Starter Spasms

Interior and Electrical

  1. The_Red_Barron

    The_Red_Barron Active Member

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    Hello again beautiful FMJ Forum!

    I'm back with another issue that I've been trying to bring up, but kept forgetting.....
    My timing is not fully tuned, but it works enough to not give me too many problems while driving. I disconnected the vacuum advance on the timing, and that helped me get power and stop most of the unwanted pinging. That's not the issue.....

    In order to shut the engine off when running 87oct, I tend to leave it in drive or reverse. I'm leaving the trans engaged, to help stop dieseling (continued combustion without spark), and it works well. Recently, I've noticed an issue that I'm not entirely sure is related.

    When I'm on campus, I disconnect my battery with a quick disconnect, to prevent the car from roaming without my knowledge......

    However, there are times that I leave the battery connected, because I know I'm going to go out again in a day or two.

    If I had the battery disconnected, it doesn't act up. If I leave the battery together, even for 20 minutes after running, it acts up.......

    I'll get in the car, put the key in the ignition, and hear the usual buzzers. The dome light comes on, the oil light and brake light come on, and all my lights will work (I know they will work without the key). I'll go to crank it over, and I'll hear *click*. I'll back off and all the lights will go out. If I shut the door, and remove the key completely, after a few minutes the lights will come back on. The car becomes completely dead. If I try again, it sounds like the starter is clicking extremely fast. My lights will flicker to match (LEDs).

    Now, I originally thought it was because of how I was shutting the car off. Maybe the neutral switch wasn't getting pressure, so the system thought it was still in drive or reverse, even thought the shifter was positioned in park. So, I tried shutting it off in park. It dieseled, like I expected. Went into the store, and came out 10-20 minutes later. Loaded the bags, got everyone in the car, and went to crank. It did the same exact thing. If I disconnect the battery (completely remove the quick disconnect screw[?]) and reconnect, it will crank over just fine.

    It's not like it will do it if I just sit.....I've tried it, it won't fix itself..... Perhaps there's a short somewhere? The starter is new, the ignition switch is newly replaced (didn't give me problems for months), and as far as I remember, the ballast is new as well. The motor was rebuilt about a year ago.......

    Is it possible that the starter was damaged by working on the car. There was one time when I accidentally let a torque wrench connect with the inner fender and the starter. There were sparks, but it didn't give me any problems for months after. And believe me, I basically drove it everyday.

    Even if I leave the car sit for 12-24 hours, it'll act the same exact way....... The only way to "fix" it is to disconnect the battery and then reconnect.

    Thoughts?

    I'll post a video on here later of the car doing it in the parking lot on campus...... you guys tell me what you think..... It does it with the lights and buzzers working after I left the car powered up for a few days......
     
  2. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    The first thing I would do is verify that the starter is tight and that all grounds are one hundred percent.
     
  3. Aspen500

    Aspen500 Well-Known Member

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    The condition you describe sounds like a bad battery connection. The flickering lights, buzzing, etc are all caused by a loss of amperage, not necessarily voltage though. If the lights work until you turn the key to start, and you hear a click, it's also a classic indication of a poor connection at the battery posts. The connection may be OK for low amperage (like lights) but not for a high amp draw. The click is an arc which "burns" the connection off and then you have no voltage either.

    It's similar to having a wire with all strands broken except one. One light bulb might work but not 4 all at the same time. The one strand will carry voltage but no amperage.

    My first thought is the battery disconnect is at fault. If it acts up and you completely disconnect the battery, reconnect, and the starter works, that's where I'd look first.
     
    Rustyroger likes this.
  4. The_Red_Barron

    The_Red_Barron Active Member

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    Went for a ride today after doing some work.....

    Drove for about an hour or so, and decided to stop for gas before I got back on campus. Pulled into GetGo about 10 miles away....

    Filled up (spilled gas everywhere, pumps suck), got in the car. All the lights were on. Cranked, and got the fast clicks. Car went dead. Unscrewed the QD (Quick disconnect), turned the key, then returned the QD. Cranked, and clicked again...... tried again, and the same clicking. I disconnected the battery, and paced for a few minutes. No one I know up here has a truck, and I don't even have a tow rope. The rest of the trip is highway, and I really don't want to call tow company.

    Said some words, and completely pulled the ground cable from the battery. There was acidic dust that fell. Blew the rest out, and reconnected. Cranked right up.

    There is some acid on the negative post, which I'm not too sure why it's there.....And we even have the little felt rings to put around the posts, to help reduce the pile up....

    A while ago, I tried starting the car after it had been warmed up. I gave it just a little gas, and cranked. Once the car started, there was slight bumping from the engine bay. It could've been the starter? I really don't think it was though.

    Anyways, once I have a few days free, I'll try checking the starter connections, then the post. Ground will probably be the last to check, considering it has been working completely fine before now.....
     
  5. Aspen500

    Aspen500 Well-Known Member

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    Make sure the battery posts and terminals are clean and shiny and tight, but not TOO tight. The acid comes from the vents and some cheaper batteries can get leakage between the case and posts. Once the terminals are clean, put something like petroleum jelly, grease or an actual battery terminal protectant on them. That shields the terminals from acid vapor and keeps the corrosion down.

    In rare cases the cable to terminal connection can get corroded and cause sporadic problems. Not really anyway to fix that other than replace the cables. Those clamp on terminal ends aren't recommended except if there's no other choice. They cause all sorts of problems.

    I think you're narrowing in on the problem.

    Ideally you can install a battery with a external vent, where you run a vent tube down to under the car. That style wont corrode the terminals and added bonus, won't corrode underhood parts that are near the battery. A battery made to be inside (trunk, under the back seat, etc) the car will always have external vent provisions. This is what I mean for the vent tube (the one on my Aspen).

    DSC00135.JPG DSC00134.JPG
     
  6. Poly

    Poly Well-Known Member

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    So what happened ? Is everytrhing sorted out ?