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Poll: My car is a deep blue, and I was thinking about putting shelby cobra style stripes
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My car is a deep blue, and I was thinking about putting shelby cobra style stripes

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Starter Motor Issues

Well i thought i was almost done...
I just replaced the entire fuel injection and ignition systems, and went to start the car, and it didnt. I have spark, I have fuel, and my valves are set right. The timing is set to the preliminary timing point in the haynes manual, so it would in theory be at least able to start, or maybe sputter once or twice

My thinking is that there are starter problems. I'm not sure how fast it should turn over, but it just sounds slow compared to anything else I've ever heard. Also, sometimes when I am starting (or trying to start) the car the starter motor will pause for about half a second, and then continue spinning. To try and get a general idea of what the speed was, I hooked up a timing light to one of the spark plug leads, and it was a good 1.5 seconds between flashes, which seems pretty slow to me.

I checked all of the obvious (battery, loose connections, etc.) and I cant find anything wrong. Is there anything else that could cause it to spin slow and pause, or do i just need to get a new starter?

BTW: I did read the tech article about starter troubleshooting.

Edit: I'm pretty sure the starter motor in the car is the original starter, the car has 116xxx miles on it. The car also sat for 15 years without being started...
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Last edited by yousaidpoo; 12-12-2004 at 03:47 PM..
Old 12-12-2004, 03:16 PM
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Maybe a starter could do it but I doubt it. I'd think a bad starter would more likely be an open winding, and then if the motor stops on the dead winding (from the last time it ran) only the solenoid clicks.
So then the most likely causes are a motor that's too tight, timing too advanced (at least that's the way it is with a Chevy V8), or not enough voltage at the starter. I'd get a voltmeter and connect it from ground (somewhere on the starter) and the starter battery terminal. It should read full battery voltage with the key off. Then watch the meter when it's cranking. It should drop a little less than 12 volts but not much. If it drops several volts you still have a poor ground or a battery cable with too much internal resistance or a bad battery.

Edit: If the voltage is good, starter could be the culprit since it's pretty old due to worn brushes and commutator.

Last edited by 914GT; 12-12-2004 at 04:06 PM..
Old 12-12-2004, 04:00 PM
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Are you sure you are at TDC?

old TDC thread
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Old 12-13-2004, 07:36 AM
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SGB- thanks for the suggestion, but i've had the engine running before, and i didnt actually put in a new distributor, just cap, rotor, points, and condesnor, so i dont think thats it.

My transmission ground strap is the next thing i'm looking into. I made a new one out of wire and connectors to replace the old one, and it could have some resistance in the wire, or it could be shaking loose in the connectors, which would cause the pausing.
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Old 12-13-2004, 03:16 PM
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Could also be a crack in a line that has corrosion that is not easily seen. Have you put a meter on the power line at the starter? Also a bad ignition switch could be holding you hostage.....or a low battery charge.....

Charge it fully, check with a meter.....

Do you have a book for voltage values?
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Old 12-14-2004, 03:24 PM
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I dont think the starter is keeping the car from cranking up unless its dragging so badly it is robbing the ign of its 12v to the coil giving it only a weak spark. A timing light might say its getting spark but the thing has like an amp boost in it is why it has 12v to it. The spark could still be very weak and still fire a bright timing light. For checking fire power the cheap tool in the pic works great.
As far as the starter goes 30+yr and 110k+mi I would pull it anyway and have the original opened up or do it your self to at least check its condition as process of elimination or preventive maintaince. The armatrue can be turned to resurface the brush area, new brushes and springs along with a couple of bushings and a good cleaning would freshen it up a bit.
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Old 12-22-2004, 02:47 AM
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Old 12-22-2004, 02:49 AM
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Harbor Freight has a somewhat similar tool- just a 12 v bulb (in a housing thing) with appropriate ends to go in-line between the sp plug and the plug wire. Its about $2.50. Not as informative, but...
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Old 12-22-2004, 05:27 AM
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