HEI Chevy wont start if battery is low at all ? - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
Hotrodders.com -- Hot Rod Forum



Register FAQ Search Today's Posts Unanswered Posts Auto Escrow Insurance Auto Loans
Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board > Tech Help> Engine
User Name
Password
lost password?   |   register now

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07-09-2008, 08:17 AM
Registered User
 
Last photo:
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: utah
Posts: 27
Wiki Edits: 0

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
HEI Chevy wont start if battery is low at all ?

I have a Small block chevy 305 (circ 1980) in a Land Cruiser with a HEi distributor.

If the battery drops below 12v at all she won't start. I know it takes a good battery and lots of zip to run hei but I can't figure this out. My battery is good and fairly new. If she doesn't start on the first try... I'm history .
I have it wired very simple..

Key to relay and one wire from HEI to the relay, ... direct wire from batt to relay.

Any suggestions on what and how to check?

unfortunately electrical is my weakness but I am learning..

    Advertisement

Last edited by Berg; 07-09-2008 at 09:26 AM.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 07-09-2008, 09:15 AM
sbchevfreak's Avatar
Licenced Automotive Technician
 
Last photo:
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Land of big Easter eggs, Alberta
Age: 34
Posts: 1,604
Wiki Edits: 0

Thanks: 8
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
I'd look for voltage drop and resistance in the primary ignition circut. It could be that the relay or other parts of that circut has some unwanted resistance, so that when your battery drops to approx 12v, the distributor is actually seeing less than that. If this is the case, you will also have lower voltage when the engine is running, as well.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 07-10-2008, 08:31 AM
Registered User
 
Last photo:
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: utah
Posts: 27
Wiki Edits: 0

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
btt any other thoughts... I'm not sure where to start.

My Alternator is putting out 14.3 volts , battery is holding fine at 12.6 volts

wires are clean and good connections IMO...

How do you test the coil in a HEI... or would you even suspect the HEI distributor to be bad?


thanks

Last edited by Berg; 07-10-2008 at 10:20 AM.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 07-10-2008, 09:43 AM
Member
 
Last photo:
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: chillicothe oh
Age: 47
Posts: 1,445
Wiki Edits: 0

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I think I would do an amp draw test on the starter, it could be pulling to many amps thus depriving the hei of voltage.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 07-10-2008, 11:15 AM
T-bucket23's Avatar
Hotrodders.com Moderator
 
Last wiki edit: Engine basic condition - how to check Last photo:
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Massachusetts
Age: 57
Posts: 5,155
Wiki Edits: 26

Thanks: 7
Thanked 109 Times in 94 Posts
Check the cranking voltage at the HEI batt terminal when it doesnt start and see how low it is. They are not that pickey as long is it is above 11V or so it should fire. If the voltage is good I would change the module

Chet
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 07-12-2008, 10:52 PM
Member
 
Last photo:
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: west
Posts: 36
Wiki Edits: 0

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Voltage was good so I pulled the module tonight and ran 6 ( six ) test on the module to get it heated up and it still tested fine.


... still can't figure it out... any more opinions?

thanks
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 07-13-2008, 12:10 AM
Member
 
Last photo:
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 642
Wiki Edits: 0

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You get any spark at the plugs when it wont start?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 07-13-2008, 07:52 AM
Member
 
Last photo:
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: west
Posts: 36
Wiki Edits: 0

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
no spark... thats the first thing I checked today...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 07-13-2008, 08:34 AM
Registered User
 
Last photo:
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Corinth, MS
Posts: 601
Wiki Edits: 0

Thanks: 0
Thanked 28 Times in 27 Posts
Where are you connecting the gnd/black wire on your meter. If its not the "Gnd" connection on the HEI cap then its possible that you could read 12V on the HEI "Batt" connector but not have a 12V drop accross the dist. if the HEI "Gnd" connection is not a good gnd.
Use your meter to measure ohms between the HEI "Gnd" term. on the dist. cap and the battery "-" term.. Should be less than one ohm.
If your meter dosen't measure resistance(ohms), then connect your meter gnd lead to the battery "-" terminal and measure the HEI "Gnd" terminal for any voltage while cranking starter.(get helper or remote starter switch)) If there is any appreciable voltage(should be less than one volt), then you have either a bad HEI gnd connection or too much current for the connections wire or terminals/connections to handle.
Hope this helps.
ssmonty
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 07-13-2008, 11:04 AM
T-bucket23's Avatar
Hotrodders.com Moderator
 
Last wiki edit: Engine basic condition - how to check Last photo:
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Massachusetts
Age: 57
Posts: 5,155
Wiki Edits: 26

Thanks: 7
Thanked 109 Times in 94 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by bennett
Voltage was good so I pulled the module tonight and ran 6 ( six ) test on the module to get it heated up and it still tested fine.


... still can't figure it out... any more opinions?

thanks
Change the module. There is nothing else that is voltage sensitive. When they test it they test it at optimal voltage not low vlotage. I am usually not a parts swapper but sometimes there is the exception to the rule. Make sure you get a name brand module.

Chet
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #11 (permalink)  
Old 07-14-2008, 09:44 PM
Member
 
Last photo:
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: west
Posts: 36
Wiki Edits: 0

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks for the help so far... still can't find spark
I'm dying here... my kid wants to drive the cruiser and dad has given up!
In order of whats gone on.

