54 Chevy 3600 starting issues

Discussion in '1947-1954' started by Montana 54 Chevy, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. Montana 54 Chevy

    Montana 54 Chevy Member

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    I recently bought a 54 Chevy 3600.

    Im hoping to get some ideas of what steps to try next. I bought the truck and was told it was a daily driver. They were surprised it didn't start on pickup up and tried a jump pack on the battery. Zero sound or even attempt to turn over. The owner hooked the pack up to the starter motor and it turned over and fired right up.

    I got it home and was able to jump it running once. Since then ive tried to figure out where the issue is. I changed out the grounds and cleaned up all the connections. I tried jumping via the battery cables (removed battery), and still silence on attempted start.

    Battery is good. Still got lights etc... just nothing on start. Im guessing either the are other connections I should be looking for, or the starter is bad.

    Welcome any and all thoughts,
    Thank you
     
  2. coilover

    coilover Member

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    Good chance it's the starter switch. Use a spacer like a paint stirring stick between the foot stomp arm and the switch button. If this doesn't work a new switch may be needed (Standard # SS521 $12.77 Rock auto). You can use a heavy gauge wire to the contact under the switch to test the starting motor which will spin without engaging the flywheel. If it doesn't spin with a direct jumper the motors bad.
     
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  3. Montana 54 Chevy

    Montana 54 Chevy Member

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    Thanks so much for the advice. Started with the stirrer and got nothing, which is what I was expecting. I pulled the switch and then used a battery connection to the contact under the switch and that too was nonfunctioning at this point. Which also makes sense.

    I'm going to order the new switch anyway. Can I ask your thoughts on what I should do for the starter? Rebuild? If so the parts you think i'd need? Or is it easier to just go new?

    Sorry for all the questions, this is my first truck and major undertaking (besides lawnmowers and dirtbikes).

    Thanks
     
  4. coilover

    coilover Member

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    I would take the starter to a rebuild shop to have them check the armature, the brushes, and the fields. The shop I use in Sherman, Texas charges $125 for a rebuild but I see that new, rebuilt, or even used are over $200 on the web. If interested I have several for but with just two posts you might not be allowed to send a PM for details.
     
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  5. Montana 54 Chevy

    Montana 54 Chevy Member

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    Ok after some work I got it pulled apart and cleaned up. I did a bench start and it spun up just fine. I put the solenoid on top and did a bench start there, no issues. So the starter is ok.

    Grounds are new and cleaned.

    I'm getting 6v at the battery, and around 5 at the top of the starter post where it connects when the ignition is on.

    Still absolutely nothing on the start. I even ran the jumpers from the battery directly to starter like the bench start, and nothing. My guess is wiring is bad somewhere but I am running out of ideas at this point.
     
  6. Bill Hanlon

    Bill Hanlon Member

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    If you only have 5 volts at the top of the starter post with the ignition on (and NOT mashing the stomp starter) you have a HUGE drop between the battery and the post.

    Do this:

    Turn the key off.

    Put the red lead of your meter directly on the + post of the battery (not the battery cable).
    Put the black lead of your meter directly on the - post of the battery (not the battery cable).

    What is the voltage reading? Call it reading A.

    Turn on the key.

    What is the voltage reading? Call it reading B.

    Turn on the headlight switch.

    What is the voltage reading? Call it reading C.

    Turn off the headlight switch.
    Have some else mash the stomp starter.

    What is the voltage reading? Call it reading D.

    Turn the key off.

    Put your the red lead meter back on the starter post and the black lead to a good ground.

    What is the voltage reading? Call it reading E.

    Turn on the key.

    What is the voltage reading? Call it reading F.

    Turn on the headlight switch.

    What is the voltage reading? Call it reading G.

    Turn off the headlight switch.
    Have some else mash the stomp starter.
    What is the voltage reading? Call it reading H.

    Turn off the key.
     
