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Old 02-11-2012, 09:45 PM
Big Dave Big Dave is offline
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Default Starter / Ignition Issues


It's been a couple years, but 'm back battling with my '58 and I've run into a new issue. When I turn the key to "start," nothing happens. The warning lights temporarily go dark, but that's it. The headlights don't dim, so I don't think the starter is drawing current. I shorted across the solenoid and the starter activates, so I replaced the solenoid. Still no joy with the new solenoid. Any thoughts on why the new (and old) solenoid won't pass current to the starter? That resistor on the firewall looks pretty bad - could that have something to do with it? Thanks a bunch for any guidance.

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Old 02-11-2012, 10:41 PM
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I don't believe the coil resistor would stop the car from turning over. The best place to start is the red/blue wire on the solenoid. It's one of the small terminals. That's what kicks on the solenoid. I would put a test light on there and start it. If you don't get a light it's could be the neutral switch, the ignition switch or a broken wire. I would also check where the wire comes through the firewall on the driver side near the master cylinder. It could be corroded in the connector. If you get a good light at the red/blue wire I would look for a ground problem from the battery cable.

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Old 02-12-2012, 02:44 PM
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Big Dave, I'm not one to throw parts at a problem unless I know they are bad. John is right, but without a LOT more info this problem is best solved by using good troubleshooting techniques.

Your solenoid needs a good ground. If it's rusty, unbolt it from your fender apron and clean rust, scale, and paint off. Then use clean bolts. I will assume you have a test light, as well.

When you turn the key, check from the RED-BLUE wire on your solenoid to ground. If no power, go backwards to the neutral switch. Same colors, RED/BLUE; check for power on both wires. If you have power on one, but not the other, you shifter isn't in 'Park' or you have a bad switch (not likely).

If no power on either RED/BLUE, go back to the Key Switch. Same color, RED/BLUE. Most likely you will find your problem here (with a loose or burned connection) or at the Neutral Switch.

When you turn the key to 'Start', check the back of the Key Switch ('S' terminal in the middle) for power. If you still don't have power, check the Yellow wire on 'B' which comes from your Headlight Switch.

Somewhere in there you should find the problem. You said the headlights didn't dim, so that tells me your power wire on the Headlight Switch works. Follow your wiring diagram. If you don't have one, you may find one in the Technical Resource Library. If you get stuck, hollar. - Dave
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:38 PM
Big Dave Big Dave is offline
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Thanks for the good counsel. I bypassed the neutral safety switch and traced it back to the ignition switch. Something was loose or off-track in the switch. I pulled the switch out of the dash, cleaned the contacts and got it working. With the help of a local mechanic, we got it running today. Rough and smokey - but running and driving well enough to vacate the garage for a day while they install a storm shelter. I figure a Squarebird parked over a tornado shelter should protect us from even the strongest Oklahoma storms!

Thanks again for the good advice - DMS
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