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1969 Chevelle SS
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good afternoon fellas, I've got a problem. The other day I was driving my 69 Chevelle for the first time. Started right up, drove perfectly. Parked it in my garage, and the next morning I tried to start her up and all I hear is click, click, click, for about 20-30 times, and no start to turn over. I am going to try to share a video of the problem, but as I kept trying to start it, the clicks got softer and softer until I heard nothing, which is where I am at today.

I replaced the starter and solenoid, but still got nothing. Replaced the ignition switch, still got nothing, I noticed I have a 136 car and not a true SS, although during its frame-off restoration, they converted it to an SS with all the specs and such. I have a th400 automatic transmission. I was thinking neutral safety switch because I have had those problems where I could start it in neutral and such, but noticed my safety switch was on top of the steering column and literally not a single cable or wire connected to it. From there I was stumped but it is beyond my knowledge on how that conversion goes.

I tested the battery although its new this morning, getting a solid 12.20 volts, and im also getting 11.89 volts to the alternator if that helps at all. I havent tested my solenoid cables yet but thats my next stop. My negative cable is grounded directly to the block and I cleaned the ends. I would love to know any direction on what to try next, but honeslty this one has stumped me.
 

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Watch the voltage of the battery when you turn the key and hear the "click, click, click".

I had a battery that would show good volts with no load - but as soon as you put a load on it (like trying to start the car) volts would drop to almost nothing.
 

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Check your battery voltage under load. Harbor Fright has a cheap load tester.

Reason I say this is several weeks ago I went to move my '60 F100 out of the shed to get another car out, truck started and ran fine. This truck basically gets used often in the summer, so it is not like it really sits for any extended time (in the winter it has Battery Tender on).

Anyway, moved it outside for about a day. Went to start it to put it away, and got the clickclickclick going on. I put a volt meter on the battery, and had right about 12 volts. So I figured a loose or corroded connection. Cleaned the solenoid and grounds, clicking got better, but no roll over of the engine. This went on for about (2) hours as every connection I cleaned the clickclick seemed to get better,, when my wife got home and I had her sit in the truck and try and start it while I had my volt meter on. Under crank the meter went to about 5 volts. So I grabbed my load tester (which I should have done at the very beginning) and found the battery completely done for. Just like that, the battery went bad fortunately right in my driveway.

I have never seen one fail like this, it was a 5 year old battery, was working great, then not. I kept seeing 12 volts across all the system, but cleaned every connection at hand, never occurred to me at that point to load test the battery, as it had never given me a lick of trouble. According to my battery guy, this does happen from time to time.
 

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1969 Chevelle SS
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You need to try jumping 12 volts to the starter solenoid's S terminal but you also need a fully charged battery for the test.
FYI; 69 Chevelles both SS and Non SS had 136 VINs
IF the neutral safety switch was the problem, there would be no click sound at all.
That's a good idea Dean.. I just jumped the s terminal and the starter worked perfectly, got full power from the battery. IN order to do that I removed the starter from the car and jumped it with the battery from the car. To me, is it logical to conclude that if the battery and starter are fully operational, either my cables to the solenoid from the battery are fried from the exhaust manifold, or it is something to do with the neutral safety switch? Also that's good info, didnt know they were 136 and 138.
 

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1969 Chevelle SS
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Check your battery voltage under load. Harbor Fright has a cheap load tester.

Reason I say this is several weeks ago I went to move my '60 F100 out of the shed to get another car out, truck started and ran fine. This truck basically gets used often in the summer, so it is not like it really sits for any extended time (in the winter it has Battery Tender on).

Anyway, moved it outside for about a day. Went to start it to put it away, and got the clickclickclick going on. I put a volt meter on the battery, and had right about 12 volts. So I figured a loose or corroded connection. Cleaned the solenoid and grounds, clicking got better, but no roll over of the engine. This went on for about (2) hours as every connection I cleaned the clickclick seemed to get better,, when my wife got home and I had her sit in the truck and try and start it while I had my volt meter on. Under crank the meter went to about 5 volts. So I grabbed my load tester (which I should have done at the very beginning) and found the battery completely done for. Just like that, the battery went bad fortunately right in my driveway.

