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Old 10-05-2016, 10:43 PM   #1
bd94s10
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79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

I'm pretty handy when it comes to working on cars and trucks. I'm trying to determine what my next course of action is here. Any help / advice is appreciated.

79 GMC crew cab 2 wheel drive dually I picked up in June has been doing fine. I noticed a starting issue from the day I got it. Every several cranks it wouldn't want to turn over. Keep trying it several times and blam, it would always fire over.

Since June I've done a good bit to the truck but I'll stick to the wiring for this post.

-starter checked and works fine
-ran new positive / negative from the red top Optima Battery (used a positive cable I had sitting from my 94 S-10 and purchased a new negative (which is ran to the starter bolt - which is where the org ground was at when I bought it)
-ran a new ground straps to the frame and cab
-Ran several misc wires such as from the battery to the junction block on the firewall

I moved the truck a few weeks back to work on it and all of a sudden it would not crank. Nothing I did worked. Did some investigating and realized I had a few more challenges. The junction block on the passenger side of the firewall was toast and the smaller cabler going to the starter was nasty so fixed both of those issues. Then proceeded to put on a new ignition switch just for the heck of it. Truck will not start.... so my buddy comes over and starts the truck under the hood w/ my new wiring setup. Truck cranks fine and much better than before.

The issue is no matter what I cannot get it to start from the key. So this past Monday I do more:

-Trace wires from my new junction studs and find a few potential suspect spots
-Cut, solder and re-wire a few small things
-Test light on the fuses and all seems well
-pull the fuse panel apart on the driver side firewall and peak inside and doesn't look too bad (could use some dielectric grease)
-Still nothing

My questions are:

-should i replace the neutral safety switch? or what is the best way to test it?
-what wire on the ignition switch should I look to test?

This truck runs great but... the previous owner did a few weird things w/ the wiring, which is ticking me off.

Pics:

Junction block that was toast



Smaller starter wire was not good



New setup includes 2 junction studs, which replaced the org junction block - please note there is one less wiring going to the right stud because when I put the new battery cable on it had the lead that went right to the back of the alternator. Previously, the owner ran a wire from the back of the alternator to the junction stud so that was eliminated with the re-wire I did.



Main fuse panel, which looked horrible when I first got into it but it has solid connections and dried up dielectric grease



Anyways, I appreciate the help. I'll be posting helping others and showing the progress on the truck. I've done a ton to it thus far including the rear Belltech shackles and hangers, window regulator (drivers side), door pins (driver side), swapped gauges, painted the gauge housing, installed LEDs for the gauges, had the air cleaner sand blasted and powder coated, built a wood housing for the free Alpine my buddy gave me, etc. Here are a few more pics:









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Old 10-13-2016, 01:53 PM   #2
bd94s10
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

So a few updates. Since I posted this thread I've changed a ton more stuff. I even got my hands on a new tilt steering column. For now, I'm going to run a push button starter (button from RonFrancisWiring.com). When the key is "on" I can push the hidden button and it will crank. I'll have the button tomorrow. I traced more wires etc. I'm thinking it is in the steering column although it makes no sense if I take out the ignition switch and click it to on it still does nothing so I could be wrong.

I also took the fuse panel apart and cleaned the heck out of it. It was NASTY from old dielectric grease. I used electronic cleaner and scrubbed it up as good as a could. I used the power probe on one of the male connectors in the panel and it tries to crank. Anyways, I'll be good w/ the push button until I get the steering column all rebuilt and installed. More pics below.

Pulled her up to the front of my shop to work under the hood:


Air cleaner pic:








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Old 10-13-2016, 03:11 PM   #3
Dead Parrot
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

Your won't start problem sounds like the last tooth on the sector gear is broken. Common problem on tilt columns. Could also be the ignition switch. Fixed mine with a start button.
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Old 10-13-2016, 04:22 PM   #4
bd94s10
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

Thanks. That is what I'm hearing. I found some good threads on the subject. Plus when I turn my key to the crank position it just stays there. It doesn't flip back like it should a tad. Good stuff. I'd the same and maybe I'll get this tilt column in sometime in the future and be back to factory.
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Old 10-13-2016, 06:56 PM   #5
Tiger Joe
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

Random question- are those the factory dually wheel covers?
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Old 10-13-2016, 10:17 PM   #6
bd94s10
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

I purchased them off a guy I find on Instagram with a kick ass 78 or 79 dually. It is my understanding these are the factory caps for these years. Here is one on eBay that org saw and it prompted me to want a set. I had never seen them prior.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1977-GMC-TRU...xWN16u&vxp=mtr
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Old 10-14-2016, 07:12 AM   #7
74CustomK20
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

