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Old 07-20-2010, 02:36 AM
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77 Buick Wagon - starter wires?/no power

1977 Buick Estate Wagon
350 Olds Engine

I was hoping to be posting up a video of my wagon making noise for you all, but it seems that my wagon has other plans...

First, I'm trying to figure out where all the wires go that connect to the starter. I know the positive wire from the battery runs directly to it's own terminal at the top of the starter. I also have a set of orange wires that go to a tiny ring terminal that I know goes to a tiny stud on the solenoid. My confusion comes when I get to two other orange wires (possibly darker orange than the ones that go to the solenoid). These wires both go to what I believe to be fusible links and the wires on the other side of the fusible links are black, and both wires go to a ring terminal. I initially hooked them to ground, but I'm having power issues, so I'm trying to make sure they're where they need to be. Also, I did do continuity checks on both fusible links, and I got a beep for both, so they shouldn't be blown. I did also do a continuity check from these wires to the oil pan and got a beep.

I'm also not getting any power to anything in the car. It did sit for a few weeks with the battery disconnected, so I'm going to try to jump it off my Blazer before I start asking a thousand questions on that (after I make sure my wiring is correct). I'm just curious that I might have developed a bad short somewhere when I was moving the engine around to install the passenger's side header because I'm noticing i'm getting continuity between the ground wire for the battery and the capped off nut on the back of the alternator (and the wires on the small stud on the starter solenoid).

I hope all this makes sense. It's 3:30am, I'm totally frazzled, and I'm trying to get this thing on the road ASAP. If anyone needs any clarification on anything, just let me know. A million thanks in advance to anyone with any ideas.

-jason

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Old 07-20-2010, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadlet_411
1977 Buick Estate Wagon
350 Olds Engine

I was hoping to be posting up a video of my wagon making noise for you all, but it seems that my wagon has other plans...

First, I'm trying to figure out where all the wires go that connect to the starter. I know the positive wire from the battery runs directly to it's own terminal at the top of the starter. I also have a set of orange wires that go to a tiny ring terminal that I know goes to a tiny stud on the solenoid. My confusion comes when I get to two other orange wires (possibly darker orange than the ones that go to the solenoid). These wires both go to what I believe to be fusible links and the wires on the other side of the fusible links are black, and both wires go to a ring terminal. I initially hooked them to ground, but I'm having power issues, so I'm trying to make sure they're where they need to be. Also, I did do continuity checks on both fusible links, and I got a beep for both, so they shouldn't be blown. I did also do a continuity check from these wires to the oil pan and got a beep.

I'm also not getting any power to anything in the car. It did sit for a few weeks with the battery disconnected, so I'm going to try to jump it off my Blazer before I start asking a thousand questions on that (after I make sure my wiring is correct). I'm just curious that I might have developed a bad short somewhere when I was moving the engine around to install the passenger's side header because I'm noticing i'm getting continuity between the ground wire for the battery and the capped off nut on the back of the alternator (and the wires on the small stud on the starter solenoid).

I hope all this makes sense. It's 3:30am, I'm totally frazzled, and I'm trying to get this thing on the road ASAP. If anyone needs any clarification on anything, just let me know. A million thanks in advance to anyone with any ideas.

-jason
The solenoid on the starter will have either two or three threaded terminals. The large terminal is obviously for the battery cable, but GM sometimes used this as a junction block as well. Any factory wires connecting to it will be red, but anything added by a previous owner is up for grabs. Usually wires with fusible links will go to this terminal. This is just a +12v source at all times.

The second terminal, which is present on all GM solenoids, is marked "S" (for start) and should only get the wire coming from the ignition switch that is hot with the key in the START position only. You can test the wires with a test light or voltmeter to find the one that is hot with the key in START only. This should be a purple wire.

The third terminal is labeled "R" and is not present on all GM solenoids. When used, this terminal provides +12v only when the key is in the START position. On older cars with points, this terminal was used to bypass the resistor wire and provide full battery voltage to the points for starting. The R terminal goes dead when the key is in the RUN position. This terminal may not be present on your starter, or it may not be used if it is present.
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Old 07-23-2010, 04:42 AM
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Thanks so much for your reply Joe. Got me steered in the right direction.

Here's my next thing...

I found out where my electrical problem was. It seems that I'm able to get continuity between the oil pan and the START terminal on the solenoid. Also, since I removed the wire from that terminal, I've been able to hook up those other wires with the fusible links to positive and actually get power to the rest of the car. I remember that terminal being a little loose when I initially pulled the starter. Possible that it spun around and something in there is now causing the short? I'm almost certain it's the solenoid that's causing me grief, but I'm considering swapping out the whole starter just so I know I have something that works...

-j
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadlet_411
I'm almost certain it's the solenoid that's causing me grief, but I'm considering swapping out the whole starter just so I know I have something that works...

-j
The terminals can come loose inside the solenoid end cap and/or the cap can crack - I just recently had this happen on one of my cars. You can either replace the solenoid by itself or the whole starter if you want.
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