Sactownog

6 volt starter turn over slow or fast?

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I have my starter being rebuilt by Richer Auto & Truck Electric in Oceanside, ca. I am excited to get my starter and generator back because when I got the car the starter looked to be original and never updated or replaced. the Generator had been rebuilt at one point after seeing it cracked open, some of the wires were new some were old. 

 

I have never heard the car turn over with a like new 6V starter, so my question is, will the starter turn over the way it did before which was slow and sluggish with the lazy "row --- row ----- rowwww---------vroom" 

 

or will it start like a new style starter "row- row - vroom? "

 

 

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I cannot speak to the vroom part after a couple of row row but rebuilding mine did not speed up the cranking speed.

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On the six volt, use large battery cables (not the skinny 12 volt cables), and personally I run a separate ground directly from the battery to one of the starter bolts.  Makes a HUGE difference, rather than the ground trying to find it's way through corroded frame joints and such.  Even if you say "oh, my frame's restored", you didn't take the riveted joints apart and clean 90 years of corrosion from between them.  Good luck!

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X2 on the heavy cables. On my '48 Plymouth I used double 0 on battery negative to solenoid and solenoid to starter then I used single 0 from battery positive to ground.

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OK, So the starter will not crank any quicker or faster than it did before, I have had new cables made, not sure what size they are, but I will check. 

 

I am curious where I would hook a negative battery cable to the starter. maybe where the bolts connect to the bell housing? 

 

I also have been told that I should add a ground wire from the engine to the frame. 

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The starter should turn over as fast as any 12 volt starter of the fifties and sixties.  The reason to run a ground from the engine to the frame  if you have run the ground from the battery to the engine is so you lights will have a good ground.

My Pontiac came from the factory with a ground running from the frame around a front motor mount to the engine.  Everything worked really well until the eighties when the starter seemed sluggish.  I had the starter rebuilt (it needed an armature) for the first time at about 350,000 miles, grounded the battery to the starter mounting bolt and it spun just like it had done in the fifties.

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I agree with Tinindian. When I crank the '31 DB coupe, it cranks fast and strong as long as the connections and ground are good. Yours should, too.

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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This seems to be a sticking point for a lot of people not as familiar with how electrical current works, no offense meant, just a fact.

 

So, they go to the store and say "I need two battery cables" and end up with 12 volt rated cables (about the diameter of your little finger).  What they need are 2/0, or double ought, cables, at a MINIMUM for 6 volts, to get the amps to the starter motor.  2/0 wire is about the diameter of your thumb.  All this is assuming you have more or less normal hands and you weren't the body double for Andre the Giant.

 

You can never go wrong going with bigger wire, but you can make your starting life miserable by going with smaller wire.  The ones who don't know hear that starter going UR..URRR...UR...URRR ever so slowly, then spend a bunch of time and money going to 12 volts on the car because it's "better".  It's not.  6 volt cars started fine when new, they can start fine again.  How many cars do you think a dealer would sell if that's what the buyer heard on a new car?

 

Good luck!

 

 

automotive_cable_1.png

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Engines ran slower back then. They had much slower redlines, much slower idle speed, and a camshaft tuned to those lower speeds. As such, the necessary cranking speed was lower, a LOT lower. It hadn't been that many years since we were cranking them by hand.

 

It really boils down to the design of the starter motor, and the gear ratio from the drive pinion to the crank. The engineer could have picked anything. What he picked varies by make and model.

 

It might very be well be normal for it to crank slow. It should start right up. The real test is can it crank for a little while. If you are getting three chugs or something, and thats it, and you have to wonder whether it is going to start or not before you run out of battery, then something is wrong. The starter should not sound labored, just slower than something modern. It should be able to crank for a little while without slowing down much if any.

 

If it is pulling way down to a stop when every cylinder comes past, the system voltage is probably getting pulled down to nothing, and that will cause hard starting because the ignition just doesn't have enough voltage to work. A stalled electric motor draws an unbelievable amount of current.

 

Like Tinindian, my Pontiac (1936) cranks crazy fast for an old car. I don't think that is typical or normal for the era. Slow but steady for most cars. I have a good battery and big reproduction cables (RI Wire). I think they are 0 gauge, but might be 00.

