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The 3000 Forum

Starting the car

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Htimsc Avatar
Htimsc Gold Member Chris Smith
Portola Valley, USA   USA
I have a starting problem. I go to start the car (1966 BJ8) and the resulting noise sounds like a weakening battery - slow turning over, not enough to start but just enough to sound like the engine was "catching" occasionally. I removed it and took it to the local Interstate batter shop and they said that the battery appeared good. But they wanted to keep it and conduct several tests (load, recovery from drained, etc). Meanwhile I took the battery out of my Caravan and connected it up to the negative and positive leads. I was really expecting the car to start, but all it produced was the same result. I happened to put my hand on the ground wire and the positive cable close to the battery, and they were warm to the touch (after about 30 seconds of intermittent cranking).

About two months ago I had to replace the ground switch close to the battery. Also checked the connections and connectors to the starter. All seemed in order after that.

Are there a series of logical tests that I can perform to isolate the problem? Does that signify some specific problem?

I did search the forums and found this test someone was suggesting, but this seems to be for tracking down no power at all:
__________________________________________________________________
An extremely simple check would be to see if there was 12 volts on the
output side of the solenoid when the starter button is pressed. If
voltage jumps to 12 volts when the starter button is pressed, the
solenoid is good... (save your money, don't replace healthy parts).

Do the same check on the wire leading from the solenoid to the starter
and you've narrowed the problem to only the starter.
___________________________________________________________________

Thanks for any help!

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Randy Forbes Avatar
Parrish, FL, USA   USA
1957 Austin-Healey 100-Six
1999 BMW M Coupe "Blue Car"
1999 BMW M Roadster "Black Car"
2001 BMW M Roadster "Gray Car"
After years of wondering if my car was going to start, no matter how fresh of a battery was fitted, I elected to put a modern gear-reduction starter in it.

Besides weighing only a fraction of the original, as well as being more compact, it gives you the confidence that you will be able to restart your car any time, whether hot or cold.

I have to admit though, the first time I started the car with it fitted, it fired off so fast that it startled me and I immediately shut it off! No kidding; I had to laugh at myself afterwards.

While this picture is relatively fresh, the starter was fitted more than a dozen years ago, and largely taken for granted nowadays, but still spins over with authority.


sliproc Avatar
sliproc Kevin Quistberg E
Long Beach, CA, USA   USA
Chris,

Randy nailed it, gear reduction starter will solve your problem. The original starter never worked all that great when new and then after years of use it's performance declines from there. Before I replaced my starter I kept a can of starting fluid handy to kick start the motor, especially good on cold days. The gear reduction starter put an end to all that, it starts quickly every time now. If you want to stay with your original starter I'd at least have it rebuilt.

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bluecatmodels Avatar
bluecatmodels Silver Member Dave W
Three Rivers, CA, USA   USA
Replacing my original starter with a new gear reduction starter was the best upgrade I have made. You can buy one on the net for $200 and it is easy to install.
Dave

Htimsc Avatar
Htimsc Gold Member Chris Smith
Portola Valley, USA   USA
Thanks to everyone for their responses! I remain amazed at the depth of knowledge and experience of this group. I copied all the responses into a Word document, highlighted all the actions that could be taken, ranked them, followed the trail through, and it turned out to be a faulty solenoid (12.5 V going in, 9 V coming out, pushed solenoid button at the rear and it engaged and would not release/continued to turn over...). I also found an exploded diagram of what the solenoid does - never quite knew before - operates just like the sprinkler valves in the garden... Duh!

Randy, I think this is the upgrade that I have to do eventually to the newer starter style. I assume that there are resources as to what wiring modifications have to be made - it looks like there are several. Also, what is the fitting forward of the starter motor?

Thanks to all again.

