the inductive spike by allowing the current flowing in the relay coil an alternative path when the relay is switched off, slowing the current decay in the relay coil. This is generally done to avoid the voltage spike frying the downstream relay drive circuitry. I may have misunderstood your point, but using a diode in this way actually slows the relay opening time as the current flowing in the relay takes longer to decay.
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:07 pm

disquek wrote:As I said, cables and battery are new.

Tilton motors are Hitachi motors. But the solenoid is unique to Tilton and 50% larger than typical OEM. Presumably it pulls more current. I've seen current traces for typical starters where the start up amps were 35+.

Thanks for the help folks. It appears that no one has direct experience with these Tilton starters and relays.

-Kyle


My apologies Kyle, I missed that in the original post. I will PM you with a msg about Tilton starters and solenoids.
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PostPost by: gus » Mon Aug 10, 2020 9:56 pm

disquek wrote:As I said, cables and battery are new.

Tilton motors are Hitachi motors. But the solenoid is unique to Tilton and 50% larger than typical OEM. Presumably it pulls more current. I've seen current traces for typical starters where the start up amps were 35+.

Thanks for the help folks. It appears that no one has direct experience with these Tilton starters and relays.

-Kyle


It appears in the last couple years Tilton came out with a 'heavy duty' solenoid that fits the older starter, but I think previous to that it was the same.
My understanding is that while Tiltons are a great product, when they die in racing it is the solenoid.

Historically I think the Tiltons just used a standard solenoid

They list their current product as having about 15 amp solenoid draw

https://tiltonracing.com/product/40000- ... r-starter/
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PostPost by: disquek » Mon Aug 10, 2020 11:20 pm

Interesting find Gus.

Thanks.

-Kyle
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PostPost by: disquek » Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:45 am

More data.

With the 120amp relay, a new battery disconnect switch and a hopeful heart, I took the car for a long out and back drive. When I arrived, the starter worked. When I returned ... click.

I tried disconnecting the electric fans (thinking they were adding too much load) - click.

Checking voltage drop, it goes from 12.9 to 11.9 when holding the key in start after the click. Plenty of voltage. So the cables and battery are fine.

Earlier in the day I'd called the shop that had rebuilt the starter last winter. They confessed that the tusnami had disrupted their supply of the good solenoids and based on the dates, mine got the "less good" solenoid. So likely the starter will come out and go back to them to get the "good" solenoid.

As my Dad used to say "Aint racin' fun?"

lol

-Kyle
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PostPost by: TomR » Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:03 pm

Hi Kyle. Didn't notice this post earlier. I'm using the Tilton XLT starter for the Cosworth. I'm running a standard Bosch 30A relay and 14ga wire to the solenoid and have had no issues knock on wood. Tom
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