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Old 06-28-2020, 09:47 PM   #1
Mike_The_Grad
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Engine starting problem.

A little background. 1972 c/10. Rewired with American Autowire Kit about 7 years ago. Honestly had ZERO issues with my truck or the wiring up until a few months ago. Me and a buddy went to have lunch. I start the truck and the starter stays on, continuing to turn the motor over after the ignition kicked in. Made a hell of a noise. Turned it off. Turned the key, engine fires right up. Ignored it, drove to the store to grab a beer. Came out, turned the key, no start. So he tells me to jump the starter terminals with the key in the run position. I do that. Truck fires up. Before I could close the hood hes yelling to pull the battery negative cable. Smoke was billowing out from under the dash. Stinky stuff. Never experienced anything like it. So i crawl under dash and the connector at the igniton switch is melted. Ended up towing it to his house. My other buddy brought me over a spare starter he had. Went to Autozone picked up replacement ignition switch, crimped new connectors on the wires. It literally worked for 2 starts. Then nothing. I had my O.E.M. ignition switch back home. A/c delco made in u.s.a. I installed that. Truck fired up. But every now and then I would have to get out and jump the starter at the terminals. So I checked out the starter which was an original a/c delco. This is for 350 sbc with th350. A couple of the solenoid mounting screws were loose. I tightened them up. I ended up bypassing the neutral safety switch and running a wire directly from the ignition switch down to the starter solenoid. It seemed to fixed the no start issue. However it takes a few turns of the key to get the engine to fire. I mean when I turn the key absolutely nothing from the starter just a click. I got power, lights, stereo blower motor, but nothing fro. The starter. After about 4 or 5 times turning the key the engine will fire. It's been about 3 weeks since I've had to use a screwdriver to jumper the starter. I contacted American Autowire. They are super helpful. The rep ended up selling me a completely new ignition switch. New keys, new tumbler, connectors, terminals and switch. Cost me $40. I installed that last night. Now it seems almost worse than with my a/c delco switch. I dont get it.
I haven't replaced the battery yet.
I haven't replaced the battery cables yet.
I have a ground directly to the cylinder head from battery and obviously positive to starter lug. I also have grounds from engine to frame, core support to battery negative, core support to frame, cab to frame, cab to engine, bed to frame. All connections are clean and tight. Battery is about 5 years old, autozone valucraft(I was on a budget back then) battery about 5 years old. Has 800 CA and 650 CCA. 85 minute reserve. I have brand new powermaster 100 amp alternator(less than a month old) when the truck is on it runs like a top. Volt meter mounted on dash shows 14 amps while cruising. The no start issues dont happen every single time I turn the key. Sometimes fires right up first turn. Sometimes 4 or 5 times. Sometimes first thing in the morning it fires up, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes when it's hot it fires right up, sometimes it doesn't. I have the starter wrapped in a heat shield and a fabricated thick aluminum heat shield separating it from the headers. I got ceramic coated headers and all wiring is wrapped with fiberglass aluminized woven sheathing. Any ideas??
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:45 PM   #2
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Re: Engine starting problem.

Well j got a wild hair and went out to check the distributor coil positive and negative with the key in the run position. It only shows 8.42 VDC on my multimeter. The voltmeter mounted mounted on my dash says 12.50. Why is that?
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:46 PM   #3
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Re: Engine starting problem.

I do not have factory wiring in my truck. It has been replaced 100% I'm guessing theres voltage drop somewhere happening. But why?
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:55 PM   #4
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Re: Engine starting problem.

I've got 12.50 at battery terminals. I've got 12.50 at my carburetor electric choke.

I checked the coil positive wire against a different ground source with the key in the run position and it still shows 8.42 VDC with the key in the run position I read 12.50 at battery terminals. 12.50 at starter lug against engine ground.
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Old 06-29-2020, 01:02 AM   #5
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Re: Engine starting problem.

Accel used to market a USA made starter solenoid, heavier duty than stock, but connected just like it. It was anodized gold color so it looked cooler too.
I still have mine. I keep switching it out with a new [reman - warranty] starter. I keep the solenoid I get with the ''new'' starters, just in case.
I think it's your solenoid.
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Old 06-29-2020, 01:25 AM   #6
Mike_The_Grad
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Re: Engine starting problem.

'68 orange, ok. I'll look into that. I was having the problem with 2 different starters already, 1 was a reman and the other one(current one)is an a/c delco. But I'm all for finding the problem and correcting it. Thanks.
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Old 06-29-2020, 02:55 AM   #7
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Re: Engine starting problem.

