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I'm making things worse, not better--Update 11/24 #1243214
Tue Nov 14 2017 02:53 AM
Tue Nov 14 2017 02:53 AM
E
Eureka Jim  Online OP
Shop Shark
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 176
Pahoa, Hiwaii
My '48 GMC 1Ton had been converted to 12V and negative (-) ground, had a new wiring harness installed before my purchase and still uses the 6V starter with its original starter switch. The wire from the ignition switch was run directly to the positive (+) terminal on the coil without being run through the ballast resistor.
My reading here on the electrical forum convinced me to use a ballast resistor and upgrade the starter switch to the type that has an extra terminal on the switch to provide 12V power to the coil during cranking.
I mounted the new switch---I think I created a new yoga position, "prostrate man with dangling arm"---and wired it up. Upon reconnecting the battery I felt the coil heating up even though the ignition switch was in the off position. I have 12V at the battery connection to the starter and 12V at the side terminal and that can't be right. Bad switch?
I disconnected the wire from the starter to the coil and tried to crank the engine but nothing happened when I pressed the stomp button except that I could smell something getting hot!
2nd vote for bad switch?
Anyway, looking for opinions before I make a stink with the vendor and return the switch. Thanks for your help! Jim

***Update 11/24*** Things are better now! The starter switch was bad due to poor assembly. The lug for the battery cable was touching the contact for the side terminal on the underside of the switch all the time instead of just when the stomp starter button was being pressed. I adjusted the fit and everything works correctly. The engine didn't want to turn over because the starter was hung up on the flywheel. A funny sight watching my 125 lbs. rocking my dually flatbed back and forth like I was stuck in a snowbank. Old skills come in handy every now and then.
All this trouble could have been avoided if I had tested the new switch before I installed it. Lesson learned! And now I can change out a starter switch in about 5 minutes, considerably faster than the first time I did it. Jim


Last edited by Eureka Jim; Sat Nov 25 2017 03:52 AM. Reason: Problem solved
Re: I'm making things worse, not better [Re: Eureka Jim] #1243225
Tue Nov 14 2017 05:00 AM
Tue Nov 14 2017 05:00 AM
G
Gord&Fran  Offline
Shop Shark
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 649
Mill Bay, BC, Canada
I would use my multi-meter to check the function of the switch before calling the vendor. Pull the switch and check it on the bench.

(hope the switch is OK. Vendors usually say electrical parts are non-returnable) frown


Gord
----
1954 1/2 ton 235 4 speed
Re: I'm making things worse, not better [Re: Eureka Jim] #1243234
Tue Nov 14 2017 10:53 AM
Tue Nov 14 2017 10:53 AM
A
ASU  Offline
Wrench Fetcher
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 33
Butler, PA
Eureka Jim,

You made mention of no ballast resistor. If a 12 volt coil was installed at the time of 6V to 12V conversion, it has an internal resistor. If it were me, I would get a new 12volt coil, get rid of the wire from the starter to coil, test the new ignition switch to make sure it is good, and simply run a wire from + on the coil, to the post on the switch that is hot when it is in the run position. Just my 2 cents, simple is better.

Jon

Re: I'm making things worse, not better [Re: Eureka Jim] #1243239
Tue Nov 14 2017 12:21 PM
Tue Nov 14 2017 12:21 PM
tclederman  Offline
Boltergeist
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 27,727
Jarvisburg, NC
"My reading here on the electrical forum convinced me to use a ballast resistor and upgrade the starter switch to the type that has an extra terminal on the switch to provide 12V power to the coil during cranking. "

Jim,

Did you add the ballast resistor and a foot-pedal starter switch with a side terminal? Let us know what wire goes where in that set-up.


Tim
1954Advance-Design.com
1954 3106 Carryall Suburban - part of the family for 47 years
1954 3104 5-window pickup w/Hydra-Matic
Z-series (54/55) GMC 350 (2-ton) COE
- If you have to stomp on your foot-pedal starter, either you, or your starter, or your engine, has a problem.
- The 216 and early 235 engine are not "splash oilers" - this is a splash oiler.
Re: I'm making things worse, not better [Re: Eureka Jim] #1243242
Tue Nov 14 2017 01:00 PM
Tue Nov 14 2017 01:00 PM
M
Maybellene  Offline
Shop Shark
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 689
AZ
Jim, it sounds as though you are concerned that the side terminal of the new switch is always hot and is not turning off. Easy to test without pulling anything by using a test light.

