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53 started but starter re-engaged when gas pressed


Bulldog Car Guy
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With some great troubleshooting help from you guys with yesterday’s wiring issue, the nailhead started and ran well for the first time in years at least at idle. 


This video shows it running well. 
 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PMCxgEp1y1nUriiZaiFj5h5ztYyyESUs/view?usp=drivesdk
 

However, when I went to rev the engine, I believe the starter tried to re-engage the running motor and likely shedded the starter (hopefully not the flywheel). 
 

I didn’t get that rather terrible sound on video. 
 

I can’t pull the starter until tomorrow to check, but I bet it is trashed. I had cut off the engine when it made that sound, but I restarted the car a second time to see if it would idle well again and the noise started immediately before I revved the gas so I cut it off again.  I am guessing those teeth were damaged and may not have disengaged upon start the second time. The PO gave me an old starter at purchase that had the teeth sheared off as well so I suspect this happened before. 
 

From my very limited understanding, the vacuum at the mechanism by the carb should somehow stop this from happening when the gas pedal is pressed on a running engine but the whole gas pedal engaging the starter is very new to me (and so far, I am not the biggest fan).  
 

Can someone help me understand what might be happening here and how to fix it?

 

thank you,

 

 

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There are two safety's in the system. One is what you said about the carb starter switch.  Once there is engine vacuum the ball bearing that rolls inside the switch is pulled into a passage that holds the ball out of position between the "cam" on the throttle shaft and the switch's plunger. A dirty switch or insufficient vaccum can cause a problem here. 

The second is an electrical field change in that once the generator starts to work the starter relay becomes inoperable.  I can't recall the specifics of this failsafe and can't get to my manual right now to check it but a bad generator or incorrect wiring set up could cause a problem here as well. 

Although some do not think it necessary I do note that the manual says to "polarize" the voltage regulator whenever the battery is disconnected. Have you done that? 

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You noted that the car has a new wiring harness and found 2 wires that were reversed.  There may be others.  Check every wire in the starting circuit.  Could be an incorrectly wired or defective generator (is it charging?); an incorrectly wired or defective voltage regulator; an incorrectly wired or defective starter relay.  Also remove and clean the vacuum switch on the carburetor.

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Bulldog, since you are not a fan of the accelerator starting circuit,  just eliminate same.   Buy a quality push button switch and mount it somewhere easy to reach from the drivers seat.  Disconnect the two wires at the carb switch. Run them back through the cowl and attach to the pushbutton. 

depending on how yours are run, they may just pull through or extensions may be needed. Safety system not needed.  Thousands were done this way, mine included.  Just refrain from pushing the button while engine is running.

 

  Ben

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46 minutes ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

Bulldog, since you are not a fan of the accelerator starting circuit,  just eliminate same.   Buy a quality push button switch and mount it somewhere easy to reach from the drivers seat.  Disconnect the two wires at the carb switch. Run them back through the cowl and attach to the pushbutton. 

depending on how yours are run, they may just pull through or extensions may be needed. Safety system not needed.  Thousands were done this way, mine included.  Just refrain from pushing the button while engine is running.

 

  Ben

Ben, that works only to eliminate the carb switch.  If the rest of the system (gen, regulator, relay) has problems it will still act up.

The pushbutton still needs the generator to find ground for the starter relay.

Edited by old-tank (see edit history)
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3 hours ago, old-tank said:

Ben, that works only to eliminate the carb switch.  If the rest of the system (gen, regulator, relay) has problems it will still act up.

The pushbutton still needs the generator to find ground for the starter relay.

 

 You are correct, of course. In this instance it is making the ground, just not breaking it.  SO, eliminating the vacuum switch eliminates the need to do so.  No vacuum switch, no try to start when vacuum drops at wot. 

 AT LEAST ON THE STRAIGHT EIGHT SYSTEM.  Unless I am missing something.  

 

  Ben

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Ok. update. I pulled the starter and the teeth look fine. So I guess my theory was wrong. So I guess it is back to the drawing board figuring out the noise. 
 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cARW_W6OCDHz7VcaUE-gGvhjA7lDTqI6/view?usp=drivesdk

 

It sounded great at idle until I revved the engine and then it started making a loud noise.  I cut it off and when I restarted it, it kept making the loud noise so I cut it off again. Not sure what the noise is now. 
 

Going to try checking wiring as you guys suggest. 
 

I would be fine with going to push button start but would the current starter still disengage properly without that mechanism?

 

thanks for all the help. Hope to have her back on the road soon!  

 

0A377D8A-8DB2-4DDD-A6A4-8DFD2DB4A8E3.jpeg

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If you decide to go the push button route there’s an easier way which bypasses everything.. run a 10 gauge wire from the junction where the battery positive cables meet to one side of the new push button…run a ten gauge from the other side of the new push button down to the starter solenoid.. easy pezzy and bypasses everything.. just be aware that that button will be hot at all times

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The starter relay gets its ground through the generator armature. What this means is that when the engine is not running the armature connection on the generator is effectively a ground and this allows the relay to activate when the accelerator is pressed. When the motor starts the generator begins charging and now the armature connection is approaching +6 volts. This effectively removes the ground from the start relay and prevents the starter engaging when the accelerator is pressed.