Sounds like something that happened to me very similar. It was a combination of issues.

Heater only trucks with new blower motors will cook the wiring. Why you say, should not happen. Check your heater circuit wiring, switches, relay and tell us how many amps your blower motor pulls. It should be 10, or 15 GM stock fuse panels are marked with both of those options on heater wiring.

The stock wiring, heater switches cannot handle 15 amps continuous for the most part. It also will short out your ignition switch. Ask me how I know.

Now where I really think your problem lies is in the Neutral Safety Switch. It feeds the solenoid. Stock vehicles it is the purple wire from ignition switch to NSS to solenoid.

This may get you there. When you get a cooked ignition switch it will cook other things.
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Old 06-29-2020, 08:11 AM   #8
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Re: Engine starting problem.

Enlighten us Mike!
What distributor you got?
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:08 AM   #9
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Re: Engine starting problem.

Yes, what distributor? Your replacement wiring, is probably factory style, therefore it has the step down resistor to go through a ballast to a point type distributor. The second small wire going to the starter solenoid is a redirect for 12v during startup, then resuming 9v when starter not engaged. With an HEI, or breakerless type ignition, you need to remove the resistor and have full battery 12v delivered to the dist. Don't have a clue why you are having underdash wiring issues. Sorry.
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:33 AM   #10
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Re: Engine starting problem.

-
Our trucks do not have a resistor per-say, they have a resistance wire built in to the wiring circuit.

If you have the stock distributor and coil 8.42 would be correct at the coil terminal with the key in the "run" position. The resistance wire cuts the voltage down to keep the points from getting too hot and burning.

If you have an HEI and replacement wiring I'm betting that the new wire loom has the resistance wire built into it for the stock type distributor and coil.

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Old 06-29-2020, 11:13 AM   #11
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Re: Engine starting problem.

I'm running an HEI distributor with the coil-in cap. The writing kit I installed is designed for HEI distributors only and the wiring for a points type distributor is not included with there wiring kit but is available for purchase separately. There is no resistor or resistance type wire for my coil positive from the switch to the fuse panel or from the fuse panel to the coil.

Toolboxchev, I currently have the NSS bypassed along with the fuse panel. I have a dedicated wire from the back of my ignition switch directly to the S terminal of my starter solenoid.

Before I seen all of your replies i went back out to the truck with my voltmeter and checked the back of my ignition switch with the key in the run position. I couldn't get my problem in behind the IGN pink wire to check VDC. But at the BATT terminal against chassis ground I had 12.42 VDC. So I went to my fuse panel and check every terminal marked IGN against chassis ground and every one showed 12.42 VDC I was going to go to the engine side of the bulkhead connector and check the pink ign wire but it was time for dinner. Needless to say nothing got done after that. Lol.

I will have time today to mess around with it after I help a friend troubleshoot her 1975 Jimmy. She got stuck on the freeway the other night and needed a tow home and now her truck shakes like mad at idle. So, thatll be interesting to figure out. Probably something simple.

I will reach out to the company that made my wiring kit and ask about the readings I'm getting at the distributor connections.
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Old 06-29-2020, 12:21 PM   #12
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Re: Engine starting problem.

When you have the NSS bypassed, just like I did, and the ignition switch cooks you will lose the starter.

Or throw out the solenoid when the engine is running. I have been there.
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Old 06-29-2020, 03:10 PM   #13
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Re: Engine starting problem.

One problem at a time. You say when the engine doesn't turn over you hear a click. Is that correct? The click you are hearing should be the starter solenoid trying to engage. The solenoid is nothing but an electromagnet . It pulls in a cylinder than engages a copper washer that transmits powers to the starter motor windings. When engaged this copper washer gets its power from the battery cable. The back side of the large starter lug that the battery cable is attached to inside the solenoid is copper. When the two copper pieces come together they will burn over time they become so burnt that the solenoid will click but no electricity will flow thru them so the starter motor won't turn over. Repeated trying to ingage the starter motor sometimes gets the two copper pieces to make contact and the starter motor will turn over. So try a new solenoid. Second problem only less than 9 volts at the distributor. Remove the bulk head connector, find the end of the distributor positive wire, disconnect the positive wire and measure to see if there is any resistance on the wire. it should read zero. If there is any you need to find out the problem in the wire and fix it. The wire should be at least a 14 GA for an HEI.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:07 PM   #14
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Re: Engine starting problem.

>> the starter stays on, continuing to turn the motor over after the ignition kicked in.<<

By that, do you mean to say the starter continued to crank when the engine started and you returned the key to the "Run" position.

