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OT, would adding a firewall starter solenoid solve my starting issues?

August 11 2017 at 3:16 PM

Mike U.  (Login mtrain)
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I'm still having starting problems with my little 363 Dart/Ford engine in my little truck.

Background Dart 8.5 deck 363 engine with 8.5:1 cr [twin turbo] mile hyd roller cam at 540 lift at 114 lca, AFR 185 heads, Cometic head gaskets, Tri-Y headers going to turbos, new battery, and new Powermaster XS Torque starter with the solenoid on the starter.

I had an older Powermaster starter, and it did fine for a while, then I started getting the dreaded, "click, click".

So I changed to a new battery, and no luck so out of frustration I just bought a new PM which was exactly the same as the old PM starter.

I also installed a new lock/key on the steering column, as well as replace the electrical starting part of the steering column.

Still getting the click, click with full battery charge. Like I said this is the same starter as the old which used to crank the engine just fine.

So would adding a firewall based solenoid in conjunction with the starter mounted solenoid cure this problem?

Oh, and the timing is locked out a 23 degs, but like I said it hasn't been a problem since I changed to the PM starters.


    
This message has been edited by mtrain on Aug 11, 2017 3:16 PM


 
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Gerry
(Login gerryproctor)
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Before throwing parts at the problem, do a simple test.

August 11 2017, 4:25 PM 

With a DVOM and DC selected, put the positive lead on the battery + and the negative on the solenoid input. Turn the key to start the car and observe the meter. The meter will show you the voltage drop between that circuit. If it's more than .5v, you have a resistance issue in that part of the circuit. If you had a separate solenoid, you'd follow through by doing this; Do the same test between the solenoid input and the solenoid out (terminal that leads to the starter terminal). Again, you have an issue with more than .5v drop. Now do the same test between the solenoid out and the starter's input terminal.

For yours, if there is a way to do so, you'd want to test the solenoid from the input to where it feeds juice to the starter motor. Some starter-mounted solenoids you can do this, some you cant.

This test will show you where you have the problem and what, if anything, needs to be replaced. Would a separate solenoid feeding the starter solenoid help? Maybe, but I'm not an EE so explaining why it would or wouldn't help wouldn't be credible. I mean, if the solenoid's resistance becomes excessive because of heat, you're still going to have a hot solenoid on the starter. Using a pre-solenoid elsewhere doesn't seem to solve that problem and only adds another relay in your circuit.

And, yes, you're right; it isn't an issue with the timing.

 
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Mike U.
(Login mtrain)
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So, let me see if I'm getting this right Gary, if I connect the volt meter ..........

August 11 2017, 4:35 PM 

So if I connect the volt meter between the starter at the batt connection, and the battery, lets say at this point I'm getting 12v on the dot [ I know it should be around 12.3, butjust to make it easier lets say 12v even].

Then when I throw the key to the start position I should see the 12 volts drop to 11.5v correct?

If its at 11v when the the key is on start, that means the battery cable is the problem, correct?

If not then try the other connections, and they all should drop no less than .5v when the key is on start, correct?

Thanks.

 
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Gerry
(Login gerryproctor)
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No.

August 12 2017, 5:32 AM 

You want to read voltage drop, not system voltage. Taking it from your question: "So if I connect the volt meter between the starter at the batt connection, and the battery, lets say at this point I'm getting 12v on the dot...": If you connect the leads as I describe to that part of the circuit and load the circuit by cranking the engine, and there are no issues, you'd see zero or near zero on the meter. If you saw 12v, then that would mean total system failure, in other words, all of the current is being lost to resistance. Again, it's important to test only a specific part of the circuit; battery positive with the meter's positive lead and the meter's negative lead to the first point of contact in that circuit path. Connected this way, and with no load of the circuit, your meter will show zero voltage. If you put a load on the circuit, like cranking the starter with the ignition disabled, you will see a small voltage on the meter. There will always be resistance in the circuit and you're trying to see how much.

If you want to test this on a smaller circuit, hook the meter from the battery positive to another terminal, like the positive terminal at the headlight plug at the headlight and turn on the lights. Again, you're not going to see system voltage, but how much voltage is being lost.

You actually have to connect the meter as I described to see for yourself how it works. I know it doesn't seem to make much sense since we normally test circuits for voltage presence or continuity.

