Generac Starter Solenoid Troubleshooting: Complete Guide

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A faulty starter solenoid can be frustrating, especially when you have tried all you can to make sure your generator starts but it’s not responding. And all of a sudden, after much trouble, you found out the starter solenoid is the issue.

That is crazy, right? Because you might have been thinking of other things like batteries and others, especially when you are in a power outage and you need the generator to start urgently.

On the other hand, Generac is a leading manufacturer of backup power systems, and despite being the best generator brand you will find in the world, their starter solenoid also developed faults at times, which is rare. 

Although that shouldn’t stop you from using a generator, because it’s not only on generators these issues can be found but also can be found in cars, trailers, or any engine out there. 

However, if you’ve found out that your Generac generator fails to start, as I said earlier, it could be due to a faulty starter solenoid. 

Troubleshooting Generac starter solenoids involves checking the battery, starter motor, solenoid, and wiring, and replacing the starter solenoid if necessary. 

Hence, in this blog post, I’ll further guide you through the process of troubleshooting Generac starter solenoids to help you get your generator up and running.

Let’s get started and not waste much time!

What is a Starter Solenoid, and How Does It Work?

Generac starter solenoid troubleshooting
Generac Starter Solenoid

Before we dive into troubleshooting Generac starter solenoids, we first need to understand what a starter solenoid is and how it works. 

A starter solenoid is an electrical part in engines that is responsible for engaging the starter motor when the ignition key is turned. 

It acts as a bridge between the battery and the starter motor, allowing electricity to flow from the battery to the starter motor.

Signs of a Faulty Starter Solenoid

Here are some of the common signs your generator will show to determine whether the starter solenoid is faulty or not. 

  • Firstly, the generator will fail to start when the ignition key is turned.
  • Secondly, you hear a clicking sound when you turn the ignition key, but the generator won’t start at all. And in this case, it might end up killing your battery. So, if you notice it’s continuing this way, leave it alone and follow the troubleshooting guide I will outline later in this article.
  • Thirdly, your generator’s starter motor will spin, but at the same time, the generator will still fail to start.
  • And lastly, the starter motor will not even spin at all, no matter how hard you try.

So, if you notice any of these signs, don’t keep on turning your ignition key, as it might end up killing your battery; instead, follow the troubleshooting guide below. 

Tips for Troubleshooting Generac Starter Solenoids

Generac Starter Solenoid Troubleshooting
Generac Starter Solenoid Troubleshooting

Here are the ways you can troubleshoot your Generac starter solenoids yourself. However, if you think this is something beyond your reach, please call in a professional to help you with it. 

Step 1: Get the Right Tools 

First things first, get the necessary tools you need to get this done. There’s no way you can troubleshoot your Generac starter solenoid if you don’t have any tools at hand. To get the process done quickly, here are some tools you might need.

  • Firstly, you’ll need a socket wrench to loosen and tighten the mounting bolts or screws that hold the starter solenoid in place.
  • Secondly, pliers may be needed to help remove any hard-to-reach wiring connections or to bend wires into the correct position when reconnecting them.
  • Thirdly, wire cutters or strippers may also be needed to cut and strip wires before reconnecting them to the new solenoid.
  • Fourthly, a voltmeter will be needed to help you test the voltage at the starter solenoid’s positive and negative terminals to determine if there’s a problem with the solenoid or wiring.
  • Fifthly, you will have safety goggles and gloves when working with electrical parts, so they can help prevent any injuries or electrical shocks.
  • Lastly, a replacement starter solenoid that is compatible with your Generac generator’s model will be needed if your own is not working anymore.

Step 2: Check the Battery 

After getting all the tools needed for this process, the second thing you need to do when troubleshooting Generac starter solenoids is check the battery. 

When checking the battery of your generator, make sure that the battery is fully charged and has enough power to engage the starter motor. 

Not only that, but you should also ensure that the battery is fully charged and connected properly.

However, in cases where the battery is low or dead, it won’t provide enough power to engage the starter motor, and the generator won’t start.

That is to say, the starter solenoid is not the issue here but rather the battery. Although you can read to the end and also check other things to be sure the battery is not dead because of the solenoid.

