Shorting the starter: shorting from big terminal (battery) to big terminal
(starter power) will cause spinning but no starter engagement.  Your
starter passed that simple test.

Shorting from big terminal (battery) to the small third terminal should
make the solenoid plunger (1) engage the starter gear teeth in the engine
flywheel and (2) make the starter spin and turn the engine over.  Plenty of
youtube videos of starter testing and rebuild.

Most likely either battery or solenoid, but remember there are wires and
switch in between all.  No fuse between battery and starter, I doubt there
is a fuse between ignition switch and starter.  If automatic transmission,
there is also the neutral safety switch.  Bad wiring/connection or failing
switch can rob voltage/amperage from the start signal to the solenoid and
cause "no start" condition.

The fifty amp charger setting would not hurt anything unless it was already
on the edge of failure.  I've used that setting, I think mine is also 50
amps, and I worry about burning out the charger, not anything on the car.

This place has great prices on Bosch starter solenoids.  The trick is to
research your Bosch starter model and figure out which solenoid fits.  Note
that if you replace the solenoid and fix the issue, the rest of the starter
is also old and tired and may be about to fail as well.

http://aspwholesale.com/index.php?_a=category&cat_id=333

Intermittent battery drain could be battery, or something entirely
unrelated like the glow plug relay turning itself on, the radio or antenna.

-------------
Max
Charleston SC


> Thanks for all your thoughts.  Further information:
>>
>> Shorting the starter results in starter spinning without engaging
>> flywheel.
>> Solenoid *thunk* without starter turning began after my son attempted
>> starting with the 50 amp momentary setting on my 10 amp battery charger.
>> Is
>> there a fuse or other component likely to have been affected by this
>> event?
>>
>> TIA again.
>>
>> Greg
>>
>>
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