jeff53

direction of spin

Recommended Posts

I am no mechanic- so please excuse the question ,it may sound foolish to some... I have an inline 8, the last time I started the car up it looked like the fan started in the wrong direction and when it stopped it was spinning in the correct direction. Now the car won't even turn over. I started it several months ago because of the cold. It has a push button starter. I have checked connections/battery ect... I'm trying to avoid pulling the starter because it would mean doing stuff my back no longer agrees with... Is there a way to bypass the starter?-- Many moons ago, I used to be able run along side and do what was   called a push start.. but can't do that now because our driveway is downhill- if I doesn't start there's no getting back in the garage. Again it's a 6 volt - inline 8 ( GM) Ponty.  was last running about 4  months ago. Friends have said that starting it up for short burst/runs was bad for it. So it idled for about an hour and that was the last time I tested it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you take all the spark plug out you should be able to turn it over by hand using the fan belt or water pump as a place to grip.  I would say a wrench or breaker bar on the harmonic balancer but your body may not go for that.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The fan thing was an optical illusion. Do you have fluorescent lights in your garage? You can bypass the starter button it is called hot wiring the car. You can make the starter turn with a screwdriver or a remote starter switch that clips on. If the engine turns over but does not start, most likely it is not getting gas or not getting spark. To check the first look down the carb and pump the gas you should see a squirt of gas and smell it. To check the ignition disconnect a spark plug wire, connect a spare plug ground it to the motor and see if you get a spark when you turn the engine over with the key.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That said there were reverse rotation cams. Used in twin engine marine applications to reduce harmonics and torque. Dunno what triples (like PT Boats) used.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, padgett said:

Dunno what triples (like PT Boats) used.

A friend of mine had a PT boat on the Red River.  We worked for a GM dealership.  He had the two outboard engine overhauled in our shop.  Troubles started after the engines were re-installed.  Camshafts were exchanged between the engines.  Made for interesting things when the engines were started.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On most cars the engine (and the fan) turn clockwise as viewed from the front. You can check the fan blades to see which way it would have to turn to pull air

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I last let it idle, I thought it "was just an illusion- kind of like watching the wheels on cars on t.v . So I paid no attention to it and thought there's no way- without me physically changing something could it "spin in reverse. Then I did read where to far advance "timing" could do this to some engines. About 2 years ago I remembered a shop said they advanced or set the timing ( never changed the plugs or anything else for that matter- we ended up in court I won). But other than starting it up a few times- nothing ever seemed wrong ( it hasn't been driven for 2 years- just started and let idle). But right now there's not even a clicking coming from the starter. The solenoid isn't visible on a push button starter- Just wanted to try and bypass the starter before taking it out and bench testing it- too hard for an old fart to get up and down on the ground- Also going from the "front of the car facing the radiator and fan- I can hand crank it " counter clockwise" without taking any spark plugs out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I first saw the topic I thought this might be a political post! 

Actually there were a number of cars that rotated the opposite direction - a good friend here had a 1909 Oakland that had to be crank started by twisting it the opposite from how I crank my Model T Ford. 

Terry

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This may seem far fetched with all this talk of backward fans, reverse rotation cams, push button starters and advanced timing, PT boats and other mythical gremlins but my money is on dead battery

