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Old 05-06-2013, 08:51 PM
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solenoids don't last

Hi guys, I have an ongoing problem with the starter solenoid on my 350 Chevy. This will be the third one that I have put on in three years. The problem is, the contacts inside the solenoid become burnt and carboned up, then the contacts make a poor connection and the starter won’t engage or spin. I know this has been a problem with GM solenoids for ever but it seems that it has been getting worse in my case. I have tried different manufactures, including ones made in America but they all have lasted about a year. I am confident that my grounds are good. I have a cable from the negative terminal to the block and a second cable from the block to the frame. All connections are on clean bare metal surfaces. The last time I had the starter out I made sure the surfaces on it and the block were clean and no paint or oil. Is there anything else I can do to extend the life of my solenoid?

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Old 05-06-2013, 09:46 PM
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Have you thought about doing the Ford remote starter solenoid conversion? It will help eliminate burnt contacts by giving the solenoid full battery potential.
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:47 AM
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You made no mention of headers. If you are running them, how close are the tubes to the solenoid? Also make sure your cable sizes are adequate. A major mistake is running undersized cables. Those, with a bit of heat soak from hot exhaust will eat up solenoids. The best fix for both problems is a remote solenoid, as mentioned above and upgauging your cables.
If you have any interest in how to wire or re-wire your hot rod go to this site.
MadElectrical.com - Mad Enterprises
There is a ton of info here and it is all applicable to our cars.
Here is a link to his remote solenoid kit.
Catalog
He can be hard to get on the phone but keep trying, very knowledgable and he will talk to you and answer your questions.
Mark

Last edited by astroracer; 05-07-2013 at 03:55 AM.
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:51 AM
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There are some that swear by the Ford Solenoid fix all, me not so much. I do have a heat shield on my starter and have never had an issue..... 350 SBC with long tube headers.
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:31 AM
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cables

Besides the carbon deposits on the contacts what else do you do the test for a bad solenoid?
This design has been around for many years and has proven to be very dependable. The contacts may have some deposits from arching but they are self cleaning. Meaning that they wipe or slide as they engage which helps keep the conductive surface burnished.
I have seen many cases of faulty battery cables causing symptoms of a bad starter. It's not uncommon for the cables to have hidden corrosion at the terminals where the wire contacts the terminal. It may look OK but can still cause a poor or intermittent contact.

vicrod
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:22 PM
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Thanks to everyone for your input and advise. The car is a 65 Chevelle with stock exhaust manifolds. I'm not sure the remote solenoid will correct the issue. The first thing I will try is the heat shield, then larger cables (the current ones are less than a year old). Again, thanks for the input.

Ben
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