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When is timing not timing? (starting issues)

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by dremu, Mar 1, 2006.

  1. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member

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    Original post:

    http://coloradok5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=164203

    Intermittently, and more often when hot, the truck refuses to start nicely. Usually the engine won't turn, like the engine is seized, or turns half a turn and then triiiiiiiiies to turn more, but just can't go. Sometimes she'll backfire through the carb resulting in an amazing plume of white smoke coming out the air filter housing.

    If I whang the gas pedal a few times prior to starting, things are generally improved, but not always.

    Timing seems to affect this a bit, but she'll do it no matter if I put her on the mark, or retard her to the point she won't idle, or advance her to the point where she rattles the exhaust (and points inbetween.) I *swear* the dizzie (new) is on right and TDC really is TDC.

    I'm inclined to suspect, then, that the timing isn't the issue. Maybe the starter is cooking and just doesn't have enough grunt to turn the engine?

    Alternately, maybe the carb is flubbed up. When I have the air cleaner off to adjust the timing, I hear what sounds distinctly like a gasket leak, but it would seem to be coming from INSIDE the carb, from the front barrels. I sprayed WD40 around the carb base with no change, and my mechanic's stethoscope says the heavy breathing is coming from inside =))

    Any takers? Replace the starter? (Not hard, but I hate to throw good money after bad. I did just replace the + cable to it and cleaned up the connections as they were a bit nasty, but no change.)

    Time I learn to rebuild the Q-jet? Time I just learn to beat the skinny pedal a few times and pray she doesn't explode each time?

    -- A
     
  2. nemesis_pyros

    nemesis_pyros 1/2 ton status

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    I have a simular problem on a 454 in a '49 chevy pickup with headers.(the starting problem) I'm sure the starter is fubared from all the heat it gets under there and I know for a fact that my battery is a little on the weak side. (but its the biggest one that fits) I'm thinking of getting one of those high torque mini starters I heard they do better in hot situations like I have. From what you telling me though, if you've checked all your connections to the starter and battery, and they are clean and good. I'd get your battery tested and then consider a new starter if the battery test out ok.

    I don't think your carb is causeing the hard start. Check the things I listed and see if it still backfires.

    Somebody else should chime in if i'm horrably wrong.
     
  3. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member

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    Batteries are both new within the last two years and tested good... and yeah, it gets toasty down there, even with the stock manifolds. Hmm :thinking: maybe it's time to go get me a starter then...

    -- A
     
  4. BizeeB65

    BizeeB65 1/2 ton status

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    You could spend 8 bucks and 2 hrs putting a fUrd remote starter solenoid in it. Moves the solenoid up to the firewall, preventing it from overheating and allowing easy starts when its hot. I did this to mine, and i think its one of the best mods I have on the truck.
     
  5. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member

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    On my SBC I ended up doing one of the Motormite heat shields on a Delco starter, and have had no issues since.

    This one, though, I swear the solenoid is engaging ... more like the starter can't turn so good. ?

    -- A
     
  6. BizeeB65

    BizeeB65 1/2 ton status

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    that sounds like the same prob I had... but it could be a bad starter?? :dunno:
     
  7. big dan

    big dan 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I know you dont think timing is the issue but mine does the same thing when the timing is a little to advanced. it will start real good cold but will have cranking problems when it gets warmed up. you might try slowing down the timing a wee bit and see if it helps.
     
  8. nemesis_pyros

    nemesis_pyros 1/2 ton status

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    Hmmm that remote starter solenoid might not be a bad Idea.

    I think I'm gonna try that on my truck. Time to do some research.
     
  9. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member

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    I've tweaked it up and down, starting still sucks and she runs badly when I get too extreme :D

    -- A
     
  10. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member

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    bump for the evening crew -- anybody got guidance 'fore I start throwing money at her?

    -- A
     
  11. 1979jimmy350

    1979jimmy350 1/2 ton status

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    when you timed it was all the advance disconected. Are you sure that you are not 180 off or even just a tooth or two off. This sounds a lot like what my truck was doing when i have the timing off it would turn easy then almost stop turning
     
  12. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member

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    Advance is disconnected and the vacuum line plugged with the requisite golf tee.

    I am quite sure I'm not 180* off, as I did that last week and she sputtered and exploded very unhappily.

    If it was a tooth off, wouldn't I just rotate the dizzy a little bit and time it that way? Said another way, what would be a tooth off from what?
     
  13. 1979jimmy350

    1979jimmy350 1/2 ton status

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    if you are a tooth off on the distributor gear you will not be able to movet the distributor enough to get it right and it won't run very well
     
  14. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member

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    That's the pisser -- she runs GREAT, nice and smooth, especially when I get her right around the 8-10 BTDC she's supposed to be at.

    But she doesn't start reliably for squat :(

    -- A
     
  15. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    similar trouble...

    I had the exact same symptoms in my 74 K20 with the 400 SB in it..I must have had 5 different starters,different batteries,and I tried swapping in higher amp alternators,bought 2 ga battery cables,replacing corroded wires,adding more ground cables,checking for rusted advance weights,timing set perfectly,and advancing or retarding it made no difference,etc,--with NO improvement!..many times I'd start it up cold at home,get 10 miles away,and stop for a coffee,then end up having to beg for a jump start..really pi$$ed me off!..:mad:

    I never really figured out what the deal was..I assumed it was the starter getting "heat soaked",because if you waited 10 minutes,it would spin over like gangbusters and start right up again,despite the battery being so "dead" before,it would not spin the motor once!..I didn't have headers either!..

