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25 Buick first start issues


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I have my freshly rebuilt engine in my 25 Buick Standard.Today I was ready to start it for the first time and when I stepped on the start pedal pedal did not turn the engine.I have checked to wiring and all wiring is hooked up correctly and tight.I took the cover off of the start /gen and the cover plate off of the start gears and when you turn on switch the start /gen armature starts to turn but when it meshes the starter armature stops.I can see the brushes are raising and lowering like they should.The one thing that I did notice was the start gears are a little tight feeling.I can turn them but they have a little drag to them.I notice a little primer overspray on them.I am wondering if I can remove the gears and clean and lubricate them and polish the shaft with out too much trouble.

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Ensure you are using heavy duty leads from the battery to the  chassis/frame and battery to the starter/generator.  6 volt require heavier duty leads than 12 volt.   Ensure there is a proper earth where the earth lead connects to the chassis  ( remove any paint on the chassis at the connection )     Check that the starter brushes are properly engaging with the starter commutator over the full width of the brush  when the starter pedal is depressed.   As Spinneyhill  said  turn the engine over by hand  to make sure it is turning freely ( you can remove the spark plugs to check this ).  Make sure you have the correct firing order  ( distributor leads going to correct plugs ).  

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It will turn over with the hand crank with the spark plugs out but is pretty tight with the plugs in.it is in perfect timing and firing order.I have an optima 6 volt gel battery and it annalized at 95%charge and I charged it up to 100% still no luck.All connections are clean and tight and all lights and both horns work perfectly

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The starter won't turn it at all.I can turn it over with the crank with the plugs out easily but harder with the plugs in. The gears for the starter can be turned by hand but feel real sticky and it has been discussed on this forum before that those gears must slide and turn freely.

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10 minutes ago, carmover said:

The starter won't turn it at all.I can turn it over with the crank with the plugs out easily but harder with the plugs in. 

Does the starter turn it fast with the plugs out? If not pull it and see what is going on.

Edited by JFranklin (see edit history)
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JFranklin, the 1925 models still had the combination starter/generator unit.  It is a little bit of a complicated issue to to just pull this whole unit off to check it for operation.  From what he has described, it sounds like the mains could be a little bit too snug.  It is also possible that the rods could be in the same situation and together he could have an engine that will need further attention.  If the bearings are tight like this then the oil film will suffer and once the engine is started the bearings could be damaged.  IF it were me, I would drop the pan and look at and check the bearings one by one before trying to start it up.  It possibly could be less costly to take this approach.  Just my humble opinion here.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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Terry, It is not all that tight and it can be turned by the hand crank.The start gears were sticky feeling and I cleaned them and lubricated them and now they slide and spin freely like the should.At some point in this cars life the little casting that the starter pedal lever sits down in broke off and somebody made a repair using a small medal strip that they brazed one end and and used 2 small screws to mount it .The last time I had this same problem it was from to much freeplay in the starter pedal that wouldn't let the shaft com back far enough to mesh or let the brushes contact the armature.I took the piece out and carefully bent the end up taking all of the freeplay out and that fixed it . After checking it this morning I found an inch of freeplay in the starter pedal and the brushes not coming in contact with the armature.I think that in tearing the car down for the rebuild the heavy spring pressure on the starter pedal bent the piece a little bit as I was removing the pedal assembly.I think this will fix it I will keep everyone posted.One other thing on the engine being to tight I had a profesional racecar engine builder build me up a shortblock and he used a lot of assembly lube and I have lubed everythng real good before I put the pan on so I am hoping everything is going to be ok. With the plugs out I can turn the engine easily but with the plugs in it is more difficult like you would expect from the new compression.

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Ronnie, your explanation here changes the way to go about things.  You obviously know about the starter/generator unit and its complexity.  We will all hope that you can get things adjusted and back to working like they should.  Keep us up to date and let us all know how sweet that engine runs when everything is done.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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JFranklin, I am sorry about that I thought I answered your question.The starter motor is not turning at all and I have determined that the pedal has some freeplay in it as I explained in the earlier post that is causing the shaft to not com back far enough to allow the brushes to contact the armature so the starter can't energise and turn the motor.I have since my last post removed the start gen combination and removed the fork and cone shaft and have carefully removed all of the slack from the starter pedal.This also gave me a chance to check out the gears that mesh to the flywheel and they are all free spinning and easily sliding back and meshing

