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Old 07-24-2011, 07:27 AM
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Ford solenoid for a Chev starter

3 of my cruise buddies have a Ford solenoid mounted on the fender splash panel to help the starter. They all have block hugger headers the same as mine. The down pipe is really close and the starters get pretty warm. I have a coated exhaust system and use header wrap but it still gets pretty hot.

All these guys have many more miles than I have and have been stranded with a no start when hot. They claim this is the solution.

My starter is 3 yr old and 15k miles now and is getting real owly when hot. I could just replace it but I'd really like to get to the root problem. I looked at their installs but they have covered wires similar to mine so I'm not sure how they are hooked up.

Rather than spend a lot of time guessing I'm asking for a wiring diagram.

Also why does this work? You still need the solenoid to pull the gear into the flywheel, plus you still have a hot starter motor. The remote solenoid could provide the heavy contacts for the motor itself but the connections are vague. All 3 of these guys had the work done at a local hotrod shop so they don't have a clue about the hook up other than it seems bulletproof.

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Old 07-24-2011, 07:59 AM
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http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=206882
http://www.madelectrical.com/catalog/st-1.shtml
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:06 AM
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Ford relay

I have never figured out what advantage a Ford "relay" gives to starting a GM engine. You still must have a GM solenoid to operate the starter even with a Ford relay. The Ford relay does not remove any heat away from the GM starter and solenoid. The Ford unit is not a starter solenoid, it is a starter relay. A solenoid converts electrical energy to a mechanical operation.

The root problem of hard starting due to heat soak is the old rebuilt GM starters and questionable batteries that people use. High compression engines must have a good starter and a strong battery with a high CCA rating. The problem si that GM starters have been rebuilt to death. That is why new mini-starters were introduced about ten years ago.

Do not install a rebuilt starter. Armatures can only be rebuilt a few times and then they must be replaced. New starter armatures with a new commutator have been discontinued for a long time. You should rebuild your starter using a new high-torque armature, if you can find a new high-torque armature, or buy a new mini-starter. . I rebuilt my 1963 Pontiac GM high-torque starter on my 421 HO engine using a new high-torque armature that I found at a swap meet and I never had any starting problems. The GM high performance engines from 1962 - up were equipped with high-torque starters and all 1973 - up GM engines were equipped with high-torque versions. I had massive 1963 Pontiac 421 HO "long branch" cast iron exhaust manifolds on my 1963 Catalina which wrapped around the starter. Those cast iron maniolds held heat for at least an hour after the engine was shut off and I never had any starting problems after I personally rebuilt the starter.

Don't blame hard starting on the close proximity of tubular headers. That is a myth. Tubluar headers disapate heat faster than stock cast iron exhaust manifolds. You can touch a tubluar header in just a few minutes after the engine is shut off. Just try that with a stock cast iron exhaust manifold. Cast iron exhaust manifolds draw heat out of the heads , acting as a heat sink for at least an hour after the engine is shut off.

Don't install a Ford relay. You should install a new high-torque mini-starter if you want to solve hard starting problems. Yes, a new starter is more expensive than a Ford relay but a new starter is not a band aid for a hard starting problem.

Last edited by MouseFink; 07-24-2011 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MouseFink
...... You should install a new high-torque mini-starter if you want to solve hard starting problems. Yes, a new starter is more expensive than a Ford relay but a new starter is not a band aid for a hard starting problem.
Many of the "mini" starters (Powermaster is a good example) have clockable solenoids that will allow you to move the solenoid away from the heat source.

That said, there is no need for a Ford solenoid in your situation. Like MouseFink said it will not solve your problem. I use one in my deuce (Mopar powered) but the battery is in the trunk and I use it to keep the main feed line from the trunk to the starter de-energized at all times unless I'm cranking the engine. (Just a safety device I like to use on a glass bodied car.)

Get a mini starter and that will solve your problem permanently.

