NC-car-guy

1954 century sedan. GA to NC

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9 hours ago, old-tank said:

Starter relay?

The the starter drive wouldn't move forward right? 

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6 hours ago, Bloo said:

I am jumping in here kind of late, not knowing what all you have done but, if you are REALLY SURE you are actually hearing the gear engage.....

 

There are really only 3 possibilities.

 

1) The cables or the connections are bad (bet you have been through this already).

2) The copper bolts at the back of the solenoid are worn out and no longer quite touch the copper disc that the solenoid pushes against them. Also check the adjustment of the solenoid linkage. If it were far enough off, I think it might prevent the copper disc from touching the bolts.

3) The brushes in the starter are shot and not making good contact with the commutator.

 

Hint: it's always #2

 

#3 can be visually checked if you disassemble the starter. They are either worn really short or they arent.

Cables were all replaced and connections cleaned.  Although the largest I found locally was 4 gauge.  I need to find bigger.

As for #3. A few posts back you can see I put new bushings and brushes, and the interior of the starter looked good other wise.   

As for point 2, I took all this apart, and cleaned each contact thoroughly.  Had not thought that the copper bolts could be that worn down,  but still confusing that it doesn't fail every time. 

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1 hour ago, wndsofchng06 said:
11 hours ago, old-tank said:

Starter relay?

The the starter drive wouldn't move forward right? 

Bypass the relay:  apply 12v+ to the black wire on the relay that goes to the solenoid during the no start condition.  If it starts fine then it is the relay...if same condition the problem is at the starter.

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1 minute ago, old-tank said:

Bypass the relay:  apply 12v+ to the black wire on the relay that goes to the solenoid during the no start condition.  If it starts fine then it is the relay...if same condition the problem is at the starter.

Ah yes, I've done that.   Same condition!  I think bloo might have it with the contacts.  While I made sure they were all clean,  once the cover is on,  you can't see how well they do or do not contact. 

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The worn-out copper bolt problem is typically intermittent.

 

Also, if it were a misadjusted linkage, that could be dependent on temperature and where the flywheel stopped the last time the engine was shut off. For this to happen the starter drive would have to be bottoming out. I'm not sure if that is possible on a 54, but it sure is on a 37. I would sure find a way to check it while the starter is off. The 54 manual wants you to pull the solenoid in with a couple of the cells of a 6v battery IIRC. Thats unlikely. You could probably remove the connection from the solenoid down to the starter motor and just use 12v or 6v I think. On a 37 you can do it by hand, and maybe you could here, too.

 

The whole idea is to push/pull the solenoid in (just the big round part that moves) by the outer diameter of the part that moves, in other words dont push on the linkage. Then, at the starter drive (gear) push back lightly (toward disengage). Measure from the tip of the gear to the surface it could touch. I think its .010-.050 . It should definitely not bottom out hard from solenoid action.

 

So, check that the next time it is off, but if I were betting, it is the copper bolts.

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33 minutes ago, Bloo said:

The worn-out copper bolt problem is typically intermittent.

 

Also, if it were a misadjusted linkage, that could be dependent on temperature and where the flywheel stopped the last time the engine was shut off. For this to happen the starter drive would have to be bottoming out. I'm not sure if that is possible on a 54, but it sure is on a 37. I would sure find a way to check it while the starter is off. The 54 manual wants you to pull the solenoid in with a couple of the cells of a 6v battery IIRC. Thats unlikely. You could probably remove the connection from the solenoid down to the starter motor and just use 12v or 6v I think. On a 37 you can do it by hand, and maybe you could here, too.

 

The whole idea is to push/pull the solenoid in (just the big round part that moves) by the outer diameter of the part that moves, in other words dont push on the linkage. Then, at the starter drive (gear) push back lightly (toward disengage). Measure from the tip of the gear to the surface it could touch. I think its .010-.050 . It should definitely not bottom out hard from solenoid action.

 

So, check that the next time it is off, but if I were betting, it is the copper bolts.

I guess that means I'll order this: 

https://m.ebay.com/itm/1954-55-56-Buick-Chevy-Cadillac-Olds-Starter-Solenoid-Repair-Kit-NORS-STK2-/392013839598?_trksid=p2385738.m4383.l4275.c10&_mwBanner=1

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Wow... I had no idea it would be that easy to get the parts. In the past I have had to adapt bolts for newer starters to some really old ones.

 

You can take it apart and look to really see the damage. The copper disc eats a spot off one side of the bolt head. On some starters it is possible to turn the head around backwards to get a new surface. More commonly someone has already done this, and both sides are gone.

 

Here is how it is supposed to work: There is a little coil spring that "loads" the copper disc (it is not solidly connected to the solenoid). When the solenoid pulls in, and after it engages the gear, but before it bottoms in the bore, it hits a little rod that moves the copper disc. The copper disc hits the bolts, and the little spring compresses, but not very much, as the solenoid hits the bottom of it's bore.

