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1939 dodge won't start or attempt to

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Hey, 1939 Dodge 4 door sedan all original. Started a few weeks ago, no problem. Yesterday. turned on ignition..hit starter pedal and nothing..NOTHING..no noise at all. Checked battery. Full 8 volts (not 6 cause I switched out the battery to 8 years ago), put meter on Hot at starter and on ground and got full 8volts. Starter can't be 5 years old. Hit starter with a rubber mallet...Nothing. Can someone suggest a check list of what I am missing??? Thanks to all in advance. Fred

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Clean connections everywhere? Can you still turn the engine over by hand??

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cleaned all connections. Did not put the shaft in to try to tork it by hand. Started up without incident within 6months but the brakes had gone down. Waited for a friend to get time to help me bleed them. All went well. Now...no start. Just stuck what to check next. It has a new voltage regulator replaced (unwarranted ) 1 year ago. Any Help in trouble shooting GREATLY APPRECIATED. Thanks Fred

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Push on the fan belt while turning the fan blade to see if the engine is stuck. The starter could also be stuck.

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I'd try putting the car in high gear and rock it back and forth by hand and see what happens. I've had cars stop with a starter drive tooth binding on a flywheel tooth; rocking back and forth in gear was just enough to move everything back into the correct position.

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Your '39 has a foot-pedal starter. Turn on headlights and step on starter. If headlights go dim, I'd check the starter or try to spin the engine manually to make sure it isn't stuck. If nothing flickers when you step on the starter, it might be bad contacts in the foot switch.

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I tried to rock the car back and forth in 3rd gear. Let's face it, I'm old and thin. Can't get it to rock. I will keep trying, Please keep thinking of cures...I'm stuck!

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Disconnect the battery cable,

Loosen the starter attaching bolts to see if you can disengage the starter drive (Bendix) from the flywheel

Per rocking the car - be sure the parking brake is off when car is in 3rd gear - then try to rock

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Won't Get the chance till tomorrow, Wednesday, to try Thanks for guidance..I will let you know tomorrow on progress. Many thanks for any Help. Fred

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Finally got bolts on starter loose and giggled it big time. Still no go. When I turn key and hit the starter pedal I don't see any change in dash ammeter arrow. I put a meter on the hot at starter and ground to engine and I have full current. Can't rock the car but it is huge and I am not. Could my problem be electrical and if so how to trouble shoot it? Thanks Fred

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Hook up your voltmeter across the battery as you described earlier. When you engage and attempt to crank the starter, the voltage as shown on your voltmeter should drop considerably, like several volts, as current flows through the starter motor. If it doesn't drop, that indicates an open circuit, either in the vehicle wiring or inside the starter itself.

Try bypassing the vehicle wiring and starter switch by running a heavy gauge booster cable aka battery jumper cable from the battery and momentarily connecting it directly to the terminal on the starter. (CAUTION: Engine may crank or start at that moment). You also want to inspect and test the chassis return side of the circuit in similar manner with another jumper cable. (ALSO NOTE: I believe this vehicle is positive ground. Positive or negative ground doesn't really matter in diagnosis as long as you know which.)

If the starter motor won't operate even when hot-wired, that would indicate an internal starter problem.

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Being a pedal start,,,,,the contacts inside the switch could have burned

to the point of no contact??? Bench test good idea,,,It may jump around when you make contact,,,!!!!,,Cheers Ben

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Magoo is correct, 39 dodge is positive ground. Also hard to test battery when engaging starter switch as the battery is under the driver seat. I would bench test the starter, if it turns on the bench you can be almost certain it is the starter pedal contacts that are toast.

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I'll go ahead and pull the starter out. It is a bear to do. My reach and space are limited. Battery is indeed under the front seat making a lot of routine things Hard/impossible to do. Being in a cramped garage and unable to move the car makes even more times tough. The starter pedal is a mechanical press onto the lever which depresses the switch on the top of the starter. I removed the switch and checked it out already. The starter has been replaced on this car three times in 30 years. Seems like a lot to me especially given its rare use. Location is low left side of engine,, you have to bend way over the fender and way down and in. Thanks for the help any more ideas...keep them coming. Thanks Fred

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Got the starter off. Have not " Bench" tested it yet. Since starter switch is on top of starter I have to figure out how to jump to the two contacts and hit the starter button all at the same time. Any clue? Fred

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You should be able to hook your positive cable to the starter frame and hit the contact nearest the starter (by passing the starter switch).

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I will hit it tomorrow....Again MANY THANKS for all your help. I put a screw driver to the fly wheel of the car and at least it is free. I think the reason it won't rock is the le left front wheel. Tends to freeze up over time due to the location of the exterior door. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks Fred

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A 39 Dodge starter switch is pictured. When the silver button is pressed, it completes the circuit to supply electric power to the starter motor. I would have asked you to reach in the eng. comp. and press the button; The starter motor should spin w/o engaging the flywheel/engine. That test would eliminate or confirm the problem is with the mechanical set up for the starter foot pedal or the switch itself.

Now with the starter (secured) on the bench, you might consider hooking up the battery and then pushing the starter button or "plunger" with your thumb. The starter motor should spin vigorously. If still "nothing", inspect sw contacts or consider possible hungup or worn out brushes.

post-44716-143142179673_thumb.jpg

Edited by drwatson (see edit history)

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Hooked Positive to housing. Touched negative to switch housing. Sparks but no starter movement at all. Guess I get to invest in a new starter. Agree??? Thanks to all for your help. My very best regards to all. Fred

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Other cable goes on switch terminal [bolt],,,

The switch body is bolted to the motor body directly,,,,

therefore you made a direct short,,,

much like shorting the pliers across the battery terminals

Dont do it,,,Think it over again and retest,,,Cheers,,Ben

p/s,,,can someone elaborate,,and give better picture of the problem,,,CB

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Don't touch negative to switch housing. You should attach it to the switch terminal bolt. Once that is done you can trigger the starter with the switch by depressing it.

I also wouldn't run out and get a new starter until you confirm it is the starter, and then it may be an easy fix (dirty contacts, stuck brush, dirty armature, etc)

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I had similar trouble with my car. Turns out I twisted the inner contact of the starter switch while tightening down the battery cable. Take off the starter switch. You can see the contacts inside the switch and how overtightening the nut messes up the alignment. I learned this from an auto electric tech who took the time to school me. Lesson learned; use 2 wrenches when tightening the battery cable.:rolleyes:

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