If you can get it started with that button, i would leave it as a theft deterrent.
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Old 10-14-2016, 09:15 AM   #8
bd94s10
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

That is what my buddy was saying. He has a ton of FedEx trucks he he routinely puts a button in it to avoid the wiring mess and finding the issue. On top of that, to your point, the theft deterrent is an added bonus.
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Old 10-15-2016, 09:00 AM   #9
gmachinz
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

Ive been looking for a 73-80 GMC Dually like that for awhile with no luck.....cool looking truck!
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Old 10-15-2016, 09:03 AM   #10
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

Assuming that truck is wearing original paint, I wonder what the yellow overspray on the back of the cab is from....?
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Old 10-17-2016, 08:51 PM   #11
bd94s10
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

Thanks for the comment gmachinz. I was looking at that as well. I'm not an expert but my assumption is that was the original paint. Because the back of the cab is hidden from normal daylight my assumption is that is the OG color?
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Old 10-17-2016, 08:54 PM   #12
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

Also, thanks for the compliment. I've seen a few in the Tampa Bay Area on CLs but one is without a motor. I saw a 454 on CT area on CL and thought about picking up both before I found this one. I really like it but being able to drive this one home had me sold. Vs. having to tow a non running truck home and having a motor freighted to my home... Although I've had a motor shipped to me before (I'm a Lincoln Continental fan and had a 462 and C6 shipped to me, still connected, via a pallet LOL). But yeah, I'm def looking forward to doing a bit more work on this truck over the next year. Right now I just want to cruise it. I have too many projects taken apart lol.
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Old 10-17-2016, 09:01 PM   #13
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

Took the C30 out this past weekend to cruise with my son. Really enjoyed it. Found out the hard way (kind of) the fuel tank switch works. Upon heading home ran out of gas and pulled over. Flipped the switch and blam... the other fuel tank had gas in it. The fuel gauge does works I just hadn't filled up the passenger side tank. LOL.

With the push button it cranks effortlessly. One challenge is every few cranks it will still do nothing upon hitting the button. e.g. stopped to get gas. Filled up and went to crank it. Pushed the button 5-7 times with no turn over. Waited a couple of minutes and hit the button and blam, turns right over. Could this just be something in the starter going bad?

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Old 10-17-2016, 09:20 PM   #14
bd94s10
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

Here is a pretty nice one for a good deal. http://www.mautofied.com/1982-GMC-c3...ing/100687812/
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Old 10-24-2016, 06:09 PM   #15
bd94s10
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

This past weekend I cleaned out the toolbox that came with my truck. Got tons of free tools, parts, etc. in it. I took my son and nephew out to a new Portillos by the crib here in FL. Good times for sure. I'll be at SEMA all next week so I'll be plotting some new ideas for the truck.

I host an automotive podcast and will continue providing updates on the truck. Check it out sometime. Android: Google Play Music | iPhone: Pre-installed Podcast app | Web: http://ourlifestylepodcast.com ~ search Our Lifestyle Podcast.

My buddy came by last weekend in his Ford F-350. Couldn't resist a pic:


Pic of the gauge cluster after I finally reinstalled everything ~ notice the clock I installed from parts I had. It is the only gauge not working but couldn't resist:


I'm looking for a before pic of the toolbox but this was once I cleared everything out before I scrubbed it out and reinstalled it.
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Old 10-25-2016, 12:27 AM   #16
bilfman
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

I say the starter is getting hot, probably needs a heat shield, common Chevy issue.
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Old 10-25-2016, 09:51 PM   #17
bd94s10
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

Ok, appreciate it bilfman! I was thinking that had to be it. I'll take a look and add one for sure. Thanks for commenting! Nice avatar! My buddy just drove down from Canada to Florida and towed his single cab 70s dually to a truck show.
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Old 10-27-2016, 12:17 AM   #18
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

Thanx, I love these old things, pretty much an addiction.
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Old 10-27-2016, 07:44 PM   #19
bd94s10
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

Yeah man. Same. I'm actually into 60s Lincoln Continental cars.. but I've built mini trucks, full size trucks etc. I could not resist getting a square body dually. I almost converted my 08 into a dually. I drove from FL to WV to get dually bed for almost nothing. I was able to sell the dually bed and then buy my 79 crew cab 2 wheel drive. Looking forward to doing more in the near future.
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:58 PM   #20
bd94s10
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Re: 79 Crew Cab 2 Wheel Dually - Won't Crank by Key (Pics Included)

Update to all. Truck cranks fine with the push button as I stated below. The other issue I was having is the starter getting super hot. I found this company on eBay and they are local to me in the Tampa Bay area. I picked up the EZ Shield and after installing this on the starter... bam no more issues cranking after short/long drives. Can't go wrong with a $15 heat shield fix!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/252506893378...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
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