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sjdrum21

Strater/Solenoid Stuck in Crank

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Hello Buick Riviera Experts!

I am admittedly not one, but have been helping a widow from my church get her late husband's '69 Riv running after several years of sitting. The battery read 12V initially when disconnected, but nothing when I connected the cables. I traced this to a short in the positive battery cable. The positive cable was routed in front of the engine cross member, and between the cross member and passenger side motor mount where it wore a small pinhole in the cable on the metal seam on top of the cross member. I insulated the cable with a thick layer of electrical tape, 3" in each direction as a temporary fix, and replaced the battery. Once everything was reconnected, I cranked the engine, and it stuck in crank, even after I turned off and removed the key. I disconnected the negative battery cable and it reset the system. I repeated the process 3 times. Once, I was able to bump the starter and release as normal, the other two times, it stuck in crank as described above and I had to disconnect at the battery to stop it. I did disconnect the battery cable at the starter solenoid to access the cable to tape it up, but reconnected it to the solenoid as I found it, and verified that none of the wires are touching the wrong posts. Any ideas? My theory is that the short welded something up in the solenoid. I do not have a wiring diagram for the solenoid, but I assume it is wired correctly because It is as I found it, and supposedly, it ran fine when put away a few years ago. Should I replace the solenoid? I have never done this with a starter motor mounted solenoid. Can it be done on the car, or do I have to take the whole starter off? If anyone has any ideas, I would love to hear them. Thanks?

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You will have to remove the starter to do any work with the solenoid.

Once the starter is out, replace it with a new starter with solenoid.

These starters are inexpensive and plentiful. Will not cost a lot more than just the solenoid.

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Use a remote start switch/button or just a jumper wire to engage the starter without ignition switch involvement...or, disconnect the small exciter wire which feeds voltage from the ignition switch and, using a 12 volt test light, confirm that the ignition switch is not "sticking"/sending voltage to the solenoid when it should not. I would eliminate the ignition switch or other source of voltage before I condemned the starter. Good luck,

Tom Mooney

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Sounds like a bad ignition switch or starter solenoid. I had a recent experience that resulted in replacing the ignition switch and having the starter rebuilt. I still do not know if a bad ignition switch "did in" the starter solenoid, but the starter was beginning to exhibit signs of failure anyway (I would get the dreaded "click" when engaging the starter the first couple attempts). Eventually I got the car started, but then could not shut off the running engine in any key position (the starter was disengaged at that point). That behavior is usually diagnosed as a bad ignition switch.

Eliminate the ignition switch as the source of "permanent" voltage to the starter as Tom suggests, and go from there. Depending on the eventual diagnoses, I believe replacement ignition switches are available for that model (1969) for less than $50.. I was not so lucky, as the 1968 is a one year only switch - another story.

If the starter is the culprit, your options are replacement or rebuild. My opinion would be to have the original rebuilt if you can. I have talked with folks who had repeat failures of over-the-counter replacement/remanufactured starters. I had mine rebuilt by a local alternator/generator shop that specializes in starter/alternator repairs. The cost was about $150, and that included labor to remove and reinstall. (I was able to get one more start of the old one and drive my car there). They even "refinished" the casing, so it looked new on the outside as well. Might be worth seeing if you have a shop like that in your area.

Sorry I could not be more helpful on diagnostic tips, but hopefully the cost information from my ordeal helps your decision process.

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Use a remote start switch/button or just a jumper wire to engage the starter without ignition switch involvement...or, disconnect the small exciter wire which feeds voltage from the ignition switch and, using a 12 volt test light, confirm that the ignition switch is not "sticking"/sending voltage to the solenoid when it should not. I would eliminate the ignition switch or other source of voltage before I condemned the starter. Good luck,

Tom Mooney

Tom is right.

My bet is the ignition switch.

Power to the starter is only possible through the ign switch absent a short.

Let us know how you make out.

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