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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I posted earlier about a starting problem that I thought I had resolved but now a wierd situation. I replaced the starter, the ignition switch, battery cables (2 gauge), and repaired/replaced some old wiring that goes from the iginition wires to the starter connections. I was still having problems and so I took the starter out and had it tested. It was fine and was told to take the small ground wire from the negative battery terminal off. Bang! The car started fine 15-16 times. Then I took a drive for 3 miles to a gas station to fill up and wah... wah... wah... No power to the starter. Not a heat soak issue because it would not start hours later. When I turn the key I hear a slight click from the starter and I noticed the ground from the positve terminal gets hot to the touch after I turn the ignition switch a few times.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated because I am at my wits end.

Mapleaf
1968 Chevelle SS 396/350 Muncie 4 sp.
 

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“… and was told to take the small ground wire from the negative battery terminal off. “

The small one to the right inside fender? Put that back on. Whoever said that doesn’t know what he is talking about.

“When I turn the key I hear a slight click from the starter and I noticed the ground from the positve terminal gets hot to the touch after I turn the ignition switch a few times.”

I assume you meant to type “noticed the WIRE from the positve terminal gets hot to the touch.

Is the large negative cable in good shape?
Is it screwed down to the block?
Is that connection free of paint and securely tightened down?
Can you jump it with a screwdriver on the solenoid when it’s acting up? Jumper between the large cable on the solenoid and the “S” terminal with the purple wire.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
When I refer to the ground wires I mean small leads attached to both positive and negative battery cables one going to the frame and one to the body. I disconnected this small ground wire that was connected to the neg. battery cable not the cable itself.

The large negative battery cable is brand new and is securely connected to the block at the alternator bracket as it was before I started having the starting problems.

I did try to jump start it with the screwdriver trick but when I did the starter just spun and didn't turn the engine over at all.

Mapleaf
1968 Chevelle SS 396/350 muncie 4 sp.
 

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On a standard car set-up to make a car start and run.

Off the negative post of the battery you need:
1, A large cable to the block.
2, A small wire to the inside right fender.

Off the positive post of the battery you need”
1, A large cable to the solenoid/starter.
2, A smaller wire to the junction block near the battery.

If the starter is just spinning with the screwdriver test, at minimum there’s a problem with the solenoid/starter. The gear on the starter should push out and engage with the flywheel.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I had the negative ground wire going to the bolt just left of the right side hood bumper with the large cable going to the block at the alt bracket and the positive ground going to a location behind the battery between the headlights on the right side (passenger side) and the main cable going to the starter. Should I relocate the positive and to where? I am using new 10 gauge wires for the grounds. Should I use smaller wires?

Once I am able to get it to turn over I will check the starter. When I originally installed the starter it didn't want to disengage the flywheel because I heard it whirring up and down with acceleration and deceleration. Maybe the spacer I put in there is too big and it is missing the flywheel. I don't know why it would seeing it was working perfectly earlier in the day. :mad:

Thanks for your responses,


Mapleaf
1968 Chevelle SS 396/350 Muncie 4 sp.
 

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“I had the negative ground wire going to the bolt just left of the right side hood bumper with the large cable going to the block at the alt bracket”

I’d move the negative cable up higher on the block. You have newer heads with threaded holes in the front of the head? I’d clean the paint off around the bolt hole and use an external tooth (star) lock washer to get it to bite and hold into the head. Down on the side of the block it’s subject to getting too much stuff dripped on it. Needs to stay clean and tight.

“and the positive ground going to a location behind the battery between the headlights on the right side (passenger side) and the main cable going to the starter. Should I relocate the positive and to where?”

No, that sounds right. There’s a small junction block hiding behind the battery.

I am using new 10 gauge wires for the grounds. Should I use smaller wires?

No.

“Once I am able to get it to turn over I will check the starter. When I originally installed the starter it didn't want to disengage the flywheel because I heard it whirring up and down with acceleration and deceleration. Maybe the spacer I put in there is too big and it is missing the flywheel. I don't know why it would seeing it was working perfectly earlier in the day.”

From your description, it sounds like the starter motor is spinning but the starter gear isn’t being pushed into the flywheel. If the starter makes a spinning sound, when you do the screwdriver test, I’d look to see if the starter gear is being pushed into position. A remote starting switch is easier to use that a screwdriver. Too hard to look at the gear and watch the screwdriver at the same time. Might want to pull the coil wire so the engine doesn’t fire when you are under it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all of your replies and help John.
I hope I can narrow it down here in the next day or so. I will make sure to post my results when I figure it out.

Not to be a pest but I have one more question. Is there a specific reason why the postive ground wire was getting pretty hot to the touch when I was turning the key at the ignition a couple of times? Is it due to the fact I disconnected the negative ground?

Thanks again,

Mapleaf
1968 Chevelle SS 396/350 Muncie 4 sp.
 

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“Is there a specific reason why the postive ground wire was getting pretty hot to the touch when I was turning the key at the ignition a couple of times? Is it due to the fact I disconnected the negative ground?”

Cable will get warm as you crank the starter. If it’s getting hotter than expected possible reasons can be:
Positive cable too small.
Solenoid/starter drawing too much current. :Shorted, motor shaft stuck or being held.
 

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The small positive wire really isn't a ground. It is the power feed to all the electrics inside the car.

When you jumpered it you jumpered from the big top post on the solenoid where the +ve cable connects and the small inside post where the purple wire connects? You don't jumper between the 2 big posts. The only way to run the motor without engaging the gear on a good starter is to jump the 2 big posts. Read into this that if you jumpered the posts as I described the starter has a problem.

Some things to consider;

The alternator bracket can be making a poor connection to the block. So, no matter how much you check the connection of the wire to the bracket you may not get a good ground.

Similarily, the starter may not be making a real good connection to the block. Make sure the bolts and the threaded holes are clean and then make sure there's no paint where the bolts heads hit on the starter.

The solenoid draws a lot of current if it doesn't engage. This can warm up 10 guage wires and the connections a bit if you hold the key on. But, if it's getting more than just a little warm you've got a bad connection there. However, I believe the first piece of wire from the battery to the junction block is a fusible link which is a smaller guage of wire so it will get hotter than the rest. If in doubt, you can TEMPORARILY replace it with a piece of 10 guage wire. I say temporarily because you will be removing the protection of the link so you should put in a new link if this fixes the problem.

Finally, the starter may actually be bad. It's really hard to fully bench test a starter because you're not loading the thing. You may have got a bad starter when you purchased it. This seems to becoming more common these days with the big parts stores because they pay didly squat to the rebuilders. Go after this as a last resort.

Peter
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Update: Whooo, Hoooo! :D Last night I removed everything. The battery cables, ground wires, and battery. I cleaned up the connection at the block using some steel wool for the negative battery cable and the bolt connecting it. I replaced the positive feed wire and routed it to the same junction behind the battery and replaced the negative ground and connected it to the bolt to the left of the hood bumper next to the battery. Then I put the cables on and put them down as flush to the battery terminals as possible.
Result: Car is starting great and after taking a few drives in it last night it is still starting up.

I did put a heat shield on the starter last night as well just to help avoid any future heat soak problems. (At least I hope it will)
Thanks so much for your help John and thanks for the reply Peter.
I think that cleaning up the connection at the block for the negative cable and replacing the positive feed did the trick.

Gotta love this forum!

Mapleaf
1968 Chevelle SS 396/350 Muncie 4 sp.
 
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