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1979 210 Wagon ignition/starter clicking sound issues


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Hello good folks of Ratsun, my 1979 210 wagon has always had (for the 3 years I have had it) an issue with turning the key and the dash lights come on, but as you turn the key to start position it doesn't do anything. Typically happens after the engine is warm, I run into a store for 5 min, come back out and it does that. Turning it back off and on a few times and it fires up. A couple days ago, when I would start it up it would start to turn over the engine I would get a really loud clicking sound, sort of like when you have a dead battery, which is what I thought. Charged battery, same problem. Sounds like it's gonna start, then click click click click. After a few tries this morning, it fired up. I swapped a used starter from a parts engine last year when I was having starter problems. That one failed, and I recently replaced the starter with a cheapo $30 one like 6 months ago. Probably need to try a better quality starter, but I am wondering if there is something else related to the actual switch in steering column where the key goes, or the ignition switch maybe? I saw in another post it could be a problem with old wires not sending full 12 volts and possible relay fix, I'm not real sure how to hook that up. Any help is appreciated.

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Typically when a starter clicks it isn't getting enough juice.  This may be due to a bad battery.  By bad I mean it could be low on charge or it may no longer be producing enough AMPS or it is a new undersized battery.  Another issue is the wiring. Over time the insulation on wires becomes brittle and cracks.  These cracks allow moisture to penetrate which leads to corrosion, corrosion amplified by the exposure to solvents etc.  Internal wire corrosion can increase resistance leading to less power transmission.  


Now as to everything you described I would say you need to put a battery tester on that battery.  By tester I don't mean a simple volt meter I mean an actual battery tester that can give you your bateries output not only in volts but amperage and volts under load.  Just about every advance/autozone or similar chain has one as its a good way to sell batteries.


Heat by the way always has an effect on a battery.  There is a formula out there for the percentage based on some variables but that could explain why it works cold but not when the car is hot.  Clearly the starter isn't your problem and if it was tharter solenoid a few taps of a hammer would have identified that.


Let us know.



EDIT - At this point until you have run a proper electrical test on the system I wouldn't waste any more money throwing parts at it.  That will only lead to frustrating regret and wallet anxiety.

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Get a remote starter push button. Connect directly to the starter solenoid (where the small wire connects and to the battery. Try starting. If it starts every time then the start signal from the ignition is weak. Mine on my 710 (both actually) was about 7 volts and the starter always chattered a couple of times befoer it would settle down and crank.. This is a long way for 12 volts to travel into the car across the dash up the column to the ignition and all the way back out and down to the starter. I would guess at least 20 feet and likely more and the wire is small gauge and almost 40 years old. 


Look up how to make a hot start relay that uses this weak start signal to power a relay that takes a full 12 volts from the battery and applies it to the starter solenoid.








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This could be a little out in left field but.....Had a similar issue with one of my 1200's.  Sometime the starter would hit and sometimes it wouldn't. Turns out it was the switch itself.  There is a plastic part on the back where the pin connectors are, it attaches to the metal part.  Mine had separated causing a gap between the metal and plastic pieces. Squeezed the two together and boom, started every time. Replaced the switch. Easy enough to look and see if your switch has separated.


Check everybody else's ideas first, my cars are usually fixed by sheer dumb luck.

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Hey guys, thanks for the replies. I'm tracking down a remote starter and trying suggestions. I put one of my batteries on my charger. It has a display that shows the voltage it reaches and a percentage of battery charged. My battery reaches 12 volts, but shows about 70% capacity and it never reaches "charged" status, so this may be a big part of issue especially since it started doing this when the temps have dropped into the 20's-30's here at night and in the morning. I was able to get to work and back today, but it took about 5 tries and a lot of clicking/grinding each time. Believe it or not, this has been my daily driver for the past 6 months lol. Airbags are for losers!

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