Vehicle ran fine 10 days ago
This is a 78 era rebuilt 305 v-8 2bble .. miles under 30k since rebuild
Battery seemed low and I put a new battery in no start
posted on this bb and got some help
I am getting 12V to the 10ga. wire to the batt side of the dist.
Pulled the module out yesterday and had it tested 6 times to heat up and all was good. Reinstalled module with dielectric grease under module
put a new coil in while I was in there. Autozone could not find a dist condenser so I did not replace that.
My wires are good
cap is good and fairly new 10K
coil is new today
dist is turning and never taken out so position is still on IMO
plug wires on correct
battery is up.. alternator putting out 14.2 volts
connections have been checked and dielectric grease added
I cut the dist-batt wire and isolated it and used a jump box to give it straight 12 volts ... still no spark. Did that to see if the starter was pulling me down..NOT
The only thing I have not done is change out the pickup in the base of the distributor. I am not the best at electrical but this seems so simple yet so difficult.

I hate to just throw good money at more electrical parts... should I just buy a new dizzy?

a few pics
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	HEI-2-001.jpg
Views:	61
Size:	28.9 KB
ID:	31212   Click image for larger version

Name:	HEI-2-005.jpg
Views:	89
Size:	50.1 KB
ID:	31213   Click image for larger version

Name:	HEI-015ff.jpg
Views:	81
Size:	43.0 KB
ID:	31214   Click image for larger version

Name:	HEi-dist.jpg
Views:	81
Size:	43.7 KB
ID:	31215  

Last edited by bennett; 07-14-2008 at 10:52 PM.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 07-15-2008, 08:28 AM
T-bucket23's Avatar
Hotrodders.com Moderator
 
Last wiki edit: Engine basic condition - how to check Last photo:
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Massachusetts
Age: 57
Posts: 5,155
Wiki Edits: 26

Thanks: 7
Thanked 109 Times in 94 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by bennett
Thanks for the help so far... still can't find spark
I'm dying here... my kid wants to drive the cruiser and dad has given up!
In order of whats gone on.

Vehicle ran fine 10 days ago
This is a 78 era rebuilt 305 v-8 2bble .. miles under 30k since rebuild
Battery seemed low and I put a new battery in no start
posted on this bb and got some help
I am getting 12V to the 10ga. wire to the batt side of the dist.
Pulled the module out yesterday and had it tested 6 times to heat up and all was good. Reinstalled module with dielectric grease under module
put a new coil in while I was in there. Autozone could not find a dist condenser so I did not replace that.
My wires are good
cap is good and fairly new 10K
coil is new today
dist is turning and never taken out so position is still on IMO
plug wires on correct
battery is up.. alternator putting out 14.2 volts
connections have been checked and dielectric grease added
I cut the dist-batt wire and isolated it and used a jump box to give it straight 12 volts ... still no spark. Did that to see if the starter was pulling me down..NOT
The only thing I have not done is change out the pickup in the base of the distributor. I am not the best at electrical but this seems so simple yet so difficult.

I hate to just throw good money at more electrical parts... should I just buy a new dizzy?

a few pics
Those pickups do go bad, it is not the most common failure but the do go.
So your original diagnosis of it not starting with less than 12V was not accurate?

Chet
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #13 (permalink)  
Old 07-15-2008, 08:38 AM
Member
 
Last photo:
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 642
Wiki Edits: 0

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Between the coil and module your into it more that what you would have been with a new cheapie distributor. Anyway where is the ground for the coil i don't see it in the pic?? It should be put in before the coil. Also check for broke, frayed, corroded or loose wires under the rotor. You will want to use a multi-meter to do this because one might be broke inside and be intermittent .
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 07-15-2008, 10:56 AM
Member
 
Last photo:
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: west
Posts: 36
Wiki Edits: 0

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by T-bucket23
Those pickups do go bad, it is not the most common failure but the do go.
So your original diagnosis of it not starting with less than 12V was not accurate?

Chet
yeah.. probably mis diagnosis on my part... just a hunch but the batt went low because of my repeated attempts to start.
In another coincidence I was using an optima POS batt that would not hold a charge very long. It would read good but drop like a rock.
I took it back to costco where they told me I was 2 days out of the 3 year warranty.. my luck
I need to look into this ground thing on the dist... All there was was one black wire I grounded to the outside metal of the coil.

there was an option metal L-shaped ground bracket that I did not use because the original dizzy did not use it. The instructions said for " early hei"... so what you see in the pic is the only ground on the coil .
thansk for your patience....
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	ground-hei.jpg
Views:	75
Size:	47.1 KB
ID:	31229  

Last edited by bennett; 07-15-2008 at 11:31 AM.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 07-15-2008, 12:06 PM
Member
 
Last photo:
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: west
Posts: 36
Wiki Edits: 0

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I forgot where that ground strap went.. I put it in this AM and still no spark.

strange thing is I never saw this strap when I removed the old coil. I am pretty observant but maybe I missed it.

A web pic of what it looks like..

anyone got a link for a reasonable price dizzy? I hate to give up because I like to know what makes things work or fail... I like to know why!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	ctrp_0704_17z+damaged_mallory_hei+.jpg
Views:	87
Size:	76.0 KB
ID:	31230  
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Recent Engine posts with photos

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name (usually not your first and last name), your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
350 Chevy won't start Stretch3663 Engine 12 09-15-2013 10:00 PM
no start 350 chevy wrenchheads Engine 14 05-25-2007 10:36 PM
How To Start a Chevy 327? 62cadillac Hotrodding Basics 4 09-27-2006 07:50 PM
Chevy HEI sudo1a Engine 10 10-11-2002 06:43 PM
(LOW MOUNT) Big Block Chevy Accessory Brackets 41willys Engine 5 09-14-2002 08:04 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:42 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
Copyright Hotrodders.com 1999 - 2012. All Rights Reserved.