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Since I'm already hanging out for a flamin'

Subject: Since I'm already hanging out for a flamin'
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 96 12:27:26 -0500
I'll apologize in advanvce for two long messages, but I figured someone
might like the following.  This has not been tested so YMMV............

Things that don't go click in the night!

On the starter solenoid you have three or four connections.  The 'hot'
connection is a stud that has a large wire going to the battery.  The
'starter' connection has a short metal bar that goes directly into the
starter.  The 'solenoid' connection is a single faston and will not be
white/green.  The 'bypass' connection is optional, and if present will
be the white/green wire.

The optional bypass connection will not prevent your starter from
working, so we will ignore it for now.  It is used to short out the
ballast resistor while cranking the engine.  This results in a hotter
spark while cranking since the battery voltage is low due to the
tremendous load on it.

These tests are much easier with an assistant.  Have your assistant in
the drivers seat.  Ensure that the transmission is in neutral.  You
should crawl under the car to access the starter.  Have your voltmeter
with you, so you don't have to crawl out to get it.

You don't have to have an expensive voltmeter for these tests.  It is
more important to have good connections.  When you put a probe on a
terminal, rub it back and forth a couple of time to scrape through the
dirt, rust, grease, and oil.  The point you put your ground or negative
probe on is also important.  Find a nice piece of metal like an engine
block, starter case, or body panel.  Be sure to scrape through the paint
as well as all the grease grime etc.  You should see bright metal to put
the point of your probe on.

1. Measure the voltage on the hot connection.  You should have at least
12 volts.  If it is less than twelve, then your battery or battery
connections are faulty.

2. Have your assistant hold the key in the 'start' position.  You should
have heard a click from the starter solenoid.  If you heard a click, go
on to step 4.  If you did not hear the click, then measure the voltage
at the solenoid terminal, it should be 12 volts.

2a. If it is zero volts, you are not getting power from the start lead
on the ignition switch.  If it is more that 9 volts go to step 3. 
Before you crawl out from under the car and while the key is still held
in the start position, measure the voltage at the hot terminal once
more.   It should still be 12 volts,  If not, check your battery and /
or battery connections again. Note the color of the wire going to the
solenoid terminal.

2b. Crawl out from under the car and get access to the back of the
ignition switch.  Verify that there is 12 volts to one terminal
(probably a brown wire).  Turn the switch to the start position once
more.  You should now have 12 volts to the wire that goes to the
solenoid terminal of the starter.  If you  do not, make sure that the 12
volt lead is still 12 volts.  If you don't have 12 volts on the solenoid
wire, and do on the power terminal then your switch is probably bad.  If
you don't have 12 volts on either lead, then you must trace the power
lead back to find out where the bad connection is.  If you have 12 volts
on both leads, then the wire leading to the solenoid has a bad

3.  OK, you got here 'cause you got voltage to the solenoid lead, and on
the starter, but you didn't hear a click.  You probably have a burned
out solenoid coil.  the only cure is to replace the solenoid.

4. OK, you got hear 'cause you heard a click.  While still holding the
key in the start position, measure the voltage at the starter terminal
make sure your negative probe is on the starter case.  If you have less
than 9-13 volts go to step 4a.  If your voltage is within range and the
car still doesn't crank, your starter may be defective or the starter
gear / fly wheel ring gear may be jammed.  To check on a jammed starter,
put the car in fourth gear and rock it back and forth until you see the
engine turn a little bit this should free up the jam.

4a. If you have less voltage, measure the hot terminal again, if it is
less than 9 volts, you have a bad battery or dirty battery connections /
cables - clean-em!  If you now measure with the negative probe on a body
panel and the voltage is still just as low, it could be the battery or
the positive cable / connections.  If the voltage improves
significantly, then the problem is probably the battery ground
connection or the strap that goes from the engine to the body.  This
strap is either on the front engine mount, or on the rear transmission
mount depending on year.

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