  7. Montana 54 Chevy

    Montana 54 Chevy Member

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    So as a further update. I took the battery in to be tested at an autoparts store and it came back as a good battery. After doing the testing below, I removed the starter push button solenoid on top of the starter motor exposing the contact. I ran jumpers direct from the battery to the contact, I got the faintest whir and then nothing. When it was tested in the garage/bench test it spun up to full speed. I'm wondering if the starter motor is just shot. Correct me if i'm wrong, but there are no inline fuses to be worrying about in the starting system, so I'm running out of ideas quickly.


    Do this:

    Turn the key off.

    Put the red lead of your meter directly on the + post of the battery (not the battery cable).
    Put the black lead of your meter directly on the - post of the battery (not the battery cable).

    What is the voltage reading? Call it reading A. 6.34

    Turn on the key.

    What is the voltage reading? Call it reading B. 6.29

    Turn on the headlight switch.

    What is the voltage reading? Call it reading C. 6.16

    Turn off the headlight switch.
    Have some else mash the stomp starter.

    What is the voltage reading? Call it reading D. 6.11

    Turn the key off.

    Put your the red lead meter back on the starter post and the black lead to a good ground.

    What is the voltage reading? Call it reading E. .007

    Turn on the key.

    What is the voltage reading? Call it reading F. 6.26

    Turn on the headlight switch.

    What is the voltage reading? Call it reading G. 6.15

    Turn off the headlight switch.
    Have some else mash the stomp starter.
    What is the voltage reading? Call it reading H. 6.29
     
  8. Bill Hanlon

    Bill Hanlon Member

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    Need to clarify a few more things.

    You refer to a "solenoid". A starter solenoid looks like this:
    [​IMG]


    Your truck came from the factory with a starter switch, not a solenoid.
    This is a starter switch:
    [​IMG]

    Which do you have?

    If you have a starter switch, I assume some of the voltage measurements taken above were with the meter's red lead on the copper-colored stud shown above. Correct?

    Reading E is way wrong. There should be 6 volts or more on this stud at all times. Are you sure?
     
  9. Montana 54 Chevy

    Montana 54 Chevy Member

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    You are correct Reading E was wrong. I just triple checked and it came to 6.31

    I have the starter switch as you noted above, sorry for the terminology mix up. I did take a voltage reading on the starter switch from the copper stud above, it came to mid 5 volt range.

    Maybe you can help explain something i'm struggling with, but if in a bench test with the starter switch removed, direct battery to contact on the starter motor, and it spins up. Why would that not be replicated once installed in the truck? I used leads to hook up in almost the exact same way, except for grounding which I tried in multiple places, and it does nothing.
     
  10. Bill Hanlon

    Bill Hanlon Member

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    One more test I forgot to include above. With the starter mounted in the truck and normal wiring connected …
    Turn off key
    Turn on headlights
    Mash stomp starter
    Do headlights stay bright, go dim or go all the way out?


    Your comment "I put the solenoid on top and did a bench start there, no issues. So the starter is ok." I interpret as you had the starter with the switch mounted on it on the bench, connected the stud on the switch to battery + and the case of the starter to battery - and then mashed the button and all was well. If so, what happens if you do that same test with the starter motor mounted to the engine?

    This could be an open armature winding. Starter motor would refuse to spin when stopped in one position of rotation.
     
  11. Montana 54 Chevy

    Montana 54 Chevy Member

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    I'll be able to check that additional test tomorrow when I'm home.

    Your interpretation is correct, I did the bench test twice, the first without the switch on top putting the battery cables directly onto the exposed contact and it spun up. The second test I kept everything the same and screwed the switch back on the top and attached the positive battery cable to the post on the starter. I pushed in the starter button and it fired up on the bench.

    When i put everything back in the truck and bolt it in place, I only put the two bolts in to attach it to the engine. When i took the same battery and cables and hooked them up in the same places as noted above during the bench test, there was no sound or activity in the starter. I then removed the switch and put the positive cable directly to the contact point on the starter motor and still there was zero activity.
     

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