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Tell me whats wrong got the starter redone, but-nothing!! -HELP!


MarkV

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Ok guys, I have been unable to figure this out , but, on my 1921 Chevy, I had let it set for a month, when back to start it, and it wouldnt start, had the battery checked-fine, had the starter redone and the generator was redone about a year ago and it worked fine, the starter was also checked out and redone and it is fine. Anyway, got the starter back and put it all back together pressed the starter floor button and nothing- then all of the sudden the starter button caught on fire. Melted the terminals on the battery and I had to pull out my extinguiser to put it out. Now I plugged everything in as I had remembered it. The negative into the left side of the starter. and the positive to the starter button and then the starter button to the battery and I know I didnt do it wrong because of the lengths of the cables. I havnt a clue of what is going on, or how an entirely copper starter button could catch on fire. Anyway, as usual I would appreciate your help to get the old girl back on the road!

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> The negative into the left side of the starter. and the positive to the starter button and then the starter button to the battery</div></div>

You lost me when you said you put the negative on the starter.

Yours may be different than my 26 but it ought to be very close to the same. I just went through a similiar problem and the cure really caught me off guard.

The ground cable originally bolted to the frame but you get better results if you bolt it to the transmission. I did consider getting a longer ground cable and bolting it to one of the starter bolts that holds it to the frame.

The positive cable runs to the foot starter. On the same connection is the wire that comes from the amps guage.

From the other side of the foot starter the positive cable runs to the post on the side of the starter.

A couple of months ago my starter wouldn't work one day. I hooked a jumper directly to the starter, using the frame as a ground. It started right up. This was an intermitent problem. If I hooked a jumper to the battery I got no results but if I hooked it directly to the starter it would fire right up.

I concluded the foot starter was bad and replaced it with a new one. I also cleaned all the connections. I had my starter checked out and it was fine. It started a few times as it should and quit. Another man who is familiar with these cars and also owns a 28 Chevy suggested that the new replacement foot starter was bad.

There's not much there. The problem has to be between the battery and starter. After recleaning all the connections and assuring myself they were tight I was at a loss. On a whim I removed the starter again and cleaned it where it mates to the bell housing. I also scraped clean that area on the bell housing where the starter mates to it. I replaced the starter. It fired up like it had a 12v battery in it and has continued to do so since.

Point being, all connections must be clean and tight. ALL of them.

On the foot starter where those positive cables bolt, they are seperated by a small piece of cardboard. This helps prevent and shorting out. My thought is that something shorted it out. I don't see how anything inside that foot starter could have shorted out. Had it done so the starter would have engaged. They are a simple mechanism on the inside and can be fixed if you want to go through the trouble of taking one apart.

I can't but help think something on the outside shorted it out. On mine there's not much room between that foot starter and the engine block. The heat tube on mine is also within a very short distance from where those cables bolt to it.

Perhaps one of the cables or the wire to the amp guage had a bare spot on it or somehow touched the frame.

Get a new starter button (Gary Wallace has them) and while you're waiting on that check the cables and amp guage wire for bare spots or breaks in the insulation. Also make sure you have the right sise cable for 6v. It''s heavier than that req'd for 12v.

Let me know how it goes. We'll work thios out eventually.

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Guest simplyconnected

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 1948Lincoln</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Anyway, got the starter back and put it all back together pressed the starter floor button and nothing- then all of the sudden the starter button caught on fire. Melted the terminals on the battery...</div></div> Somebody crossed the ground wire and the starter wire. You had a direct short to ground as soon as you pressed the starter button. Your connections were tight enough, and your wires were proper size. So much current went through that switch, it melted the battery terminals. I have NEVER seen that. It's a very big short after the switch, directly to ground.

It is a good practice to keep your battery ground wire close to your starter motor, but don't get them mixed up when you are connecting them.

If your starter motor was internally shorted, it would have sent up smoke signals, smelled real bad, and the brush wires would have melted before your battery terminals.

