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olympic

hard starting

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I have a hard starting 1954 Citroen Traction Avant. I thought I had the problem resolved last Sunday when I put a new coil on the car. It was starting on the first crank. Yesterday I had it out and it was starting fine. Late afternoon, it was time to put the car back into the garage and won't start! The starter cranks briefly and kicks out, the same problem as before. We gave it a shot of starting fluid. Nothing. Grandson arrive and we pushed the car into the garage. A half hour later I tried starting it again. Cranked right over and started!  Most cars I've had, when you push the starter button, will keep cranking until the engine starts or you run the battery down. This one, when it acts up, cranks for a second and kicks out. Is it some component reacting to engine heat? Could it be the starter? Has anyone had a similar problem? The car does NOT have Lucas electric, by the way. Dave

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I would thoroughly clean the connections at both ends of the battery cables. Slow or no cranking when warm is usually caused by poor cable connections or an undersized cable, or your battery is getting weak. A good shop can perform a load test on the battery but for me it has usually been the cable connections.

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Not familiar with that car, but I would check the starter solenoid to see if it is weak and not keeping the starter engaged. 

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Thanks for the responses. The battery is fully charged. There is no starter solenoid, there is just a cable running to a mechanical switch on top of the starter motor.  This weekend I'll pull the battery cables off and give them a good clean.  I tend to think this is a timing problem. Setting the timing is not an easy job on a Traction Avant. Dave

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2 hours ago, olympic said:

Thanks for the responses. The battery is fully charged. There is no starter solenoid, there is just a cable running to a mechanical switch on top of the starter motor.  This weekend I'll pull the battery cables off and give them a good clean.  I tend to think this is a timing problem. Setting the timing is not an easy job on a Traction Avant. Dave

 

Was the timing ever touched? There is no reason for it to go out of time on i's own, unless there are bigger problems

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A bad battery can always be charged so that the voltage looks fine.  However, this same battery has no strength left and can't supply enough current to do much of anything.  Coming back after half an hour of rest to find a little bit more of cranking power says only one thing-  the battery is bad.

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On 7/10/2018 at 7:17 AM, vermontboy said:

I would thoroughly clean the connections at both ends of the battery cables. Slow or no cranking when warm is usually caused by poor cable connections or an undersized cable, or your battery is getting weak. A good shop can perform a load test on the battery but for me it has usually been the cable connections.

 

Good suggestions. 

 

He also might consider just buying a battery load tester. I bought this one at Harbor Freight and used one of their 20% off coupons.

Best money I spent considering the number of vehicles I have and the time and effort to remove the battery and haul it somewhere to get it tested. 

 

I would most definitely clean the cable connection on the switch on the starter as well as the cable itself. Had this exact same situation with one of my old cars. Turns out the cable connected to the started needed a cleaning. Problem solved.

 

Charlie

Edited by charlier (see edit history)

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On 7/10/2018 at 6:58 AM, olympic said:

cranks for a second and kicks out.

 

If by this you mean the starter is still spinning, but the engine is no longer turning, (sort of crank, crank, wheeeeee) you have a bad starter drive. This is also commonly known as a Bendix, but Bendix is a particular version of a starter drive, made/licensed by Bendix Corp. The starter drive is a one way clutch that allows the crankshaft to turn faster than the starter once the engine starts, before you can release the key. They do go bad.

Edited by Frank DuVal (see edit history)

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On 7/11/2018 at 6:56 AM, olympic said:

Thanks for the responses. The battery is fully charged. There is no starter solenoid, there is just a cable running to a mechanical switch on top of the starter motor.  This weekend I'll pull the battery cables off and give them a good clean.  I tend to think this is a timing problem. Setting the timing is not an easy job on a Traction Avant. Dave

Dave

Check the output of the battery to check the CCA's  I had a recent issue with one of mine that just "clicked" and the battery charger was indicating fully charged.  Did a CCA test and it was about 20 as I recall.

Robert

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