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Truck wont start
#1412169 Mon May 31 2021 09:22 PM
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 17
S
SteveJ Offline OP
'Bolter
I have a 1949 Chevy 3600 that I have been working on over the past several months. My current issue is the truck won't start, when it did previously. I recently rewired the truck using a harness from classic parts and kept it 6 volts. I have replaced the positive and negative cables from the battery, and removed and cleaned the ground strap. All of this was done previously and the truck started. I also have a trickle charger on the battery which is new.

Now when I press the foot start pedal there is nothing or one "clank". No turning over at all. If I manually push the starter switch (which is new) the starter will run, but if I push the pedal down and try to engage the engine, it is like there is not enough power to turn the engine over. I have 6.3 volts at the battery and 6.3 volts putting my meter on the starter switch and on where the negative cable is attached to the engine. Why did it work yesterday and not today?

I have disconnected the new windshield wiper motor that I installed yesterday and no change. From what I read I thought this was a ground issue, but I am not sure what to try next. Very frustrated. I am trying to learn as I go, so not sure if I am even looking at the right places. Not sure if my explanation is clear. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Steve


1949 chevy 3600
First attempt at restoration
Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412172 Mon May 31 2021 10:28 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 2,364
J
'Bolter
Make completely certain you have a good ground connection from the battery to the frame and also from the engine to the frame. This sounds exactly what happened to me with a 6v GMC about 40 years ago.


Jon

1952 1/2 ton with 1959 235
T5 with 3.07 rear end
Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412176 Mon May 31 2021 10:46 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 9,900
Grease Monkey, Moderator General Truck Talk & Greasy Spoon
As Jon said, you have more than one ground to worry about. Clean them all to bare metal.


Martin
'62 Chevy C-10 Stepside Shortbed (Restomod in progress)
'47 Chevy 3100 5 Window (long term project)
‘65 Chevy Biscayne 4dr 230 I-6 one owner (I’m #2) “Emily”
‘39 Dodge Businessmans Coupe “Clarence”



"I fought the law and the law won" now I are a retired one!
Support those brave men/women who stand the "Thin Blue Line"! Hug a cop!
USAF 1965-1969 Weather Observation Tech (I got paid to look at the clouds)

Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412179 Mon May 31 2021 10:54 PM
Joined: Sep 2020
Posts: 59
H
'Bolter
You need good connections at both power and ground.

Since you can push the switch and hear the starter spin, you have proper connections, but corrosion at one or more increases resistance, which makes the starter not turn when the starter gear engages the flywheel.

Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412184 Mon May 31 2021 11:51 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 8,245
B
Sir Searchalot
As far as grounds, it's only a few.
1. Ground Connection at battery post. Clean, inspect and reclamp.
2. Ground Connection at starter mounting bolt. This is where battery ground is attached. Clean to bare metal and inspect.
3. Starter bolting to bell housing. Clean to bare metal at starter face and bell housing face. No paint!!!
4. Ground strap is not in play.

Next issues:
1. Battery positive cable post. Clean, inspect and reclamp.
2. Battery positive cable to starter button stud. Check.
3. Battery breakdown under load. Get it load test at two FLAPS.
4. Starter breakdown under load. Get it tested if you can find anyone to test it.
5. Be sure starter drive "bendix" is engaging. What exactly is the "clank"??????


Other unspeakables:
1. Hydraulic lock- check oil for milky look.
2. Timing gear and other mechanicals broken.
3. Trickle chargers have been known to sulfate batteries.

Bless our Troops: Past and present. Near and far.


Watch out for careful drivers!!!
I'm away on an ego trip. Will be back on Feb 30.
I'm not an Auto Mechanic, but I play one on TV.
I charge $0.02 for every opinion and I take Paypal.
Plan B is always better than plan A, by definition.
Sometimes no nonsense makes sense, in a sense.
You can't teach a new dog old tricks.
Honk if you're Amish


Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412192 Tue Jun 01 2021 12:59 AM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 558
B
Curmudgeon
Maybe I'm too dense so humor me if I'm off. You said:

If I manually push the starter switch (which is new) the starter will run.
If I push the pedal down and try to engage the engine, it is like there is not enough power to turn the engine over.

To me that sounds like the mechanical foot starter linkage is not pushing the starter switch all the way in.

Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412193 Tue Jun 01 2021 01:09 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 8,245
B
Sir Searchalot
No you are not dense. That is a good point.