You can also read: How to Clear Battery Problem on Generac Generator in 3 Easy Ways

Step 3: Check the Starter Motor

After checking the battery to know if it’s okay, eventually it’s fully charged and connected properly. And even if it’s low or dead, you still need to check the starter motor.

And when it comes to checking your generator’s starter motor, you will need your manual to locate the location. When you get it, make sure that the starter motor is receiving power from the battery. 

For you to know if it’s receiving the right power from the battery, you use a voltmeter to measure the voltage at the starter motor’s positive terminal. 

If you measure the voltage and find that there’s no voltage, the problem could be a faulty starter motor or a wiring issue, which also makes the battery dead. 

But if it’s not, you move on to the next step, which is checking the solenoid. 

Step 4: Check the Solenoid

Just like the starter motor, you will also need to check the solenoid the same way if the battery and starter motor are okay. 

That is to say, you need to make sure that the solenoid is also receiving enough power from the battery and sending power to the starter motor. 

How can you do that? That’s when you need the voltmeter. You can use the voltmeter to measure the voltage at the solenoid’s positive and negative terminals. 

But if you have done everything fine and there’s no voltage at the positive terminal, the problem could be a faulty solenoid or a wiring issue.

Step 5: Check the Wiring

I can say that this is the last step because you have done all that is needed, which is checking the battery, starter motor, and solenoid. After that, they are all okay. 

That’s why, in this step, you need to check the wiring system from the solenoid to the starter motor and the battery. 

You have to make sure that all the wiring connections are secure and free from corrosion. You can check the wiring for any breaks or damages that could be causing the problem.

If you have checked everything and it seems to be okay, then the problem could be the faulty starter solenoid. 

Therefore, sorry to say, in this case, you will need to replace the starter solenoid to get your generator up and running.

For you to get the best one and prevent you from getting a new one that would still develop issues in no time, I recommend you go for the Generac G086729 Contactor Starter Solenoid (affiliate link) if it fits your model. 

How to Replace a Generac Starter Solenoid

Now that you have troubleshooted your Generac generator starter solenoid and determined that you have no choice but to buy a new one and replace it with the faulty one, here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Turn off the Generator 

The first thing to do is to turn off the generator. Well, I know the generator is already off, but I’m trying to say you should then turn off the ignition key on the generator. 

And after that, make sure you also disconnect the wires on your generator’s battery to prevent any electrical shocks that would be caused by it.

Step 2: Locate the Starter Solenoid

After you have turned off the ignition and disconnected the battery, you should locate the starter solenoid. 

For most Generac generators, the starter solenoid is usually located near the battery, either on the side of the engine or on the control panel. 

But if you checked there and couldn’t find it there, you can refer to the generator’s manual to locate the starter solenoid location on your generator.

Step 3: Remove the Old Starter Solenoid

Next, you removed the older starter solenoid. And to remove it, you should first disconnect the wires connected to the solenoid. 

After you have done that, you then remove the mounting bolts or screws that hold the solenoid in place. You may need to use a socket wrench or pliers to remove the bolts.

Step 4: Install the New Starter Solenoid

So, you have removed the old starter solenoid, and now it is time to install the new starter solenoid you bought.

Firstly, you will have to attach the wires to the new solenoid by making sure you attach them to the same place you removed the wire from the old one. 

Then, position the solenoid in place and secure it with the mounting bolts or screws you also removed. 

When in this process, always make sure that the wires are properly connected and secured because any small mistake can still damage the starter solenoid you bought, even your generator.

Step 5: Reconnect the Battery

After you have reconnected the battery, you can test the generator to ensure that it starts properly. But, there will be a need for you to reset your Generac generator before any.

Lastly, after all the steps and once the new starter solenoid is installed, you should reconnect the battery and turn on the generator. 

If that’s the case, the following articles below can help.

Final Thought 

A faulty starter solenoid can cause your Generac generator to fail to start, which in turn makes you frustrated, especially if you need the generator urgently. 

That’s why you have to troubleshoot your starter solenoid, which is a simple process if you have the right tools.

So, by following the steps outlined in this guide, you can troubleshoot and replace a faulty starter solenoid and get your Generac generator up and running again. 

But before you go, remember to always refer to the generator’s manual and take proper safety precautions when working with electrical components.


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