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Old 07-24-2011, 11:55 AM
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When I worked at CHEVROLET, back in 88 or so, we were installing Ford style solenoids on motorhomes and "P" chassis trucks.
Reason being ...heat affects magnetism and diminishes the capability of the solenoid to pull in, so by using the ford solenoid hooked straight to the battery, it supplied a little more voltage,on the purple wire, usually enough to overcome the weaker magnetic field from the excess heat in the region.
Basically you hook the original purple to the ford solenoid, then one big terminal to B+, and the other to the original spot the purple wire was at, on the starter.
Seems there was a pretty good loss of voltage through the wiring, it would become apparent when the starter heat soaked.
This wont help with a starter that is dragging, only on one that wont engage when hot.
Headers may get rid of heat real good, but the starter is a sponge for heat, at least the OEM starters are.

Last edited by latech; 07-24-2011 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:52 PM
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Great info. I made a post earlier but lost it when the comp disconnected from the wireless.

So as I suspected the Ford solenoid is nothing but a relay jump starting another relay. no magic there. No logic either...slight bit of magnetism excepted. All in all...hocus pocus.

First I have a massive new battery the same size as one of the 2 in my 1 ton Dodge diesel truck. I don't recall the cc but it is lots and it's heavy. It's mounted right behind the pass seat and has "O" cables. The chassis, motor , trans, heads and manifold are all grounded in multiple locations. This is a "plastic" car so I'm well aware of grounding issues.

This is not a high comp motor...8.5 but it does have a 6-71 blower. It gets tight when it gets hot untill it cools off to around 180. Normal operating temp is 200-210. This motor runs extremely well. I get 14-16 mpg cruising. I just came back from vacation 650 miles and got 15.1 which included some hotrodding on the back roads.

The headers are jet hot coated and partially wrapped where necessary. Believe me they still get hot and soak heat away from the motor when it is not running. They still stay hot enough to toast skin for a a good 1/2 hour after shut down. Everything gets hot under the hood even the frame as there just isn't a lot of room under the Willys hood. I have a number of deflectors and baffles which do help.

This is a rebuilt starter supposedly heavy duty. I did pay a premium price for it. I also carefully set the tooth clearance and the contact pattern on the flexplate look ok. It doesn't grind or growl when turning over.

I have also got the timing and carbs dialed in so it is not kicking back against the starter. It's difficult to check the header temp with them coated now but they used to be just lightly red at night. They check over 500F when measuring from highway speed.

I had not considered that there are no new ones of these so that is good to know. The bearing cover is only 1//4 in away from the 3 in down pipe and gets very hot even with the pipe heavily wrapped. I suspect that the guts of the starter are starting to deteriorate after 3 years and 15k miles. The starter does turn the motor over easily when cold. It usually start in less than 1 rev even hot...basically if it will turn it will start. It's just getting harder to turn over when hot. When my truck does this the contacts are shot. I carry a spar set of heavy duty contacts just in case for it. The car starter may be doing the same thing. I'll pull it out this week and check.

The mini starter is undoubtedly the answer so I'll look into them too. There are already many choices so I guess larger is better. It should be easier to shield too.
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Old 07-24-2011, 04:38 PM
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This link explains what the Ford type Solenoid does>> http://www.madelectrical.com/catalog/st-1.shtml
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Old 07-24-2011, 05:03 PM
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Step one explains exactly why GM did this 20 plus years ago.
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Old 07-25-2011, 11:42 AM
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Thanks again for the "Mad" link. I read over the whole thing....again.

Everything in step 1 have been long since addressed. Big battery cables, short wires of larger gage, overall wire insulation and starter itself insulation.

Step 2. "(2) SLOW CRANKING, a gr-r-runt, gr-r-runt. This kit won't fix it! You'll need to work with ignition timing, battery cables, the starter, and the rest of the system. "

The bold part says it all. This Ford solenoid is a patch that is band-aid that really doesn't address the problem. A mini start would probably do the same thing if it had too small of battery cable and poor connection wiring.

