Originally Posted by Steve Graham
They also do NOT have a contactor as part of the same plunger on the pinon actuator that prevents the starter from spinning until the pinon is completely engaged with the ring gear.
If the pinon actuator was to fail you would still hear the starter spinning during starter engagement.
They DO have a contact under the two large terminals at the back/top/end of the solenoid.
In the case of the XLT, PM/LS, HT versions, if the solenoid plunger (white or black nylon thing) were to fail and become disconnected from the see/saw/fork arrangement, you would hear the starter spin because the solenoid would close the contact and allow current to flow to the starter motor.
However, we've seen a different failure mode with these solenoids -- the plunger becomes stuck partway or binds during movement and the contacts remain open; all you hear is the "clunk" of the Starter Relay (not Starter Solenoid) when you turn the key/push the button...