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Ignition Stuck on...


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I went over to the unit today to turn my '52 Super over as she'd not been started for three weeks.

I switched on the ignition, put my foot on the throttle pedal and she turned over but failed to start. I then turned the key to 'off' but the car continued to turn over the started motor. By this time my foot was no longer on the gas pedal and the ignition was on 'off' but she was still turning over. I then pulled out the key and the lock barrel came out with it.....and the car is still turning over! I try to put the barrel and key back into the lock and I can now turn the barrel through 360 degrees and the car won't switch off and is still turning over. Whether it's on off or on the starter is still engaged and turning over. If it wasn't happening to me, it would all be rather funny. Meanwhile as I've got an Optima Spiral Cell battery it's turning over and over and only running down slightly.

I end up jumping out of the car and pulling the battery cable off.

Is this a faulty ignition switch or a problem with the starter sticking? I thought if I turned it the ignition to "off", the starter would disengage no matter what so I assume it's a problem with the switch?

I hope this makes sense!

Andy

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It sure sounds like you need to find yourself another ignition keyswitch assembly.

It CAN'T be anything other than this !

Why should the lock assembly come out in your hand ; or turn 360* ?

Your ignition lock-switch just broke with age & use .

Possibly a pot-metal or plastic breakage issue ?

You actually DID have some luck in that you did not overheat & actually burn-out your starter motor !

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ANDY, that brings back cold chills for me, along with a smile. Many years ago, I was driving my Roadmaster home from work and ran out of gas, not an uncommon occurrence for a teenaged kid as disorganized as I was (am).

Maybe it was a weak fuel pump or maybe just the 1/4 mile of steel tubing from tank to carburetor, but I'd found that I always had to prime the engine to get it started in this, um, situation. So there I was, air filter beside the car, with jerry can in one hand and pulling on the gas pedal linkage with the other to crank the starter over. Then, WHUMP! the engine backfired.

It startled me and I jumped back and dropped the jerry can, away from the car thankfully. The backfire had ignited fuel that was spilled on top the top of the engine and down into the valley cover. I started flailing on the blaze with my jean jacket, which of course just picked up the flaming gasoline and became a torch.

I ran back to the trunk and hauled out an old wool blanket, which proved to be a much better device for smothering the flames. By this time, though, the starter switch wires on the carb had burned through and the engine commenced to crank over again, this time pumping fuel out of the priming vents at the top of the carb.

I dove back to the trunk, grabbed a 1/2" wrench and yanked off a battery cable. Silence, smoke and the putrid smell of burnt wool settled over the scene. I recall at the time actually chuckling at how funny this brief but frantic episode must have looked to the several people who would have driven by.

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You have two problems. One of course with the ignition switch. The other with the starter solenoid and/or the starter relay. Usually it is the starter relay or ignition switch causing a low voltage condition the causes the solenoid contacts to weld and stick.

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Thanks for the replies.

Brad, the burnt out starter was what was going through my head when I was panicking!

Rob, Great story - at least you could laugh about it later!

Old-Tank, thanks for the advice everything was working OK a couple of weeks ago but I recall the ignition switch was loose.

Any ideas where I can get the ignition switch assembly (and probably a new key) from?

Thanks,

Andy

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Andy,

one more thing,

It also occurred to me that the switch at the carburetor could be

stuck closed and compounding the problem. Check the continuity across those two terminals. IF it's in the closed position while not depressed then it needs to be adjusted or fixed. On Buicks that little switch takes the place of the "START" position on "normal" cars....! At the proper throttle position 12 volts goes down to the solenoid and wakes it up!

THis happened to me once, while the car was idling! That switch failed and engaged the starter.....a heck of a sick sound if ever there was one!

There's a little spring and brass contacts in the barrel of that plastic (bakelite) switch on the side of the carb. WIth the battery disconnected, do the continuity check (should only close when throttle is depressed) and make sure it's working properly and at the correct throttle position.

In a pinch you could re-route those wires to a simple switch or push button and bypass the Buick piece; until you sort it all out. Then, YOU control starter engagement.

mike

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yes, there is a switch on the throttle plate that controls the starter, but it should be fed from the ignition switch so the ignition switch should be on and the switch on the carburator switch also has to be on before the starter solanod is energized,, Or the starter Solanod has welded the contacts, and stuck shut, and would need to be replaced

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Thanks for the replies. Lots of things to check there. In the meantime I have a new igtition assembly on the way from The US. Before it arrives can I temporarily replace the original with a simple electrical switch to test everything else out and that the car is running OK?

Andy

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would check the starter solinode first,, put a meter across the two big terminals and it should be open, as well as check the switch on the carburator should be open as well and when you open the throttle it should close..

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Boy this thread brings back some memories. Mom used to get Dads hand me down cars, he was in sales so he drove a lot. I will never forget in the 62 Olds she had to drive around with a wooden spoon, as the starter would stay engaged. I was very young and don't remember what was done to solve the problem but in 62 Oldsmobile didn't have a throttle sensing type starter. I'd still check the throttle, but it could also be in the starter. Just my 2 cents.

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Hi,

Went over to the unit today to take a look at the car. I dismantled the ignition switch to take it out of the equation so I just had the three ignition terminals not touching under the dash.