   With what you describe I am guessing there are a couple of issues. First is the carburetor start switch. When the motor starts, vacuum should pull the ball out of position thereby preventing the start relay activation. Second, I suspect the generator is not charging. This would prevent the second safety (removing the start relay ground) from working. The generator test is easy. With the motor running, after figuring out your noise, measure the voltage at the large terminal on the generator. If it is below 6 ish volts the generator is not working. This may simply be a need to polarize the generator and/or the regulator or it may be more. Simple checks first!!!  Also, as said above, clean the carb switch and make sure the ball moves freely. Again, simple first.  Let us know.

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6 hours ago, 37_Roadmaster_C said:

generator begins charging and now the armature connection is approaching +6 volts. This effectively removes the ground from the start relay and prevents the starter engaging when the accelerator is pressed.

There is something suspiciously Lucas about that.

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15 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

There is something suspiciously Lucas about that.

It is a bit strange, but from an engineering standpoint it is valid. The best thing about it is that the only cost of production is a short piece of wire. There are no extra components nor special components. It is an easy backup safety that still works at full throttle when vacuum drops. Lucasish, Yes, but this one works reliably 🤣

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On 9/17/2021 at 9:26 AM, JohnD1956 said:

I do note that the manual says to "polarize" the voltage regulator

I shall check the manual for this wording.

On 9/18/2021 at 2:31 AM, 37_Roadmaster_C said:

need to polarize the generator and/or the regulator

 

OK, it is the generator pole iron that needs some residual magnetism for it to "self generate" upon spinning to produce voltage and in the correct polarity. On a Delco circuit, one could do this by jumping the A or ARM terminal of the generator to the positive (talking negative ground Delco system here) terminal of the battery. Might need a long piece of #10 or 12 wire, and there is that making sparks on a battery never a good idea. So, it is easier to jump the BAT and ARM terminals of the voltage regulator, short wire and no sparks at battery. Henceforth people refer to this a polarizing the regulator. Not actually what is happening.😉

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8 minutes ago, Frank DuVal said:
On 9/17/2021 at 8:26 AM, JohnD1956 said:

I do note that the manual says to "polarize" the voltage regulator

I shall check the manual for this wording.

On 9/18/2021 at 1:31 AM, 37_Roadmaster_C said:

need to polarize the generator and/or the regulator

 

OK, it is the generator pole iron that needs some residual magnetism for it to "self generate" upon spinning to produce voltage and in the correct polarity. On a Delco circuit, one could do this by jumping the A or ARM terminal of the generator to the positive (talking negative ground Delco system here) terminal of the battery. Might need a long piece of #10 or 12 wire, and there is that making sparks on a battery never a good idea. So, it is easier to jump the BAT and ARM terminals of the voltage regulator, short wire and no sparks at battery. Henceforth people refer to this a polarizing the regulator. Not actually what is happening.😉

Has anyone actually needed to do this and then did it successfully.  I have tried it on non charging systems with negative results (found different problems).  And I have used generators and regulators off parts cars that had been sitting for 20 years and everything worked without polarizing.

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I personally have never had to polarize a generator unless it was going onto a car with a different ground polarity (pos to neg ot neg to pos). In most cases the junkyard generator will be going from and to a like car so no problem. I mention it as the service manuals ALL mention polarizing the generator. In any case, doing it hurts nothing and it may help.

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Update: we checked the generator and it was in fact wired wrong. The ground wire that is supposed to go from the generator to the ground on the side of the box was going to the middle terminal on the voltage regulator labeled GEN. So we fixed that. 
 

Then, we tried again. Same noise. But it looked like the starter was properly disengaged and stayed disengaged. 
 

It turns out it was the transmission linkage. Once I shifted it, the engine ran smooth as silk. Apparently the park/neutral safety feature is not working either because it will start in drive. Thank goodness I had it on jackstands.  But it purrs along nicely in drive and will shift to reverse. 
 

However, I can’t get it to shift all the way over to neutral or park. So I assume I need to adjust it. Or maybe the shifter is in park or neutral but for some reason power is still being sent to the wheels. The transmission was rebuilt some years ago but like the engine has never really been driven. 
 

Any hints at that would be appreciated. But that will be another challenge for another day. But it was great to hear it run!

Edited by Bulldog Car Guy (see edit history)
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8 hours ago, old-tank said:

Has anyone actually needed to do this and then did it successfully.  I have tried it on non charging systems with negative results (found different problems).  And I have used generators and regulators off parts cars that had been sitting for 20 years and everything worked without polarizing.

I've done it both ways. Lots of times I took a generator off one early Corvair and put it on another and it started making voltage just fine. Polarizing the generator just removes one of those what ifs, like if the previous person hooked the battery up backwards and left it in positive ground polarity (negative ground system on all Corvairs and every other GM car since 1955). I have seen that too!😲 A quick polarizing fixed it. 

 

I do not have my 56 Buick shop manual near the computer, but the 57 Oldsmobile shop manual says it is polarizing the generator both in the generator repair section and the replace the voltage regulator section.

