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Old 08-21-2005, 03:19 PM
Jacks 1977 Corvette
 
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ELECTRICAL or Starter PROBLEMS?

I think I posted this first in the wrong catagory. [Engine Moderator]You may remove that one if you wish.

When I got home from the Bret Corvette show yesterday, I parked in front of the Apt in the fire zone to unload my stuff because my garage is a block away... I come out 10 minutes later to put her away and she won't start Nothing, starter won't click or engine won't turn over, but the battery shows power on the amp gauge in the dash and jump starting is nada nothing. Lights work too. I even waited an hour in case the starter was too hot. Had to have two guys help me push it a block to my garage.

Just maybe it's an easy fix, but I doubt it... no such thing as an easy fix. I wanted to see what you guys had for suggestions as electical stuff is NOT my fort.


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Old 08-21-2005, 06:21 PM
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No start

Doc here

Go to the starter solenoid, there will be a terminal marked "S" and an 18 gauge (probably tan in color) Wire attached to it..Remove that wire.

Get a volt meter, (if you don;t have one a 12 volt test light will work) Set your meter for 12 volt or higher (auto range) and put the red probe on the wire, the black probe on the engine block ground, have some one turn the key to start..the meter should go from 000 to 12 volts and back to 000 when the key is released, (in the case of the test light, it should go on , in start off in run..)If so, the wire, switch and fuse links are all good..

Next get a remote starter (or a screwdriver ..I didn't say that..nope not me..) and jumper CAREFULLY (1000 cold crank amps here..Don't hit ground) between the "s" terminal on the solenoid and the big bolt / Cable on the solenoid AND prepare yourself for a BIG spark..it will happen..If the engine does not turn over, you have a bad solenoid..If it goes "Click" and won't turn the starter is bad..or Stuck..

Before you pull it..you can try, (If it's a 4 speed) KEY OFF, 3 gear, rock the car back and forth several times moving the engine a bit back and forth each time, Or if automatic, use a socket and BB on the balancer back and forth..Then try again..If it works, your starter / Drive is hanging up..adjust accordingly.

On the solenoid, on either I'd just replace as a unit for a time factor..no new solenoid, on an old starter visa versa..

Doc
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Old 08-21-2005, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docvette
Doc here

Go to the starter solenoid, there will be a terminal marked "S" and an 18 gauge (probably tan in color) Wire attached to it..Remove that wire.

Doc
Hey Doc, is that a white shark you have as your sig?

On the starter sloenoid, I can't see down there which one is the "S" terminal. Is it the top one or bottom one?

I haven't done the test yet as this was the first one you mentioned...

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Old 08-21-2005, 06:51 PM
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Its the one closest to the block. Go from the big cable to the small one to the inside.

As Doc said this is HOT so try not to touch ground. This should bump the starter.
Rich
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Old 08-21-2005, 07:19 PM
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Shark

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacks77
Hey Doc, is that a white shark you have as your sig?

On the starter sloenoid, I can't see down there which one is the "S" terminal. Is it the top one or bottom one?

I haven't done the test yet as this was the first one you mentioned...


Doc here,

Wish it was..

Just an Evil possessed Coupe...Understudy for Christine "The Movie"

Yeah, what Rich said..on the locations of those wires , On All my Vettes there is Plenty of room IF you jack it up and do it from the bottom..Just be ready for the Big Spark..so you don't bump your head..

BTW .. the definition of a Remote starter is subjective, I advocate one made by snap on with 2 wire and a button...MOST guy's use one made by globe-master..and comes in flat or cross point tip...But .. again... I didn't tell ya that...

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Old 08-21-2005, 11:15 PM
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new starter ?

Docvette is spot on! Unfortunately, I am not a corvette specialist/owner, but with my limited experience I would try it alittle differently. First, does the car make any noise when turning the key? i.e. a clicking from the engine compartment? If not, then I summize a bad starter/solenoid. If you can see the elctrical connections easily from underneath, it should be easy to remove the starter. Most of my starters have been by feel only. I would pull the starter and have it tested at one of the parts stores. That is probably the problem. If the starter checks out fine, reinstall it and come back and cuss me.

If there is a click, when turning the key, get out your screwdriver! ;-)

Good Luck,
Scott
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Old 08-22-2005, 06:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pimpin72
Docvette is spot on! Unfortunately, I am not a corvette specialist/owner, but with my limited experience I would try it alittle differently. First, does the car make any noise when turning the key? i.e. a clicking from the engine compartment? If not, then I summize a bad starter/solenoid. If you can see the elctrical connections easily from underneath, it should be easy to remove the starter. Most of my starters have been by feel only. I would pull the starter and have it tested at one of the parts stores. That is probably the problem. If the starter checks out fine, reinstall it and come back and cuss me.

