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Clicking sound in little relay under the hood next to battery - what is it for ?


MrY
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Hi - I bought a -54 Buick Super today, when the transporter deliver the car it did not start - it was dead. He said it started when he loaded the car. So he attached a 12v starter battery and it started. I put a battery charger on the Long style battery and it says it's almost fully charged !?

When I put the + pool on and off I hear it clicks in the little relay on top of the fender.

What is that relay for?

 

What could be the problem? seams like there is a bad ground somewhere... when I put the gas to the bottom nothing happens no click no sound no nothing

I turned on the head light and sometimes they work and sometimes they are dead .... is there some main fuze somewhere? under the dash or under the hood.

Like I said I just bought this car today and thought it was a simple recharge the battery but it seams to be something more .....

Thanks for any advice

 

Btw - the car is pretty nice restored and most are restored or replaced with new parts .... and it was running when we unloaded it from the transporter and put it on my drive way .... now it's a dead duck :(

ERik

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IMG_5909.jpg

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Truth be told, in the 12 years of owning my 54 I never had to diagnose a no start situation.  I do believe that is the horn relay. The larger black box is the voltage regulator.  The starter relay will have 4 terminals.  In the link below is the chapter in the 54 manual for the starting system.  

 

My first thought is your battery is the problem. Get a good charge on it. Clean all the terminal ends. 

 

https://www.hometownbuick.com/1954-buick-cranking-system-starter/

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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Thanks all for responding to this thread ....

I thought I had bought a 'lemon' but after putting the battery on charge and go to sleep I was anguish to try to start it this morning.

I tighten the battery pools down and went inside the car, ignition on and I can hear the fan motor blowing so there was power, so far so good,

I touched the gas pedal and it started right up.

So it might have been a  very weak battery from sitting in storage a long period of time or the pools was not tighten hard enough on the battery pools.

Any how the car is running and I took it to her first cars and coffee show this morning and she was a favorite. See picture.

IMG_5997.jpg

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Btw - I think I got a good deal for $8000

-54 Buick Super
new chrome
new paint
new upholstery
new carpet
new shock
new coils
new radiator
new tank
new exhaust
new transmission
new rims
new tires
new hubcaps
new potholes
new hood ornament
new trunk ornament
new taillights
I was told by the consignment shop the chrome was 8K alone !
 
What do you think"?
 
The only BAD about the car is the VIN is not the one in the door pillar but it's the engine block number !! I almost didn't buy the car cause the VIN didn't match up but it seams to me DMV have messed up and sometimes the DMV people who do the inspection does not have a clue about car it's just a boring job for them so they don't care
Edited by MrY (see edit history)
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Yes, in those earlier times, the engine block seldom left the chassis it was factory-installed into.  Which is why, until about 1955 for some brands, that the "engine number" was the "registration number", as the VIN is used for for more modern vehicles.

 

Also, in those earlier times, Fisher Body built the bodies in THEIR plants and then they were transported to the GM Assembly plant to be married with the rolling chassis, to complete the total vehicle.  Hence the "Body Plate" and such.

 

Enjoy!

NTX5467

Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)
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What a deal as long as there are no hidden problems that arise down the road.   Let me know if you find any more deals like this one.

On another related issue, the 1954 Shop Manual diagram of the electrical/starting system is correct but the description of the operation of the system has a small error in it.   This was part of the post by avgwarhawk.   In the description the third paragraph says the starter relay coil is connected to the field windings on the generator to get negative 12 volts, however the relay coil is connected to the armature winding of the generator since when the engine is not running neither is the generator and the potential at the armature terminal is essentially at ground or -12 VDC because current can flow through the brushes and the heavy windings of the armature to ground.   Once the engine starts the voltage quickly rises to +12 VDC or more so the coil cannot create a magnetic field since both ends are at the same potential and this kills the starter. The Buick engineers, back in the day, were very clever using this and the carburetor switch in series.

