"Basic Starter Troubleshooting Matrix"

The heart of the electrical system is the battery, always start there. Make sure it is fully charged and LOAD test it . Then start your troubleshooting.

Here is what others have asked.......

Vehicle is a '63 Coupe, 6 volt.

When I turn the key, there is no power to the starter.

Is there a way I can "jumper" from the back of the ignition switch - as a
way to test ?

What they said......

Use a continuity tester with one side connected to one of the no. 30 receptacles. They are the 1st 4 counterclockwise from the open space
between receps.

Put the other side of the tester to the no. 50 terminal which is the 1st clockwise from the space. Turn the key to the start position and see if you get continuity. While you're at it, you might as well check the other positions on the switch. The no. 15 receps should be hot when you turn the key to the 1st position; no. 54 when you turn backward for the radio.

I have a 60 B coupe. When I start the car, I some times get a delay in the starter "kicking in". Could this be an electrical problem or the beginning of starter issues?

Sounds like the Ignition switch. You can confirm by jumping out at the solenoid from the big cable to the #50 terminal.
Or if you wish make up a wire with a quick disconnect. Connect to the spare terminal on the solenoid.
This is the spare that is at right angels to the terminal in use. Then run this wire up to the back of the reg.
To operate just touch the bare wire to B+ on the reg. If it spins right up, then the trouble looks to be the Ignition sw.
Others have this spare wire with a push button installed in the engine compartment.

This was a good one!

Many of you will recall the problems that recently came up with my starter ('64SC 6V). I've been using Joes starter relay for a few years. I've tried everything that I can think of to no avail... I'm at a loss. Here's a brief synopsis:


With a fully charged Optima (kept tendered), the starter struggles and groans to turn the engine a few times before it poops out. Serious starter loads as
evidenced by the great dimming of the instrument lights.


Cleaned the terminals at the battery. Cleaned the grounds (both). Checked resistance at the battery terminals (none).

Jumped the battery terminal to the switch connection (same groan). Jumped over to the starter motor circuit and the motor spins nicely.

Pulled the starter and tore it down. Brushes, springs, commutator and front bearing look great.

Pulled the old starter bushing and installed a new one. Old one didn't look significantly worn.

Reinstalled the starter. Nada! Pulled it again. Did a starter voltage draw test: 6.3V at the starter dropped to under 4V under load.

Opened up the solenoid switch. Contacts looked bright and shiny. No funny smells, etc. Unhooked the other end of the solenoid and all looks proper.

Borrowed a "known good" used starter from a friend. Same thing.

Borrowed a nearly new Optima from another friend (same sluggish response). Jumped it directly to the starter...same thing. Went throught the above with a
12V battery...same thing.

Checked it again with and without Joes's starter relay hooked up. Same.

Took my original starter to an auto electric shop and they tore it back down and said that there is nothing wrong with it (they couldn't test it under load). Reinstalled my starter and checked cleaned the mating surfaces (and inside) well. Ring gear teeth look good. Nada!

Everything I've checked indicates that the starter is getting plenty of current. Motor spins nicely when jumped directly.

Something mechanical? Motor turns over manually like it should. I pulled the plugs one at a time. Removed one: R, groan, groan, groan. Removed another: R,
R, groan, groan. Three gone: R, R, R, groan. Finally removed all: R, R, R, R,
R... sounds good. Replaced the plugs and same old thing!!!

At this point, I don't have a clue! The engine is soundly bolted in place. If I push start it, it fires right up and runs great!

The Solution!

Sunday, I decided to re-trouble-shoot right from the beginning. As those of you who've been there know well, it's tight and cramped in and around the starter and clamping a big clumsy jumper clamp to the terminal is largely shooting blind. This time around I decided to take a short piece of 8 gauge wire that was lying around and solder a ring terminal onto one end which I attached to the post with the nut. Positive connection. Hooked the 12V battery to it and it cranked like crazy...music to my ears. Tried the 6V (still in car) and got the same slow groan. Keep in mind that I keep the battery tendered to give a full charge. So I thought. When I put a trickle charger on it was drawing WAY more current that a fully charged battery should. Left it on for 5 hours or so andl LO!, it cranked as it should. Ah, how grand life can be! But the battery won't hold the charge. It was a crapped-out battery all along!

This caused me to wonder why I didn't diagnosis this earlier. It turns out that, when I was jumping the starter, I really wasn't properly hooked up to the terminal at all and was still cranking the engine over from the faulty battery. That's why it appeared that I was getting the same response. Also, I mentioned that I after push starting it and driving around for an hour or so, it started right up after being shut down and the the cranking power diminished as the engine cooled down. Actually, it had nothing to do with cooling down, it had to do with the battery being unable to hold a charge for long.