The starter solenoid has two coils. A pull-in winding and a hold-in winding. Together they draw 42 Amps, but only for a split second when you hear the normal starter Click.

After the Click, the engine is cranking and you are holding the key in "Start" position, only the hold-in winding is energized, drawing only 10 Amps. At the click, the larger pull-in winding should be taken out of the circuit.

Unless something goes wrong in the solenoid. Then the starter circuit draws a continuous 42 Amps and the whole starter circuit gets very hot and lets out the smoke.

When the copper is heated like that, it oxidizes every wire crimp and copper connector surface in the entire starter circuit.

When two wires plug into each other, you have two wire crimp connections, plus a friction connection where the two copper connectors plug into each other.
I didn't label all the possible corroded connections, because you could have 20 points with increased resistance in the simplest starter circuit.
A small resistance increase in several of those connections can combine to a large increase in resistance in the entire circuit when under load.

Checking the voltages when NOT under load will be very deceiving. In an open circuit, there is no voltage drop across any corrosion resistance you are looking for.
An ohmmeter will be of little use as well.
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Old 06-30-2020, 10:59 PM   #15
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Re: Engine starting problem.

Bigbird05, I hear ya on the solenoid replacement suggestion. Makes sense, some of my buddies have suggested the same thing. Someone else mentioned a "HD solenoid". I'll look for one. I have a "New" remanufactured starter sitting on the shelf in the garage. Would that starters solenoid be sufficient for a "new" solenoid or should I actually buy a brand new solenoid? Thanks for pointing me in the right direction as far as where to look next considering the things I've already tested. Would it help any to test the cab side of the bulkhead connector ign coil + and my tach signal wire(coil -) for any voltage drop?

RichardJ, thanks for the diagram. It helps to visualize all the connections for the starter circuit. And helps me to remember to check any others I might not have considered testing before. And yes I meant to say exactly as you had deduced from my previous statement of the starter motor continued to crank after the engine started and I returned the key to the run position. This is the time I got smoke billowing out from under my dash. The starter I currently have installed does not have this issue. And there have been no other incidences of smoke from anywhere since I installed this current starter and replaced the ignition switch.

I worked a 13 hour day today. So no time for the truck. I've got another long day tomorow. And possibly Thursday. So I won't really be able to trouble shoot or diagnose anything until friday or this weekend. But as soon as i get a chance i am going to try all of what everyone has suggested so far. Thank you all for your help.
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Old 07-01-2020, 10:14 AM   #16
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Re: Engine starting problem.

We had similar thing happen ... '55 gasser, that shakes, rattles & vibrates alot when running. Zero issues for the last year or 2 running it. Went to town in it the other day & get back in and will not crank. End up standing on my head to get under dash, wiggle & push in on connector to ignition switch while husband turns key & it cranked right up. So get home & investigate - melted plastic connector around the red main power connector on ignition switch. New ignition switch, new plastic connector cover & all has been good since - I honestly think it was the Chiner made ignition switch; that blade in switch became loose (from combo of cheesy made and car vibration) and loose/broken connection can cause excessive heat making it melt plastic & multiple other problems. I had no luck finding a heavier made non-China switch anywhere,which is a freakin shame, but new one felt solid as Chiner made can & has been good since, but I will keep an eye on it.
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Old 07-01-2020, 05:38 PM   #17
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Re: Engine starting problem.

Looks like the Accel HD starter solenoid for GM/Bendix applications, I mentioned is no longer available [NLA] -- being American made.
A similar product carried by Jegs is the TuffStuff solenoid,
Jegs' p/n:908-7310G.........$32.99
They also carry a generic solenoid, for comparison -- by Crown,
Jegs' p/n: 077-J8130938....$21.49.
And for the purist there's the AC-Delco,
Jegs' p/n: 065-D981..........$76.99... [and no indication that it wasn't made in the same country as the Crown.]

On my '71 GMC Jimmy, w/350 V8 and Heddman headers, I had a cook-off problem with the starter being too close to the hedders. In fact you have to pull the passenger-side header to get access to the starter. My first attempt was to wrap the starter/solenoid ssembly in an insulated foil jacket sold at the local hot rod shop. [If you've ever wrapped a potato in tin foil to bake on the grill, you know how effective this method was.]
The next solution was to go to a remote Ford* style solenoid. I bought the Jegs' generic kit --p/n: 555-10301...[now]...$20.89. It comes with some handy wires, terminals and connectors.
Some reviewers griped that it's now made of cheap plastic which cracked when tightened down. They also carry a TuffStuff version of the same kit --p/n:908-7629.....$25.99.
I put this on my Jimmy in 2007, and I have not had a starter problem since.
* I know, I said the F-Word on a Chevy forum.
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Old 07-01-2020, 05:45 PM   #18
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Re: Engine starting problem.

