Flashing the starter - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 11, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Flashing the starter

The problem is getting worse. It used to happen only occasionally but now most of the time, when the car is up to operating temperature, it won't start without having to the flashing the starter. I can turn the key to start and there is nothing. The lights don't dim or the radio doesn't stutter, nothing. It's like I don't even turn the key. However, when I flash the starter it starts with the key normally, like nothing is wrong. Today, using a screwdriver, I got a spark jump from from the solenoid to the header and it started right up with the key. I've been chasing this problem around for a couple of years and haven't found a solution. I don't really get mad anymore because I expect it and know how to get it going, but am getting tired of having to crawl under it with a screwdriver. I've had the starter covered with a heat shield for a long time and have replaced the solenoid several times which didn't cure the problem. Anybody have any ideas? Thanks Kevin
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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 11, 08:45 PM
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Re: Flashing the starter

Try the old "hit the starter with a hammer" trick. If it starts with the key immediately after you hit it, suspect that it has bad brushes. If the brushes aren't making good contact with the armature, the solenoid has a lousy or no internal ground and you can get a no crank situation. Bypassing the wires when you jump it with a screwdriver just gives you less resistance and more juice.

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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old Jul 6th, 11, 06:57 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Flashing the starter

It doesn't sound like electricity is getting to the starter. I thought that juice has to go through the solenoid before it gets to the starter. The solenoid doesn't click in. It always starts when it is cool. Drove it yesterday and it wouldn't start at the store. Got home and parked it in the driveway. Several hours later, after it cooled, went to put it in the garage and it started fine. I will try a hammer next time. Kevin
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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old Jul 6th, 11, 07:12 AM
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Re: Flashing the starter

Your starter solenoid is heat soaking. Heat build-up is creating resistance that is dropping the voltage to the point the solenoid won't enguage the starter. The easiest fix is a perminant magnet starter, you could also install a remote mounted solenoid like on a Ford.

Here's a thread from several years back when I had the same problem. I haven't had a starter issue since I got the new starter and it was under $100.

https://www.camaros.net/forums/showth...hlight=starter

Also use the search engine and search for "starter" to find dozens of the same basic story... Here's one more;

https://www.camaros.net/forums/showth...hlight=starter

...Dennis

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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old Jul 6th, 11, 09:59 AM
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Re: Flashing the starter

Next time it doesn't start, test the voltage at the end of ignition wire (small wire at the starter) while someone is turning and holding the key in cranking position. You should see +12V. This was my issue and it turned out to be a faulty ignition switch.

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Last edited by zlek131; Jul 6th, 11 at 12:48 PM.
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old Jul 6th, 11, 10:01 AM
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Re: Flashing the starter

Read this thread https://www.camaros.net/forums/showthread.php?t=194465

Your 40 y/o wiring likely can't provide the juice necessary to activate a hot solenoid.

Just for the heck of it I wired a 50a Bosch relay into my "S" wire circuit. The purple wire now only has to trigger the Bosch relay. It works great.


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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old Jul 6th, 11, 11:37 AM
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Wink Re: Flashing the starter

Quote:
Originally Posted by KRhat View Post
... Anybody have any ideas? Thanks Kevin
I can't even imagine wearing a long trench-coat in this weather

Two things ...
* Replace the POS. cable from the battery to the starter connection - either with a new 'larger' if theres any fraying or connector issues
Also make sure the ground wire from bat goes directly to the engine, not the frame/body.
* Run a new wire from the "S" terminal of the starter switch to the solenoid - there is most likely a bad or corroded connection somewhere in the wiring that is causing the issue.
I've found several of them to be the Bulkhead connector that is bad ...

Folks working before you may have also replaced/repaired the connector lug on the end of the wire to the solenoid, it may be some of the issue also.

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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old Jul 6th, 11, 01:39 PM
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Re: Flashing the starter

All of the above could be the issue
I recon If u pull the soleniod apart and turn the copper connact...or repace if itsa been turned before.
OR If the starter has seen a few yrs, pull it, check the soleniod (above) drop a new ser of brushes, bushes and bearing in.
The armiture, turn some emery tape around where the brushes and smooth it off...
washe and dry everything down
1hr $20 kit damn near a fully rebuilt starter.

PS do NOT oil or grease the bendex, assemble dry.

My Spelling is not incorrect...it is creative

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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 11, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Flashing the starter

All the wiring is (was) new Painless when I rebuilt the car about 14,000 miles ago. I also rebuilt the starter which included some machining. With everything you guys have said, I believe it's time to try a remote solenoid. It's something I was going to do but got on to other projects. All the parts are around here somewhere. My only thought is (I guess I'm a little slow) that even with a remote solenoid, the starter solenoid is still going to heat soak, so what's going to prevent the same problem??? Kevin
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 11, 10:04 AM
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Re: Flashing the starter

Quote:
Originally Posted by KRhat View Post
All the wiring is (was) new Painless when I rebuilt the car about 14,000 miles ago. I also rebuilt the starter which included some machining. With everything you guys have said, I believe it's time to try a remote solenoid. It's something I was going to do but got on to other projects. All the parts are around here somewhere. My only thought is (I guess I'm a little slow) that even with a remote solenoid, the starter solenoid is still going to heat soak, so what's going to prevent the same problem??? Kevin
If you wire a remote solenoid it will bypass the one on the starter. If your starter turns over when you short it with a screwdriver (is that what you mean by flashing the starter?) then it will work with a remote solenoid.