If there is a click, when turning the key, get out your screwdriver! ;-)

Good Luck,
Scott
Scott, you are one ambitious dude I sure would not want to go to the work of pulling a starter to see if I had a bad ignition switch, neutral saftey switch or wire.

If he jumps the starter across with a screwdriver as Doc said and it turns over, the starter is fine. If not, the starter/solenoid is bad and diagnosis is over. That simple.

He said "no click" so I would bet its neatral safety switch, ignition switch, wiring and possibly solenoid. Its much easier to check to see if you have voltage to the starter or bump starting it than pulling a starter.

Rich
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Old 08-22-2005, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pimpin72
First, does the car make any noise when turning the key? i.e. a clicking from the engine compartment? If not, then I summize a bad starter/solenoid.

If there is a click, when turning the key, get out your screwdriver! ;-)

Good Luck,
Scott
When I turn the key, the buzzer sounds and when I turn the key all the way to start it, I hear one click, (no string of clicking sounds, just one click) when I turn the key off, I hear the same click? The lights work fine, the amp console gauge works.

Also, I tested the battery with my gauge, it showed up in the good (green) area, plus wouldn't start with a jump either. I had the battery checked at B&B's when we had the last problem and it was good then too.

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Old 08-22-2005, 11:52 AM
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If the car clicks its not the ignition or neutral safety switch. The magnetic coil winding in the solenoid is ok too. I would guess its the connector in the solenoid. They get burnt pretty bad after a while.
Do as doc told you. This will tell you if its solenoid or starter motor.
One way or another the starter has to come off. Remove the solenoid and take it apart. The connector is in the front of the solenoid, its copper and is about the size of a 50 cent piece. It probably looks like someone took an arc welder to it.

Against Doc's advice, buying a new solenoid is 1/4 of the price of a complete starter. For an additional 2 bucks you can replace the brushes while your at it. I did mine and it has been spinning for the past 2 years.

PS; I have a 79 Vette with only one small solenoid prong. The wire on mine is purple.
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Old 08-22-2005, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacks77
When I turn the key, the buzzer sounds and when I turn the key all the way to start it, I hear one click, (no string of clicking sounds, just one click) when I turn the key off, I hear the same click? The lights work fine, the amp console gauge works.
It still comes back to what Doc said in the first place.

Bump start it and see if it goes.

I have to disagree with bracketeer. A "click" at the solenoid does not rule out ignition swith, neutral safety or bad wiring. If you have a bad connection or faulty component that is not passing current properly the solenoid WILL click and do nothing else. It tries to pull the solenoid and wont fully engage. I am not saying its not the solenoid, I am just saying hearing a click does not rule anything out.



Rich
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Old 08-22-2005, 05:23 PM
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Testing

Doc here,

Ok, had to re read all the new posts twice..to get what everyone was saying..


=========================
Rich:

Yes bumpstart is the simplest way to
test and rule out components, and If you go back and re~read what Bracketeer Said, He is correct, but It took me 3 re~reads to understand what he was relating..(I don't function well first post of the day.. )

If you get a Solenoid Click all the way to the "S" terminal that circuit is gold..from the ignition switch to the neutral safety to the solenoid..The Solenoid is just replacing a meter or test light..

The Contact Shoe inside the Solenoid Can be bad, pitted and not transferring power to the motor from the battery bolt, but the energize line is like all good!


==========================
Bracketeer:

Buying a new solenoid, and while your in there Re~brushing it is as good as going new, However get the Kit which involves new Bearings, lock rings and a starter drive. Burnish the armature with an Emery Cloth and using a box knife clean out the space between the pickup pads of debris..Install your new drive, and if the windings are still stout, you'll have a starter that will last many years for 1/2 the price..


=======================
Jack:

Are you sure you are hearing the Solenoid Click when you hit the Key and not some other relay(s)..The starter will give a stout healthy DEEP "Clunk" when it engages..a relay will sound similar but higher toned..(and all engaged relays EXCEPT the Solenoid will drop out in "Start" on the Key")Have someone listen to be sure..

==========================
Pimpin72:

You Must not have a Vette if you advocate pulling parts...just cuz...Depending on the year/Model/header system and gear train you can spend the better part of a your weekend on your back just trying to get one in and out and all the associated parts removed and replaced from the area surround..AND just shotgunning a Vette Can really put a damper on our budget..BIGTIME..Parts are GM dealer base price X3 at NAPA cuz they say Vette..

I DO NOT advocate pulling parts at all to test, for several reasons, one your problem may or may not exist in that circuit at all..Two, your likely to Cause more problems than you started with..(35 year old connectors falling apart..)and 3 the item may test good and the root cause was an intermittent in that circuit, that now through movement Seems to have gone away..(To resurface when you least need it to happen)AND in the case of a GM starter, you run the folley of Shim and alignment malady's..(that you wouldn't need to be doing had you not pulled it in the first place..)

