found this ont internet
"you should have battery voltage at the starter lead wires (12) and with the key in the crank position you should get battery voltage to the small wire. make sure in neutral if a standard tranny. the 12 volts applies current to windings in the solenoid called pull in they move the metal center to engage the hold in windings another set of wires in the solenoid and at this time the starter motor gets power and starts turning. when it is pulled in the starter drive is engaged"
so IF I use a length of wire , ignition on and take the 12v to the wee wire it should engage and turn... right ... if it does then I need to find out why I have a voltage drop between the key and the solenoid wee wire, if it don't then its the solenoid
starting to think a handle in the front was a good idea back in the day