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1963 Thunderbird - Starter Won't Engage

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  • 1963 Thunderbird - Starter Won't Engage

    I am new to this forum. I inherited this car from my younger brother. It was in PA for 3 years and in September I was able to have the car moved to NC. Since then I have replaced the starter and rebuilt the carburetor. Apparently, my brother was having some trouble with the starter. The drive gear shattered. While it was in PA my father pulled the starter and had a local guy rebuild it. Therefore, I really am not sure I have the correct starter. When we installed it it worked but occasionally it would not disengage. It would either disengage on its own within a few seconds or if I shut the car off and restarted it would be fine. That was the case once I got it in NC, until about a week ago. I put the new carb on it and was driving it home from my storage unit. It would not disengage. I would stop and start it and then drive a little further, but it never disengaged. Then once I got it home and into the driveway, I turned it off and ever since the drive will not engage. The motor spins and you can hear the drive start to engage, but it never does. I have replaced all cables. Checked the battery which is pushing 12.3 volts or so. The solenoid seems to be working as it has 12.2 volts or so as well. I have cleaned all the grounds on the block and all the connections of the cables. I am at a loss as to what to do next. If anyone could give me some advice I would really appreciate it. I have had several antique cars and I have never encountered a problem like this where I am out of ideas. I am thinking it might have something to do with the ignition switch. I cranked it a lot on the drive back to the house from the storage unit.

  • #2
    This is the correct starter and drive for your car. That assumes that you still have the stock flexplate and it hasn't been replaced with a later one. If so you need the later style starter.

    John
    Attached Files
    John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

    Thunderbird Registry #36223
    jopizz@verizon.net 856-779-9695

    http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by RPM06163 View Post
      I am new to this forum. I inherited this car from my younger brother. It was in PA for 3 years and in September I was able to have the car moved to NC. Since then I have replaced the starter and rebuilt the carburetor. Apparently, my brother was having some trouble with the starter. The drive gear shattered. While it was in PA my father pulled the starter and had a local guy rebuild it. Therefore, I really am not sure I have the correct starter. When we installed it it worked but occasionally it would not disengage. It would either disengage on its own within a few seconds or if I shut the car off and restarted it would be fine. That was the case once I got it in NC, until about a week ago. I put the new carb on it and was driving it home from my storage unit. It would not disengage. I would stop and start it and then drive a little further, but it never disengaged. Then once I got it home and into the driveway, I turned it off and ever since the drive will not engage. The motor spins and you can hear the drive start to engage, but it never does. I have replaced all cables. Checked the battery which is pushing 12.3 volts or so. The solenoid seems to be working as it has 12.2 volts or so as well. I have cleaned all the grounds on the block and all the connections of the cables. I am at a loss as to what to do next. If anyone could give me some advice I would really appreciate it. I have had several antique cars and I have never encountered a problem like this where I am out of ideas. I am thinking it might have something to do with the ignition switch. I cranked it a lot on the drive back to the house from the storage unit.
      That looks like the one that I have. So, now I just can't figure out why it won't engage. It just spins but will not start the car. Thanks for the information.

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      • #4
        I would take the inspection plate off and check the flexplate. If you have missing teeth and the starter hits that spot it will just spin.

        John
        John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

        Thunderbird Registry #36223
        jopizz@verizon.net 856-779-9695

        http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by RPM06163 View Post
          I am new to this forum. I inherited this car from my younger brother. It was in PA for 3 years and in September I was able to have the car moved to NC. Since then I have replaced the starter and rebuilt the carburetor. Apparently, my brother was having some trouble with the starter. The drive gear shattered. While it was in PA my father pulled the starter and had a local guy rebuild it. Therefore, I really am not sure I have the correct starter. When we installed it it worked but occasionally it would not disengage. It would either disengage on its own within a few seconds or if I shut the car off and restarted it would be fine. That was the case once I got it in NC, until about a week ago. I put the new carb on it and was driving it home from my storage unit. It would not disengage. I would stop and start it and then drive a little further, but it never disengaged. Then once I got it home and into the driveway, I turned it off and ever since the drive will not engage. The motor spins and you can hear the drive start to engage, but it never does. I have replaced all cables. Checked the battery which is pushing 12.3 volts or so. The solenoid seems to be working as it has 12.2 volts or so as well. I have cleaned all the grounds on the block and all the connections of the cables. I am at a loss as to what to do next. If anyone could give me some advice I would really appreciate it. I have had several antique cars and I have never encountered a problem like this where I am out of ideas. I am thinking it might have something to do with the ignition switch. I cranked it a lot on the drive back to the house from the storage unit.
          My guess would be the starter ' bendix ' .

          Comment


          • #6
            The bendix may be gummed up. Or burned out now. You'll need to bring up the battery voltage to full charge.

            11.9 volts is considered by many as a dead battery and you are at 12.2-12.3.
            Austin

            Comment


            • #7
              Here's my write-up on your starter motor. CLICK HERE

              It's true that your charging voltage can be ~14-VDC. The battery settles down to 12-VDC. While cranking, especially on an older battery, voltage can drop to 10-VDC BUT your engine should still start just fine.

              I know of folks who bought a brand new battery that had a cell shorted. They ran with it for five years without realizing because most cars don't have a volt meter and BTW, who checks? The way they found out was when they replaced the battery with one that fired on all six cells. The difference was amazing. - Dave
              My latest project:
              CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

              "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
              --Lee Iacocca

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              • #8
                Any battery around here that "settles in" at 12 volts is going to be traded in as junk.

                An easy way to burn out your wiring and equipment via using a dead battery.
                Austin

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