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  • scumdog
    started a topic Starter not disengaging

    Starter not disengaging

    Hi all, as per my pics on Anything Goes I had a pretty cold weekend - as did my Thunderbird!

    And each morning I started it in 29-30F temperatures it seems like the starter was slow to disengage, due to the cold it took two or three goes before the 390 started and kept running.
    And each time I started it the starter stayed engaged for up to 2 or three seconds then 'kicked out'
    Once things had warmed up everything was back to normal, iei the starter disengaged as soon as the motor fired up.
    It hasn't done this before (Or since those two start ups)

    I am wondering if the cold caused the pinion not to slide back on its shaft as it should?
    The starter solenoid was brand new about six years ago so I ruled that out but I wondered if the cold could have caused the key to hang up momentarily in the 'start' position?

  • scumdog
    replied
    Originally posted by jopizz View Post
    There are only three mechanical devices involved: the ignition switch, the solenoid and the starter. If you didn't notice the switch sticking in the START position then I would eliminate that. You can always put your solenoid in the freezer for awhile to see if the cold has some effect on it. Other than that you will probably have to wait for the next cold snap to see if it happens again.

    John
    Hi John, yeah you and Dave have the same line of thought as myself re the issue and its cause but until I get cold enough weather here I'll not really be able to truly replicate the problem.

    My thoughts are split between the ignition switch sticking (most likely) and the pinion being 'sticky' on the shaft (possible), the whole incident(s) were over in a matter of seconds.

    I'll hit the ignition switch with some contact cleaner in the next day or two and see if it moves freer, it's always been 'sludgy' to turn, ie not nice and crisp.

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  • jopizz
    replied
    There are only three mechanical devices involved: the ignition switch, the solenoid and the starter. If you didn't notice the switch sticking in the START position then I would eliminate that. You can always put your solenoid in the freezer for awhile to see if the cold has some effect on it. Other than that you will probably have to wait for the next cold snap to see if it happens again.

    John

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  • simplyconnected
    replied
    Let's follow a few troubleshooting tests. Disconnect your starter motor wire from the solenoid (so the starter won't engage). With the hood up (so you can hear what's going on) turn the key to 'Start'. You should hear the solenoid engage. Let go of the key and you should hear the solenoid disengage. Do this dozens of times. If you want to see what's going on electrically, connect a 12-volt light to that starter post and connect the other light wire to ground. Do the key 'thing'.

    All of these components depend on springs to disengage including; the key switch, solenoid switch AND starter motor. If everything checks out so far, I would suspect the Bendix gear is too tight on the flex plate teeth. Unmount the starter motor and look at the teeth. The crowns of the Bendix gear teeth should not have 'knife-edges' and they should not appear shiny (from riding on the root of the flex teeth).

    Finally, I would not lube the Bendix gear shaft because oil and grease only gum things up. Instead, CLEAN the shaft before reassembly. While you have the starter motor out, look at the brushes. New brushes are very inexpensive and widely available. For some reason, most owners wait until catastrophic failure before doing any starter maintenance.

    Tom, let's put things in perspective. These starters are designed to operate and start engines well below freezing. I mean, -18-C or ZERO-F. So, how cold is 'cold' in NZ? - Dave

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  • Pat in Ma
    replied
    If the temps have gone back up and the starter is acting normal again I would say you found the problem, the cold. Now what did the cold affect to cause the issue?
    The key switch not returning quickly? Yep I've had that happen on much more modern cars. The bendix dragging because any lube is thickened due to the cold?
    Yep, had that happen as well here in New England. So if things are back to what would be normal then you can do a couple things, clean your ignition switch and
    lube with something lightweight. Pull starter and have tested, clean and check pinion shaft and all connections. If those don't sound like fun then just wait it out and
    see if the next cold snap duplicates the problem. Good luck and happy hunting!

    Leave a comment:


  • scumdog
    replied
    So nobody apart from Highway Thunder got any ideas?

    Another thought I had was the key sticking in the 'start' position due to the cold.

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  • HighwayThunder
    replied
    I've had that problem. In my case it was the starter relay (to the right of the radiator on a '66). My guess is that [internally] the relay contact was sticking (i.e., wasn't retracting after releasing the key from the start position). If it's not that then (assuming the key switch is not faulty) the only other option is a bad starter.

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers,

    Leave a comment:

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