 

There are much cheaper sources for big cables than RI wire if you don't need them absolutely authentic. A parts house for tractors will have 6 volt stuff right on the shelf. Straps were often used for the "ground" or chassis side (be it positive or negative) and they work fine. Don't neglect the "third cable" (or strap) from the engine/trans to the frame.

 

Next time you see a Model A Ford, listen to it crank.....

 

RUUrrrrrrrrrRUUrrrrrrrrrrRUUrrrrrrrrrRUUrrrrrrrrrrrRUUrrrrrrrrrRUUrrrrrrrrrrrRUUrrrrrrrrrRUUrrrrrrrrrrr

 

 

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Pre-war Packard 356s crank agonizingly slowly. Every 1941 Cadillac I've had cranked so slowly you'd think it would never fire and just about the time you're about to give up, it fires. Speed isn't necessarily the point. You want it to have enough velocity to pull some fuel and air into one of the cylinders--enough to fire when the plug's turn comes. As long as it turns consistently and doesn't bog down, as others have said, it is probably working properly. My three six-volt cars have markedly different cranking speeds but they all fire reliably. I upgraded the cables and grounds on the '35 Lincoln, as well as using two Optimas, and that sucker cranks over even when it doesn't want to. It just doesn't have a choice anymore; it WILL start. It doesn't crank any faster, but nothing slows it down, either. Not heat, not compression, not cold, nothing.

 

 

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I used the leads from my MIG welder, built them myself, bought the ends and soldered it with my torch, don't really know the gage, but its thicker than my thumb....and I am told I have sausages for fingers....?

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I have also used welding cable. I had some custom cables made in 00 welding cable for a 12v Cadillac (high compression 472) that didn't like to crank. I was cautioned that it was not as oil resistant as real battery cable. Not a problem on that car. 00 welding cable is MUCH more flexible and easy to work with than 00 battery cable. It really cranked good with those. What a difference!

 

 

 

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The flexibility and gauge are huge advantages....The guy that taught me everything I know about cars, Ed Parrish, showed me that trick, when we were trying to jump start cars on the side of the road....he always said the last thing you need when on the side of the road was bad tools....so we always made our own jumper cables, to the length we wanted....I just took that same idea and made the leads for my car at the time.

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The generator/alternator rebuild shop up the street from my place makes me these awesome cables:

 

NewCable1.thumb.jpg.d9a33c0b8c8a81242eb893dad5b940b2.jpg Battery1.thumb.jpg.49a110ac4c3ef9c6d2a314dd2f9401be.jpg

 

Those four cables in 1/0 size with ends were about $45. Very flexible and easy to work with. If you need cables I can put you in touch with them and I'm sure they'd make you some and ship them to you. They know old cars very well and do all my starter/generator work. Right now they've got a starter/generator from a 1916 Cadillac on the workbench--very cool!

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19 hours ago, Sactownog said:

OK, So the starter will not crank any quicker or faster than it did before, I have had new cables made, not sure what size they are, but I will check. 

 

I am curious where I would hook a negative battery cable to the starter. maybe where the bolts connect to the bell housing? 

 

I also have been told that I should add a ground wire from the engine to the frame. 

 

Has your car been changed to a negative ground?

If not then the negative cable going to the starter would go on the threaded post.

002.jpg

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22 hours ago, Sactownog said:

I am curious where I would hook a negative battery cable to the starter. maybe where the bolts connect to the bell housing? 

 

As @Silverdome says, put the earth = ground onto the starter solenoid post. Mine has a wing nut; the cable goes on when I go out and comes off when the car is in the garage. My car (1930 Dodge ? has a wee wire holder loop attached to the top of the rear engine mount =cross member for the cable; it looks original so I am guessing that is the original place for the earth wire. Yes it cranks slowly, but strongly and always starts when fuel reaches the carb.

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19 hours ago, Bloo said:

It might very be well be normal for it to crank slow.

 

I just have a hard time with that statement, although one could never prove it one way or the other how they cranked when new.  When all connections and components were new and shiny and frames had no corrosion so electrical path was clear, I think that new cars of the 20's and 30's cranked just fine with the starter.....

 

I can tell you that my 1927 Dodge cabriolet does not crank slow, it's 6 volts, with a ground run directly to starter, and it will turn over fast enough to fill an EMPTY vacuum tank just from cranking........in very short fashion....

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3 hours ago, Silverdome said:

 

Has your car been changed to a negative ground?

If not then the negative cable going to the starter would go on the threaded post.