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Well, the negative cable always went to the other side of the starter, I just plugged it in the way it had been, is this not the way it is supposed to be? Because my grandpa did a lot of funny stuff to the car, when he got older and couldnt see. Also, there is no ground wire on the car, and there never has been, however I do have one that I found, from where to where do I plug it in? Now,about the footpedal, how do you know if it is bad? and why did yours go bad quickly? Now, this cardboard in between the positive cables, mine did not have that, maybe they finally wore away? so, do I just get some thin cardboard and cut it down and put it between the cable connections on the starter pedal? I did notice a bare spot on the battery cable going from the starter to the starter pedal, I will tape that up, but it had been there for as long as I can remember and I put tape on there, but, maybe it was jostled just enough, they are all the original battery cables, very heavy. I still dont get how copper could catch on fire? And the starter pedal innerds look undamaged, they just smell like smoke.

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Guest simplyconnected

Wes, carefully look at the copper cable. It should look like shiny copper, instead of cooked-rust-color. It should also be stiff, as opposed to being anealed from too much current. Don't waste good electrical tape on copper wire that is cooked. Replace any cable that shows signs of over-current. Remember, there aren't any fuses for your starter circuit. It's wired straight to the battery.

You can find 2/0 (two-ought) AWG copper wire at any electrical supply store. If you want the best copper wire, get 2/0-WELDING WIRE. It has about 200 strands and is super flexible.

Modern cars ground two places, from the battery post to the engine AND from the same battery post to the car's body. The ground cable for the engine needs to be as heavy as the starter wire. The ground wire to the body can be much smaller (like #10-AWG copper THHN).

Run your ground wire from the battery post to an engine bolt near your starter. Make sure it is tight.

You can buy THHN (thermoplastic insulation)wire in black and red, at Home Depot or Lowe's. Electrical supply stores will have it, too. THHN wire is good 19-strand wire, used in factories everywhere. It isn't as flexible as welding wire.

Without seeing your pedal starter switch, I can't tell whether it is still good or bad. Best thing to do is take some pictures and post them here. Let's see your starter motor connections and the switch. Maybe you can show routing of your cables, too.

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Don't know your car but I would hook the + side of battery to the switch and a cable from switch to the starter. then a cable from the - battery side to a frame or engine ground. Your setup sounds wrong to me. I think you just made a loop back to the battery. with sparks when you completed the circuit by pressing the starter switch!

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 1948Lincoln</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Well, the negative cable always went to the other side of the starter, I just plugged it in the way it had been, is this not the way it is supposed to be?

<span style="color: #3366FF">No. It's supposed to be as I described </span>

Because my grandpa did a lot of funny stuff to the car, when he got older and couldnt see.

<span style="color: #3366FF">It happens to all of us eventually. </span>

Also, there is no ground wire on the car, and there never has been, however I do have one that I found, from where to where do I plug it in?

<span style="color: #3366FF">The ground cable or - side of the battery originally bolted to the frame right by the battery. Experince has shown it is better to bolt it to the transmission. </span>

Now,about the footpedal, how do you know if it is bad?

<span style="color: #3366FF"> Process of elimination. If everything else is good and the starter works when you bypass the foot starter then it has to be the foot starter.</span>

and why did yours go bad quickly?

<span style="color: #3366FF"> It didn't. Where my starter bolted to the bell housing was not as clean as it should have been, thus preventiung a good ground connection.</span>

Now, this cardboard in between the positive cables, mine did not have that, maybe they finally wore away? so, do I just get some thin cardboard and cut it down and put it between the cable connections on the starter pedal?

<span style="color: #3366FF">No. It's not really needed. It just prevents a short out if a heavy piece of metal falls back there or you attempt to remove or tighten one of the cables w/o disconnecting the battery first. </span>

I did notice a bare spot on the battery cable going from the starter to the starter pedal, I will tape that up, but it had been there for as long as I can remember and I put tape on there, but, maybe it was jostled just enough, they are all the original battery cables, very heavy. I still dont get how copper could catch on fire? And the starter pedal innerds look undamaged, they just smell like smoke.

