Really Weird Electrical Problem - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 18, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Hey all! I've got a 79 350/350 combo and I have not been able to solve this very odd electrical problem I'm having.

My car has no power whatsoever...unless I'm attempting to start the engine.

When I go to start the engine, my headlights come on, the GEN light comes on, the car will start and it will turn over and stay running, but ONLY if I keep the key pinned forward like I'm trying to start the car.

Naturally I don't do that for more than a few seconds because that'll hurt the starter, but it will run and I do have power nonetheless. The GEN light also disappears once the engine is running.

I've replaced some essentials since I've had the car, since the guy before me was using a screwdriver instead of a key.

List of new parts:
CVR mini starter
PowerMaster 140A alternator
Ignition Lock Cylinder
Turn Signal Switch
Ignition Switch (not AC Delco original)
Replaced glass tube fuses

I'm pretty sure that's everything I've replaced thus far, as far as electricals go.

To compensate for the higher output alternator, I upgraded my main wires to 1/0.

I've removed and taped off the old BAT+ wire from the old alternator and replaced it with 1/0 (fused) that runs directly to the positive side of the battery, instead of back to the junction block.

My grounds are: engine block to frame rail, frame rail up to the battery, and fender to the battery.

On my starter, I've got the positive battery cable and red wire on one lug, and on a separate, tiny side lug, I have that tiny S or R wire.

I found a diagram and my ignition switch is wired correctly, and I also have all of my detents on the switch, and the key will return to the RUN position as it normally would.

I sincerely do not know what to do now. I've got an AC Delco ignition switch arriving tomorrow, just in case mine is faulty, but if that doesn't work, I'm totally lost.

If anyone could give me a hand here, I would be extremely grateful. I'll attach some pictures to get a visual of what I've done so far. If anyone has any questions for me, I'll do my best to provide the answers. Thank you very much in advance!
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 18, 02:28 PM
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Re: Really Weird Electrical Problem

Have you confirmed voltage at the coil with the key in the "run" position? The starter solenoid has the inside small stud on it that sends full voltage current to the coil for the purpose of assisting the start process and thus would keep the engine running while the key was in the "start" position even if you have NO current coming in the "run" position.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 18, 04:31 PM
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Since the previous owner used a screw driver to start it, I would make sure the ignition tumbler is clocked correctly. The part that goes in the cylinder at the bottom has teeth. This rides on a rail with teeth that hooks to the rod going to the ignition switch. If its a tooth or more off, it could cause the problems you describe.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 18, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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Ah gotcha, that makes a lot of sense!

I have not yet done that actually, I'll give that a shot tomorrow. Really dumb question though, how do I test the voltage on the coil?

I know you just take off the distributor cap to get to it, but what setting on my multimeter should I use, and where should I put my meter leads?

I appreciate the help, I'm a total electrical novice
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 18, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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I did actually replace the tumbler itself and disassembled the upper part of the column. I had to take all that stuff apart to replace the turn signal switch. But I made sure to keep the rack and sector gears aligned in that piece, and the little notch on the new key tumbler lines up with the "LOCK" on the column, when the key is removed of course
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 18, 05:58 PM
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Re: Really Weird Electrical Problem

Starter wired properly ?

This just pop up after work done ?

68 Camaro~LSx ~all motor
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 18, 07:28 PM
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Re: Really Weird Electrical Problem

Run wire bat-+coil (hot wire). If it starts and stays running you’ve found the problem 👍

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 18, 07:25 AM
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Re: Really Weird Electrical Problem

Did you adjust the ignition switch when you installed it? It sounds like you are in between positions on the switch.

To install:

1. Before installing the ignition switch, place it in the Locked position, then make sure the lock cylinder and actuating rod are in the Locked position (1st detent from the top).


2. Install the activating rod into the ignition switch and assemble the switch onto the steering column. Torque the ignition switch-to-steering column screws to 35 inch lbs. (4 Nm).

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 18, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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Hey guys, just want to follow up from the other day.

So I finally got around to removing the distributor cap and I THINK I tested the coil, but with a caveat; my multimeter doesn't have a true ohm range, it just has a "Mega ohm" setting.

So anyway, I first pulled the coil away from the distributor and tested the red and yellow wires at the same time, and then that ground wire and the metal center piece of the coil.

Both tests read 0.

So I put the coil back in the distributor, connected the distributor wires, turned the key to the ON position, and repeated the same test as before.

Same thing, both tests read 0.

This probably doesn't mean anything, but there is some light surface rust around the metal perimeter of the coil, possibly meaning the coil is old and not in good shape?

But either way, what's my next move? Since the coil didn't appear to be in the best shape, should I just go and replace it, or should I get a proper ohmmeter, in case my setting was just way out of range and test it again?

Also, if I need to replace it, can I just order any coil I want?
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 18, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DOUG G View Post
Starter wired properly ?