Watch out for careful drivers!!!
I'm away on an ego trip. Will be back on Feb 30.
I'm not an Auto Mechanic, but I play one on TV.
I charge $0.02 for every opinion and I take Paypal.
Plan B is always better than plan A, by definition.
Sometimes no nonsense makes sense, in a sense.
You can't teach a new dog old tricks.
Honk if you're Amish


Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412194 Tue Jun 01 2021 01:33 AM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 558
B
Curmudgeon
The picture is not exactly the same as what we have.
Also, heaven forbid, that the starter teeth are not having trouble engaging the flywheel and hinders the switch from closing fully.

Attached Files
Starter Example 01.jpg (57.48 KB, 136 downloads)
Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412196 Tue Jun 01 2021 01:45 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,587
H
'Bolter
Shade tree diagnostic trick- - - - -slip the screw top from a Coke bottle over the switch button and push the pedal. If the engine cranks, find the sloppy hole(s) in the mrechanical linkage and fix them.
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: Truck wont start
Hotrod Lincoln #1412200 Tue Jun 01 2021 01:57 AM
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 17
S
SteveJ Offline OP
'Bolter
Thanks for the feedback so far. I have tried the trick of putting something over the switch button and nothing.

However, there have been times during this episode where the linkage did not push the starter button all the way in. Is this a sign of bigger issues. What are "sloppy holes in the mechanical linkage"?


1949 chevy 3600
First attempt at restoration
Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412201 Tue Jun 01 2021 02:06 AM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 558
B
Curmudgeon
Thumbs up Jerry. That's cool. You need to post a new topic. Things we need to make an AD truck survival kit.

Re: Truck wont start
bartamos #1412205 Tue Jun 01 2021 02:12 AM
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 17
S
SteveJ Offline OP
'Bolter
Originally Posted by bartamos
As far as grounds, it's only a few.
1. Ground Connection at battery post. Clean, inspect and reclamp.
2. Ground Connection at starter mounting bolt. This is where battery ground is attached. Clean to bare metal and inspect.
3. Starter bolting to bell housing. Clean to bare metal at starter face and bell housing face. No paint!!!
4. Ground strap is not in play.

Next issues:
1. Battery positive cable post. Clean, inspect and reclamp.
2. Battery positive cable to starter button stud. Check.
3. Battery breakdown under load. Get it load test at two FLAPS.
4. Starter breakdown under load. Get it tested if you can find anyone to test it.
5. Be sure starter drive "bendix" is engaging. What exactly is the "clank"??????


Other unspeakables:
1. Hydraulic lock- check oil for milky look.
2. Timing gear and other mechanicals broken.
3. Trickle chargers have been known to sulfate batteries.

Bless our Troops: Past and present. Near and far.

So in this set up you do not use the ground strap? Here is my current set up, I removed the starter switch during troubleshooting and unhooked the linkage to the foot pedal thinking I was going to pull the starter.

Attached Files
20210531_210421.jpg (269.37 KB, 182 downloads)

1949 chevy 3600
First attempt at restoration
Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412206 Tue Jun 01 2021 02:28 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,587
H
'Bolter
There are several places in the linkage from the pedal to the starter where pivot holes wear oblong and/or the ends of linkages wear down to smaller diameters. Add up a few wear points, and you run out of movement to the point that the starter drive engages the flywheel, but the button doesn't get pushed far enough to spin the motor. Inspect the link from the pedal linkage to the starter lever for wear, and also take a look at the two loops where the pedal linkage bolts to the bell housing. Over a few decades of use and untold thousands of starts, things can get pretty sloppy.

The strap from the engine to the frame is currently supplying a ground path for the lights, horn, and other body-mounted electrical items. I'd suggest disconnecting that junction and wire-brushing everything shiny clean. All it takes is one dirty or loose connection anywhere to interrupt the circuit or make it intermittent.
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: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412207 Tue Jun 01 2021 02:44 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 8,245
B
Sir Searchalot
As Jerry says, we are talking about slop in all the pivot points in the foot start mechanism. If all holes/pins are worn out, there may not be enough throw left to slide the pinion gear all the way into the flywheel teeth or push the button or both. I think I repeated what he said. After hooking it all up, you can operate the foot mechanism from under the hood with a piece of 2 x 4. Disconnect the center tower wire on coil so it won't start. Place in neutral and apply ebrake and stand aside. This will allow you to observe what is happening or not happening. If the bottle cap spacer did nothing, that's good info for you to use to move forward.

I think I see you don't have the negative battery cable attached to the starter bolt. That would be a better place. At any rate, take it off and clean the bolt spot and the cable eye.
What I meant by strap not in play is: if cable was connected to starter bolt.
You don't have a motor won't start case. You have a motor won't turn over case. Two VERY different troubleshooting procedures.
We caught on quick, but try to be precise. We can't see it or hear it or test it from our house.