<span style="color: #3366FF">Taping it is a temporary solution. Replace the cable as soon as possible. Now if you can. </span> </div></div>

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JFranklin</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Don't know your car but I would hook the + side of battery to the switch and a cable from switch to the starter. then a cable from the - battery side to a frame or engine ground. Your setup sounds wrong to me. I think you just made a loop back to the battery. with sparks when you completed the circuit by pressing the starter switch! </div></div>

<span style="color: #3366FF"> I agree 100%

</span>

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Well, there are 2 posts on the starter, one is the positive and what is the other one? what do I plug it into? The battery cables are good more or less, except for the one which goes from the starter button to the starter, but, the wiring looks good, the insulation is just old, so, I will fix the wire up, I cleaned out the engine compartment today and I cleaned all the connections, I have to buy a new battery, and get a new starter button, however, even though mine was on fire, I opened it up and it still looks good, like it did before, I may clean it up and see if it works, all it is, is a little copper flap and a wood cork pushes against it and completes the circuit.

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Oh, I found what looks to be a ground wire, it is braided metal, I found it in a box, and what I was just thinking, that maybe, the connection on the starter, where the negative is plugged in, is clean now, wheras before maybe it wasnt making contact and rerouting the power back to the battery. Because it was the negative terminal which got it, it melted completely, but the positive was fine.

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"and why did yours go bad quickly?

It didn't. Where my starter bolted to the bell housing was not as clean as it should have been, thus preventing a good ground connection."

Oh, I thought you were talking about the starter pedal, that you had ordered and I thought it had gone bad?

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Ok, here is one I took back in APR. I will try and get a some better ones tomorrow, notice in the bottom left, the starter, now the cable closest to the engine is the positive and it goes to the starter button (the top post) and the cable closest to us in the pic. is the one that went to the negative side of the battery, and it looks like it was supposed to be that way, because of the length, but, maybe not, like I said, maybe there was gunk on that side and it did not make contact until after I cleaned it, so, it completed the circuit and burned the terminal and the pedal, however, nothing happened with the starter. Now the positive wire near the engine, goes over the flywheel into the floor pedal, it is maybe 16-20 inches long.

post-52892-143138024099_thumb.jpg

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 1948Lincoln</div><div class="ubbcode-body">"and why did yours go bad quickly?

It didn't. Where my starter bolted to the bell housing was not as clean as it should have been, thus preventing a good ground connection."

Oh, I thought you were talking about the starter pedal, that you had ordered and I thought it had gone bad?

</div></div>

<span style="color: #3366FF">I was talking about the starter pedal. That's what I call the foot starter. It wasn't working apparentrly because the ground connection was not good where the starter mated to the bell housing. </span>

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Looking at the picture it is quite obvious your starter is different then mine. Mine only has one cable goig to it. I'd need a wiring diagram to know why yours has two. I may have one for your year but I'll have to look. I don't think I do though.

At this point I would recommend that you go to the VCCA forums and check with their experts except that their forum is down.

Do you have a wiring diagram? If so, use it to make sure your wiring is done correctly. Later today I'll see if I can find one on line.

Hang in there. We'll work this out eventually. Apparently the gremlins that have been plaguing me for so long have moved on to your car. They're mean lil suckers too.

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STOP! THINK! You need to ground the negative lug on the starter to the frame and also the negative terminal on the battery to the frame. The way you had it wired was wrong. You should check the 2 terminals with an ohmmeter to make sure they are connected properly. Ask the rebuilder what the resistance should measure. Don't burn your garage down! I have consulted the wiring diagram!

post-44363-143138024149_thumb.jpg

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Guest boettger

Wes,

Here's a Diagram of the electrical system on your '26 Chevrolet.

A previous poster is correct. From your description of the connections, you created a direct short circuit to ground when you mashed the starter switch.

