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Discussion Starter #1
I need some help trying to figure out why my '72 Elky won't start. It was running fine the previous day. Only thing I did today was pull it out of the garage to wash it and put it back in the garage. Now, when I go to start it, it turns over about 2 or 3 very hard cranks, then nothing. I thought it might be the battery, so I jumped it with another truck. Same thing, maybe 2 or 3 revolutions, then stops dead. I did notice that the negative cable on the battery got super hot and started to smoke a little. Not the battery, but the negative cable going to the body.

It is almost like the engine or starter is "binding".

The engine is a SB 350, w/TurboHydromatic 350. The motor is the original and had been rebuilt by the previous owner about 5K ago. It was running strong, no noises, no hesitation.

Any suggestions??
 

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It sounds like one of the field coils in the starter is shorted to ground. Check for loose connections at the starter first. Then pull the starter and have it tested.

:mrgreen:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, I checked the wiring. No problems seemed to jump out at me. I should also say at this time that because the headers are so close to the starter and the heat that they the headers generate, the previous owner installed a "remote solenoid". This has been working for years without issue.

I took the starter out and took it to the auto parts store to have it tested. Sure enough it benched tested "bad". I purchased a new starter and installed that. Tried to start it up and the same problem. Maybe 2 or 3 revolutions, then nothing. I figured I'd replace the soleniod. Brought the new starter with me, to make sure it is still ok. Didn't want to be chasing a "bad from stock" starter. The starter bench tested ok.

So, I have installed a new battery, soleniod, and starter. Still the same problem.

Any other ideas I can check???
 

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Maybe this will help...

I saw this other post string and thought it MIGHT apply to your case.

http://www.elcaminocentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=588

You might want to check your hot wire to the solenoid...either the battery connection is not so good (maybe due to a cracked terminal post or due to some other malady (heat, corrosion, etc.).

Just some thoughts...maybe this will help you.

Taj
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Taj. I did read that post and thought part of it might apply to my problem.
But the engine has not started in two days, so the area is quite "cold". I checked the wire from the battery to the soleniod (I'm using a seperate
"Ford" type external soleniod). 12 Volts and looks good. I then checked the wire from the other side of the soleniod down to the starter. That looks good also.
I would love it if it was just a heat problem. I'm thinking something is more seriously wrong. Just can't seem to find a new direction to go down.

Thanks again for any input!
 

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Have you tries this??

JW, have you tried removing all the spark plugs and the the central coil wire from the distributor or coil (if so equipped) and then tried to crank the motor??

If not, try that to see if the engine will turn 'freely' with the starter. If it does, then you can rest easy that there is no internal binding in the motor...and you will backtrail the culprit to either the starter or the solenoid (although both new or rebuilt).

By the way. anything 'rebuilt' does not guarantee it's ok. I've seen many a rebuilt part that was far less than satisfactory.

Since you tried jumpstarting, you can eliminate the battery.

But, although the battery is new,if you have a trickle charger, you might want to slap it on the new battery to deep charge is up to full tilt (might take a day or 2, surprisingly).

Anyhow, try the 'free spin' of the engine...then come back here and provide a report...maybe we'll have clues as to where to go from here.

Also, does your battery (although new) have the cold cranking amps (CCA) to turn the motor?? It's not the volts but the amps that move the starter. Is your solenoid wired correctly and grounded appropriately??

(Has the car sat outside where someone could vandalize the gas tank (egg or sugar) or stuff something in the carb (egg or sugar?? Do you have a locking gas cap?? Can you open the hood from the inside or outside?? Has anyone stuffed anything up the exhaust pipes?? Have you checked the oil level and coolant levels to be sure one popped the drain points and they are empty or very low?? Not trying to spook you...just curious as to how much this car may have been outside and been vulnerable. The 'tricks' I cite above are as old as the hills...and they do terrible damage. Hope none of them have happened to you.)

Bunch of points and questions, I know. But the 'free spin' will begin the process of elimination...and worry too.

Good luck!!

Taj
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Evening Taj. I have not tried the "free spin" test. That is a great idea. I will have to try that tomorrow after work.
I agree with the term "rebuilt" does not mean it can't fail. I did take the new "rebuilt" starter back to the auto store and they did bench test it for me to prove it works. Now, I know it was just a bench test, not really turning a flywheel or anything, but it did spin.
Let me try and answer some of your questions.
The battery is rated at 630 Cranking Amps at 32 degrees. The solenoid (which has been working for fine for the past year) appears to be wired correctly. I have not changed any of the wiring until this problem came up. Then, when I changed out the soleniod, I put the wires exactly in the same position.
The Elky is kept in a locked garage. I have an alarm on the door that triggers in my bedroom. Nobody has been in there. I can eliminate the vandalism aspect, although that is a good question to ask.
I have checked the oil and coolant levels, they seem fine.

So, I think the "free spin" test is in order.

You know your engines. I am a novice. Would you recommend I have it taken to my local garage?

Thanks again.
 