With the ignition switch off, touch the test light probe to the side terminal without stomping on the starter. It should not light up. If it does, you have a bad switch or you are getting current from the ballast resistor. To test which one, disconnect the wire from the positive terminal on the coil to the ballast resistor and retest the side terminal. If the test light no longer turns on, the problem is the starter switch. If it turns on, drop down two paragraphs to ballast resistor check.

Still with the coil to ballast wire disconnected, touch the probe to the side terminal when someone stomps on the starter. It should light up. As soon as the stomp starter is disengaged, the light should turn off. If this doesn't happen, the starter switch is bad.

If all is good with the above, next thing I would try is a similar test at the ballast resistor. Put the probe on the terminal that connects to the ignition switch. With the switch off, the light should not turn on. With the switch on, the light should turn on. If the light turns on when the switch is turned off, either the switch is bad or the wiring is incorrect because an unswitched wire is attached to the input terminal on the ballast resistor.

Matt

Re: I'm making things worse, not better [Re: Eureka Jim] #1243266
Tue Nov 14 2017 05:35 PM
Tue Nov 14 2017 05:35 PM
E
Eureka Jim  Online OP
Shop Shark
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 176
Pahoa, Hiwaii
Thanks everyone. I didn't think to bench test the new switch before installing it. I will next time! The wiring is straightforward, switched power from the ignition switch to the resistor, single wire from the resistor to the positive post on the coil. I installed a single wire from the side terminal of the new starter switch to the positive side of the coil.

When I got the truck there was a ballast resistor that had been bypassed. The coil, though working, had a deformed top and was leaking. I bought a new Delco coil and the new ballast resistor to match it. I don't know if the new coil is internally ballasted, so that's something I'll have to find out. With the ignition switch in the off position there is no voltage to the resistor but there is power present at the side terminal of the new starter switch. My understanding is that the side terminal is supposed to provide a full 12 volts to the coil only while the starter is engaged. Right now my coil is getting power and heating up even when the switch is off.

In a effort to get the truck started I disconnected the wire from the side terminal to the coil, bypassed the resistor and wired the switched power directly to the positive post on the coil, effectively restoring the original set up that was working with the old coil. I pushed on the stomp starter and the starter didn't turn, though I could smell something getting hot. So there may also be a problem with something other than the new switch. I can put the old starter switch back on but I'm not looking forward to that job with much enthusiasm!

That was enough for me for one day!

Re: I'm making things worse, not better [Re: Eureka Jim] #1243293
Tue Nov 14 2017 07:09 PM
Tue Nov 14 2017 07:09 PM
B
beltfed  Offline
Shop Shark
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 1,497
Knoxville, TN
I think there may be some incorrect info in this Q&A. I believe coils may be purchased with and without an internal resistor. The ones I’ve seen are marked as having an internal resistor. I personally choose the ‘without’ one as I want the full 12 volts at startup.

Re: I'm making things worse, not better [Re: Eureka Jim] #1243345
Wed Nov 15 2017 01:34 AM
Wed Nov 15 2017 01:34 AM
E
Eureka Jim  Online OP
Shop Shark
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 176
Pahoa, Hiwaii
The new coil is an AC Delco, part # U505 and it does require a ballast resistor.

Re: I'm making things worse, not better [Re: Eureka Jim] #1243356
Wed Nov 15 2017 03:37 AM
Wed Nov 15 2017 03:37 AM
H
Hotrod Lincoln  Offline
Boltergeist
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 16,642
Dellrose, TN
The starter should spin whether or not the side terminal is connected. With the wire to the coil + disconnected, there should be NO voltage on the side terminal unless the foot pedal is depressed. Then it should have battery voltage. It sounds like you got a bum switch, something that's not uncommon, given where they're probably being made these days! It's also possible to displace the components of a good switch by putting too much torque on the big stud nut while attaching the battery cable.
Jerry


The murder victim was drowned in a bathtub full of Rice Krispies and milk.
The coroner blamed the crime on a cereal killer!

Cringe and wail in fear, Eloi- - - - -we Morlocks are on the hunt!
Re: I'm making things worse, not better [Re: Eureka Jim] #1243425
Wed Nov 15 2017 06:39 PM
Wed Nov 15 2017 06:39 PM
P
Paul O'Neil  Offline
Wrench Fetcher
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 43
Fullerton, SoCal
How is the side terminal on the solenoid used? I saw one for sale on one of the parts vendors websites but there was no explanation of what it did or how it should be wired.


Vintage Paul
Paul O'Neil, SoCal
1951 Chevy 3600 Project
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