I have never seen one fail like this, it was a 5 year old battery, was working great, then not. I kept seeing 12 volts across all the system, but cleaned every connection at hand, never occurred to me at that point to load test the battery, as it had never given me a lick of trouble. According to my battery guy, this does happen from time to time.

Ill check that out, the car was sitting for a little bit because it took about 3 weeks to ship the car from dallas to boulder colorado. That would make sense because im receiving a full 12 volts yet im not getting it to the solenoid itself. Thank you for this.
 

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That's a good idea Dean.. I just jumped the s terminal and the starter worked perfectly, got full power from the battery. IN order to do that I removed the starter from the car and jumped it with the battery from the car. To me, is it logical to conclude that if the battery and starter are fully operational, either my cables to the solenoid from the battery are fried from the exhaust manifold, or it is something to do with the neutral safety switch? Also that's good info, didnt know they were 136 and 138.
I had similar issue with my 66 you could jump it from s solenoid to bat pos terminal and it would fire up just fine. With the key I had 12.4 on teh purple wire in CRANK nothing maybe ONE click. Tried all the usual suspects, cleaned cables, ground, swapped solenoids checked bulkhead plugs cleaned and scuffed block to starter mounting pad correct knurlled starter bolts. Had an extra ignition switch swapped no change. 4spd so no neutral switch on 66. Pulled starter took it to cranky old man at rebuild shop bib overalls greasy wrench looks like father time or colonel sanders. Bench tested fine. Put it back in car same thing maybe one click no start. Long story short bought a NEW starter. Fires right up. Old starter right in the scrap yard pile.
 

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Check your voltage at the purple wire on the starter while you have someone turn the key.

If you have a horseshoe shifter in the console, your neutral safety switch is located on the shifter in the console. The back up light switch is part of the neutral safety switch too. Purple wires lead to the starter/ ignition switch/ neutral safety switch. A pink and a green wire lead to the backup light switch. You can pull the plug and jump the 2 purple wires to see if it will start. Make sure you are in park. Also, check the connections for corrosion. From the neutral safety switch, the purple wire leads to the bulkhead connector near the fusebox and out to the starter and purple with black tracer goes to the ignition switch.

Another thing to check is the fusible links. There should be one near the battery on the wire that goes to the rad support terminal. Check that connection for corrosion and tightness. There should be a fusible link near the horn relay that feeds power to the cab. The wire will start off the horn relay bussbar as black, go through the fusible link then change color to red and lead through the bulkhead connector into the cab. The fusible link may be just under the wire wrap below the horn relay. Is anything else in the car dead/without power?

My first thought was a dead or bad battery. I would charge it and have it checked at the auto parts store, or try to jump-start the car with another car and cables. Clean your cable ends and battery posts while you are there. Make sure the ground wire is connected to a clean metal point on your engine.


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Al gives a characteristically excellent and thourough reply!

IF you were to use a digital charger, you;d likely see the bat at 20% charge. 12 V but no potential. I would buy a charger that has a "trickle" option. But you may need a new bat; they dont last forever, 5 years.
 

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1969 Chevelle SS
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Check your voltage at the purple wire on the starter while you have someone turn the key.

If you have a horseshoe shifter in the console, your neutral safety switch is located on the shifter in the console. The back up light switch is part of the neutral safety switch too. Purple wires lead to the starter/ ignition switch/ neutral safety switch. A pink and a green wire lead to the backup light switch. You can pull the plug and jump the 2 purple wires to see if it will start. Make sure you are in park. Also, check the connections for corrosion. From the neutral safety switch, the purple wire leads to the bulkhead connector near the fusebox and out to the starter and purple with black tracer goes to the ignition switch.

Another thing to check is the fusible links. There should be one near the battery on the wire that goes to the rad support terminal. Check that connection for corrosion and tightness. There should be a fusible link near the horn relay that feeds power to the cab. The wire will start off the horn relay bussbar as black, go through the fusible link then change color to red and lead through the bulkhead connector into the cab. The fusible link may be just under the wire wrap below the horn relay. Is anything else in the car dead/without power?