 

The spring tension holds the disc against the bolts while you crank. It is only compressed maybe .080" (guessing because I don't know the exact number). If the spring was not in the design, the solenoid bottoming and the disc bottoming on the copper bolts would have to match exactly, and it probably wouldn't last a week. As it is, the spring tension holds the disc tightly against the copper bolts as the heads wear. Over time, the heads get further away, and eventually the solenoid bottoms before the disc touches the bolts. Near the end, it is really a crapshoot whether the car will start or not.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Had a similar problem with my 63 Riviera.  When everything got warmed up, the starter wouldn't budge,  I talked to a rebuilder here in the KC area and was told that as starters aged, the windings would get hot, expand, and seize the starter.  After things cooled down, the windings would cool, and contract and it will work again.  He told me the next time it happened to pour a bucket of cool water over the starter and try to start the car again.  Sure enough he was right.  He then rewound the original starter to high torque specs.  It's been fine ever since.  Lots less money than a mini-starter and it still looks stock.

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1 hour ago, wndsofchng06 said:

Solenoid repair kit arrived.  I feel bad using it... looks NOS

I don't think you'll care so much after it has been put in service.  Good luck!

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It was meant to be used....finally found a home!

 

As to a previous statement about parts availability, I continue to be happily surprised how many parts are so available for my 54. My parts guy at a local shop loves when I walk in...he gets to look for interesting things but really they end up too easy most of the time. 

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When I first got the car, I ordered all the tune up parts.  The points were unsealed NOS.  I couldn't open them!  They are part of my "display" with original line ticket, insurance card, and dealer hang tags.

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When you do open the points, be sure to breath in the air - That's good clean NOS Buick air from Flint!

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So for the latest attempt.....

Not sure if this wire was broken or if I broke it during disassembling. The thicker one in  the background is cut on purpose. 

 

20180412_192815.thumb.jpg.681267927c66677470f7325ee79000ef.jpg

So ditch this solenoid and grab another out of the pile....

20180412_194330.thumb.jpg.770a6ecc2762e93b2cb336c8b0b2be6c.jpg

 

 

Edited by wndsofchng06 (see edit history)
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I just love the sound of a nailhead firing up!!  Good job!!

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5 hours ago, Fr. Buick said:

I just love the sound of a nailhead firing up!!  Good job!!

Thanks!  If only i could remedy that lifter tap....  but once she's warm it fades.

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BTW  I've had the car a year now,  put 1500 miles on it,  and have decided I will call the car Lucy. Much like like my favorite,  Lucille Ball, the car is pretty,  fun,  but sometimes squirrelly. ?

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Drove her to work this morning. 75 down the highway, rides nice. At 80+ the steering is a little loose for me. Temp,  oil pressure, and charge all stay pretty good, although later when it hits 80 degrees, I bet the temp gauge will go up.  She doesn't stay full to the "fill" line on the radiator, always burps some out when I fill it up, so I'll just let it be. 

20180413_080252.jpg

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6 hours ago, wndsofchng06 said:

Thanks!  If only i could remedy that lifter tap....  but once she's warm it fades.

 

Nature of the beast.. use thicker oil lol. I've been running 10W30 over the winter and developed a little lifter noise on startup. As long as it goes away, though, you're fine. 

 

So you still going to add the gaudy high torque starter? Looks like you found the problem to your reliable OEM starter. :P

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12 minutes ago, Beemon said:

 

Nature of the beast.. use thicker oil lol. I've been running 10W30 over the winter and developed a little lifter noise on startup. As long as it goes away, though, you're fine. 

 

So you still going to add the gaudy high torque starter? Looks like you found the problem to your reliable OEM starter. :P

Yea I put a little Lucas in this time.  Still running 10W30 though.  I guess at 115k miles she has enough tolerance for heavier oil

 

As long as it keeps starting, I'll leave it alone.  After being under there so much though, I think the other car will get a mini-starter to help with exhaust clearance for the duals.

 

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8 hours ago, wndsofchng06 said:

Thanks!  If only i could remedy that lifter tap....  but once she's warm it fades.

 

Mine taps at start up.  Only in one spot.  Doubt it is lifters in mine.  Replaced all. Push rods are fine.   Maybe piston slap.   Once warm the tap is gone.  Somewhere in the engine the metal is expanding from the heat.  Tap goes away.  Been doing that since I got it.  Never proved to be a problem.   I let it go.       

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Forgot to post last weekend about this as the starter issue distracted me.  First use of my wipers since rebuild,  they slow under acceleration,  but not enough to tick me off. ?  sorry about the typo in the title.  This is a 54.

 

Edited by wndsofchng06 (see edit history)
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29 minutes ago, wndsofchng06 said:

First use of my wipers since rebuild,  the slow under acceleration,  but not enough to tick me off

 

Nice action!  That acceleration response is not unusual.  I like em!  

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A little slowdown is normal, but if they stop at WOT, then the fuel pump vacuum assist is not working.

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