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Possible Starter Problem


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Hello! Before I jack up my 59 Electra and drop the starter, I thought I'd better consult with the wise men (and women) in this Forum for their thoughts.

I recently brought this car out of a long storage. It had been sitting in Illinois for nearly 15 years before I got her back to the West Coast. However, my first attempt starting her reminded me of a condition that took place years earlier. As you know, the famous starter switch on the carb actually activates the starter. As I primed the carb and hit the acellerator, the starter would not stop running. I had this problem years earlier and replaced the starter solenoid, as the winter weather and long storage periods would leave rust from moisture in the solenoid.

I am now wondering if the starter switch on the carb might be the problem. Could there be gunk and maybe some rust buildup in there?

Has anyone else had this problem before?

If you have, please let me know what you did to remedy the problem.

Maybe I can avoid having to drop this starter while laying on my back!!!

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Assuming the 59's starter switch is similar to the 56's, I would say that is more than likely the problem. Do you have a manual that shows how to assemble the switch? If not, and you decide to remove it, do yourself a favor and make a small mark on the top before removing it.

In the 56, the switch has a ball bearing in there which is drawn up into a passage by engine vacuum when the car starts. If the switch is installed upside down that can't happen and leads to the starter switch engaging everytime the gas pedal is activated.

Also use no lubricant inside the switch. It should be dry.

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I think there was some discussion recently on this issue. You may want to search the Buick forums here (either Post War Technical, or Buick Club General). There is also the possibility of multiple problems. A vacuum leak can cause an issue with the switch on the carb and an electrical issue (starter relay perhaps?) could combine to defeat the safeguards against the condition you have.

Note that vacuum hoses also can deteriorate with storage as well as electrical issues.

Good luck.

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