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No- no political stuff- Here's the problem- I'm not a mechanic but can do some basic stuff. 2 1/2 years ago I drove my '48 to a local shop. It had a vapor lock and a friend told me it might be that the screen was getting blocked when I started driving there by clogging the screen-5 mo. later nothing's done so I have him tow it to my house Well the shop needless to say we ended up in court he brought it back in pieces ( long story) while they had it a complete tune up was "suppose to have been done- it wasn't unless a tune up doesn't include new spark plugs and new wires. But he did say- he set the "timing". I have only started it a few times since 2017 and never looked at the fan- just thought to keep the fluid from setting. Around Jan. this year I started it and that's when I noticed the "illusion of the fan rotating in the wrong direction. I go and try to start it a few days ago and nothing- not even a click from the starter- So before taking the starter off and testing it. I thought there might be a way to bypass the starter while it was still on the car. If it starts with the starter- then it's a starter issue and would have to come off. If not then I'll have to trouble shoot other stuff like the wiring. But at 66 getting under the car isn't that easy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, right now it is just a starting problem you're having.  Keep it simple and don't try and put a whole bunch of things into the basket right now.  Start with the simplest things first.  If you're not getting any action at all then try a fresh battery (or other appropriate power source).  You might want to also pick up a remote starter switch that will enable you to simply make a couple of clip-on connections and then use a remote button to try and turn the motor over.   This will effectively bypass the ignition switch.  If if started and ran before letting it sit a while, it should start and run again without much problem provided your electrical connections are good, your power supply is adequate and your fuel is ok.   I'm sure some of the more talented mechanics will chime in here with additional hints.

Terry

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Terry- I've heard of "remote starter switches" but thought they were only for 12 volt or with starters where the solenoid sat on top. I'll call around. But assuming it's "not" the ignition switch" is there a way to "bypass the starter". I'm trying to avoid taking off the starter and bench test it- just to find out the starters okay.. there only 2 bolts holding the starter on- but it's the bending and getting on the floor that's hard. But it sounds as if there's no way of bypassing the starter.

   Battery reads good/ connections are good.

         After this- I think I'll try to find out how to put the "starter push button" on the dash instead of leaving it on the floor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Terry Bond said:

So, right now it is just a starting problem you're having.  Keep it simple and don't try and put a whole bunch of things into the basket right now.  Start with the simplest things first.  If you're not getting any action at all then try a fresh battery (or other appropriate power source).  You might want to also pick up a remote starter switch that will enable you to simply make a couple of clip-on connections and then use a remote button to try and turn the motor over.   This will effectively bypass the ignition switch.  If if started and ran before letting it sit a while, it should start and run again without much problem provided your electrical connections are good, your power supply is adequate and your fuel is ok.   I'm sure some of the more talented mechanics will chime in here with additional hints.

Terry

 

Following along the same thought process of keeping it simple, if the connections are good at the battery, try the ground at the other end.

 

Good luck,

 

Don  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a confusing thread.

 

I gather it is a straight eight Pontiac. What year?

 

I gather there is no solenoid on top of the starter? Do you have a pedal on the floor to engage the starter?

 

1) Charge the battery and check and recheck the connections. "Clean" on a battery connection means the inside of the hole and the outside of the post have been cleaned and then put back together.

 

2) I gather you can rotate the engine and know it is not stuck. The fan can fool you. Be sure the crank pulley turns. If you are unsure, take the spark plugs out and see if you can rotate the engine by hand or with a wrench, Make sure it is not stuck. Put plugs back.

 

3) There needs to be a current path to the starter (positive) and also back (ground). The positive cable probably goes right to the starter (post back here if it does not). The ground cable from the battery may go to the frame, or maybe the engine/transmission. If it goes to the frame, there needs to be a THIRD large cable or strap from the frame to the engine/transmission. Think of current running in a circle from the battery to the starter post, through the starter, and from the starter case back to the battery. There has to be a path through large cables/straps and clean connections the whole way.  Make sure cables are clean and tight at all ends.

 

4) Using a friend for help, check the battery voltage at the center of the battery posts, note the voltage. Then, have your friend step on the pedal, press the button, or do whatever you do to start this car normally. Note what the voltage is with the starter button/pedal/switch/whatever pressed.

 

5) Now go to the starter itself and check the voltage between the cable connection (positive) and the starter (negative). Have your friend hit the button/pedal/switch again, and note the voltage at the starter.

 

To recap, the three voltage readings are a.) battery voltage b.) battery voltage with starter engaged c.) starter voltage when engaged. With these three things we can make much better guesses what might be wrong.

