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Thread: Starter kills battery
          
   
   

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  1. #1
    Dorsey's Avatar
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    Starter kills battery

     



    Until three years ago when I stored my car (29 hiboy roadster with 400 sbc), I had no problems starting it every few weeks during winter storage until one day the battery appeared to have suddenly died. The car sat for a six months or so until I installed a new battery. When I tried to start it, the solenoid clicked once and then everything went dead, which was pretty much what happened six months prior which I had attributed to an old battery. After re-charging the battery and repeating the process several times, I gave up and the car has now sat for three years, including a move from NJ to PA.

    I recently charged the battery again and (no surprise) the same thing happened. After re-charging, the headlights are bright, and the turn signals and running lights all work, so there must be some charge in the battery.

    Any ideas as to what I can check to track down this problem? I'm thinking of jumping this car with another vehicle in case the battery that was new three years ago is now no good, but it seems like a waste of time (or dangerous) until I have an idea what the underlying problem might be.

    At this point, I just want to know that the engine can be started, although I won't actually do that until I run though post-storage procedures - I won't try to start an engine cold that's been stored for that long.

    Thanks to any and all.
    Dorsey
    Dorsey

  2. #2
    Matthyj's Avatar
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    What type of battery do you have? Is it a gel or AGM? If so they take a specific charger (capable of higher charging voltage) or charging inline with another battery to take a full charge, I learned the hard way on this and thought I had a junk battery until I found out how to charge it correctly. Bestof luck Matt
    Why is mine so big and yours so small, Chrysler FirePower

  3. #3
    NTFDAY's Avatar
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    Do you get any kind of spark when you attach the negative battery cable? If so and the spark is rather large it's an indication that you have a good short to ground. From what you posted I'd suspect a bad solenoid and/or starter motor.
    Ken Thomas
    NoT FaDe AwaY and the music didn't die
    The simplest road is usually the last one sought
    Wild Willie & AA/FA's The greatest show in drag racing

  4. #4
    Dorsey's Avatar
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    I'm using a traditional lead-acid battery from Interstate.

    No spark when attaching the negative lead.

    A local friend/mechanic suggested a blown fuse somewhere (based only on a short verbal description from me), but I don't see how that could cause the battery to die immediately. I don't usually dive into parts replacement before analysis, but that sounds like a good first step.

    Dorsey
    Dorsey

  5. #5
    Dorsey's Avatar
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    I forgot that I had posted a photo of the car in question. That won't help with this problem, but that's what the car looks like.
    Dorsey

  6. #6
    NTFDAY's Avatar
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    A blown fuse would indicate an open and what you have is a short, but it only occurs when you try and start the engine ,correct? If that's the case I'd suspect the starter and in particular the solenoid. Replacing the whole starter, IMHO, is a waste of money. I would take the starter apart and check the brushes for wear and replace as necessary. A weak bendix usually will not fully engage or stay engaged and they are easy to replace. I would guess that you have a bad solenoid which, IMHO, is the weakest link in a GM system.
    Ken Thomas
    NoT FaDe AwaY and the music didn't die
    The simplest road is usually the last one sought
    Wild Willie & AA/FA's The greatest show in drag racing

  7. #7
    35WINDOW's Avatar
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    I wonder if you have a corrosion (or bad Ground) problem in the Positive/Negative Cables, or a corrosion between the Posts and Starter/Battery lugs (kinda common in Cars that sit)-I would try to see if I could isolate the Positive and Negative Cables by running a set of Jumper Cables from a known good Battery to the Starter lug (and Ground), and see if it starts-

    What size of Battery Cables are you running?
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  8. #8
    Dorsey's Avatar
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    I replaced the solenoid with a brand-new unit and nothing changed. My next step is to use jumper cables as suggested.

    I don't know the battery cable size - I can say that the car has been on the road since 1983, and it wasn't until three years ago that this problem arose.
    Dorsey

  9. #9
    NTFDAY's Avatar
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    Do you have a neutral safety switch and where is it located? Where is the ignition switch located? Does the car have an ammeter or volt meter? Was an aftermarket wire harness used?
    Ken Thomas
    NoT FaDe AwaY and the music didn't die
    The simplest road is usually the last one sought
    Wild Willie & AA/FA's The greatest show in drag racing

  10. #10
    Dorsey's Avatar
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    Neutral safety switch is on a Gennie Shifter unit. Ignition switch was part of a wiring kit from Ron Francis. I have both ammeter and volt meter.
    Dorsey

  11. #11
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    Confirm that the NSS is working. With the shifter in neutral or park you should have continuity across the switch, if not adjust it until you do. I have seen ignition switches fail although it is uncommon. What size wire is running to the ammeter? If it is 12 gauge or larger make sure that the mountings on the meter are tight and there is no chafing anywhere along the length of the wires.
    Ken Thomas
    NoT FaDe AwaY and the music didn't die
    The simplest road is usually the last one sought
    Wild Willie & AA/FA's The greatest show in drag racing

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    My first thought was a bad connection, either at the battery or grounds.
    Clean tight connections cost nothing but time to make them the best you can. And everything depends on them.

  13. #13
    Dorsey's Avatar
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    Due to the replies here, I felt that it would be OK to jump the car from another, and found that the starter turns the engine over. I think that a new solenoid didn't hurt, and also that the old battery simply won't hold a charge against the starter.

    I don't recall that I had run the carb dry, but I did pump out the gas tank and fuel lines years ago, so they're in good shape. I'll take the carb off for a good rebuild, and finish giving the cylinders an oil bath. I found that I had to rebuild the carb every spring, anyway, due to crud left in there by ethanol-laced fuel. Or, at least that's what I was told.

    Thanks for all of your help.
    Dorsey
    Dorsey

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