jrhone

Electrical Problem. Hard starting --Solved

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Just throwing this out there. I have an intermittent problem. The car in the morning when cold and if it’s been sitting will start but the starter turns slow. Today it took a while. Starter stopped turning. Then after waiting maybe 30 seconds it turned faster until it started. After driving for 5 minutes it starts quickly and on the first turn. Then after a few day this goes away completely then the starter turns slow for a few days in a row. Again always starting just slow turning for a few days then completely fine for a few days. Back and forth. The battery is 5 years old and the starter is a 5 series starter and that is about 5 years old with a lifetime warranty from autozone so I think I’ll Replace it regardless. The alternator is an e21 alternator. A new Bosch unit and it’s maybe 4 years old. My voltage gauge reads just about 14 volts when running and 12.8 when just sitting. I thought it was something like a dome light on or something and so I double and triple checked that there was nothing being left on at night. My thoughts are replace the battery and starter.  Just wanted to see if there was anything I may be missing. Thanks!

Edited by jrhone

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I'm going through the same issue right now a few threads down from this. There's a video in my initial post. When i turn the key the engine turns slowly as if i have a low or dead battery. If I wait 5 seconds and turn the key again the motor starts turning a little faster. Wait another 5 and usually it will fire this time or the next. Once it does turn over i've got a pretty significant engine shake.

 

With the help of this forum I have a list of items to check (i think i have these right):

- Clean and check for proper grounding of the battery and alt

- Timing may be off and firing in advance of TDC. you can gently adjust rotor to see if this helps.

- Check to make sure the leads coming off the starter are secure. sometimes mine work themselves loose.

 

I'll be following this post closely to see if anyone has other anecdotes or solves and do the same for mine.

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I just read Rob's Hack guide to vintage ignition systems and learned about the "extra" pinout on the starter solenoid that passes pure 12v as output to this pin, but only on the starter crank position of the key. The idea is to connect a wire from this pinout to the + (can't recall the DIN number!) pinout on your coil. This ensures max voltage to the coil at start for those few seconds.

 

Theory is that this is pure wire with no resistance, but since it is only for a few seconds, no harm. The regular resistance in your normal + side coil wire (or integrated into the coil) is to protect the points, but at start this delivers a few volts less than max. 

 

After that, when you release the key to run position, this starter pin drops to 0V and then the normal + connector on your  coil as wired comes into play for normal running.

 

I have a new-ish battery and a brand new starter, so might be totally different environment than your setup, but at first I did not have this starter wire and my car started fine. But when I hooked it up, it was noticeable how fast the car  jumped to life when cranking.

 

So, not a direct suggestion for your problem, but something to consider when things are more stable. 

 

Randy 

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A little more info. Car is tuned and running great. No timing issues.  This is something that just started after years of trouble free starting. Nothing new added to electrical system. 

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I'd look at primary and ground cables and connections.

 

Cheers,

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14 minutes ago, ray_ said:

I'd look at primary and ground cables and connections.

 

Cheers,

 

Should have added. New positive battery cable was added and grounds are clean and in tact.  

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What's your voltage gauge read when cranking?

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I had a similar problem solved by a new battery.

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I’ll look at voltage while cranking.  I’ll grab a new battery as well as swap the starter. 

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Guest M3 Starter

Either a new battery, or an M3 starter from Blunt. It is designed to start a V8 and after I made the switch it certainly can spin the 2 liter engine with more vigor...

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Battery load  test at the auto parts store is the first step before thinking starter.

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56 minutes ago, Guest M3 Starter said:

Either a new battery, or an M3 starter from Blunt. It is designed to start a V8 and after I made the switch it certainly can spin the 2 liter engine with more vigor...

 

Actually I have a 5 series starter. Has even more power that the M3 starter and its less expensive. 

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4 hours ago, ray_ said:

What's your voltage gauge read when cranking?

 

Gauge reads 10 volts while starting.  Time for a new battery? 

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Naw, I think ten is okay. I'd double-check connections again and then load test the battery. 

 

But someone smarter than me better chime in.

 

😁

 

Good luck,

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One more thing to check, especially if you still have the car's original starter installed.  The rear armature's bronze bushing is pressed into a plastic sleeve, which in turn is pressed into the back end plate on the starter motor.  The plastic sleeve disintegrates over the years, allowing the bushing to turn with the armature.  This causes a lot of drag on the starter motor and slows it way down, mimicking a weak battery, bad ground etc.  

 

Unfortunately the sleeve isn't available as a spare part, but since the armature's diameter is 12 mm, you can buy an oilite bronze bushing with a 1/2" ID (your local hardware store will have 'em) and turn the outer diameter so it's a press fit into the end plate.  

 

If you discover this is your problem, drop me a PM and I'll send you a column on how I did that many years ago.   Lots cheaper than a new starter!

 

mike

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