View Full Version : Starting Question
09-13-2017, 11:10 AM
So I've run into a starting issue with my 63. I've had issues where I don't drive it for awhile and the battery will die. Or die just enough so it won't turn over. I've bought a maintainer now so I won't have that issue in the future.
What I have now is, I charged the battery completely and fired it up the other day with no issues. Went and got a pizza and when I went to leave she didn't want to crank. On one crank cycle a small puff of smoke came out from under the hood right about where the starter relay is. I had replaced the relay about a month ago because I felt like it was failing. Even with a full battery the cranks were a little slow. Now she won't turn over at all. Could I have fried the relay? I've seen videos on how to test the relay now but just haven't had a chance to do it with Hurricane Irma bearing down on me. Wanted a Forum opinion too.
09-13-2017, 11:14 AM
You can just bypass the starter relay by jumping from one terminal to the other. Have you had the starter checked. If your starter is shorted it will fry the relay as you found out.
09-13-2017, 12:21 PM
You can just bypass the starter relay by jumping from one terminal to the other.
You've exceeded the limits of my mechanical knowledge I think. Can you give me a quick explanation on how to do that?
09-13-2017, 12:41 PM
You have two large terminals on either end. One goes to the battery + terminal. The other goes to the starter. Use a jumper cable or a heavy wire to touch one to the other. Your car will turn over if the starter is good. If you get sparks and your car does not turn over your starter or starter cable is bad. To test the relay remove the wire that's on the small left side terminal in the front. Connect a wire to the battery + terminal and touch the terminal on the relay. If the relay doesn't click and the car doesn't turn over the relay is bad.
03-25-2018, 06:58 PM
I'm not one to dig up old topics but I'm back again with this issue and don't want to start a new thread.
So the original problem was just a very dead battery. Replaced it and my Bird fired right up. But I've gone another couple months without driving and I'm back to square one. Yesterday when I went to crank it it just made a click and that was it. I tried a couple of the tests I was given, used a cable between the 2 large terminals and had a ton of sparks. So I went ahead and replaced the starter cable and the starter. Here's where it gets interesting. I did my research and from previous posts found the type of starter I needed:
When I took the old one off i found one that looks like this:
I was able to get the new one in though. And just for the heck of it I replaced the starter relay also. So now when I try and crank I get kind of a click near the relay and another strange sound that's hard to describe. Almost like a rubber band popping. But not every time. Regardless the starter isn't moving at all. I did check the battery and it's under 12 volts according to my multimeter. Could this be the issue?
03-25-2018, 07:46 PM
I would want to repair the culprit that is killing your battery.
More than likely there will be upcoming posts disagreeing with me but a battery that is under 12 volts is a dead battery. Others say high tens and anything in the 11 range is fine. You've probably noticed them on the road at night with the orange headlights glowing about 10 watts.
Without being able to determine the source of your discharging then a battery switch could be installed to isolate the positive terminal of your battery when the car is to be sittting for many days and prevent premature failure of your new battery while the problems are sorted.
03-25-2018, 07:48 PM
The bottom picture is of the new style starter. If that's what was on there then someone changed out the flexplate also to match it. You CANNOT use the old type starter or you will have major problems. You may have already ruined the bendix drive. Remove it and return it for a new style starter.
As for your battery issues it sounds like you may have a short. Remove the negative battery cable and hook a test light between the cable and the battery terminal. If it lights you have a short. Start removing fuses one at a time and see if it goes away.
03-26-2018, 07:49 AM
Thanks for the responses!! I'll take the "new" starter out tonight and put the old one back in. I think there is probably nothing wrong with the old one.
The only thing that runs while the car is off is the battery. If the car sits for more than a month or so, would that pull enough juice to drain the battery?
03-26-2018, 08:39 AM
How old is the battery?
Has it sat while discharged for long periods?
Have you tried the suggestions from Woobie?
I would want to repair the culprit that is killing your battery...
Try this when you get your starter motor back in...
Clean all the terminals on your battery and every connection leading to your starter motor. Make sure the starter solenoid has a solid ground. Then, disconnect both ends of the ground wire, clean the connections well, and reassemble.
When you get ready to start the car turn on the headlights first. You can use a mirror but watch the headlights as your engine cranks. How brilliant are the headlights during this time?
After answering these questions, we will go through and find your battery drain if you have one. - Dave
03-26-2018, 11:35 AM
Unlike newer cars that have computers, alarm systems, remote start, etc. old cars should not have anything that causes a parasitic drain. A working clock will draw some amps but not enough to drain a battery. Under normal circumstances with average temperatures a battery should not go dead in a couple months if it's fully charged. However if you make mostly short trips you may not be fully charging the battery and it will die more quickly. If you don't have one invest in a cheap voltmeter and check your battery. A fully charged battery will be around 12.5 volts or more. In very cold or hot climates it may sit around 12.3 volts. As mentioned if it gets below 12 volts it should be recharged. You can also check your voltage with the car running to check the alternator. It should be at least 13.5-14.5 volts. If it's lower you may have a bad alternator or voltage regulator. If your car is going to sit for a long time disconnect one of the battery cables or buy a battery disconnect terminal as mentioned.
03-26-2018, 02:49 PM
The battery in our ‘66 Thunderbird was put in it in 2006 on arrival in NZ by the company that shipped it over here when they discovered the old battery had died in the journey over.
It cost my $100 and is a large Interstate brand, unsure of size as I’m hundreds of miles away from it.
I ALWAYS use a disconnect switch to turn it off when the car is not being used and likewise put a charger onto it every month are so.
So that battery is 12 years old (minimum) and when I get home I would be disappointed if it failed to start the ‘66.
My 2-cents worth of experience.
03-27-2018, 01:44 AM
...old cars should not have anything that causes a parasitic drain.
...the old battery had died in the journey over.
I ALWAYS use a disconnect switch to turn it off when the car is not being used and likewise put a charger onto it every month are so...Ok, we know that battery drain should not happen but it does. Why? These cars never had a drain or a disconnect switch from the factory. What has changed?
Aside from the obvious glove box light or headlight switch being left on, we have seen other electrical systems that simply don't work right. Let's take the convertible top circuit for example. By 'working' the limit and relay contacts, the system tends to straighten itself out. The wiring never changed, the contacts never changed, or did they? These classic cars only get occasional use, now.
What happens if the 'cutout relay' contacts stick shut in the voltage regulator? I saw this on my buddy's '51 Plymouth (6-volt positive ground, but that doesn't matter). The cutout relay in your voltage regulator shuts off and divorces the battery from the charging system. You're doing the same thing with a manual switch. When the contacts are closed, current is passed through the generator's windings. This is a good thing if the engine is turning. It's a drain if the engine is not turning.
If one set of contacts are sticking or dirty, ALL three of them should be cleaned with fine sandpaper. I've seen spiders and other critters inside the regulator. How they got passed the cover gasket, I don't know. - Dave
04-02-2018, 09:43 AM
Success!!!! Looks like it was just the battery. I charged it over night and I out the original starter back in. Fired up first time. I'll start tracing down the battery drain next.
Thanks for the advice!
04-02-2018, 10:40 AM
...So the original problem was just a very dead battery. Replaced it and my Bird fired right up...
Success!!!! Looks like it was just the battery...Twice? Steven, I'm puzzled as to why you didn't start troubleshooting at the battery, first. Do you own a volt meter?
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