My first thought was a dead or bad battery. I would charge it and have it checked at the auto parts store, or try to jump-start the car with another car and cables. Clean your cable ends and battery posts while you are there. Make sure the ground wire is connected to a clean metal point on your engine.


View attachment 697158 View attachment 697159 View attachment 697161

View attachment 697162
Check your voltage at the purple wire on the starter while you have someone turn the key.

If you have a horseshoe shifter in the console, your neutral safety switch is located on the shifter in the console. The back up light switch is part of the neutral safety switch too. Purple wires lead to the starter/ ignition switch/ neutral safety switch. A pink and a green wire lead to the backup light switch. You can pull the plug and jump the 2 purple wires to see if it will start. Make sure you are in park. Also, check the connections for corrosion. From the neutral safety switch, the purple wire leads to the bulkhead connector near the fusebox and out to the starter and purple with black tracer goes to the ignition switch.

Another thing to check is the fusible links. There should be one near the battery on the wire that goes to the rad support terminal. Check that connection for corrosion and tightness. There should be a fusible link near the horn relay that feeds power to the cab. The wire will start off the horn relay bussbar as black, go through the fusible link then change color to red and lead through the bulkhead connector into the cab. The fusible link may be just under the wire wrap below the horn relay. Is anything else in the car dead/without power?

My first thought was a dead or bad battery. I would charge it and have it checked at the auto parts store, or try to jump-start the car with another car and cables. Clean your cable ends and battery posts while you are there. Make sure the ground wire is connected to a clean metal point on your engine.


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Thank you this should help me a lot, I was lookin gat the solenoid cables on the starter and they do look fried so I I will be sure to possibly replace those. I have a new neutral safety switch coming in today so Im hoping it can point me in the right direction after I hook it up. I have the same horseshoe shifter in the picture. Is there a specific gauge wire needed to replace the solenoid cables for the yellow and purple wires? ill dive into the fusible links because I had no idea those existed hahaha. Thank you
 

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1969 Chevelle SS
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Check your voltage at the purple wire on the starter while you have someone turn the key.

If you have a horseshoe shifter in the console, your neutral safety switch is located on the shifter in the console. The back up light switch is part of the neutral safety switch too. Purple wires lead to the starter/ ignition switch/ neutral safety switch. A pink and a green wire lead to the backup light switch. You can pull the plug and jump the 2 purple wires to see if it will start. Make sure you are in park. Also, check the connections for corrosion. From the neutral safety switch, the purple wire leads to the bulkhead connector near the fusebox and out to the starter and purple with black tracer goes to the ignition switch.

Another thing to check is the fusible links. There should be one near the battery on the wire that goes to the rad support terminal. Check that connection for corrosion and tightness. There should be a fusible link near the horn relay that feeds power to the cab. The wire will start off the horn relay bussbar as black, go through the fusible link then change color to red and lead through the bulkhead connector into the cab. The fusible link may be just under the wire wrap below the horn relay. Is anything else in the car dead/without power?

My first thought was a dead or bad battery. I would charge it and have it checked at the auto parts store, or try to jump-start the car with another car and cables. Clean your cable ends and battery posts while you are there. Make sure the ground wire is connected to a clean metal point on your engine.


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Also, I have internal power with my lights on the dash, at the pedals, but my horn and key buzzer do not work at all. Does this mean anything? Battery and starter have checked out to be working perfectly along with the alternator. I'm thinking it has to be a corroded cable or something simple.
 

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1969 Chevelle SS
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Al gives a characteristically excellent and thourough reply!

IF you were to use a digital charger, you;d likely see the bat at 20% charge. 12 V but no potential. I would buy a charger that has a "trickle" option. But you may need a new bat; they dont last forever, 5 years.
Good thinking, only have a trickle charger but not a real deal digital battery charger, I should invest in that it.
 

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Yep here is my little resister with two strands of wire.. I pulled it all apart and ran a stranded #10 and soldered everything..
I did get rid of the over flow bottle, I was just testing running my 454 without a sealed cap, it works..


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