 

And, if you test the generator by "motoring", then that is polarizing the generator! Motoring is take the belt off, since it is a poor motor, and jump the BAT and ARM terminals of the voltage regulator. The generator should spin up as long as the field is grounded trough the voltage regulator. This discussion is for Delco "A" circuit systems.

 

For those still reading this, here is a nice training by Delco:

 

https://www.delcoremyhistory.com/images/Training Manuals/Training Chart Generators 4.pdf

Edited by Frank DuVal (see edit history)
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I never saw it before either. It popped up with a Google search of Delco A circuit. Great read. Lots of good information in there.👍

 

Glad to share it.

 

You made me go look for the rest of the series, since this was just one chapter.

 Here you go, lots of free Delco trainings:👍

 

https://www.delcoremyhistory.com/trainingmanuals.htm

Edited by Frank DuVal (see edit history)
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Since the generator was wired so that the "armature" terminal was grounded, polarizing the generator would be a good thing to do. Thought here is that the residual magnetism of the generator has been lost by having the armature grounded, therefore not polarized.

 

A very low idle could also cause the generator not to charge.

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On 9/17/2021 at 8:28 PM, 1956322 said:

If you decide to go the push button route there’s an easier way which bypasses everything.. run a 10 gauge wire from the junction where the battery positive cables meet to one side of the new push button…run a ten gauge from the other side of the new push button down to the starter solenoid.. easy pezzy and bypasses everything.. just be aware that that button will be hot at all times

 

I think I am going to go with this route.  That sounds like an easy way to wire the starter button, but I have a couple of questions, the only wire I would disconnect would be the smallest one going to the top of the solenoid and that is where I would connect the starter button wire? This would disconnect the gas pedal start feature, but wouldn't affect the key being needed to start the vehicle, key turning off vehicle, generator charging battery, etc.?  Or do I need to disconnect something else as well to take out the gas pedal start feature?  

 

Thanks for all the help,

 

 

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12 hours ago, old-tank said:

So you're going to rig it even though you have all the parts that you need all the help that you need?  Only if you are miles from home and need to get home I would show you how to rig the thing.

 

I guess I didn't realize you felt so strongly about it.  I guess if it is reliable, I can try to keep the original system.  

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/17/2021 at 4:43 PM, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

 

 You are correct, of course. In this instance it is making the ground, just not breaking it.  SO, eliminating the vacuum switch eliminates the need to do so.  No vacuum switch, no try to start when vacuum drops at wot. 

 AT LEAST ON THE STRAIGHT EIGHT SYSTEM.  Unless I am missing something.  

 

  Ben

 

I also have a "Backup" momentary button switch for the starter on the '37 Roadmaster. When vacuum is minimal, such as accelerating in 3rd gear from an almost dead-stop, such as a "YIELD" sign (Yeah - I sometimes ge lazy because the 320 has so much torque), I have had the starter attempt to engage - and that is a quick reminder to lift off the gas pedal, and to shift

Edited by Marty Roth (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Since you have the fix, stay with the “AS”built method! You are “ Mickey Mousing”, a perfectly good system and a purists will cringe. No need to ruin the dash with a button and hole that shouldn’t be there. It’s an easy and cost less repair. Re think it. You’ll get use the system when you use it a few times. JMO. Good luck and do it right.

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I personally love the original set up, its one of the cool things about a Buick that sets it apart from all other autos.  I recommend staying with the original set up.  I too cringe when I see a switch in place of the accelerator pedal/carb starter switch.  

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18 minutes ago, usnavystgc said:

I personally love the original set up, its one of the cool things about a Buick that sets it apart from all other autos.  I recommend staying with the original set up.  I too cringe when I see a switch in place of the accelerator pedal/carb starter switch.  

Couldn't agree more!

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Well, cringe or not, a LOT of them were done that way 50 years ago.  WHILE PARTS WERE STILL AVAILABLE.  Many more cars were worked on at independent shops that did not understand the " ground" in the generator.  A push button was/is just too easy and quick. 

 

  I have FI on mine, no carburetor, a push button, and never think about it. Mounted UNDER the dash.

 

  Ben

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  • 3 weeks later...

I agree with a lot of the guys that recommend staying with the original reliable setup.  Starting with the simple and obvious, try cleaning up the carb switch.  I have a 50 Buick that worked every time until we rebuilt the Carb and by doing so, released dirt into the system.  Then I got that horrible noise you describe.  It’s on this forum somewhere about a year ago.  We cleaned it up and were worried about all the other problems you describe, but the simplest was the fix, and no other worries. The starter and ring gear were fine. It again runs like a champ.  i also have a 40 Buick that has run fine for 81 years with a clean simple system.

 

If you are hell bent on adding a button, just do it out of sight.  I have two other 40 Buicks where a previous owners drilled a hole right in the dash, thereby ruining it.  Those guys are still getting cussed 81 years later.  Just go through it, clean it, and you will have a reliable theft deterrent foot starter.  Nobody can figure out how to steal an old Buick unless you have a tow truck or already stole one. (Or have a button)!  Good luck.

Edited by Century Eight (see edit history)
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