If you hook things up as shown on this diagram (after replacing all burned and melted wires, components and connections) you should be good to go!

post-30600-143138024153_thumb.jpg

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Guest boettger

O.K. Here's the 21 490 Diagram.

Now I see where the confusion might be.

Both the positive and negative wires connect to the starter!

post-30600-143138024169_thumb.jpg

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Guest simplyconnected

Check your starter motor posts: One connection is INSULATED from ground, the other attaches to ground.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: simplyconnected</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Somebody crossed the ground wire and the starter wire. You had a direct short to ground as soon as you pressed the starter button.</div></div> 800-cold cranking amps across a switch USUALLY renders it useless. You saw what it did to your battery terminals, not many switches are designed to survive that kind of current.

A loose connection didn't smoke your battery. A violent dead short did.

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Looks like odds are good to excellent that the cables were switched. It would have had the same results as taking a single cable or large screw driver and shorting out the battery.

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Guest simplyconnected

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 1948Lincoln</div><div class="ubbcode-body">What is a violent dead short?</div></div> It's something that causes this:

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 1948Lincoln</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Because it was the negative terminal which got it, <span style="font-size: 11pt"><span style="font-weight: bold">it melted completely</span></span>, but the positive was fine. </div></div> Think of it this way, all the current going out of one battery terminal MUST ALSO return through the other battery terminal. It's what we call a "completed path." You can't lose any electrons along the way.

I've never seen a battery terminal entirely melt off. The reaction had to be a spectacular display of fireworks. You shorted about 800 amps or more, causing your copper to catch on fire.

I mentioned your starter having one terminal insulated from the case. You never responded as to which one that is.

Grounding was already covered in the previous posts.

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insulated from the case? I'll have to ask my starter guy, all I know is that the one nearest to the engine is positive and the other is negative. So, according to the wiring diagram, I should have some sort of a grounding wire going off, where the starter plugs into the negative, or is this necessary at all? Should I not plug the starter back into the negative and just ground it, or will this make the car not start?

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Guest simplyconnected

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 1948Lincoln</div><div class="ubbcode-body">insulated from the case?</div></div> Yep! Insulated from the starter case.

One post is, and the other post isn't.

You can check them with a cheap test light, meter, continuity tester, or you can just pull the cables off and look at the posts. Could be that someone forgot a fiber washer, I don't know.

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Guest simplyconnected

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 1948Lincoln</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Should I not plug the starter back into the negative and just ground it, or will this make the car not start? </div></div>

Wanna burn up your new battery? You will if you don't find out which starter post your positive cable goes on.

Hint: It's the one that's insulated from the starter case (if your car has a NEG ground per the above print).

I'm still not convinced your foot switch survived the last short circuit. Show us some pictures of the switch contacts.

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I'm thinking at this point if I were you I would trailer your car down to your rebuilder or auto electrical shop with the second wiring diagram in hand and let them decide what to do. It will be a reasonable thing to do and they would have the knowledge to get it all working for you without burning your parts or car up. Maybe there is a short inside the starter.

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Guest simplyconnected

Sorry to say, but your first picture is the only one that shows. Send me your pictures, and I will post them for you (simplyconnected@aol.com)

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The photos all show up for me. They really don't help much. It is difficult to explain how you need to wire it up if you can't understand how to do it by looking at the wiring diagram that has already been posted. Do you know how to use a volt/ohm meter? If so, you can test the starter button, which needs to either be replaced or cleaned up considerably. You simply need to connect everything according to the wiring diagram.

Did you have the battery out of the car before all of these problems started? If so, I suspect that you may have simply put the battery back in the car backwards, which would have produced the direct short upon activating the starter switch. That could have caused your initial problem.

It is a very simple electrical circuit. You need to test all of the electrical components with a volt/ohm meter, replace or repair any that are defective, and then connect the components according to the diagram. If you can't do that, you need to find someone who can do it. If you don't have the basic electrical knowledge to do this, it will take forever for someone to explain how to do it by typing instructions here.

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