In testing the way you're describing the outcome, you'd be testing the complete circuit -positive to negative. With a good battery and an unloaded circuit, it will always show full battery voltage. And, as you likely know, once you put a load on the battery, by cranking the engine, voltage will always drop based upon amp draw. A starting system is going to pull around 150-200 amps and will momentarily draw the battery voltage down to around 11.5v or so. You can get about the same information by testing for system amperage with either a high capacity shunt or an amp clamp but then you'd have to know what a healthy system's amperage draw is supposed to be to know if there's a problem.

And as others have pointed out, good grounds are necessary.

 
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Dan
(Login lowrider)
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Voltage drop

August 12 2017, 6:45 AM 

If you follow Gerry's instructions for finding a voltage drop you will find your problem. He explains the procedure very precisely. Can't count the times checking for a voltage drop on those old GM starters bailed me out. It was just a pain to crawl under there to hook up the lead on a hot engine.

 
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RobbMc
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Gerry is correct

August 12 2017, 11:26 AM 

Gerry is correct but there is an easier "go/no-go" way to see if you are getting enough power to the small stud on the starter mounted solenoid.

Assuming you do not currently have a starter relay or remote starter "solenoid":
If you get the dreaded "click-click" from the solenoid, and you are sure the battery is well charged and all the connections/cables are good, buy a remote starter switch (basically a long piece of wire with clip-on ends and a push button in the middle). Connect one end to the battery positive post and the other to the small post on the starter solenoid. If the starter then cranks when you push the button in the remote starter switch, it means that you are not getting enough power to the small terminal on the starter via your starter/key switch.

If that is the case, use the wire from your starter/key switch to trigger a relay. The relay can be a common 30 or 40 amp Bosch type but if you don't know how to wire one you can use a Mopar type starter relay (ask for a starter relay for a 1970 Challenger for example). The RobbMc starter instructions show how to wire it:
http://www.robbmcperformance.com/instructions/GenIIstarter.doc

 
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Mike U.
(Login mtrain)
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Dang Rob, I'm actually embaressed I didn't think about the remote starter switch. I've got

August 12 2017, 6:54 PM 

I've got two of them I have used in the past to adjust the valves, and set timing.

Never thought to actually use it to test out the starter circuit.

Also, I now understand the volt drop method as explained. It does take doing it for one self to see how it actually works.

Thanks again guys.

 
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Bones
(Login boneyard51)
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Starter

August 11 2017, 4:30 PM 

If battery is known to be good and starter is known to be good... bad connection... find it.

 
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TorinoBP88
(Login TorinoBP88)
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Ground strap?

August 11 2017, 4:34 PM 

Need more better ground straps?

Good wires can be bad at ends, too.

 
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Mike U.
(Login mtrain)
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I've got two 4 gauge ground straps from the block to the frame on the same side as the bat

August 11 2017, 4:38 PM 

I thought it was a ground issue as well, but alas, not so lucky.

I guess if all else fails I could run yet another ground wire.

 
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RodC
(Login MT63AFX)
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Do you have a ground strap from the intake manifold. .....

August 11 2017, 10:49 PM 

......to the firewall? It's a must have to ensure all cabin circuits have a path to ground, RodC.
Mickey Thompson's 63 1/2 #997 S/S Hi-Rise 427 Lgt/Wgt Galaxie,
1957 C-600 Cab-over carhauler w/390-4V, 2-speed rear-end
FGCofA member #4908
MCGC member #75

"There will ALWAYS be an FE in my LiFE"

[linked image]

 
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Mike U.
(Login mtrain)
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No ground from intake to firewall, but I will be sure to add one, thanks...nm

August 12 2017, 4:17 PM 

.............

 
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Bill Troth
(Login billtroth)
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You could have saved some $ with Powermaster refurbish

August 12 2017, 8:45 AM 

I had a Powermaster XS starter for over 10 years and started to have problems this spring. I had beat the hell out of it and used it when I had a bad ground and pulling excessive amps so none of this was the starters problem. I noticed on the web site Powermaster offers "factory refurbish" service. I called them up ( I only live about 15 minutes from their plant that is in West Chicago, IL) and told me I could drop it off so I did. I told them to call me if cost would be over $100. This was about 3 in the afternoon. The next morning Powermaster called and said it was ready! Cost was $80 and they replaced the case, solenoid, and Bendix. I picked it up and it is working great.

You might want to contact Powermaster and see about getting your old XS refurbished just to have a spare or to resell.
Bill Troth
AFTERSHOCK 427
64 Galaxie NSS
[linked image]


    
This message has been edited by billtroth on Aug 12, 2017 8:47 AM


 
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Mike U.
(Login mtrain)
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Ok, thanks Bill........nm

August 12 2017, 4:18 PM 

.........

 
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