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Question about starter removal 1955 Buick Special


My55buick

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Hi Guys

I have a 55 Buick Special, its been my project for a couple years, but lately the starter is giving me a tough time engaging. You'll hear the starter just spin but not the engine, then after a bunch of tries it will crank the engine but then kick out just as its about to start. I ordered a NOS starter drive, new solenoid, and a set of brushes off eBay, they should be here any day. How hard is it to get the starter out, is anything in the way? My car was parked from 73 until 09 when I got it and its bone stock, like most things are from 1955 even some hoses. So I'm a little leery about dropping the 66 year old exhaust or anything. Who has done it before and how bad was it? Im hoping its like 70s GM's and I can do it in less than an hour.

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No need to mess with exhaust, just remove the splash pan, wiring and mounting bolts.  I think maybe the flywheel cover also?  I don't remember.  While in there, look at the freeze plug in the engine block that hides behind the starter.  If any sign of weeping, replace it now!  The starter is heavy, but not complicated.  Maybe also replace the ballast resistor on the firewall.  The Tri-5 Chevy guys like Danchuck reproduce one exactly for us Buick guys as well.  If that is starting to go, it will do funny things to how the starter engages, and I just ran into that recently.

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Thank you both, once this freezing weather breaks here I'm going to go out and pull that starter out.

 

I didn't realize the starter was wired through the ballast resistor? Right now I only have my PerTronix hooked to the feed side before the resistor, I thought it was pretty much ornamental at this point and figured there wouldn't be much load on it. I may order one for the heck of it. Thank you!

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When the starter is cranking it bypasses the ballast resistor to deliver a little extra (left over) voltage to the coil.  If the ballast resistor is bad, it will fire but not continue running.  If you use Pertronix wire it through the ballast resistor same as the original points.  If wired directly to 12v the hotter spark will burn the rotor.  And use a stock coil, not the one from Pertronix.

rotor.thumb.jpg.47b10f1757bc74a4f19b9b16a564ca79.jpg

 

Burn the rotor...literally!  This unique rotor has a carbon rod between the center and tip and will catch fire and burn.

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Agreed, just wire the Pertronix to the coil and leave the ballast resistor as original.  Red wire to the POS on the coil, black to the NEG.  I screwed that up recently and fried a Pertronix...  A little puff of smoke, and oops, she's gone for good!

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Ok I kept the stock coil, and have the Pertronix attached to the 12v of the ballast resistor. Would it create a stable spark with reduced voltage? I forget how the system gets wired but the coil power maybe coming from the other side of the ballast resistor I cant remember.

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27 minutes ago, My55buick said:

Would it create a stable spark with reduced voltage?

Yes, it is just a switch like the points.

 

17 minutes ago, Fr. Buick said:

I wired mine directly to the coil, not the ballast resistor, and it seems to work fine.

The coil is wired through the ballast resistor.

 

The diagram in your service manual shows the original wiring.

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