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My 1995 Suburban K1500 has a shorting issue that drains the battery when left for long enough. I have isolated the problem to the fuseless starter circuit and I am 95% sure that the short is not occuring in the wire from the positive battery terminal. My question is regarding how/whether to test other options.

  1. The lead from the positive battery terminal bolts to the outside of the starter and could be shorting to a grounded part of the starter housing. Is there a way to clean around the lead contact point to rule out this possibility? If so, what solvents should I use? (I already tried using some throttle body cleaner I had sitting around, but I didn't remove the lead.)

  2. There could be a short inside the starter. Is this a reasonable possibility given that the starter works fine when I jump the battery? If the starter seems to be the issue is taking apart the starter and repairing it an option or should I just replace it (new acdelco starter is $100 on Amazon)?

  3. Is there anything else in this circuit that could cause the short?

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  • Since this is happening when the car is OFF and not when the starter is engaged, it's not likely the starter itself. Check the STARTER SOLENOID, the STARTER RELAY circuit, and the wiring between those things.
    – jwh20
    Dec 28, 2019 at 12:43
  • There are only two connections to the starter: 1) Direct from battery (big wire); 2) The purple energizer wire from the ignition switch. The only thing in there which could be at fault is the solenoid, but they are a relatively simple thing. I realistically think you are barking up the wrong tree. There is a separate wire coming off the battery (+) which goes to a junction and provides power to quite a few high energy demanding parts. My bet is, the draw is coming from that block and not the starter. Just my gut, though. Dec 28, 2019 at 13:47
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 I only have 3 wires coming off the battery (+) (1) to main relay/fuse box (2) to alternator (3) direct to starter/solenoid. With 1 and 2 disconnected I still get a current draw so I think it has to be somewhere on the starter/solenoid circuit.
    – SAG
    Dec 28, 2019 at 18:00
  • Disconnect the purple wire from the solenoid and see if you are still getting a draw. If so, you can pretty much narrow it down to your solenoid. Dec 28, 2019 at 21:50
  • @Paulster2 you made a typo. . . .If so, you can pretty much eliminate the solenoid.
    – John Canon
    Dec 29, 2019 at 6:17

1 Answer 1

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1) CRC makes an QD Electrical Contact Cleaner. It's available at most auto parts stores. This will work fine for cleaning electrical terminals. I like to use that and a brass brush to clean terminals.

2) You can usually buy a starter rebuild kit. Check RockAuto.com. Up to use to decide if the price/effort is worth the hassle or if replacing the starter is easier.

3) I'd say so, the starter should only be on when the key is turned. The solenoid is basically a relay, controlled by the ignition switch (where you turn the key).

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  • Can you clarify what you are saying in 3?
    – SAG
    Dec 30, 2019 at 18:50
  • Yes, there are other circuits that could be causing your issues. The starter is only activated when the key is turned.
    – James
    Jan 5, 2020 at 19:14

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