This is what I did.

I reconnected the battery.

I connected the two ignition terminals, the fuel pump starts, I depress the gas pedal and the starter turns over,I then disconnect the two ignition terminals and the starter continues to turn over (!). I disconnect the battery and everything goes dead.

I then re-connect the battery with the ignition terminals unconnected and the starter does not continue to turn over - as if disconnecting the battery has reset it.

I had a friend with me who has an multimeter (I need to get a decent one!) but all his results were inconclusive. With the battery connected, no igniton wires connected and the throttle unpressed there was 4-5v between the starter solenoid contacts.

Thanks,

Andy

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All sorted!

I was a stuck starter relay (the small box on the back of the engine bay). The auto-electrician found it was not cutting off properly. We took it to bits, cleaned the points and reassembled it and everything works fine.

Thanks for all your help!

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Mike,

I've just read the thread and looked at the pictures. It's a tough one! It does sound like something has started to come apart internally. I like your "put it into reverse" suggestion (very gently), that might give you some clues or free something up. I shall now follow the thread with interest!

Andy

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All sorted!

I was a stuck starter relay (the small box on the back of the engine bay). The auto-electrician found it was not cutting off properly. We took it to bits, cleaned the points and reassembled it and everything works fine.

Thanks for all your help!

Just like Willie said...

You have two problems. One of course with the ignition switch. The other with the starter solenoid and/or the starter relay. Usually it is the starter relay or ignition switch causing a low voltage condition the causes the solenoid contacts to weld and stick.

Take it from me, always check what he says first

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  • 1 month later...

I had a re-occurrence of the stuck starter relay - this time only shorting it out seemed to free it. I fitted a NOS replacement that I obtained via eBay and it has made a huge difference to the starting performance - it must have been on the way out for some time. Thanks for your help!

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..scratch our heads, throw more wrenches, talk to the guys at the local gas station, leave the car in a state of dis-array longer, spend more money redoing it 2 and 3 times, drink more beer, I could go on and on..oh by the way, that is a life :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

My ignition problem came back!!!

She's been OK for two weeks but today the starter came on and wouldn't disengage again! This was after fitting the NOS starter relay!

I managed to free it by shorting the relay and that unstuck it.

This has to be the solenoid now, surely?

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Andy,

Did you check that little switch (two wires attached) at the carburetor?

IT engages upon depression of the throttle...

and, disengages when throttle is released.

I have had mine stick in the past and the starter just keeps on spinnin'!

Just as you've described.

I took it apart and cleaned & lubricated it ( I seem to recall an adjustment

on it, too )

Make sure that it is disengaging properly. Either use a Volt/OHM meter

(checking for continuity) while you sork the switch, or just disconnect one of the wires while it's spinning the starter...

Good luck!

mike

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My ignition problem came back!!!

She's been OK for two weeks but today the starter came on and wouldn't disengage again! This was after fitting the NOS starter relay!

I managed to free it by shorting the relay and that unstuck it.

This has to be the solenoid now, surely?

Your solenoid may have been damaged by the low voltage conditions caused by the old relay. Also NOS relays can have issues due to time and poor storage conditions. Your might open the relay to see if there is any evidence of rust, 'fuzz', heat or arcing around the rivets inside. Also be sure it is grounded well to the car. Check Bob's Automobilia for a new relay.

Willie

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Andy,

Did you check that little switch (two wires attached) at the carburetor?

IT engages upon depression of the throttle...

and, disengages when throttle is released.

I have had mine stick in the past and the starter just keeps on spinnin'!

Just as you've described.

I took it apart and cleaned & lubricated it ( I seem to recall an adjustment

on it, too )

Make sure that it is disengaging properly. Either use a Volt/OHM meter

(checking for continuity) while you sork the switch, or just disconnect one of the wires while it's spinning the starter...

Good luck!

mike

Mike

A stuck switch at the carburetor by itself should not cause run-on of the starter, since the circuit is broken when the generator starts charging. A properly installed and working generator is another thing to check.

Willie

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Typically I couldn't reproduce the fault. I took the top off the new relay and it was just that - new. I didn't think that would be the problem as it made a huge difference to the engine turning over when I first fitted it.

Mike - I took off the switch and it's dry, dirty and sticking to some extent inside. I'm not sure if that was the cause of the problem, but it definitely does need a good clean and lubricate. I am not back at the car until next weekend now so I will clean it this week, refit it next weekend and see what heppens.

Thanks to all for your help.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Anyway, I went back and reinstalled the vacuum switch. It was quite fiddly as I couldn't get the ball to position correctly but managed it eventually.

So now I have a working car with no sign of the starting fault and am now waiting to see if the problem re-occurs.

One thing though, now I've cleaned and reassembled the vacuum switch, the engine seems to be running a little faster on tickover. Is this a normal consequence of replacing\rebuilding the switch?

Cheers,

Andy

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  • 2 weeks later...

There is vacuum pulling that ball, and if you do not have a good seal between the switch and the carb base, the additional air allowed into the system could cause the fast idle. Be careful that plastic is brittle. Just a snug tightening, think there are three screws, right?

Unless you bent the various levers, there is no reason for a faster idle.

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