Randy Forbes Avatar
Parrish, FL, USA   USA
1957 Austin-Healey 100-Six
1999 BMW M Coupe "Blue Car"
1999 BMW M Roadster "Black Car"
2001 BMW M Roadster "Gray Car"
The wiring modifications are really minimal, I just happened to use that point to pick up a direct 12+ from the battery (electric fan, MSD ignition) so if you take those wires out of the picture, this is what you do__or ONE of the ways you can do it winking smiley

Battery cable moved from solenoid to new starter; control wire moved from solenoid to new starter. Done.

Depending on desired appearance, the existing solenoid can be left in the circuit (energizing it sends power to the starter/built-in solenoid engagement) but then you're leaving a potential problem in the circuit.

All of them will come with wiring instructions, the position at which to "clock" the starter (it's used for numerous applications). The one I used put the positive terminal closer to the block than I'd have liked, so I shoe-horned a piece of rubber in there__it makes me feel better...

Britcarsource Bobby R
Knoxville, TN, USA   USA
I found out while stationed in Germany (gets cold there), over 56 years ago, the big Healey will turn over much better with the clutch out. Make sure you have the trans in neutral and the hand brake pulled.

cpcooper Craig Cooper
Chico, CA, USA   USA
I've resisted the gear reduction starters up until last week, when I purchased a flywheel from DW for almost as much as I paid for my first Healey. They recommend using their "pre-engaged" starter with the flywheel. Pre-what? Seems there are two kinds of starters; pre-engaged and inertia. The regular Healey starter is an inertia starter, which means when you energize it the little gear on the starter immediately starts spinning and inertia carries it out to the end of the shaft, where it collides, at full speed, with the ring gear. Ouch! Pre engaged, on the other hand, push the gear into the flywheel and then start spinning it. Watch this little video and see one in action: I'm like the last one to find out about this, right?

RAC68 Avatar
RAC68 Raymond Carbone
NJ, Jersey Shore, USA   USA
Hi All,

Chris, although I had come to the same point as you are experiencing and considered replacing my starter for a lighter gear reduction unit, it was also time to change the oil and decided on replacing the 20W50 I had been using with a 15W50 Mobile 1 Synthetic. After the change, I took a test drive and found the starter turned as quickly as it had when the car was new. That was over 2 years ago and the car has started quickly and spun easily when cold as it hadn't done for the many years I used the 20W50 synthetic or regular oils.

Today, after reading the posted blog of 540 RAT on Oil Ware Test Rankings ( https://540ratblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/motor-oil-wear-test-ranking/) I decided to go back to a 10W40 viscosity to improve cold start and operational oil flow. Since cold starts are short lived and my 20W50 was creating excessive pressure (resistance to flow at the time when getting oil to critical components) was most important I decided to go from the 15W50 down to this lower viscosity. Why would I need such a high viscosity for such a short period when oil flow is more important for getting lubricant to critical parts after a long drain-down from days of non-use?

Anyway, just thought the issue you are, and I had, experienced had another and resolution that could be considered,
Ray(64BJ8P1) original owner



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2019-02-04 05:58 AM by RAC68.

sliproc Avatar
sliproc Kevin Quistberg E
Long Beach, CA, USA   USA
Craig,

While the operation of the inertia starter sounds bad it's not quite that traumatic. The pinion gear generally has a 45 degree cut at the front which engages the flywheel teeth which are usually machined to take off the hard edge. This allows the pinion to relatively smoothly slip past the flywheel teeth and into place, rather like shifting gears.

Raymond,

It's just my experience, but when I use thinner oils I generally wind up with more oil on the ground.

RAC68 Avatar
RAC68 Raymond Carbone
NJ, Jersey Shore, USA   USA
Hi Kevin,

I hate to say this but you need to replace or reposition your seals. Keep in mind the fact that viscosity is the resistance to flow and your forward #1 cylinder is the last to get the volume of oil to create the lubricating wedge that separates the connecting rod from the crank. When starting an engine that has been at rest for any period, how long does it take for your gauge to register an oil pressure. During that time when the engine is cold the oil viscosity is at its highest and you can see how high the gauge is reading. Having this oil pressure on the gauge indicates a resistance to flow and therefore slowly gets to the places where it is needed.