This just pop up after work done ?
I believe so, I have the positive cable and red wire on the same lug, and that tiny R or S wire on a small lug off to the side. This has been an issue ever since I got the car and put a battery in it and began replacing things
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 18, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vega$69 View Post
Run wire bat-+coil (hot wire). If it starts and stays running you’ve found the problem 👍
I'm a little confused, so run a wire from the negative side of the battery to the red wire on the coil?
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 18, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wireboy355 View Post
Did you adjust the ignition switch when you installed it? It sounds like you are in between positions on the switch.

To install:

1. Before installing the ignition switch, place it in the Locked position, then make sure the lock cylinder and actuating rod are in the Locked position (1st detent from the top).


2. Install the activating rod into the ignition switch and assemble the switch onto the steering column. Torque the ignition switch-to-steering column screws to 35 inch lbs. (4 Nm).
I believe I did it correctly when I installed it. I pulled the switch all the way back to Accessory, the popped it forward one detent, all while the key tumbler was in the Off position with the key removed
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 18, 01:19 PM
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Re: Really Weird Electrical Problem


68 Camaro~LSx ~all motor
1.54 60'--6.95 @ 98.45 660'--10.96 @ 121.53
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 18, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DOUG G View Post
My starter looks a little different, it's a mini starter from CVR, and there are only two (unlabeled) posts to attach wires. I tried to upload a picture but I'm not sure if I have too many already uploaded or the picture itself is too large.

Also for what it's worth, I once accidentally put the starter back with the S wire touching the positive cable and red wire post, and the engine tried to start itself as soon as I reconnected the battery terminals

Last edited by xMichael; Jun 20th, 18 at 04:07 PM.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 18, 04:53 PM
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Re: Really Weird Electrical Problem

Quote:
When I go to start the engine, my headlights come on, the GEN light comes on, the car will start and it will turn over and stay running, but ONLY if I keep the key pinned forward like I'm trying to start the car.
Wires (small one... I believe purple) is on the wrong post.

https://www.cvrproducts.com/starter-technical-notes/

Quote:
Starter Technical Notes


The “R” Terminal:
Before electronic ignition, vehicles required an R-Terminal, which bypassed the ignition resistor for easier starting. Today’s electronic ignitions do not use a ballast resistor, therefore they do not require an “R” terminal. When updating an existing starter to a racing starter which does not have an “R” terminal, simply do not connect this wire.

Note: CVR offers a 5323R for Chevy engines with factory points ignition that requires a relay terminal. Another option is that a remote solenoid can be added that has a built-in relay terminal.

Note: The CVR Protorque starter is designed to cross the flywheel between .400” and .500”. This is quite sufficient for this type of unit with proper shimming.

Caution: Over tightening of battery terminal may result in misalignment of solenoid contact causing intermittent starter failure. If this occurs, remove the gold tin cover held in place by three (3) hex head bolts and realign the copper contact so plunger assembly makes full contact across both contacts.

Shimming Procedure: Unlike Ford and Chrysler which have a fixed starter drive gear to flywheel clearance, GM starters have an Adjustable Clearance.

Important: Most GM pad-mounted starters prematurely fail as a result of improper shimming, regardless of whether the old starter had shims or not, you must inspect the clearance of the new unit as it may or may not require shimming.

Before Installation:
You must understand the need for proper starter to flywheel clearance. This “clearance” is critical to avoid damage to Flywheel, Starter Drive and Battery.

Why Shimming Varies:
1.Mounting pad tolerances and hole locations vary from block to block, this moves the starter drive gear away from the flywheel varying distances.
2.The mounting pad on the engine block dimensions vary. This also moves the starter drive gear away from the flywheel varying distances.

Step 1 – Inspection:
Remove lower flywheel housing cover and examine the entire flywheel for visual problems. (Worn, chipped or broken teeth; bent flywheel and/or incorrectly cut teeth)

Step 2 – Check Clearance:
Insert a screwdriver behind the starter drive. Move starter drive assembly out toward flywheel so that starter pinion and ring gear teeth mesh.

Step 3 – Measure Clearance:
Center the pinion tooth. Check clearance (looking for .025” – .060”). A convenient plug gauge is a common paper clip, which typically measures approximately .035”.
Important – Check at least 3 ring gear locations 120o apart for proper clearance. Shim as required at minimum clearance location. After measuring clearance, push starter drive back into original position.

Step 4 – Proper Shimming:
To increase clearance: Use entire shim across both holes. .015” shim increases clearanceapproximately .0075”. This moves the starter down and out, away from the flywheel (use no more than 6 shims).
To decrease clearance: Use 1/2 shim only on the outer mounting bolt hole from oil pan. This moves the starter in and toward the flywheel. .015” shim decreases clearance approximately .010”

68 Camaro~LSx ~all motor
1.54 60'--6.95 @ 98.45 660'--10.96 @ 121.53
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