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1954 Chrysler New Yorker No-Start Troubleshooting Advice


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Hello All,

 

   Went out for a ride in my '54 New Yorker on Sunday, and turn the key, no crank, no start!  Just the sound of my starter relay clicking (once).  I began the troubleshooting, ruled out the battery and cables - lighting and all power items work fine.  This is a somewhat regularly driven summertime type car, I last had it out 2 weeks prior without concern. 

 

  Where I am in the trouble shooting is I fashioned a jumper wire to go from the battery lug on the relay to the "IGN" and "SOL" lugs on the same relay, per the '54 shop manual.  When I touch the battery lug to the IGN lug, I get the same one click of the relay as I do when I turn the key from "on" to "start" and nothing else.  When I jump to the SOL lug (starter solenoid), the engine cranks as normal. 

 

   Thus, my deduction leads me to believe the starter relay is the culprit.  It looks original and I have never touched it in the 10 years I've had the car.  I suspect the contacts have corroded over the many years, interrupting current to the starter.  Now, these are notoriously hard to find and expensive to boot. I can have JC Auto rebuild mine, which is the my likely course of action. 

 

   Before I do that, I wanted to solicit some opinions from the experts here.  Could I be wrong in my amateur analysis and perhaps the solenoid is bad?  The way I see it, it comes to 3 areas...the relay, the solenoid or the ignition switch.  I ruled out the ignition switch as it is sending power to the relay just fine (the click from turning the key) and since I can get the starter to turn by jumping to the solenoid lug, I believe the solenoid is okay.  What do you guys think? 

 

Greg

Edited by SuperJonas (see edit history)
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Very easy to pull apart the starter solenoid/relay. If I remember correctly it is just two copper disks that make contact. These get burnt and corroded. Just clean them up. And put it back together.

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Since the starter engages when you use the jumper at the relay I would look at the relay not the solenoid. Can't hurt to take the relay off, carefully remove the cover and lightly file the contacts inside. You are correct that the relays are expensive, I recently bought a NOS one on ebay for just over $100.00 and thought it to be a great price.

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Relay contacts are dirty.

Open up relay...bend cover retaining tabs....remove cover carefully clean contacts.

That relay is near impossible to find.

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Thanks to all that replied; I had the opportunity to remove it (the relay) last night and definitely something broke inside, as I can hear a small piece rattling around. I shipped it off to JC Auto to have them look at it and ideally rebuild it. It looks simple enough but didn't want to open it up myself.

 

tom1954- $100 is a great price! I must of missed that one. I have seen them for $387-400 range on the few websites that display them.  Thinking I am going to drop the starter and rebuild that and the solenoid while I am waiting on the relay return to ensure all is well across the board on the components, thanks again!

 

Greg

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