002.jpg

I have not changed to negative ground. it is still a positive ground system. 

now that I read all of the comments, I will add some grounds. my positive (negative or black wire) will go to Starter bolt on top where peddle engages starter, my negative goes to the top of the transmission behind shiffter. 

 

the other negative I will run from where the Starter bolts to the Bell housing to the frame somewhere. 

 

should I run another ground somewhere else?  

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The turning speed is based on the Voltage the starter motor is feed, hence the reason why a 12 volt battery will turn over a starter faster than a 6 volt battery. Note, the battery needs to be able to supply enough amps (ie CCA of the battery) to handle the resistance of the of  the engine. If your car does take time to fire, thicker cables are important, especially for a 6 volts system.

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1 hour ago, trimacar said:

 

I just have a hard time with that statement, although one could never prove it one way or the other how they cranked when new.  When all connections and components were new and shiny and frames had no corrosion so electrical path was clear, I think that new cars of the 20's and 30's cranked just fine with the starter.....

 

I can tell you that my 1927 Dodge cabriolet does not crank slow, it's 6 volts, with a ground run directly to starter, and it will turn over fast enough to fill an EMPTY vacuum tank just from cranking........in very short fashion....

 

I doubt we are really in disagreement here. I just happen to think many cars were designed to crank slower then, not crank too slow, or crank badly.

 

I do expect them to do what they did when new. I don't expect them to go CHEEeCHEEeCHEEeCHEEe like a modern vehicle that idles at 800rpm, revs easily to 6000rpm, and probably has a gear reduction starter. No way were the old ones designed too weak to do the job.

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1 hour ago, maok said:

The turning speed is based on the Voltage the starter motor is feed,

Not true at all.  Just because "12" is a larger number than "6" does not mean a starter will work better, c'mon people, get some education and learn how electricity works.  Amps are what matter, and having a full electrical circuit to the starter.

 

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Just now, Bloo said:

doubt we are really in disagreement here.

I somewhat agree that we don't disagree.  To your point, no, the earlier cars probably didn't spin like banshees when started.  However, I feel they spun much faster than most people think, as there's no logic put into an old car now original, semi-restored, or restored.  When new, all the metal touching metal was bright and shiny and conducted the charge very well.  Now, not so much.  Thus, one has to take into account the condition factor of grounding, and the nature of electricity.  It's just like an old man, a nice, clear path, no problem, but put some obstacles in the way and whoops, not so easy....

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12 minutes ago, trimacar said:

Not true at all.  Just because "12" is a larger number than "6" does not mean a starter will work better, c'mon people, get some education and learn how electricity works.  Amps are what matter, and having a full electrical circuit to the starter.

 

 

The below is from this site - https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/39387/how-are-current-and-voltage-related-to-torque-and-speed-of-a-brushless-motor

 

In any motor, the basic principle is very simple:

  • rotational speed is proportional to voltage applied
  • torque is proportional to current pulled

A 100 volt motor is a motor that can take a maximum of 100 volts, and a 50 volt motor a maximum of 50 volts. Since the 100 volt motor can take more volts, if all else is equal, it can give you a higher maximum speed.

But the difference in voltage does not affect the torque. To get more torque to go up a hill, you need to supply your motor with more current. A motor that can take more current (and a battery and motor controller that can supply more current) will give you more torque to help you up the hill.

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It will turn at it's designed speed on 6 volts. The crank will turn at a speed determined by the ratio of starter gear teeth to ring gear teeth. If you put 12 volts on a 6 volt starter, yes it will spin faster, and the engine will spin faster too. The starter will have to dissipate over twice the power as heat that it did on 6 volts. You will probably get away with it for a while, maybe not forever.  A 6 volt bulb burns really bright on 12v as well.....

 

The question that needs to be asked is "why is it so hard to start?"

 

The engineer didn't say "Oh, woe is me! There are only 6 volt batteries and this damn thing will never start!" He designed it to spin at whatever speed he thought it needed to start, plus some headroom. There were not a bunch of Hondas and gear reduction Chryslers for a frame of reference on what a starter should sound like. The frame of reference was a hand crank. Most cars through the mid 30s were designed to still start with one if necessary. The owner was probably just happy he wouldn't need to use one anymore

 

Remember Dodge Brothers (and probably others) had 12v in the 1920s and abandoned it.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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