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That is what I was thinking but didn't want to tell you to go to the trouble of pulling things until I knew. Make sure to test it on the bench after repair if you can. Good luck with it. And you could still start your car by hand if you wanted to hear it run! I had a Ford T without a starter and it was kinda fun, at times,

red t.jpg

Edited by JFranklin
added thought (see edit history)
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Well I checked and repaired any starter possible problems and everything checks out fine but the car still won't turn over.I am thinking you guys are right about the engine being too tight.I talked with my engine builder today and he wan'ts me to do a compression test with the hand crank on one cyllinder.He thinks that the cam is advanced too much causing too much compression.If that turns out not to be the case he said he could come to my shop and check the mains and rods and do whatever is needed to get the old girl up and running again.I will keep everyone posted.I can turn the crank round and round like an ice cream freezer with the plugs out but it is tight enough to wear me out after about for revolutions.With the plugs in you can't hardly turn it.

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My 24 Master takes a good hard push to make the starter connection after it motors with the ignition on.  Most starter issues are due to poor ground connections.  So, you might also try adding a second direct ground from the battery to the starter/generator before you get too far into it.  

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Sure sounds like a starter problem to me. If you can windmill that engine around with your good right arm with plugs out , but the starter can't budge it , the problem MUST lie with the starter somewhere. By the way , Ron , from the little teaser pic I see here , that is one fine looking automobile ! When you get a chance (or to take your mind off the problem at hand) , please post a few (or more) , pics of your beauty ! I open my primer cups up on my '24 Cadillac from time to time during layup : I also am good for about 4 or 5 turns. Chronologically I am 6 years and 20 days older than you , but the doctors say physically I am like a guy in his late 80s. So picture this beat up old guy turning a old 314 cu. in. V8 with the primer cups open. It is not tight , and lubricated with synthetic oil. Maybe about the same resistance as turning yours ? So your starter should have no trouble with the plugs out. Right ? Did you ever have a hint of starter problems before the rebuild ?    - Carl

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Ron, 

    Not sure what your battery voltage is either.  Consider jump starting it just to ensure you have enough juice.  Short cranks so that the starter does not get hot.  Once it does crank, perhaps just a touch of starting fluid as the carb is going to not be quite right, but it needs some spinning and you may not be there yet.  Always in moderation, don't want to over do it.      Hugh

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carmover,  I am sure you have done this,  but I will double check.   Remove the plate on the back of the starter/generator,   with the ignition off,   get somebody to stomp on the starter pedal.  Look to ensure the generator brushes are lifting  off the small commutator and the starter brushes  are engaging with the larger commutator.   If both these actions are not happening  the starter will not work.  Also ensure the starter gear is engaging with the flywheel when the starter pedal is depressed.

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The starter was completely rebuilt by Jason Smith less than 2 years ago.This was a complete rebuild New bushings ,rewound armature a new commutator and new brushes and a new machined roller for the brushes.When I removed the start gen about 5 months ago the starter was turning the motor perfectly.Everything in the start system has been checked and rechecked and all gears and shaft is working perfectly The starter was bench tested and works fine.I feel the same as everybody else does that the starter should at least turn the engine over with the plugs out.There is one other thing that could be happening is the battery.I use a n Optima gel 6 volt battery  and have the proper battery maintainer.When I put the battery back in the car for the restart I bent the ground post and bent it back using a small hammer.I was pretty sure that I damaged the battery so I hooked up the maintainer up and it annilized the battery and gave it a clean bill of health and I let it charge to a full charge and it is now in the monitoring mode.i ran another test on the hot post and I am getting a full 6 volts.I hate to buy a 6 volt battery unless I need too but I might buy a cheap lead/acid one to try.I put a compression guage on one of the cyllinders And tried to turn it with the crank and when it reached the top of it's stroke it would stop me for a second and I was unable to crank it round and round,but all of the cyllinders open with the plugs out I can crank it around three or four times before it wears me out.

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When  you press down the starter pedal how about the amp-meter,if it goes down to zero(full discarge) I think have a batteri problem? If nothing happens with the amp -meter at all you have a wire or bruch  problem .As you proberbly know when put the ignition ON ,the generator should move slowly,and you can see the amp-meter goes a little bit on discharge.If the amp-meter don`t move you have wire or bruch problem.

Leif in Sweden.