 

Terry Bond mentioned a remote starter switch. For a remote starter switch to work, the starter must have some way of engaging itself. They typically work with starters with a solenoid on top, or some other method of engaging the gear, like a real mechanical Bendix, or the flapper used on some Fords. They typically do not work on GM cars that engage the starter with a floor pedal. A picture of your starter would make it easier to guess if a remote switch would work.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

If all else fails, or becomes too complicated (Can't reach solenoid - pedal starter, etc),

Be sure you know if your car is Negative or positive ground.

BE SURE CAR'S TRANSMISSION IS IN NEUTRAL

be sure your battery is "hot" - and/or use a quality battery charger in"Start" mode along with the battery.

a simple jumper wire - even your good quality jumper cables

Ground one wire directly from the battery to the engine block (even the starter casing

attach the other wire to the "HOT" side of the battery.

CAREFULLY - touch the other end of that cable to the post on the starter.

This way, you have absolute current to the starter.

If the starter turns, you have eliminated one possible fault.

 

Now check out the other systems, one at a time.

Edited by Marty Roth (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have a starter button on the floor, it bears pointing out that it does two things simultaneously (when it's working). When you step on it , the mechanical linkage engages the starter drive gear with the flywheel at the same time as it electrically energizes the starter. There is the mechanical linkage (visible), and the electrical push-button contacts on the starter(enclosed).  The electrical contacts inside the button on the starter sometimes get corroded, or simply fall apart. Under the hood, you can probably see where the mechanical linkage presses the button on the starter when you press the foot starter button. Sometimes  a temporary shim on top of the button on the starter will get the contacts to close. Some of those buttons allowed you to rotate and raise it up a little, just like adding a shim. 

 

Remote starters are for cars with solenoids. If you have a foot starter button, the solenoid isn't visible because you don't have one. The screwdriver trick won't work for the same reason. The contactor button located on top of the starter is prone to decay and corrosion over time. It's not difficult to remove, and easy to understand once you see what's inside. If you've got a good battery, but no response when you step on the starter, try the shim. If that doesn't work, remove the contactor button from the top of the starter and see what's going on inside of it. Cleaning  the contacts might do the trick, or it might need replacing.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re the engine turning backwards. I have seen this happen briefly like for one second when shutting off a hot engine from the smog era and it backfired and turned backwards. This was a known problem and some cars had a special gas shutoff in the carburetor to prevent it. It could not happen on a cold engine unless the timing was way too far advanced and then the engine would just backfire thru the carburetor and refuse to start.

 

If you want to get icky about it, some 2 stroke engines will start and run backwards as easily as forwards if you advance the ignition far enough. There have even been small cars that took advantage of this to get reverse without a reverse gear.

 

I gather you are having a problem starting your Pontiac and the engine does not even turn over. You need to check the battery, battery connections, cables, ground and test that the key is energizing the solenoid or relay. This can all be done in a few minutes by visual inspection, checking connections for tightness and by using a multi meter or test light. It is also possible to connect the main battery feed on the starter, to the solenoid connection with a screwdriver and see if the starter turns. If power is getting to the starter, and the solenoid is energized, and the starter does nothing, you have a bad solenoid. If the solenoid clicks but the starter does not turn you have a bad starter OR the starter is not getting enough juice to work. A decent old time mechanic could diagnose the problem in 5 minutes or less. See what you can figure out, and get back to us.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay so thank you all for your threads and replies. I guess the simple answer is, I'm gonna have to get on the floor and take the starter off- then bench test it that way...if it's good then put it back on the car and cross my finger and hope she starts...... I have checked and rechecked all the wiring and neg.and pos. connection and  made sure it was getting enough juice. Getting the starter out years ago was easy- like I said- there's only two bolts- but that was years ago when I was able to climb around the car like a monkey--- Now it's a lot harder- bending- getting on my knees- hell I even have trouble just getting the car up on jack stands- because the floor jack doesn't go high enough so I have to put the jack on some 2x4s so it raises the car high enough to use jack stands.--- So I was just trying to avoid all that and was

 only wondering "if" there was a way to bypass the starter----  If the engine "started" then I would know -- the starter or starter button -was the problem. I know some basic automotive stuff and have even rewired my car  completely 2-3 times. Once I figure out if it was the starter- I wanted to move the push button from the floor and put it on the dash. I have seen that. but not sure if I can even do that with my starter ( 6 volt)--- 

