My friend and I recently tried to investigate why his dad's '98 Pajero wasn't starting after heavy rains.

After establishing that the starter relay was fine, I was hoping that tapping the starter with a hammer would help revive the starter, but it refused to turn over.

His dad ultimately had to call in a mechanic, who used a screwdriver to somehow jolt the starter to life.

My understanding is that the screwdriver was used to jump the solenoid, but I want to know what to look out for. There appear to be more than just two terminals on a solenoid. A picture with annotations would be much appreciated here, along with instructions for how to jump a solenoid.

  • Was the relay actually sending voltage to the starter S terminal? If he jumped the B and S terminals it doesn't sound like it was. Also you can ground pins 30 and 87 on the starter relay instead of physically jumping at the starter assuming that the wiring from relay to starter is OK.
    – Ben
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 22:00

1 Answer 1


Typically I've only seen three posts on the starter solenoid. The thickest one is for power from the battery. There is also a much small one which is for ignition switch (S). The last one is for a coil pack (R). Typically the starter solenoid is self grounded.

When jumping you simply make a connection between the B and S. This activates the solenoid and energizes the starter.


  • 4
    Be sure to make sure the car is NOT in gear when completing the circuit! Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 21:02
  • 1
    On a non pre-engaged starter with a bendix, you can also jump the solenoid by connecting terminal "B" to terminal "M". This is useful when the solenoid is faulty.
    – HandyHowie
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 21:08
  • So what is "M" for? And the screwdriver is pictured jumping S and B, not B and R?
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 21:17
  • @Jphi1618 M terminal is motor currant. R terminal I would guess is the hold coil while S is the primary coil.
    – Ben
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 21:55
  • @JPhi1618 - R is used to provide full (12+vdc) power to the coil. This was used primarily when points ignition is present as there is usually a resistor which reduces the voltage to the coil in such situations. The full voltage kicked the coil up a notch or two to give a hotter spark during start, which allowed the engine to start easier. Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 22:00

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