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well, i am new at the muscle car thing, but i purchaced a 68 chevelle ss clone with a 350 from a 69 impala. the problem started last winter, when the friend i bought it from tried to start it when it was seriously cold out (-34). now, when i first start it, it starts smooth, no problem. after it runs for a few minutes, i turn it off and try to start it again and the starter motor stalls, and doesn't have enough ass to turn it over (makes awful chattering noises in the attempt). i have replaced :
-the starter
-the heavy cable from the battery to the starter
-the wire to the s terminal
-and the 12 gauge wire to the same bolt as the large wire
the battery is a new, 750 amp battery. is this not enough? the compression is 10:1. i have also replaced the ignition switch. two of the wires in the harness that plugs into the ignition switch have some heat damage, the "acc" and the "batt" wires. i am at a loss. the ignition is an accel electronic ignition. is there supposed to be a wire to the r terminal? it there supposed to be a wire in addition to the heavy cable on the same post? i am an electrical tech, but am unfamiliar with car electrical systems. please help me out, i am seriously in a bind here. thanks all
 

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Don't believe with that brand of electronic ignition you need a wire on the "R" terminal any longer. The line is an output from the srarter to the coil, so it won't help your starting problem. Can't here what noise the starter is making. I'll assume it just has a hard time turning over. You tried everything on the positive side of the circuit. Try checking your grounds. Mainly the one where the negative cable screws on the engine. Starter does have the rear support in place?
 

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I see no mention that you replaced the ground wire (the big one) that leads from the battery (-) to the engine. I would highly suggest that now, even if it isn't the culprit.

There are (3) terminals on a stock starter. "B" -- this is where the big wire to the (+) battery terminal goes. "R" --this was used with the stock points/coil set up. This terminal is only live with +12 volts during cranking to aid start-up on the old points ignition systems. This "R" is connected via a regular wire to the coil (+). With your ignition, you shouldn't need it though.

Most important, the "S" terminal. This is where the purple 12 guage wire goes to. This comes from the ignition switch, it provides the +12 volts to engage the solenoid making the starter run when you crank the engine.

There should be NO other wires connected to any other spots--i.e. "no shared" terminals. If you don't have what I have described above, re-do the wiring as someone has altered some things. If you have a wire sharing the starter terminal "B" (the one with the fat (+) wire, this means the wire connected will ALWAYS have an unfused "always hot" 12 volts. This could be a real bad thing depending on what it is connected to.

Now, I'm not familiar with a lot of the aftermarket ignitions (there's just so many, and I'm a points man myself,) but you need to determine if your ignition needs a good 12 volts at all time. In the stock form, the the other wire(besides the R wire )connecting to the (+) side of the coil is a special resistive wire that drops voltage from the ignition circuit to provide current limiting to the points/coil. If this wire is used to provide a current path to your ignition system, it will create a voltage drop--many modern units don't like this, they need a full 12 volts to run. If that is your case, you need to run the appropriate sized wire to the "IGN" terminal in your fuse box to the ignition module, cap, or whatever you have.

Hope that helps


[This message has been edited by Coppertop (edited 05-10-2001).]
 

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If you have a voltmeter, check the voltage at the batt terminal at the starter during cranking and also on the fat purple one. this would tell you if you are losing signal somewhere. If you are not, then it is time to change the starter. Also check the voltage across the battery terminals during cranking. Low voltage here will tell you if you have a) huge current draw by the starter or b) a new but inadequate battery. I once fought a starter problem and had a new but defective battery that I "knew" was good.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks everyone!

well, i checked, and the wire that shares the b termanal is the yellow wire. why this is, i don't know. i will remove it, and see how this change affects the system. as for further information, the battery is grounded to the frame, right next to the battery. this is also a good cable. can anyone tell me why the gear on the starter would slip once the engine was hot, but not slip when it is cool? the gear is showing damage to the teeth (very light, for aprox. 3/8"). it is a result of the "chattering" noise it makes when I try to start it hot. is it possible that this yellow wire is backfeeding through the switch, causing the selenoid and or starter to not to function properly? thanks again for your help, you all have been the most helpful in diagnosing the problem.
 

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"the battery is grounded to the frame, right next to the battery. this is also a good cable."
Coppertop was telling you to check the ground conection to the engine, the big ground terminal.
My old story is I once changed out a starter only to find out the engine ground was loose. One wasted Sunday night in the dark.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
sorry about that. not knowing what i was doing, hooked the heavy cable to the frame. i will return it to its original position. me not bright. what gauge wire should i have for the ground to the frame?
 

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The main (big) ground needs to go to the engine itself. Find a bolt on the block! The frame is no good! Why? Because the motor sits on rubber mounts, it is electrically "isolated" from the frame. The engine is drawing the massive starter current from the frame thru who knows what?!! Usually the ground straps that link the engine to the firewall (the copper straps bolted to the rear valve cover hold-down bolts) are what take the abuse. This is not good. The engine needs to see a good ground, that starter draws a lot of current and needs to see the battery (-) via the large wire. Lots of strange starting problems are caused by poor grounds--especially the main large ground.

As for the yellow wire sharing the "B" terminal, sounds like someone did this as a way to utilize this convenient wire to provide a full +12 volts to the aftermarket ignition. As I said before though, that is a bad idea, as the "B" is ALWAYS "on".
 

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Sorry 'bout that, you beat me posting, my above post appeared after you posted.

I would do this: battery (-) terminal, 3 wires off of it, one massive one (4 guage was used) to the engine block. Another one should go right to the passenger fender (the factory should have a bolt there right next to the battery) this provides a body ground. Use no smaller than a 12 guage wire. Finally, (the factory didn't do this, but it can't hurt to ensure problem free electrics) is run another 12 guage wire to the frame itself right below the battery. Now the engine, body, and frame will all be in "unity" with a main chassis ground for electrical current draws.
 

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Very good advice on the battery ground cable. If that still does not correct the problem, check your timing. You say it sounds fine when cold so I am assuming your problem only happens when engine is warm. Compression increases some as the engine warms up. If you have too much timing advance it may want to kick back and grind your starter gear.
 
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