My starter system has worked perfectly since originally installed. Just lately it has begun the 'gr-r-runt'. obviously (to Me) it is showing its age....a bit premature I think.

I've gone all over the timing, battery cables and the rest of the system. Just not the starter itself.

thanks again for the insite
I like this group
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Old 07-25-2011, 04:56 PM
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If you have a vacuum advance on your dizzy and its hooked to manifold vacuum, it will advance the timing as you crank the engine.This could be adding to your trouble.
Early 70s chevy 400 sbc had a solenoid to cut the vacuum to the advance canister to help hot restart caused by the timing getting pulled up during hot cranking, there dizzy had the vacuum can hooked to manifold vacuum on several years. The solenoid was powered from the purple starter wire so it would dump vacuum while cranking.
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:38 PM
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Nice point. I had not considered vacuum at startup. I run 34 deg total at 1900-2000 rpm now and initial falls where it may. I think it settles at 16-18, it's just under where it will kick back on the starter. The car didn't get hot enough to have problems on tonights cruise however.

I have direct dizzy vacuum to the manifold under the blower. I have not checked to see if there is substantial vac while cranking but I have a short cruise tomorrow and a 200 mile one on Wed. so I willl check it out.

I'll try and get the car hot enough tomorrow to test this. I do have a nice big vac/pressure gage and it should be no problem to check out. Wed it will definitely get hot as the ac will be on the whole day.
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:19 AM
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Well I checked the vac while cranking and there isn't any I can see. I also checked the dist weights as I run pretty loose for a quick advance. I had replaced the springs already and everything seems in order under the rotor.
The starter simply doesn't turn the motor. I took the battery in to have checked and they said it is good as new. Only a year old.

The hot start is not a kick back. I checked the blower and even hot it doesn't take much to turn it over. You can easily turn it by hand. Now the motor is another story. From day one this motor has been pretty stiff for a SBC. It hasn't got a bit looser either. I really don't know why. It has a nice cross hatch the final hone done with the plateau hone. Single moly rings with extra gap for the blower heat. The bearings are all nice around .0015-.002. The end play was .005 when new. The cam turned over very nicely. Hyd flat tappet and only .512 lift. Roller rockers.

So in looking at this Ford relay system again. It appears that it allows the stock solenoid to move the starter drive into the flywheel and the high amp contacts are replaced by the Ford solenoid/relay. I suppose that's good but it seems that just replacing the GM solenoid would do the same thing (new clean contacts), other than moving the battery wire up to the splash pan no real advantage. The battery wire will actually be longer in my case.

Well yesterday I finally got caught by a no start in a gas station on the back roads. After about 15 min and final "g...runt" it started. Since I'm now running 87 gas I can only use about 2 pounds of boost so it took a while to catch up with the rest of the guys. but as in NASCAR sometimes if you stay out onthe track and forgo a pit stop you can get back in the lead lap. haha We caught up with the guys at a gas station potty stop. We had gas so we just squeezed our legs together and held on for the next stop... When you have 25-30 cars on a cruise it can take a while at a one hole stop. haha
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Old 08-14-2011, 10:57 PM
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I finally got the starter out and took it apart. The armature. comutator, bearings and brushes are very good yet so I left them alone. The solenoid however had badly burned contacts so I replaced it. This is exactly what happens to the Dodge Cummins turbo diesel. I have a spare set of heavy duty aftermarket contacts for this starter in the dash. It's a very common problem as there are 2 very large batteries driving the starter. The cable is as big as my thumb.

I took the car out and went for an hour drive mostly on the freeway to get it good and hot. I stopped for gas and it started right up no problem. This is where I've been having problems so I think it's cured. Nice when you can fix something for $15.

Adding the Ford solenoid only replaces the GM heavy contacts. If the starter can't turn the motor over then you need a more powerfull starter. That I need I did see that the GM starter is only 1.2kw so even the smallest of the mini starters is quite a bit stronger.

