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Old 11-01-2008, 09:18 PM
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Troubleshooting SBC starter

The starter on my SBC 350 doesn't turn over every time I try to start my truck. I usually get just a click the first time, and then when I try again I get normal starter speed. This used to happen every once and a while, but now its just about every time I start the truck. Tonight I got it started on the second try, but didn't give it enough gas and it died. When I tried the starter again I couldn't get it to go beyond a click, so I've got it on a battery charger.

Wire connections seem to be tight the last time I checked. My charging system and battery seem to work well otherwise so I don't want to be in a hurry to buy a new battery.

Could this just mean that the solenoid is going bad, or has a bad connection?

Engine is a fairly stock GM low compression SBC crate engine. Starter is a stock Delco (age unknown). Battery is about two years old.

Thanks,

Bruce

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Old 11-01-2008, 09:31 PM
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If you don't want to purchase a new starter or solenoid, try removing the black or brown plastic cover on the solenoid and flip over that large washer with all the electric burn pits on it. Then clean up the bent metal that makes contact with it and put it back together. You can test it before and after you do the work. I hope that you can still do that to these new solenoids. That was the main problem with the old Chevy solenoids. If you don't think that you can do that, just purchase a re-built starter and you can get one with a life time warranty.
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Old 11-02-2008, 01:07 AM
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in addtion to what Nomad said, you can also get the same symptom if the brushes in the starter motor are worn down.
if it were mine & i didn't know how old the starter is, i would replace it or have it rebuilt by a reputable starter shop.

there are a couple of brands i wouldn't recommend using. with the problems Jon has been having with some companies that get bashed here because of a poor product or bad service, i can PM you the brand names if you like.
with the quality of the parts they use now, you could be like me and still have the same problem with the rebuilt starter.
on the brand i have, it developed the click problem after just under 2 years of use.
i replaced it and the new one spun the motor over slowly. i got another one & it has the same problem as the old one had, click, click. they didn't have another one in stock and i didn't have the time to replace it this past week.
in about 4 years, i have had to replace the starter 5 times under warranty so far, and i need to replace the one thats on my car now that is 7 days old.
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Old 11-02-2008, 07:52 AM
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Thanks for all the help.

Considering the age of the starter (I've had the truck for over six years) replacing it wouldn't be a bad idea, just to prevent future problems. It looks pretty beaten up, and has seen a few hard days.

If you have suggestions on brands, I'd like to hear them. If I go today to buy parts , I'll be stuck with whatever the parts stores have on hand on a Sunday. But if there's something better at a reasonable price, I can rearrange my vehicles (push the truck out of the way!) and wait until later to pick up the starter.

Thanks,

Bruce
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:34 PM
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Might try getting just a solenoid.

My 79 has done things like this a couple of times----solenoid both times.
I think I may still have the original starter on there---not sure tho.

the 66 Elky did that same thing too.
opened up the solenoid and found bad contacts---change solenoid and all was good
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Old 11-02-2008, 07:06 PM
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sorry i didn't reply back sooner.
i would recommend a Delco reman. where i work at we put a lot of them on and so far haven't had any real problems with them. we may have problems with 3~4 out of 100 with the Delcos that aren't right, even the best you'll get a bad one every now and then.

PM sent on the two brands i don't recommend.
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Old 11-02-2008, 07:45 PM
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Just call the boneyard and have thenm remove and test a replacement for u. $45 should do it. Tell them u want the bolts to. Dont try to put metric bolts in ase holes or v/v..
I've cleaned up my starterbut was a real pain and ended up with a boneyard one. I switched the cones because I crushed one trying to torque to 40lbs.
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Old 11-03-2008, 10:22 PM
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If the old starter fits and hasn't been making grinding or howling noises, I'd get it rebuilt at a local shop, or, if you're adventuresome, do it yourself. That way you don't have to worry about a rebuilt unit that might have poorly manufactured parts not fitting right, needing shimming, or making god-awful noises from misalignment. Odds are, a new solenoid and a few new small parts will have it working great again. If the current starter has shims between it and the block, simply reuse them.
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Old 11-04-2008, 05:23 AM
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I picked up one of the rebuilts with a limited lifetime warranty for $45 and put it on last night. Its probably not the best quality, but it got me back on the road.

It sounds like the new starter needs a shim (noise after starter releases), so I'll have to pick some up today. It certainly turns over a lot quicker than the old starter did.

I may keep the old starter as a spare that can be rebuilt if I need it. I think its probably the solenoid that's bad, but I'll know more after I take it apart.

I also found two wires that had to be repaired after they pulled apart in my hands. One is a light duty (16 gauge) wire that runs from the starter main lug up to the instrument panel (I think its part of the ammeter circuit) and the other was the wire to the gas tank sender (it runs along the back of the firewall next to the other wiring.

Thanks for everyone's help.

Bruce
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