Here's another pic.
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Old 07-02-2020, 06:31 PM   #19
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Re: Engine starting problem.

Hey everyone, I was able to get a few minutes with my voltmeter on the truck. I took the bulkhead connector off of the firewall and checked the ignition coil positive wire for resistance between the bulkhead connector and the distributor cap. Reading was 0.00. That one is fine. I reassembled the bulkhead connector and again checked VDC across the green tach wire and pink distributor wire. Reading was 8.50 VDC. So I checked the pink ign wire from the distributor cap against chassis ground ( alternator mounting bolt) and got a reading of 12.50. So it seems that there is voltage drop between the tach and my distributor. Unless I'm reading it wrong. Anyways I thought well maybe something is up with my tachometer. It's a sun-pro 3" tach that is band clamped to my steering column. I was tracing the ground wire for the tach, which is different than the signal wire from the coil. Low and behold, the tachometer ground wire that I had grounded to my dash with a cheap crimped ring terminal came right off with a slight pull of my fingers. So, I got excited thinking I finally found something that is legitimately wrong with my wiring setup and it may fix my issues. Well, not quite. The ground wire from the tach is only a ground for lighting up the face of the tach. The tach is nice and bright now at night. But still no change in the engine starting problem.

also, I recently noticed my stereo has intermittant popping coming through the speakers while music is playing. I have an aftermarket Kenwood deck that has no CD player built in and no antenna hooked up. I only use it to play music from my phone through bluetooth. I made sure it wasnt my phone by having someone else connect their phone and getting the same noises. Is it safe to assume there is a grounding issue somewhere causing the noises? Or is it something with my alternator back feeding into the system? I just installed a Powermaster 100-amp 1-wire 12SI Alternator about a month ago. Along with dual electric fans and harness to power and control them. The fans work great and have zero issues with them.
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Old 07-02-2020, 07:52 PM   #20
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Re: Engine starting problem.

Did this starting issue arise after the alternator / fan installation?
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Old 07-03-2020, 10:43 PM   #21
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Re: Engine starting problem.

Well I'm gonna cut to the chase. It turned out to be the starter solenoid. I picked one up from NAPA today. Pulling a starter and reinstalling it is not fun. Swapped out the solenoid. Truck fires right up now. I even let it idle for about 10 minutes Turn it off, turn the key, fires right up. Only time will tell if it really is fixed.

Thanks to everyone for the help and direction. Can't say how much this forum has helped me out over the years. Glad to be a part of it.


Have a happy 4th of July weekend everyone!
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Old Yesterday, 10:38 AM   #22
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Re: Engine starting problem.

It must be in the air...same thing happened to my truck mid-June, although I was driving at the time. Damn starter engaged when driving through an intersection, making a horrible grinding sound. I pulled over and tried to kill the ignition...no luck. I popped the hood and my brother quickly unscrewed the battery disconnect. Sorry I didn't chime in sooner...was offline. Anyway, I went ahead and replaced the whole starter with solenoid since I wasn't sure about its history - one of the few parts I reused on the build. While on the lift we checked the flexplate for any missing teeth. No issues since the starter swap. Also, it's another good reason to install a quick disconnect on the battery!
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Old Yesterday, 11:17 AM   #23
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Re: Engine starting problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tim_mc View Post
It must be in the air...same thing happened to my truck mid-June, although I was driving at the time. Damn starter engaged when driving through an intersection, making a horrible grinding sound. I pulled over and tried to kill the ignition...no luck. I popped the hood and my brother quickly unscrewed the battery disconnect. Sorry I didn't chime in sooner...was offline. Anyway, I went ahead and replaced the whole starter with solenoid since I wasn't sure about its history - one of the few parts I reused on the build. While on the lift we checked the flexplate for any missing teeth. No issues since the starter swap. Also, it's another good reason to install a quick disconnect on the battery!
Good call on the battery disconnect.
On a side note, where did you get that overflow bottle?
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Old Yesterday, 02:33 PM   #24
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Re: Engine starting problem.

The overflow tank is from an 85-93 Astro/Safari van...one of the MANY tips I got from this forum.
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Old Yesterday, 07:19 PM   #25
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Re: Engine starting problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tim_mc View Post
The overflow tank is from an 85-93 Astro/Safari van...one of the MANY tips I got from this forum.
Cool mod. Looks like you had to move the Terminal for the Fusable Link from the Fender. Where'd it go?
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