As for vac while cranking. My motor usually starts in less than one rev so if it will turn over it will start. This is very typical of street X-71 blown motors. I did hook a vac gage up again for several starts and sometimes when cold it will turn over maybe 2-3 rev there is a very weak vac pulse...you could barely see it on the gage before it started. No doubt on an unblown motor there may be significant vac if it turns over a number of times. I suppose the motor might kick back if you have a lot of initial timing because of this. Mine never did. If it gets to be a problem you can just separate the start and ignition with a separate switch. Get the motor turning then hit the ignition. That's how we start the Funnycars. Works everytime.

So for now the way I see it the Ford solenoid probably has larger contacts so it will last longer but it still is just a bandaid as far as I can see. It's convient if you have reason to turn the motor over remotely. It's butt ugly to have the thing hanging on the inner fender. In my case all of the wires would be longer to do this so no advantage there either.
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:51 PM
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Here is an update to this post.

As I noted earlier I like to get to the root of the problem.

I first replaced only the GM solenoid. At first this seemed to correct the problem of the gr-runt gr-runt hot start. This lasted for about a month. We got a couple of hot days and long cruises and the problem returned. I managed to complete the cruise chasing the pack on the last leg.

At home I checked the torque to turn over the hot motor 5 minutes after shut down...representing a gas stop. 100 ft lbs. Now the blower takes only one hand to twist it easily so it is not the blower. I only have an alternator and an AC compressor and the AC was off so it really does not count. this motor has always been hard to turn over. It has not changed a bit in 18k miles.

Anyway i decided to add the Ford solenoid. I still think it is only a bandaid. I spent the afternoon chasing one down finally locating one at the farthest auto parts store. I have hundreds of connectors so I dug out appropriate ones for the battery lead and the small jumper. I have 30 feet or so of the "0" cable so I made up a short one from the Ford solenoid to the GM solenoid and a short jumper according to the wiring diagrams others posted....thank you. It was a pretty easy install and looks ok under the hood.

The test...well at least it started right up and nothing burned up...haha
I went for about 45 min on the freeway at 70-75 so the car got good and warm. I returned tot he shop and let the car set a good 5 min again. Well the gr-runt-gr-runt returned as well as the no start for about 15 min while it cooled down. The exact same thing as I had been experiencing.

So the following Sat I removed the starter and gave it the "1960 starter overhaul" I disassembled it completely and cleaned the bell and bushing and re-lubed the bushing. I buffed both ends of the armature shaft. Then I measured the commutator and found it was quite round and straight but pretty blackened. Closer observation showed that the mica was dead flush with the copper. So I cleaned the commutator with 320 paper to nice and bright. then as we did in the auto shop in 1960 I cut the mica down nice and clean. While I don't have a lathe for this s back then it is not hard to do by hand with the end of a hack saw blade properly ground. It takes a while.
The brushes looked good but also blackened so I cleaned them using a deep wall socket and emery paper then dressed the edges square.

I lubed everything up and reassembled the starter. I installed it with the original shim I had from day one. I also replaced the header wrap as the old stuff was getting raggy.

I set the car on the ground and hopped in for a test ride. Again the same road nice and warm out side. High speed cruise for about 45 min and return to the shop. I again waited 5 min to simulate the gas stop and hot restart. Boom!!! it started right up. So I did the test again and it started with no problem on the hot restart.

Since this I have gone on 4 more cruises and have had no trouble at all.

So what the deal is that the starter needs to be in good condition internally. then the addition of the Ford solenoid (relay) provides longevity to the system. Some day I will break open the Ford solenoid to look at the contacts. More than likely they are much larger than the GM and more stable mechanically.

The starters from the auto parts stores are rebuilt many times so the commutator gets smaller each time. There is less and less wear surface so they get blackened faster. It's not hard to clean them up as I have done here. We used to do this on every starter problem rather than just stick a rebuilt on ....they were very expensive back in Jurassic times plus we got more flat rate time to rebuild them.

Hope this helps
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:36 PM
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Bent wings
Thanks for the great posts. Very educational.
Pat
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