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Thread: Only sometimes won't start

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Bismarck, ND
    Posts
    10

    Default Only sometimes won't start

    1977 Scout II with Petronix installed, new 850 cold amp Interstate battery and otherwise running fine.

    The symptom is every once in awhile the thing won't turn over. The ampmeter will hit bottom and no response from the starter. I'll wait 5 minutes and up to 10 minutes for it to come back and then it will turn over. If I hook a charger up to it it says the battery is 100% charged and, interestingly, it will then turn over.

    I am an idiot when it comes to electrical. I'm going to get a primer and learn this stuff, but this has become a pain in the rear. So, where do I start? Should I look inside the cab at the wires?....I understand that the ingnition switch is down on the column and not up in the steering shroud. Or should I try to figure out the whole ballast resistor thing? The coil says it doesn't need that, but who knows. Or should I look at the starter itself? I will say that every now and again the starter screaches on the flywheel from the get-go. Kind of like it's only snapping up to half engagement, but I could be wrong.

    I'm going to put on the old work clothes and try to figure this out, but I wanted a heads up if someone knows this to be a common problem.

    I already did a search on this, but it wasn't what I needed.

    Thanks all.

    Steve
    1977 Scout II w/ 345
    I'm Rick James, beeeotch!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Aiken, SC
    Posts
    2,423

    Default

    The problem is your starter. There is a spot on it that won't engage when the solenoid pushes it in to the teeth on the flywheel. It's binding.

    If you have an automatic, there is a spacer that goes between the starter and the engine block so that the starter doesn't stick too far into the bell housing. When this is missing, the nose of the starter butts up against the bell housing, causing binding. You are describing the same symptoms. It may not be the reason, but your starter is still binding.

    I have found that sometimes the remote solenoid setup eliminates this problem when it's caused by the solenoid hanging. I theorize that the wire from the starter relay under the dash to the S terminal on the solenoid is inadequately sized. In a note of irony, I just fixed this same problem on my truck w/304 on Friday in this manner.
    Allan E.
    Curmudgeon Extraordinaire
    Charter Member, Old Hippie IH Club
    Old fashioned binder freak

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Centralia Wa, (about 20 min south of Olympia)
    Posts
    3

    Default

    It might not be the starter. It could just be the power cable that runs to your solenoid, or just the conections that are there in general. I had the same problem with my 1977 Scout II w/345, I replaced the ring terminal (used a HD conector that was crimped and soldered instead of just "pressed" on and wrapped in elec tape) on the main power cable that goes to the soleniod and my truck starts every time :-)
    Last edited by jayman2003; 06-02-2009 at 04:36 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    28

    Default no start

    To solve both problems at once replace the starter(NOT A CHECKERS, SHUCKS, KRAGENS starter) and the primary lead. that should solve your problem. BTW the prob I have with the above named companies is I went thru(all lifetime warr starters) 6 starters on my explorer, 4 starters on my 86 f-350 diesel, and 3 starters on my scout b4 I changed brands.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Try shutting your tailgate. Seems to work for me. I think there is a lose connection in the firewall and it just needs a jiggle.

    The day I picked up my Scout (Tuesday) I had this problems twice, and once a few days later. So far seems to working ok... But I got a spare starter JIC.

    You didn't say if your solenoid was clicking...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Aiken, SC
    Posts
    2,423

    Default

    I don't buy replacement starters. I get the old ones rebuilt for about the same amount of cash. Auto electric places carry the parts to these starters because they're just GM starters with a different nose piece. The people who do them one at a time do them correctly. The people in the rebuild shops no longer are motivated by quality. 30 years ago, a rebuilt from the store was better than new because it was done right by professionals. Not anymore. Now they try to recycle every single core. The thought is that by the time it fails, something else on the vehicle will have already disabled it, and the lifetime warranty will not have to be honored.
    Allan E.
    Curmudgeon Extraordinaire
    Charter Member, Old Hippie IH Club
    Old fashioned binder freak

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Relay under the dash

    Where exactly is the relay under the dash? I am trying to locate the problem with my ignition ('77 Scout). Unable to crank the engine through the ignition key. The engine does turn (and starts with the key in the "on" position) when I use the Painless "Hot shot" remote button from the engine compartment. I've replaced the ignition switch and the remote solenoid. Tested the MSD coil and the MSD ignition and they seem to work fine. I've also re-grounded the remote solenoid. The system shows 12.7 volts all around with the key in the "on" position. Not sure how or where to test for starting voltage. Could the "relay under the dash" be the culprit. Where do I find one of those and where is it located. How do I access it?

    By the way, I do not hear any clicking sounds under the dash.
    Last edited by efsonny; 12-08-2009 at 09:06 PM. Reason: added info.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Aiken, SC
    Posts
    2,423

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by efsonny View Post
    Where exactly is the relay under the dash? I am trying to locate the problem with my ignition ('77 Scout). Unable to crank the engine through the ignition key. The engine does turn (and starts with the key in the "on" position) when I use the Painless "Hot shot" remote button from the engine compartment. I've replaced the ignition switch and the remote solenoid. Tested the MSD coil and the MSD ignition and they seem to work fine. I've also re-grounded the remote solenoid. The system shows 12.7 volts all around with the key in the "on" position. Not sure how or where to test for starting voltage. Could the "relay under the dash" be the culprit. Where do I find one of those and where is it located. How do I access it?

    By the way, I do not hear any clicking sounds under the dash.
    I forgot to mention the first time, the bulkhead connector is also a common culprit, and so is the neutral safety switch.

    The relay is up underneath the dash. Don't know how else to describe it. I won't be near one of my scouts until Christmas/New Years, so I can't take a picture of it.
    Allan E.
    Curmudgeon Extraordinaire
    Charter Member, Old Hippie IH Club
    Old fashioned binder freak

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Steve,
    I figured out what was wrong with my case. I checked the voltage to the "S" connection with the key in start position. No voltage. Traced the "white wire #17" all the way to the ignition switch and no voltage. I initially thought the intermittent start was due to a hot engine compartment but lately I noticed it also failed to start when the engine was cold. I pulled the steering column cover out and was getting ready to replace the switch but felt the need to turn the key to see how it operated. That's when I noticed the rod wasn't engaging the switch all the way. The rod was pushing the part of the ignition switch that slides towards the front of the vehicle but it didn't go far enough to push the ignition to start. I loosened up the two nuts holding the switch, then moved the switch closer (towards the steering wheel) and re-tightened the two little nuts. Now it engages and starts every time. Not sure if your case is the same but if you or anybody has messed with the ignition switch, it may be loose or needs to be moved up.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Allan, I didn't find a relay under the dash but found a "bridge" type connection. Is a three way connector with two white wires (one has # 17 on it) and a black wire on one end. The other end (don't remember if male or female) only has two spades in it. It connects a white wire from one spade to the other spade creating a loop or bridge?. I doesn't have a connection for the black wire. Is the relay under the dash only found in automatics. I've read something about automatics and neutral switches and relays but I am not sure if the relay applies to manual as well. My Scout is not automatic.

    The "three" way connector is right next to steering wheel and the ignition switch. Is there a way to hook up some sort of push start button system (carrying a relay) and / or a "dummy light" to that connection (to check that the ignition switch is sending voltage during starting mode)?

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