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If you bent something in the battery terminal connection, but didn't exactly break it off, you will still show 6V and still be able to charge it and test it, but it may not be able to carry the amperage you need to start the car. Have someone hold a volt meter across the terminals as you try to start the car. See what your voltage is under load. That will tell you what's going on with the battery.

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I finally figured it out today and as all of you have heard the statement live and learn I am ashamed to say that I should have checked the small stuff first.This morning I went to the machine shop that built my engine and brought him to my shop to check and see if the engine was too tight.He tried it and said it was just like it should be and like all of the rest of us thought it was in the starting system. I took out the battery and we went by a shop that has been in business since the stone age and works on anything that is electric from automobiles to train engines.The tested the battery and it checked out perfect even when they put a load on it.The told me to go and get the start/gen and bring it back to them and they would check it out.They tested it and showed me how it works and they energized it and the starter came alive when the the 6 volts was put to it.They gave it a clean bill of health also but they had on thing the wanted me to do.They said to go back and install the start gen but not to hook up any wires or or the battery leads.They said to hook up the hot lead of a jumper cable to the hot post on the s/gen and the ground lead to the bolt on the bottom and try the starter.It turned out to be a bad ground cable end on the battery ground lead.I am sitting here happy but embarassed !

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12 minutes ago, carmover said:

I finally figured it out today and as all of you have heard the statement live and learn I am ashamed to say that I should have checked the small stuff first.This morning I went to the machine shop that built my engine and brought him to my shop to check and see if the engine was too tight.He tried it and said it was just like it should be and like all of the rest of us thought it was in the starting system. I took out the battery and we went by a shop that has been in business since the stone age and works on anything that is electric from automobiles to train engines.The tested the battery and it checked out perfect even when they put a load on it.The told me to go and get the start/gen and bring it back to them and they would check it out.They tested it and showed me how it works and they energized it and the starter came alive when the the 6 volts was put to it.They gave it a clean bill of health also but they had on thing the wanted me to do.They said to go back and install the start gen but not to hook up any wires or or the battery leads.They said to hook up the hot lead of a jumper cable to the hot post on the s/gen and the ground lead to the bolt on the bottom and try the starter.It turned out to be a bad ground cable end on the battery ground lead.I am sitting here happy but embarassed !

 

Don't be embarrassed at all!  You just did, what we have all done at one time or another. :)

 

Thanks for sharing the story, we all learned from it.  So glad it worked out for you. 

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Glad the problem has been found.  Interesting thread since I am almost ready for my first start on a new restoration1915 McLaughlin and it will be my first experience with a stater/generator.  Nervous.  Gary

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We have all been there Brother.

 

I had a broken ballast resistor filament that would make and break contact when it heated up.  Just like someone pulled the coil wire off as you drove down the road.  Dead.  Then it would cool down, make contact and it was fine.  Drove me nuts for a week (some say permanently).  Finally found it working late into the night as I saw it spark in the dim light under the dash where my coil and resistor reside. 

 

Running in the pitch dark in the driveway is now something I do as I look under the dash and under the hood for any sparking. when I do a tune up.

 

Bad grounds that look fine are just as frustrating. 

 

Another:

 

I had the little spring on the back of the Delco ignition switch fall off.  This is part of the thermal fuse on the back of the switch.  When there is a large draw due to a short, the little piece of metal gets hot, expands and opens the circuit.  The spring holds it in contact and returns it when cooled.  Lost that little spring on a country road in the pitch dark coming from a party.  So no lights of any kind and no ignition but it would crank.  Thought at first is was that damn ballast resistor again but the no lights was a clue.  Just by luck with the flash light, the Wife saw the little spring on the front floor carpet and said, 'what's that go to?' and I knew what it was having rebuilt the switch some years ago.  I might add that, that contact needs to be clean too, both little thermal arm and the button it rests on in addition to all the switch contacts that stay pretty clean since they are 'wiped' by the switch. 

 

No comment on the spring falling off or the guy who worked on the switch last.  :P

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You are right about that Brian,I  love how people go about solving problems on these old cars and how everybody jumps in with sugestions and input on how to fix them.And I know we are all in the same boat and these cars can really be a challenge.

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1915 McLaughlin touring as found in 2015 with the previous owner of nearly 50 years.  Had not run or been on the road since 1991but as you can see a good project.  One day last fall the chassis and body together again.  I have to make a wiring harness, install a fuel line, have my local shoemaker sew me a fan belt, it's full of oil and coolant and RRR, RRR and RRR.  Thanks for this thread, wish me luck,  Gary 

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