       But thanks anyhow guys-- it'll take about 2 days to get the 2 bolts out--- 1 Day to get the car up on jack stands and another day getting the starter off-- but I guess that's the only way to find out if it's " the starter- or the engine"

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds like this car has a starter pedal on the floor, which means there isn't any solenoid, and remote starters, screwdriver tricks and hot wiring etc. aren't possible. If there is a good battery and wiring, the problem is likely the mechanical push button contactor on top of the starter. Please see my previous more detailed post above. It's a pretty common problem and a relatively easy fix. You don't need to remove the starter. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As follow up to my previous posts....

An old trick to shim the button that's on top of the starter is this. Take a piece of rubber hose, garden hose size, and cut off a 1" long piece. Slit it down the side and place it over the button that's on top of your starter, like someone would tie a scarf over their head. This makes for a temporary shim, and it might do the trick. If that doesn't work, or if you want to do it right, take the contactor off of the starter. It's held by two screws.  Often there's a rivet that fails, or maybe the contacts just need cleaning. It's a simple device once you look inside. The problem will probably be apparent.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks again WPTV. all that is good info. and it's a simple fix- I've have change the starter and starter button 2-3 times over the years since '74. And a trick ( NOT ADVISABLE) I've seen is tack a penny on top of the push button- because it also is a common problem where the button on top of the starter will move back just enough that using the "floor foot button will not push the starter button down far enough to make contact or whatever.. I was just wondering if there was a way to bypass the "starter" itself--- to start the engine. as I mentioned earlier- I used to be able to "push start the car" but since we have a downhill driveway that's not going to happen- because If it "doesn't start" then I have to figure out how to get in the garage with an uphill driveway. Again I only wanted to bypass the "starter"because I have bad knees and the friggin back isn't all that good for bending--- I'm not a young goat anymore--- I can take off the starter- then bench test it- replace the button if needed-- then put it back on... It's not that easy and was trying to avoid jacking up the car-  crawling under it to safely place the jack stands and getting on the floor- removing the starter- 2 bolts ( actually only 1 from below) the doing everything in reverse.  Thanks again but I'll just take the starter off....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeff did you even read my last post? You can test the battery, inspect the wiring, and test the starter without taking it off the car. If the solenoid clicks that is one thing, if nothing at all that is another. If I was there I would have the car spinning over in 5 minutes or know the reason why, without taking anything apart. You could even jump start it off a 12v battery but a special technique is advised to jump a 6v car off 12v.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

err PT Boats did not have outboards. They had triple Packard V12 inboards.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't believe this car has a solenoid. It has an older style of starter with a foot pedal that is mechanically linked to a contactor  mounted on top of the starter. 

In answer to your question Jeff, there isn't a way to bypass the starter and still start the car. The starter is probably OK. The problem is probably the contactor and if the shim trick doesn't work, then you will have to unscrew the contactor. It sounds like you've done that before and are familiar with it. You shouldn't need to get under the car to do that as it's mounted on top of the starter. 

 

The electrical connection is being made between the cable from the battery and the starter terminal, and that's what spins the starter. That is going on inside of the contactor housing. Unlike a more modern solenoid starter, your starter terminal is not out in the open where you can access it and use the screwdriver trick. It's inside the contactor housing. Once you have the contactor off, you can touch the battery cable to the starter terminal and make it spin. It won't turn the engine over though because the drive gear has to be engaged. for that to happen. But it will tell you that the starter is fine, you just have a bad contactor. 

 

Sounds like you've replaced the contactor before, and it sounds like it's time to do it again.   

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PS Jeff you shouldn't have to remove the starter in order to remove the contactor that's mounted on top. Just remove the battery cable (don't let it ground) and unscrew the two screws that fasten it to the starter housing. You may also have to pull a cotter pin to disconnect the mechanical linkage. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now