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Okay, I have this ’69. HEI ignition, external voltage regulator. There is no header wrap or insulation between the starter and the headers. The engine wiring looks like it was done in junior high shop class, one color of wire, and an electricians wire nut, different color wire, another wire nut, repeat. On short trips of a few blocks it’s fine. If it runs for a while, when it heats up, ten miles +, or maybe 20 minutes or more, when you shut it down it won’t start back up. You turn the key and nothing, not a click, absolutely nothing. Sometimes when it sits a while it will start other times it won’t. When it won’t, I can put a voltage meter on the battery and get 12 volts. If I put jumper cables on the battery I get 12 volts at the other end on the clamps, yet when I touch the clamps I don’t get a single spark, but put the clamps on the battery in a vehicle that it running and the Camaro will turn over just fine. I’ve got an engine wiring harness and starter heat shield ordered, should be here later this week. I wondered, does it seem normal that I would get a 12 volt read at the clamps of my jumper cables when the other end is hooked to the battery in the car but not get a single spark when I touch those clamps? (Hope that all made sense) Any ideas what might be going on?
 

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Reads like you might need to clean the battery clamps and battery posts - high resistance when hot.
Another fault may be the battery may not be getting fully charged. Charging voltage at posts should be a minimum 13.5 volts, no accessories on. Tight belt?
Battery voltage, alt off, should be no less then 12.5 volts.

Also, a suggestion since you're running an HEI, swap the mechanical VR (voltage regulator) for an electronic VR, Wells p/n VR715, as this will remove the voltage spikes from the contacts closing and may save the HEI module. RockAuto, a sponsor here, sells them reasonably and the VR is plug and play.
 

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With all of the basics covered above...

Could also be the starter or solenoid its self dieing....be it simily old , or a rebuilt unit that the armiture was not throughly checked out during the rebuild...which is usally caused from over advanced intial timing, high intial current draws, be it your car or the prevuios starter owner...
using a extenal jumper battery + the current one full charged allows for higher intial current and suddenly turns the starter
Or simply getting old.
worm bearings bushes can cause this...worn brushes, or simply the solenoid disc and/or rear of the starter battery terminal contact need turniong over or replacing.
A starter kit... bushed bearing brushes, solenoid contacts are only a few bucks....1/2 hr to 'rebuild' its the front nose bush that takes the time thu.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Reads like you might need to clean the battery clamps and battery posts - high resistance when hot.
Another fault may be the battery may not be getting fully charged. Charging voltage at posts should be a minimum 13.5 volts, no accessories on. Tight belt?
Battery voltage, alt off, should be no less then 12.5 volts.

Also, a suggestion since you're running an HEI, swap the mechanical VR (voltage regulator) for an electronic VR, Wells p/n VR715, as this will remove the voltage spikes from the contacts closing and may save the HEI module. RockAuto, a sponsor here, sells them reasonably and the VR is plug and play.
I plan on replacing the pos and neg cables when I do the wiring harness so that will be covered. I'm new to this and don't know a lot so I hope I don't ask too many stupid questions. I only know it has an ext. VR because someone told me and pointed it out. It's a box on the cross member by the fan cowl, wires going in and coming out, I see no physical connection to anything other than the wires, so is this alread an electronic VR?

Thanks for the help
 

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Discussion Starter #5
With all of the basics covered above...

Could also be the starter or solenoid its self dieing....be it simily old , or a rebuilt unit that the armiture was not throughly checked out during the rebuild...which is usally caused from over advanced intial timing, high intial current draws, be it your car or the prevuios starter owner...
using a extenal jumper battery + the current one full charged allows for higher intial current and suddenly turns the starter
Or simply getting old.
worm bearings bushes can cause this...worn brushes, or simply the solenoid disc and/or rear of the starter battery terminal contact need turniong over or replacing.
A starter kit... bushed bearing brushes, solenoid contacts are only a few bucks....1/2 hr to 'rebuild' its the front nose bush that takes the time thu.
I'm a novice mechanic, you say the starter is easy to rebuild? I assume there are several different starters, I just can't walk into my parts store and say I want a starter rebuild kit, will I need to take the starter in and say give me a rebuild kit for this? If it's that cheap and that easy I'm thinking I had just as well go ahead and do it that way I know it's in good shape. So what about the solenoid?