    I asked a lot of mechanics much more experinced than me about it,and they said it could be weak starters,(one said "Hi-Torque" starters MUST have a 1000 CCA battery,or they wont crank over properly,and a weak battery with low voltage and amperage can permanently damage the feild windings!)..another suggested perhaps carbon had built up on the pistons,and was lighting off the fuel air mixture before the spark plugs did..

    Then one old timer told me to bring the truck to his shop,and see if I could make it do it while I was there..it took 3 trips,but it finally did it..he sprayed cold water on the starter for about 3 minutes..I got in and it fired up like it had no compression!..so I painted the starter with aluminum paint,at his reccomendation,and put a heat sheild over the solenoid,and a peice of tin between the block and exhaust manifold to keep heat off the starter..it always started after that,though it did grunt and groan a few times still..

    I added a ground cable directly to the starter motor at the front "brace" that goes to the block also, and it did help..the guy also said that brace is important,it keeps the starter motor from squirming around internally,causing it to bind up on its bearings..as well as keeping it in alignment with the flex plate..

    I think one of those "Mini Starters" would have cured it--my friend used one on his 62 Nova with a high compression 327 that had the same issues,and he also bought an Optima battery to go with it..his car always spun like crazy after that,never any grunting or groaning with that combo cranking it..:crazy:
     
  16. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member

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    Acha. I've been told that the ministarters are great for high-compression and fancy racing engines, but are not necessary or even useful for stock engines.

    Heatshield is definitely in order ... but I think this starter is toast as it'll fail to crank well even when cold.

    HOWEVER ... brace? What brace? :ears: Is this on all GM's, or just big blocks? This one has no such bracing, and I'm wondering if that's what's killed this starter...

    -- A
     
  17. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    I've had that condition a few times, all of which were solved by replacing the starter. In some cases, I couldn't start it at all until I beat the starter with the tire iron. It isn't actually the starter motor having the problem, it's the solenoid. They don't pull in good enough when they're hot. You can hear it, but it's not breaking through whatever carbon is in there.

    The remote solenoid swap takes care of this. There have been many posts on it. IMO, it is better to just power the solenoid through it instead of the starter and solenoid.
     
  18. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    starter brace..

    All GM's had a brace on the front of the starter factory(at least all the trucks did I worked on,from 250 sixes to SBC,BBC ,and diesels..its especially important on a diesel,they can tear the block mounting pad out if one isn't used,or snap the bolts off in the block!)..

    Its little more than a peice of angle iron thats made of stamped steel..it bolts onto the engine block, and to one of the "thru bolts" that hold the starter motor to the nose,or a tapped hole in the motor case..many Chevy's I had never had one,and I never bothered to find one and put it on..but the 400SB was one of the motors I had that had the most starter problems,and it did seem to help..

    I noticed yesterday when I looked at the motor,that brace was MISSING!...:doah: ..cant recall if I left it off last time I swapped another used starter in during a snowstorm,or if I took it off when I pulled the motor!..:mad: ..my 305 in my other truck has none also..and it starts fine..:dunno: ...they are hard to find at junkyards,seems no one bothers to put them back on,IF they were ever there to begin with!..GM dealer has them,they don't cost much,might be worth getting one..

    I think lots of "rebuilt" starters get assembled with a mish-mash of used parts,and not all of them are compatible..like if they put a hi-torque aramature in a "regular" case with different field windings..it'll still spin,but won't put out half the power it should!..out of all the starters I used in my 400SB,the best was one OEM GM one I scored on a parts truck with low mileage..that one spun it over the fastest,and was the least likely one to croak when the motor warmed up and got hard to crank..probably because it was never opened up or molested by a "rebuilder"...

    I've had "brand new" cheapie rebuilts fail to crank my motor fast right out of the box before,more than once..hencho en mexico starters from discount auto parts stores are notorious for being "defective" right out of the box..with the cheep starter drives and solenoids they use,its little wonder..not to mention what they assembled it with.(got a few with the wrong "nose" on it,that bolted up OK,but I could not shim it,or get it to mesh with the flex plate,or crank right!)..:doah:

    .I usually bite the bullet and spend the extra $$$ for an AC/Delco rebuilt..its worth it..:crazy:
     
  19. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member

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    Amen on the Delco's ... it's the only thing I'll buy any more. Called my dealer, from which I've gotten them for my SBC in the past... not only did they not have any for the BBC, but they said $250 :eek: must be new, not reman.

    Oddly, local good parts chain has the Delco remans, $55, as opposed to $45 for some other brand.

    So I replaced the starter, and lo and behold ... ZOOOOOOOOOOOM, she starts right up, half a turn, catches, wham. Even when warm. SWEET! :woot:

    I'll also go looking at the boneyards for a brace, just for good measure.

    Thanks again, all of you, and kudos to the CK5 world for helping me out. That truck is turning into quite a workhorse.

    -- A
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2006
  20. azblazer

    azblazer 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I see them on ebay all the time...i'll send you as link the next time i do.

    DW
     

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