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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey fellas - thanks for the help as always. I have a 69 SS with a 383 completely rebuilt seven years ago. Holley carburetor ATI distributor with an electronic high fire Mallory ignition box it has a Summit mini starter on it with a remote solenoid that I installed on the firewall.

The car has always had issues with starting after running. Essentially I can start the car up any time on a called start and it runs great. But as soon as I get out of the car to run a quick errand or make multiple stops it becomes really slow to start, and sometimes can’t even strand me. Basically it does the RRRR… RRR… RR … RRR - then a relay rough start or nothing. I have done extensive research on heat soak which is why I installed the remote solenoid which works great. I also insulated the starter and insulated all of the battery and starter cables going to the starter.

I also wondered about vapor lock. I realize a lot of times vapor lock happens while the car is running but it was a simple solve and I wanted to rule that out so I insulated all my fuel lines in the engine compartment including the metal lines going back to the gas tank. I’ve checked my battery - a good 12.5 volts cold. I’ve checked my alternator - charges battery at 14.5v while running. I’ve checked my ignition switch - obviously it works. Could I have a ignition timing issue? The car likes to be advanced but I can’t remember where that is.

I will also say I haven’t done a lot of research on how long the battery cables are supposed to be. I’ve read a few things here and there about voltage drop in battery cables. Right now I have a black ground cable going to the engine block that’s fairly short. But then my positive cable goes around behind the Wheel well and then down over to the starter. I guesstimate it’s probably between four and 6 feet long. Is that too long?
I feel at this point I’m at a loss. Makes it hard to drive b/c once I get it started, I’m afraid to turn it off.
Could the starter be getting old? I remember I didn’t not shim it when I put it in b/c I didn’t think it need it - But could that be an issue may be the starter can’t handle turning the fly wheel? At this point I’m willing to try anything.
 

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What gauge is your positive cable? The one to my 350 factory starter is 53" and 8s 4 ga. I am planning to change to a 2 ga due to amp load demand and the length.

Also, clean the connections at the battery and the negative ground point, if you haven't cleaned them recently. Make sure they are all tight.
 

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I’m thinking heat soak in the starter as you said it is fine when cold. How old is the starter?

Do you have headers? They don’t help this problem
 

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Sounds like vapor lock. Do you have a carb insulator? Is non ethanol fuel available near you to try?
 
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What is your initial timing? More than 10 degrees BTDC or so may cause it to be hard to start depending on compression ratio and other factors. If it will crank it normally when it is hot, with the coil wire removed or a kill switch de-energizing the ignition, you have too much initial timing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the quick answers. I do have headers. I’ve tried to insulate everything I can possibly insulate around them except for wrapping the headers which I’m not too keen on.

I’ll have to double check the gauge on my battery wires. Although I don’t think I bought anything out of the ordinary for that.
Are there other ways to fix vapor lock other than insulating the fuel line? Again the car runs fine at all times it’s never stalled or died. It just gets hard to start after it’s hot.

I will double check my timing tomorrow.

Is a carb and select her like a spacer between the carb and the intake manifold like a wooden spacer?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I drove the car around tonight and recorded a video when I arrived home. The car has a rheostat controlled fan so you can hear that in background. But as you’ll see, this is what the car does after driving.
 

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I drove the car around tonight and recorded a video when I arrived home. The car has a rheostat controlled fan so you can hear that in background. But as you’ll see, this is what the car does after driving.
Too much advance or starter getting weak.
 
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If the timing is OK, I would check for excessive voltage drop when cranking (it should not drop below 9.5v) batteries can loose cranking power over time.
Will a boost make a difference?
If a boost doesn't help I would assume the starter is weak.
 

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I had a battery that the voltage read well at 13+ volts. The battery dude at Interstate said that there were no amps in that particular battery and that was why it always sounded weak and the starter would finally go to clicking.. I changed the starter thinking it was that. The battery was under a year old. A new battery solved the issue. I learned something that day.
 

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do you smell fuel when restarting the car , then carb is absorbing too much heat and need an insulator gasket or non metal spacer under the carb
I also made larger battery cables for better start ups
 

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From the video, too much initial timing, voltage drop to starter or ground. Maybe starter. That is not a vapor lock problem. What is the battery voltage at the battery during cranking, what is the voltage at the starter during cranking?
 
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When hot, what is the voltage drop across the solenoid?
I struggled with slow hot starting on my Camaro for a few seasons and then when pulling out the starter for (i forget why) noticed a crack in the plastic on the solenoid. It compromised the connection inside. Simple change of the solenoid and all better.
 

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If it’s a GM starter, is it the high torque model ?
Lots of good information though.
Slow turn over wouldn’t be vapor lock.
I’d take the battery to have it load tested, along with verification of all components from the cable ends to the remote solenoid.
Like Scott said, It could be the starter worn, brushes, pilot bearing in the nose causing drag, or a combination of all things that may be in marginally acceptable condition that all stack up against you….kinda subjective .
 