I opted for a perm mag starter over a remote solenoid to avoid additional wiring and clutter under the hood and liked the idea of 8lbs vs 22lbs of the stock starter.

...Dennis

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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 11, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Flashing the starter

When I flash the starter it isn't necessary to get the starter to turn. All I'm trying to do is get a spark. I don't always get it to spin and it still seems to get it to work. The on board solenoid not only makes the electrical connection to get the starter to roll but also kicks the Bendix into the ring gear. So that's where I'm trying to figure how a remote solenoid will help. Guess I'm looking for a physics answer to why it's doing what it's doing. Kevin
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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 11, 12:51 PM
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Re: Flashing the starter

Quote:
Originally Posted by DjD View Post
If you wire a remote solenoid it will bypass the one on the starter.
Sorry Dennis, but that isn't the case. A remote solenoid simply provides low resistance batt voltage to the GM solenoid's "S" terminal. The GM solenoid still needs to be in good condition as it moves the pinion to the flywheel and provides the contacts for the motor to spin.

Kevin, try this. When the motor is hot and won't start with the key, connect a remote starter button button between the batt post on the solenoid and the S terminal. (not a screwdriver) If the motor cranks normally, you can rule out the starter or the solenoid. The problem will likely be in the harness "somewhere". My guess is that it will crank, but if you still get nothing, then the problem is with the solenoid.

You can also put a voltmeter on the "S" terminal and have someone turn the key. If you don't even get a click out of the solenoid, you will likely see way less than 12 volts, perhaps even 0.

When you rewired the car did you replace the ignition switch? If not, it is a likely culprit. Each time it is used, it creates a small arc which over time pits and corrodes the contacts, increasing resistance to the point where it can't overcome the naturally increased resistance in the hot solenoid.

If you decide to go remote solenoid, I recommend a 50a Bosch type relay instead. It's a cleaner looking install, and provides low resistance batt voltage to the S terminal, which is the goal.

Wiring as follows: (12ga)

85 - ground
86 - purple "S" wire in existing harness
30 - battery terminal on solenoid
87 - "S" terminal on solenoid
87a - not used


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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 11, 01:04 PM
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Re: Flashing the starter

The solenoid is nothing more than a heavy duty power switch that provides the power to the bendix gear and the starter motor itself. You apply power to energize the coils of the solenoid when you turn the key. The bendix gear and starter motor are contained in one housing and the solenoid in a seperate housing.

There are 2 coils in a solenoid called the pull-in coil and the hold-in coil. The pull-in coil creates a strong magnetic field that operates a plunger that completes the circuit between the batt terminals. When this happens the bendix gear gets the juice it needs to extend and make contact with the flywheel. Then the hold-in coil kicks in with a weaker magnetic field and holds the the bendix gear in place.

The plunger in the solenoid is not the bendix plunger, it just completes an electrical circuit that operates the bendix. the operation of the bendix completes the circuit that operates the starter motor. When you use a remote solenoid you are bypassing the solenoid mounted on the starter housing.

Heat soak is when heat creates too much resistance in the pull-in coil in the solenoid so it doesn't create enough magnetic field to operate the plunger (in the solenoid not the starter) that completes the circuit that operates the bendix gear assembly.

When you flash the starter as you describe it you are overcoming the resistance in the coil and allowing the starter to function.

I hope all that made sense...

...Dennis

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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 11, 01:56 PM
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Re: Flashing the starter

Dennis - reading your post and agreeing with you (learned about the two coils in the solenoid - thanks) but not agreeing with this: When you use a remote solenoid you are bypassing the solenoid mounted on the starter housing.

There are several ways to wire the remote solenoid or (Bosch relay) and the goal of all of them is to get low resistance batt voltage to the "S" terminal of the GM starter solenoid so that it can do its thing. The GM solenoid is not bypassed and must be in good working condition. The factory wiring "should" provide enough current to activate a hot solenoid, and the addition of a Ford sol or Bosch relay is a bandaid fix, but one that usually works well.











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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 11, 02:05 PM
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Re: Flashing the starter

Quote:
I also rebuilt the starter which included some machining
Cool..
Brushes , bearings, solenoid contacts and turned the armiture right?
Why did u rebuild? because of the so called heat soak?
And did u check the armature windings for contenuity as I described above? Noooo.
Which is what has been happening for a couple decades now with rebuilt starters.

When u find s dry solder joint, a heavy duty soldering iron and a little flux...good to go for another 100K miles...so long as the intial timing is not too high, which causes intial loads on the armature of over 1000 Amps...they are not designed for that...even the AC/Deleco electial service manual mentions it in a bulleten.

But what the hell would I know..Im just a kiwi, with a brother in law wo is a high enf Auto sparkie ...I have done the excersise, and so has he and so has our workshop auto sparkie...hell the issue is common knowledge in NZ, even in the performance parts sales shops/workshops.

My Spelling is not incorrect...it is creative

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