Thanks for the help.
 

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It's a really bad idea to put jumper cables on a battery and then touch the opposite ends of the clamps together to see if it sparks. A fully charged batt with a good connection can deliver 800 or more amps and touching the jumper cables together could easily weld them together and cause a meltdown - literally.

Before you start rebuilding your starter - as said - clean your batt terminals and both ends of both cables. Always disconnect the neg cable first and install it last. Then test voltage across the terminals with the motor running - should be 13.5 - 14.2 depending on state of charge of the batt. If you still have the same problem, take your batt to Autozone or similar and have it load tested. Should be free.
 

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I'm a novice mechanic, you say the starter is easy to rebuild?
Damn goods place to start...
2 bolts and a braket on the rear of the starter ...after discounecting the wires... disconect battery terminal 1st...
Starter Drops out....take note if the 2 9/16b head bolts have a knurling on the shaft... this is very important, the starte has special mounting bolts with the knurling.
Couple screw geads in the reat of the starter body and a little shaking the front and rear 'fall' off u will see the bushes and common sence will tell u if ahave slop in them.
u will see the bendex mechanism. that throws the gear forward to engange the fly wheel..
When u put back together... Do NOT oil or gease it.. it goes back together dry.
When u take the sloenoid back off, be very careful not the brake the wires that are welded on the back of the wiring terminals your car wiring attaches to.
Inside is a copper disc...it should slowly turn over time, spreading the contact with the back of the battery terminal copper contact...
If the back of the terminal is excessivly worn, turn it over 180 degs.

The comuntator of the armiture, is normally turned down in a lath, but just as good is a bit of emery paper wraped around and a leatherb boot lace wraped around once....pulling on each end of the boot lace spins the emery paper , giving a good finish.
The brushes , dont usually wear too much... bit fiddly , bur theu just have little nuts mounting them...
little fiddly putting every thing back to gether but no biggie....if u have basic common sence nps ...
Even if u do have to by a new starter.....after doing everything Everret and Al say above, its still good experiance, and have a elcheapo spare starter for in the future...
An alternater is very similar in many ways to.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It's a really bad idea to put jumper cables on a battery and then touch the opposite ends of the clamps together to see if it sparks. A fully charged batt with a good connection can deliver 800 or more amps and touching the jumper cables together could easily weld them together and cause a meltdown - literally.

Before you start rebuilding your starter - as said - clean your batt terminals and both ends of both cables. Always disconnect the neg cable first and install it last. Then test voltage across the terminals with the motor running - should be 13.5 - 14.2 depending on state of charge of the batt. If you still have the same problem, take your batt to Autozone or similar and have it load tested. Should be free.
Growing up on the farm and as an adult I can't count how many times I've done it on purpose or accident, that being said, it probably just means my numbers coming up. I do know better but...well..., thanks for the reminder, never hurts to have someone call you on doing stupid stuff.

I plan on replacing the battery cables so I'll clean the posts good then. I've already had the battery load tested at the tire shop in town, they said it was fine.

Thanks for your time and feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks to everybody, you guys are awesome.

I won't have time to even think about it for a week, I work in public education in a rural area. We take a week off for the farmers to harvest the potatoes, seriously, so for the rest of this week I'm sitting in a spud truck. After harvest I'll have to whittle away at it as time permits. I'll post up when I try something and let you know how it turned out.

Thanks again.
 

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Ok, so I dropped the starter and took to my local parts shop and said give me a rebuild kit for this. She said they don't carry them because brand new starters aren't much more. then she says it looks like the brand they carry, looks pretty new, maybe she can warranty it out for me. Couple minutes later I'm walking out the door with a brand new starter. Put it in with the insualtive wrap and replace the rank old battery cables with new clamps and new cables. Took 'er for a long ride, got her nice and warmed up, shut 'er down, fired right back up. Let it set a while for the heat to soak in, still started. My only wonder is the ambient temp was cool, when it gave me the most fits it was really warm, so I'm not 100% certain I got it fixed but I'm about 99% certain.
 
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