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Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter?
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 8:11 am    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

3 of 10 people (30%) posting in this thread have had starter relays fail. I can recall replacing a total of 10 failed relays in my personal vehicles in the last 25 years. There might have been more that I do not recall.

The rundown is as follows:
(2) failed original VW flasher relays
(3) failed original VW glow plug relays
(1) failed original VW rear wiper relay
(1) failed original Mercedes turn signal relay
(1) failed original Suzuki Sidekick horn relay
(1) failed aftermarket starter relay
(1) failed aftermarket coolant pump relay

8 of the 10 failed relays were with stock wiring and stock relays.
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Glenn Premium Member
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 8:21 am    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

Most people post negative comments on the internet so your servery is flawed.

Must be a defect in the Vanagon electrical system they blows up so many relays.

I'll ask a friend who owns a repair shop for 45 years and specializes in vintage VWs how many replays he has to replace on a percentage basis.
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 8:32 am    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

Interesting, you are now saying I am lying. Hmmm. I guess the other two people who have said that they have had failed starter relays in this thread alone are lying also. Heck, everyone who has ever had a failed relay must be lying also.

Those 1.5 million miles you've driven without ever having had a failed relay, was that over the last 25 years? If so, you've driven an average of 60,000 miles per year!! How have you found the time to post close to 70,000 posts on the Samba while doing all of that driving? With all the liars around here who claim to have had failed automotive relays, it is nice to have you around, Glenn, the paragon of honesty.

Also, you can see that that spread of failed relays included two other vehicle makes (Mercedes and Suzuki). The preponderance of failed VW relays I have experienced is because I have owned a lot more VWs than other makes. Those VW relays were not all from Vanagons either.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 8:43 am    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

?Waldo? wrote:
Interesting, you are now saying I am lying. ....

Those 1.5 million miles you've driven without ever having had a failed relay, was that over the last 25 years? If so, you've driven an average of 60,000 miles per year!!

Never called you a liar, just your sample is flawed.

These are family cars that i've maintained. Again you're interpreting numbers to fit your desired results.

You're opinion is no more valuable than mine. I just want people to know your results might not a be theirs.

So if someone is having intermittent start problems related to voltage drops across the ignition switch and wiring, what do you suggest instead of adding a relay? Replace the wire harness and ignition switch?
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 8:59 am    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

Glenn wrote:
Never called you a liar, just your sample is flawed.


How is my sample flawed? I stated only facts.

3 of the 10 people who have posted in this thread have claimed to have had failed starter relays. How is that flawed?

I can personally recall replacing 10 failed relays in my own personal vehicles over the last 25 years. How is that flawed?

Glenn wrote:
So if someone is having intermittent start problems related to voltage drops across the ignition switch and wiring, what do you suggest instead of adding a relay? Replace the wire harness and ignition switch?


I would suggest adding a starter relay. I have a non-stock starter relay installed on two of my current vehicles. That's the funny thing about this exchange. I've stated several times that I believe that starter relays are overall a GOOD THING. The TRUTH is that a starter relay can assist in extending the life of the starter, ignition switch, and wiring along with giving more consistent starter operation. All of that is a good thing, but it comes with the downside of an additional potential failure mode. I don't take issue with the recommendation of adding a hot start relay, I take issue with your untrue hyperbolic statement that there is 'ZERO downside' to adding a starter relay and stating it as truth is a disservice to this community.

Your consequent comments about automotive relays never failing are comically nonsensical.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:10 am    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

?Waldo? wrote:
Glenn wrote:
Never called you a liar, just your sample is flawed.


How is my sample flawed? I stated only facts.

3 of the 10 people who have posted in this thread have claimed to have had failed starter relays. How is that flawed?

It's your sampling.

I guess you missed my example of a flawed poll.
"Never called you a liar, just your sample is flawed. Go to a Trump rally and ask who's gonna win and I bet Biden gets 0%."

Yes there is never 0% but I posted the specs of the Bosch relay which shows a mechanical life of 1,000,000 cycles.

I guess the only way we are both correct is that the vehicle has a flaw that causes relays to fail sooner than testing shows.

Anyway.. i've made my point and glad you agree that adding a relay is an appropriate solution to an intermittent starter issue.

But if you want to continue to argue... go at it. It's a rainy day here and I have nothing better to do.
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:19 am    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

It wasn't a poll and I never stated it as such.

Here's a summary of this 'argument'.

In one corner: "Hot start relays are a good thing and have zero downsides. Relays never fail except from user error or from an intrinsic flaw to stock wiring."

In the other corner: "Hot start relays are overall a good thing with both upsides and downsides but the upsides outweigh the downsides. Relays sometimes fail even without user error or flawed wiring."

I would encourage you to read through those two perspectives a few times and really let the differences sink in. Try being objective.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:35 am    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

One upside of a starter relay is that I can pull the unit and bridge two poles on the socket to start the engine from back in the engine compartment. That's a nice feature when running diagnostics or priming the fuel pump after a filter change, etc. I keep a spare in the van at all times.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:37 am    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

The risk of a relay failure leaving you stuck is infinitesimal compared to a getting stuck from an intermittent starter not spinning due to low voltage.

