new battery, but starter won't turn over (doesn't make a sound)
I've got an 86 PCM 351 on a 19' S&S. Electronic Ignition. I've been noticing an issue where my battery looses starting power by the end of the day. Seems to me like the alternator isn't keeping up. So I was going to pull it and have it tested. Oddly enough, on the last crank of the weekend, well, the starter stopped turning over. I've got power everywhere, but when I turn the key nothing happens other than a slight power drop in the system (the blower slows a bit). So it seems that the ignition key is doing it's job. I pulled the starter and I can spin the gear by hand (in other words, it's not bound up). So now I feel that I could be dealing with a starter solenoid issue, as well as an alternator issue. By the way - put a brand new battery in.
So my questions are:
1) can a dying or dead alternator cause the problem I'm experiencing? what I mean is, can a bad alternator prevent a starter from turning over, assuming everything else is fine? I've always been under the impression that a strong battery will turn a starter, and keep an engine running for some time. Am I wrong about that?
2) can a dying or dead alternator fowl out a starter solenoid or damage other parts of the system (other than the battery)? If so, what?
3) if it's a bad starter solenoid, shouldn't I be hearing a click or something? because I hear nothing. it makes no sound other than the slight power drop in the blower. Is this erie silence indicative of a failed starter solenoid?
4) is there something i'm not thinking of? something in the great mass of electrical components between battery, alternator, starter and distributer?
I really feel like it's either a bad starter solenoid, or a dying (or dead) alternator, and probably both. And one more thing, the starter solenoid is mounted to the starter, and that's the only starter solenoid, yes?
Now that I've asked 50 questions, hopefully someone will have the patience to help me.