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OP

Based on your video it "sounds" like either failing battery and/or bad cables or starter. A DVM along with a helper to turn the key while you measure DCV at battery and also down at starter if battery shows solid voltage

I switched to a side post 78 series battery. Walmart for $49 made by Johnson Controls. Costco carries Interstate for about $90

I got these #2 battery cables on Amazon (AC Delco)
ACDelco Professional 2SD43XG


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ACDelco Professional 2SD35X

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For Starter Delco "gear reduction" type available at Rock Auto for around $80. These starters are smaller & lighter than a stock starter

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Regarding heeat isolator for carb, IMHO, every carb car should have one between carb & manifold. Edelbrock, and others, make them
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
From the video, too much initial timing, voltage drop to starter or ground. Maybe starter. That is not a vapor lock problem. What is the battery voltage at the battery during cranking, what is the voltage at the starter during cranking?
Thanks again everyone. I found these handy charts that shows what gauges of wire to use, the right lengths and amperages.

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My battery has 725 CCA. Of course, my cable has no markings on it so I don't know what gauge it is. I grabbed my calipers and the outside diameter (with insulation) is 10mm which is around .39 inches. That puts the cable into the 2/0 3/0 range? I bought the cables at O'Reilly a while back and just asked for standard cable which may have been a mistake. Thanks SoCal805 for the cable suggestions - I'll have a look.

The starter is a Summit Mini High Torque starter that's about 10 years old. The car has headers so it's probably been subjected to some high temps over the years.

Going to do some voltage drop testing and timing adjustments when I have someone to help.
 

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If the + battery cable is installed as stock which runs along the engine to starter....that heat fatigue can compromise that battery cable. IMHO I would use a heat sleeve or buy a cable that has one for the area that + cable is against the engine

The cables I used, my side post battery application, I have no idea what car they are intended for. I found a AC Delco site that explained how their part # were relative to cable size and length so just used that to search for one that was the length and gauge I needed to route the cables the way I wanted. After having a "part #" I found them on Amazon

One note about the + cable I used is the installed bolt that goes into the battery was to long so I just bought a shorter one at auto part store for $1 (they are typically in the battery section of auto part stores). I assume whatever car the cable I used is for has a secondary cable or distribution spacer that would require a longer battery connection bolt

Pic of my Remy gear reduction starter, heat insulated + cable and also the wires going to starter solenoid wrapped in heat sleeve.

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
If the + battery cable is installed as stock which runs along the engine to starter....that heat fatigue can compromise that battery cable. IMHO I would use a heat sleeve or buy a cable that has one for the area that + cable is against the engine

The cables I used, my side post battery application, I have no idea what car they are intended for. I found a AC Delco site that explained how their part # were relative to cable size and length so just used that to search for one that was the length and gauge I needed to route the cables the way I wanted. After having a "part #" I found them on Amazon

One note about the + cable I used is the installed bolt that goes into the battery was to long so I just bought a shorter one at auto part store for $1 (they are typically in the battery section of auto part stores). I assume whatever car the cable I used is for has a secondary cable or distribution spacer that would require a longer battery connection bolt

Pic of my Remy gear reduction starter, heat insulated + cable and also the wires going to starter solenoid wrapped in heat sleeve.

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Nice set up. The one thing I do have right is the heat shield. I put in a remote solenoid several weeks ago to try and fix this issue so hopefully that's a step in the right direction. The starter also has a heat shield on it. I'm guessing it's either a timing issue or a wire gauge issue.
 

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For reference,
I have a 10:1, 396, cheep reduction starter, solenoid on starter, no insulation, positive starter wire on side of block, factory cables. Initial timing at 25’. Common battery. MSD RTR 8360

In hot weather, starts repeatedly and reliably. Used to use stock starter w/40’ initial timing, no problem.

Maybe your ignition is changing values when warm, I use only MSD. A new battery might cure your problems. See that all paint is cleaned off block ground.

I would put everything back as close to stock as possible (except MSD changeout).
 

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Nice set up. The one thing I do have right is the heat shield. I put in a remote solenoid several weeks ago to try and fix this issue so hopefully that's a step in the right direction. The starter also has a heat shield on it. I'm guessing it's either a timing issue or a wire gauge issue.
remote solenoid can basically be a Band-Aid vs resolving the core problem as, if I understand, you still have the hot start issue.

Depending on how heat shield is made/attached, some feel it can actually create a mini oven over starter but given header clearance the exposure from heat from headers to starter can present problems

Wire gauge, IMHO, should be #2. New #4-6 gauge generally is ok but will fatigue sooner than #2 and cheap battery cables can often just be crap

Do voltage checks at battery & starter while cranking motor. You can pull the coil wire to be able to consistent crank for voltage reading. Have battery load tested at auto parts store

If all that checks out, A quick fix may be just pull a few degrees of timing out to see if the problem is resolved
 
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