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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a '69 big block with a Pertronix coil and breakerless ignition system installed, but everything else is pretty much stock (intake, heads, Qjet carb., etc.) The engine runs strong all the way up to 5500 RPM.

The issue is when attempting to start the engine, it generally doesn't start while I have the ignition switch in the start position (the engine cranks fine), however, it usually starts immediately when I release the ignition switch from the start position back to the on position.

I doesn't seem to matter how long I crank the engine (one second or six seconds). It rarely starts with the ignition switch in the start position, but as soon as I release the switch back to on, the engine starts.

It acts like when cranking, the coil is not producing enough voltage to generate a hot enough spark to get the engine to fire, but as soon as power is removed from the starter, the voltage to the coil is then sufficient enough to generate a hot enough spark, and then the engine starts.

Once started the engine runs great.

My '69 302 doesn't exhibit this same issue, as it starts instantly as soon as I turn the ignition switch to start.

Any thoughts on how to best resolve this starting issue?

Thanks.
 

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Where are you picking up the power for the HEI/coil? Sounds like you have it run to an accessory fuse that doesn't have voltage when cranking; many do not. They'll have 12 volts with the key on but not during cranking. Best to run it directly to the ignition terminal on the fuse block.

If the above isn't the issue make sure it has 12 volts to the HEI; can't use the stock points wire as it's less than that.

Jody
 

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I had this happen on my 55 ... It turned out to be that a connector on back of ignition switch had worked itself aloose ... Jody is right ... check switch connectors in addition to following his advice.
 

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Sounds like the yellow wire from the "R" terminal on the starter solenoid is disconnected or broken; that wire supplies power to the coil (+) terminal while cranking. If it's broken, the coil sees no power until you release the key from "start" back to "run" (didn't see any reference in your post to an HEI).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies. I looked at the things that were suggested, but everything checked out okay. I don't have any HEI parts, just a Pertronix coil and ignitor so I don't have to worry about points.

After characterizing the issue a bit more it appears to be a faulty ignition switch.

When I was outside the car, attempting to look at the voltage to the coil during cranking, I noticed that the engine would start instantly when I turned the ignition switch to start, but then when I tried to start the engine when I was in the driver's seat, I had the same old problem and the engine wouldn't start until I released the ignition switch back to on.

Being an engineer, I realized that whether I was inside or outside that car should have no effect on whether the engine would start or not, so I thought about what I could be doing differently in each case.

When I was outside the driver's side door, I would force the ignition switch to the left slightly while turning, and I wouldn't turn the switch all the way as far clockwise as it would go in the start position, due to the awkward angle I had from outside the car. However, when in the driver's seat I wouldn't push the switch to the left at all, and I have a habit of turning the ignition switch as far clockwise as it will go when starting.

When I used the outside technique when I was inside the car (pushing to the left and turning the ignition switch just to the point where the engine would start to crank and no futher), the engine would start instantly. And when I used my inside technique when I was outside (turning the ignition switch as far clockwise as it would go), the engine wouldn't start until I released the switch back to on.

I guess after 34 plus years, it's time to replace the ignition switch.

Thanks again for all the suggestions.
 
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