Most add a relay after that happening 2 or 3 times and never have an issue again.
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:43 am    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

Zeitgeist 13 wrote:
One upside of a starter relay is that I can pull the unit and bridge two poles on the socket to start the engine from back in the engine compartment. That's a nice feature when running diagnostics or priming the fuel pump after a filter change, etc. I keep a spare in the van at all times.


Keeping a spare in the vehicle is indeed the simple way to minimize the potential downside of the relay failing and resulting in a no-start. Smart. It's also easy to bypass the relay, but that relies on the starter, ignition, and wiring being in good condition which usually is not the case when a hot start relay is fitted.


Last edited by ?Waldo? on Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:47 am    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

?Waldo? wrote:
Keeping a spare in the vehicle is indeed the simple way to minimize the potential downside of the relay failing and resulting in a no-start. Smart.

Well, i'd assume you already had one in the event the horn stops working.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:48 am    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

There is no stock horn relay in a Vanagon. I also don't consider the horn to be 'mission critical'.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:04 am    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

?Waldo? wrote:
I also don't consider the horn to be 'mission critical'.

New York State does and checks its operation during the annual state inspection.

If you have a manual transmission and park on a hill, then a working starter is not mission critical.

Just saying....

BTW
https://www.gowesty.com/product/horn/24867/horn-load-reduction-relay-kit

https://www.vancafe.com/RMW-9985102-p/rmw-9985102.htm

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=419209

https://www.gowesty.com/product/electrical/21046/relay-various-uses-
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:14 am    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

?Waldo? wrote:
It wasn't a poll and I never stated it as such.

Here's a summary of this 'argument'.

In one corner: "Hot start relays are a good thing and have zero downsides. Relays never fail except from user error or from an intrinsic flaw to stock wiring."

In the other corner: "Hot start relays are overall a good thing with both upsides and downsides but the upsides outweigh the downsides. Relays sometimes fail even without user error or flawed wiring."

I would encourage you to read through those two perspectives a few times and really let the differences sink in. Try being objective.


Try to understand that Glenn is pointing out the lack of objectivity in your sample, theN Post back when you get it.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:19 am    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

My 2 cents
I also agree there is no downside
I think it should have been factory installed
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:23 am    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

Abscate wrote:
Try to understand that Glenn is pointing out the lack of objectivity in your sample, theN Post back when you get it.


If I had been implying that the ratio of [people posting failed starter relays in this thread]/[people posting in this thread] was equal to [total people with failed starter relays]/[total people with starter relays] then there would be some point to the comment. That was never the implication. The implication was that 3/10 people posting in this thread stated that they had experienced failed starter relays (3/10>0) vs Glenn stating that they never fail.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:44 am    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

ive had relays fail. anecdotal experiences are helpful but obviously not the "hard and fast rule" becasu there is none. there are simply too many variables to have a 'correct' opinion about it. i woudl fail on the side of less to go wrong with vanagons in particular. meaning i woudl just bite the bullet and put a new starter, new igntion switch and leave it as stock as possible. this way youre not creating a new variable to diagnose. there is a down side, but its not '0' its more like .005 ive also had relays that are still working in vehicles and equipment that are 60 - 80 years old.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 11:55 am    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

When the starter would go non-op after a stop in the desert on a very hot day the only way to get going was to have my wife push-start the van (she has never really got the hang of popping the clutch).

After a couple of times like that I installed the hot-start relay. It has never failed in the perhaps 20 years since but if it ever does it will be the work of a moment to replace it.

Not sure where Jay's kit puts the relay but mine is in plain sight in the forward right corner of the engine bay installed with quick-connects.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 12:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

Quote:
Glenn stating that they never fail.


Now you are creating more work for yourself, as this statement was not made.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Hard Start Relay a good idea for new starter? Reply with quote

Abscate wrote:
Now you are creating more work for yourself, as this statement was not made.


What 'work' am I creating?

Relays are relatively reliable but not 100% reliable. They can and sometimes do fail. It has been my position through this entire conversation that adding a hot start relay is overall a good idea but it intrinsically includes the downside of an additional part that can and sometimes does fail. Glenn's position as stated is that there is 'ZERO downside' to adding a starter relay. If there is ZERO downside (ignoring the cost of the additional part and labor of installation) then the part must never fail, as any failure must be viewed as a downside. The fact that I and two other individuals in this thread alone have had them fail proves that they do occasionally fail and proves that the downsides of an added starter relay are not ZERO. Are you still finding that confusing?

When I had the starter relay fail on my '83 van it was only slightly inconvenient for me as I was the one driving (or trying to anyway). The starter, wiring and ignition switch in that vehicle worked fine and I had added the relay just for the stated benefits of removing the load of the solenoid current from the long path to ignition switch and back. When it failed, it was a simple matter for me to bypass the relay and the van started easily. Even though the inconvenience was small, it still impressed me with a clear understanding of the very real downside to the added relay. If my wife or daughter had been the one with the vehicle it would have been considerably more inconvenient as they would not have known how to deal with it. Adding the starter relay created a problem that would not have occurred without the addition of the relay. I don't see how anyone can rationally argue against that being a downside. Despite that failure I still think that the added relay is an overall good thing. It is especially a good thing if someone does so with the understanding of both the upsides and downsides of what they are doing and takes appropriate action to minimize the inconvenience of the downside (toss a replacement relay into the glove box just in case). Net benefit? Sure. Zero downside? Nope.
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