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Hi 72 you should try removing your fan belts it could be your alternator or power steering pump bearings or your air cond pump could be seizing up. i have a friend at work that thought his engine on his truck was shot but when we looked it over we found the alternator seized so bad that the engine wouldn't even turn over.
 

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Response

JW, I would try the 'free-spin' test first...and also the check of the accessories 83choochoo suggests...before calling on your shop. The more you can isolate the problem (or eliminate what it is not), the more you can help your shop, if you need it...and that will lower your bill (supposedly).

For the fan-belt-off test, be sure all pulleys spin freely..and listen for any ballsy noises that could be indicative of upcoming or current bearing failures. This includes (if so equipped): alternator, power steering pump, a/c compressor, water pump, air pump. The crank pully is not turnable by hand...don't try. If all that checks out, then do the 'free-spin' test.

Maybe the smoke you saw was a fan belt trying to turn across a seized pulley.

(Now, if someone could just help me as to why my 85 won't crank over fast enough to start after I replaced the valve seals, I'd be a happy camper!! LOL (Other post in Engine Topics))

Let us know back!!

Good luck!!

Taj
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Morning Taj and Todd. Another great idea about the fan belts. I tried removing both the alt and power steering belts before work. It was a lot quicker than the "free spin" test. No luck though. Damn, I was hoping one of those was the binding culprit.

More updates later today. Thanks again for all the advise.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Morning Taj and Todd. I contacted a garage that I do business with. While they agree on the troubleshooting idea's, they would really like to see and take a look at it before we go any further. I've been doing business with them for 5 years and they have always been honest and straightforward with me. Two of the mechanics own classic cars, so they know and have a passion for the classics.
I'm going to have it trailered there today.

Thanks again, and I'll let you know what they say.
 

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Man I hope that it is something you can correct by tightening or some problem with electrical connections.

You say it turns over about two very "hard" reves and quits? Sounds like a major internal mechanical problem not electrical. Sometimes things just happen and we don't always get to pick when and where.

I hope I am wrong. :cry:

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Pete,Todd and Taj. Thanks for support. I'm going with the pro's because I am fearing the worst. I know my limitations and would rather not do any more damage trying to force a solution.
I would really hate for the mechanic to say something like "I wish you had me look at before you...."
I'm pretty sure something internal is binding the motor. I have not been able to change the symptoms with what I have done.
The motor is the original motor, although it was rebuilt before I bought it. I would like to keep it orginal, but might ask you guys for opinions on "crate" motors. Don't even want to think about that today.

Thanks again, and I'll be updating when I have more info.
 

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I am really fond of the Rat Motors! :D

However it could just be a Galded bearing or Cracked / broken ring. No war stories from me. Just this, if you do decide to keep it original, make sure you know the machine shop and know their work. I mean from a source who has torn down the Machine shops work. Anyone can put together an engine... However to do it correctly and get tolerances correct it really needs to be someone with integrety. You could never know what they put back in the motor.

I have actually seen engines with two of the pistons +.040 and the rest at +.030 over. The last one I bought "Rebuilt" was scary Bubba. The heads were different, some of the valves were ground down so much to get a seat that the valves were recessed in the head, no lie! :x I have a whole story about it and the "Machine Shop" that did the work, well some of it, just bad experiences. I am sorry I said no war stories.

You have to verify all you get done for yourself if you don't then you don't know what you got. The crate engines from GMPP are no brainers and warrented for 36,000 Mi. and they are good!

You be the Judge! You do get what you pay for and sometimes much less!
 

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I sure hope its just something minor. i hope you get her back on the road soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The garage owner just left with the Elky on flatbed truck. He will try and look at it today. They are closed from July 3rd to the 12th.
This really bites because this weekend is the Summer Nationals here in Worcester, MA. Over 4500 customs, hot rods, and muscle cars. They close off the entire downtown and the only cars allowed in are "show cars". Flame throwers, burnouts, the works. I've been prepping the Elky just for this show.
If it is possible, they'll fix the Elky before the show starts and before they leave for vaca. If not, I had them take the car-cover and they said they'll keep it inside and under the cover for me.

Thanks again for all your help.
 

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Maybe the mechanic will find it straight away. I hope so...so you can take her to the show..and show-off!! LOL

The thing about Chevys is problems are USUALLY easy to diagnose...and sometimes actually 'repair' themselves!!

Now, wouldn't it be a hoot that the flatbed ride jostles something...and she lights right off when the mechanic goes to set her down in the shop?!?!? Been known t happen!! Talk about your cheap fix!! ROTFL

Be well.

Taj
 

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that would actually not be very fun....i hate when problems "fix" themselves, because its always unsure as to if its going to come back or not....had an isuzu trooper that did that all the time, it was very tempremental, NEVER could get it to duplicate its problem, it occured in all sorts of weather, and not all the time. just couldnt do the math. i'd trash talk it, but its got a chevy 289 in it, and i just dont have the heart to do that! :(

in any case i hope its an easy problem for them to fix, and that they can do it soon, or at least tell you whats wrong with it then maybe you can get your hands on it and do it yerself
 
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