Please don't misunderstand as I thought it was good that my Healey was registering high pressure but, when new, the oil the dealer used was 10W30 and a few years later I changed to the 10W40. Now, it seems, 20W50 is recommended and I am not sure when resistance to flow and a High Oil Pressure was of greater benefit then proper flow and good lubrication.

Yes, your Healey leaks more with a thinner oil and your gauge will register a lower pressure (because of freer flow but, which would you like to fix, metal-on-metal connecting rods (especially #1) or seals and gaskets? The choice is yours and every other Healey owner along with saving the cost of a gear reduction starter.

Ray(64BJ8P1)

sliproc Avatar
sliproc Kevin Quistberg E
Long Beach, CA, USA   USA
Raymond,

Your concern about my motor is much appreciated, but my motor is the original motor and has never been rebuilt, I have low compression in the #5 cylinder and almost no compression in the #6 cylinder and while I'm sure it doesn't perform as it did in it's youth amazingly it still runs like a top. A rebuild is on my to do list(and has been for about 20+ years)but as the owner of four classic cars(3 Brit and a '67 El Camino)as you probably know something more immediate always seems to pop up. Also, I'm still looking for a good machine shop.

As far as the oil goes I generally use Castrol 20W50 just because since I was a kid it was always considered to be the "sportscar oil".

Britcarsource Bobby R
Knoxville, TN, USA   USA
The 20w50w is what has gotten your engine by for so long and so well. I discovered in the mid 60's that it was necessary in several Healeys I've owned and, in my 1967 VW beetle. (don't use it in a Miata as it needs 10w30w)..........I notice that when someone buys a Healey, they feel smarter than the old guys and experiment with the wrong weight oil.

RAC68 Avatar
RAC68 Raymond Carbone
NJ, Jersey Shore, USA   USA
Bobby,

You may be correct but I don't think I could be considered a new owner (owned my present Healey since new) and back in the early 1960 20W50 was not commonly available or thought of. Back in the early 1960 I and most others used 10W30 oil and in the late 1960s move to 10W40. I only began using 20W50 in the early 1990s after I had completed a nuts and bolts rebuild of all but the bottom end of my engine. Although I have used 20W50 in synthetic and mineral forms, I never felt it was all that positive as it would take as much as 10 seconds before pressure registered on the gauge at cold a start of the engine. Although cold oil pressure would build to the point of setting off the pressure bypass (60lbs), the idea that the oil had this high resistance to flow at this critical time (cold starting) and the delay of oil being delivered to all critical engine points was not comforting. When considering that an oil gauge reading was meant to provide an inexpensive way to monitor oil's flow by showing how much resistance exists to this very function (Viscosity - Resistance to Flow) seems counter. However, after warmup, an oil pressure gauge does prove valuable in a closed oiling system as it provides a good indication of a fully filled and system. So, is our Healey oiling system a closed oiling system? I don't think so.

If you feel comforted by a high oil gauge reading and the use of 20W50 viscosity oil, then continue. However, my comments were originally addressing an alternative to a starter replacement to a gear reduction unit and reflects my experiences.

Ray(64BJ8P1)



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 2019-02-06 06:57 AM by RAC68.

sliproc Avatar
sliproc Kevin Quistberg E
Long Beach, CA, USA   USA
I must say guys I have enjoyed this thread, it's jogged my memory and caused me to go back and think about how this hobby has evolved from what was essentially a transportation vehicle into an almost exclusively a hobby car. When I got my first Healey('57 100-6) in '73 for $500 it was my only car and was far from excellent condition, when it wasn't running(not very often)I had to ride my bicycle. Things have really changed or evolved.

Bobby,

FYI, my first car was a '66 VW, I used 30W non-detergent motor oil(recommended), do they even make non-detergent oil anymore.

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