Joe, BCA 33493

 

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On 9/14/2022 at 8:49 PM, Joseph P. Indusi said:

What a deal as long as there are no hidden problems that arise down the road.   Let me know if you find any more deals like this one.

On another related issue, the 1954 Shop Manual diagram of the electrical/starting system is correct but the description of the operation of the system has a small error in it.   This was part of the post by avgwarhawk.   In the description the third paragraph says the starter relay coil is connected to the field windings on the generator to get negative 12 volts, however the relay coil is connected to the armature winding of the generator since when the engine is not running neither is the generator and the potential at the armature terminal is essentially at ground or -12 VDC because current can flow through the brushes and the heavy windings of the armature to ground.   Once the engine starts the voltage quickly rises to +12 VDC or more so the coil cannot create a magnetic field since both ends are at the same potential and this kills the starter. The Buick engineers, back in the day, were very clever using this and the carburetor switch in series.

Joe, BCA 33493

 

 

 I believe this was done from the first on the "foot feed" starting system. Removes the ground from the solenoid, there by rendering the starter in operative with the engine running.

 

  Ben

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/10/2022 at 11:08 AM, MrY said:

Thanks all for responding to this thread ....

I thought I had bought a 'lemon' but after putting the battery on charge and go to sleep I was anguish to try to start it this morning.

I tighten the battery pools down and went inside the car, ignition on and I can hear the fan motor blowing so there was power, so far so good,

I touched the gas pedal and it started right up.

So it might have been a  very weak battery from sitting in storage a long period of time or the pools was not tighten hard enough on the battery pools.

Any how the car is running and I took it to her first cars and coffee show this morning and she was a favorite. See picture.

IMG_5997.jpg

Wow - thats really a very nice car for $8k.  The bodywork and chrome look great.  The chrome alone can indeed easily cost $8k or more. 

Concerning your problem I've had a number of cars older and newer and a clicking sound while failing to crank the engine is very typical of a weak battery.  It can certainly take overnight or longer to recharge depending on the battery size and charger capacity.  So I'm not surprised to hear it was OK after an overnight charge.  The battery may still be a bit weak though if it was sitting drained for a while.

My son has a 74 Datsun 260 (I see a Datsun in the background of your pic :)) and he went through a couple of batteries due to it sitting without being driven until he finally took my advice and bought a battery minder.

Unless you are starting the car 1-2 times per week I recommend hooking it up to something like a "Battery Tender Junior".  They are excellent and only cost around $35-40.  They will recharge and then maintain the health of the battery over long periods.  https://www.batterytender.com/junior (cheaper on other web sites)

 

Good luck with the vehicle !

 

Mark

Edited by Electra63 (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/1/2022 at 1:57 AM, Electra63 said:

My son has a 74 Datsun 260 (I see a Datsun in the background of your pic :)) and he went through a couple of batteries due to it sitting without being driven until he finally took my advice and bought a battery minder.

Unless you are starting the car 1-2 times per week I recommend hooking it up to something like a "Battery Tender Junior".  They are excellent and only cost around $35-40.  They will recharge and then maintain the health of the battery over long periods.  https://www.batterytender.com/junior (cheaper on other web sites)

 

Good luck with the vehicle !

 

Mark

I totally agree with Mark re  investing in a battery minder or tender. I have had a ‘63 Riviera, a ‘63 Skylark and a ‘38 Special (6Volt) all on battery tenders for several years. They all required much cranking to get them running as they do sit for a while.
 

The Riviera battery was second hand when I imported it in 2015 and got replaced late last year 2021 as I could sense it was failing. Yup, big believer in this method to keep them topped up. Always brings a smile to my face when I see the nice green “fully charged” light on!

 

I fixed the terminals onto the battery posts so that it was a simple “plug and play” when connecting and disconnecting the charger.

 

Found on the six volt Buick that the Bosch unit was perhaps charging too much as it created a corrosion issue around the coil and engine wiring even though the ground battery terminal was disconnected. Ended up using a much smaller unit with positive (get it 😀😀😀😀) result.

 

Rodney 😀😀😀😀😀😀

 

 

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