Since the end of last week I’ve had an occasional problem where when I turn the key nothing happens, not even a click from the starter solenoid. When it did this I would tap the starter motor with my torque wrench it would then usually start, because of this I thought the brushes were worn.
I decided to remove the starter motor today and get it checked over by an auto electrician I know. After inspecting the starter he rang and told me it was like new inside and there was no problem with the armature or brushes. The problem was due to the connection tag on the solenoid being a bit corroded, I kicked myself because I should have spotted this. The bolt on connection for the main strap for the starter was also a bit corroded. I refitted the starter with a new nut and I cleaned up all the connections, this could be done with the starter in place but you MUST disconnect your battery first as the main strap is live all the time.
This is definately something you should check on your van as its very easy to remedy. Now the starter spins the engine a bit faster when starting as there is less resistence and it will certainly help during those winter starts. You should cover the terminals with some vaseline or grease to protect them from moisture and do the same with your battery terminals.
The pictures shows where the contacts are that you need to clean. You need to unbolt one and the other pulls off, did I mention you should disconnect your battery first.