================================================== ===


To TEST any starter on the vehicle, The Best way is to secure a remote start switch, Test light or DMM, and if you have to work on it alone, a 12 volt door bell or buzzer..or the Car horn ( at the horn terminal)

Hook up your remote starter, (Snap on two wire and button.. Or Globmaster standard slotted..I didn't say that.. ) To your Main (the Big Bolt) Battery bolt on the solenoid..Hook the other end (or touch using your globe-master standard slotted..I didn't say that... )To the terminal DIRECTLY Below the big bolt..It should be a short stub with no wires on it..at 6 O'clock..The Starter motor should wind up about 5000 (or sound like it) RPMS..with no other effects..If this occurs..the motor itself is good...

Next move your remote starter over to the "S" terminal located about 3 O'clock on the solenoid..and engage, The starter SHOULD engage the starter drive, AND spin the starter motor up..Turning the engine ET&AL over..If it does that it's all good...If not..

Starter clicks but no turn: The motor may be bad..refer to the first procedure at 12 & 6 O'clock..If That turns..

The Starter Drive may be hung up or frozen on the motor shaft..not allowing the starter drive to engage..or more commonly withdraw from the flywheel..locking the starter motor up..

The Plunger on the Solenoid may be pitted or dirty and not moving inside the solenoid..

Loose, Ill fitting, or nonexistent, Grounding system At or near the starter. (<--READ Major Issue)

Brushes or windings may be at runout

Bearings bad or locking up.

If solenoid and Starter works manually, Then go to the Circuits on the car..

Does the car have power everywhere else? If not check fuse links at the Main starter Bolt..

Do you have a Solenoid Engage Line ( The "S" wire) ?? To test, put a meter on the wire set for autorange or 12 vdc or higher..and have someone turn the key on to "Start"..

When it hits "Start the meter SHOULD jump to 12 volts..and 000 when released to run.If you DON"T have a meter, you CAN use a 12 volt test light..in place of it..AND IF you are alone..you can use a 12 volt doorbell or 12 volt buzzer or the Car horn for an audible while your in the car turning the key..

If your not getting that line..back track to the Ignition source itself, a good spot to check is the HEI power..If that's good, you have an open Solenoid Wire ("S") between the switch NS switch, Clutch Switch, and starter) If it's bad at both spots..again look for a SINGLE fuse link on the Ignition line..you will find 3 usually and the Ignition link alone may have failed.Then removing power, in Ohms, R x 1 Scale with transmission in neutral ohm the "S" wire back to (but notin ) the ignition switch..It should read 000 ohms.

If you get a click but no motor wind up, do the above procedure between the big bolt and bottom bolt..If motor does not wind up, or winds up slowly, you have a bad motor..If it does, ..and clicks only in start..you have a bad solenoid contact shoe..

If the starter won't function after those in car tests..THEN and only then do you want to pull and test/replace it ..

Doc.
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Last edited by docvette; 08-22-2005 at 05:33 PM. Reason: Well..Duh....
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Old 08-22-2005, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docvette
Rich:

Yes bumpstart is the simplest way to
test and rule out components, and If you go back and re~read what Bracketeer Said, He is correct, but It took me 3 re~reads to understand what he was relating..(I don't function well first post of the day.. )

If you get a Solenoid Click all the way to the "S" terminal that circuit is gold..from the ignition switch to the neutral safety to the solenoid..The Solenoid is just replacing a meter or test light..
I sure we could get to the bumpstart

I still think there is a chance that it could be a bad connection upstream. I have seen a bad purple wire "S" connection where it did just that on more than one occasion.
The solenoid tries to engage and drops out or does not pull in all the way to engage the motor contact.

So bump start the thing !!!

Rich
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Old 08-22-2005, 06:08 PM
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People I must agree to all of the above when it comes to testing. It is better to find the problem than to just start replacing parts.
With that said, the first thing to check is the connections at the battery. I had this problem on my GMC Sprint. The positive terminal was not making a good conection and would allow the starter to "clunk" but not crank over. All other electrical systems worked but was not able to crank the engine. So clean the terminals and see what happens.

Scholman
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Old 08-22-2005, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
The connector is in the front of the solenoid, its copper and is about the size of a 50 cent piece.
Quote:
The Contact Shoe inside the Solenoid Can be bad, pitted and not transferring power to the motor from the battery bolt, but the energize line is like all good!
Sorry Doc,didn't mean to make you read it 3 times. I didn't know what it was called.

The picture shows the car with headers. It will be easier to bump the starter from above. Just wrap some electrical tape around a cheap screw driver so you don't arc against the header.
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Old 08-22-2005, 07:40 PM
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I didn't catch the headers. YEP, easier from the top
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