Other things to be careful of are:
1. The part/battery/cable is "new"
2. I checked that/cleaned that/did that already
3. Sounds and movements and your observations are very important
4. No guessing

You are nice to deal with because you are asking questions and listening and trying....and staying with the post.


Watch out for careful drivers!!!
I'm away on an ego trip. Will be back on Feb 30.
I'm not an Auto Mechanic, but I play one on TV.
I charge $0.02 for every opinion and I take Paypal.
Plan B is always better than plan A, by definition.
Sometimes no nonsense makes sense, in a sense.
You can't teach a new dog old tricks.
Honk if you're Amish


Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412208 Tue Jun 01 2021 03:02 AM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 558
B
Curmudgeon
I'm responding to the posting with the picture of the starter with switch removed.

Here is a picture that I borrowed from a previous forum posting (link below).

Hopefully I can explain without making it more confusing. The engine must have a ground. The copper braided strap goes from the bolt (as shown in your picture) to the truck frame. As originally designed, the negative post on the battery will have a ground strap or a cable that goes to the truck frame. In your picture I see a cable on the same bolt as the strap. This cable is probably going to the negative post of your battery. This arrangement will probably work okay but it's not to the original design.

https://www.stovebolt.com/ubbthread...on-a-1954-chevrolet-3100.html#Post973142

Attached Files
Strap.jpg (90.11 KB, 142 downloads)
Re: Truck wont start
bartamos #1412209 Tue Jun 01 2021 03:03 AM
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 17
S
SteveJ Offline OP
'Bolter
Thanks for the help. I will check the linkages and clean everything this weekend.

Steve


1949 chevy 3600
First attempt at restoration
Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412211 Tue Jun 01 2021 03:42 AM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 558
B
Curmudgeon
If it's not too much trouble, you can remove the transmission cover which will give easier access.
Here are some pictures to help identify the linkage.
Also check the switch mounting holes. If they are stripped, the switch will move.

Attached Files
Foot Starter 01.jpg (71.89 KB, 132 downloads)
Foot Starter 02.jpg (48.6 KB, 133 downloads)
Foot Starter 03.jpg (41.04 KB, 131 downloads)
Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412235 Tue Jun 01 2021 02:25 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,587
H
'Bolter
The original ground setup was a matter of economics, not good design. It's cheaper to manufacture a couple of short braided cables than one long, heavy one. Adding a couple of potential high resistance connections that carry starter current to a circuit is beyond stupid! It's much smarter to use a long, heavy ground cable from the battery to as close to the starter housing as possible, and use the braided strap to carry lower current circuits from the body and/or frame back to the battery. This situation is just one of many where the bean counters won the battle.
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: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412490 Thu Jun 03 2021 02:20 PM
Joined: Jan 2020
Posts: 473
P
'Bolter
I can still hear my father telling me, with my first electrical issue, "probably a bad ground". Since then, whenever anything goes sideways with my electrical issues, more often than not, that ends up being the problem.

Even in my most recent debacle, it was ground-related. However, it wasn't that the ground was bad/missing, the problem wire inadvertently ENDED UP getting attached to one of my grounds (smacks head). Nevertheless, grounds are probably the #1 issue, from my experience.

You have some really smart people contributing in this thread- I have no doubt that the issue will be resolved very quickly!


1957 Chevy Panel Truck, powered by SBC 350 from 1977 Camaro
Author, Bring CHANGE Into Your Life (a truly easy investment tool)
https://www.amazon.com/Bring-CHANGE-Into-truly-investment/dp/1077276869
Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412772 Sat Jun 05 2021 02:38 PM
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 17
S
SteveJ Offline OP
'Bolter
So I did everything you guys recommended today - cleaned all the contacts (that I was sure I had cleaned before well enough), checked the linkages and turned over and started first try.

Thank you so much, you guys are amazing. Frustration over!


1949 chevy 3600
First attempt at restoration
Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412776 Sat Jun 05 2021 02:59 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,587
H
'Bolter
"I love it when a plan comes together!" No one of us is as smart as all of us working together can be! Congratulations on solving the problem. Over 60+ years of doing, and teaching auto mechanics, I've found that electrical diagnosis is one of the most difficult things to teach. Most people have a very hard time visualizing current flow, since they can't see what those electrons are doing!
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: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412779 Sat Jun 05 2021 03:36 PM
Joined: Jan 2020
Posts: 473
P
'Bolter
Originally Posted by SteveJ
So I did everything you guys recommended today - cleaned all the contacts (that I was sure I had cleaned before well enough), checked the linkages and turned over and started first try.

Thank you so much, you guys are amazing. Frustration over!
When I just had my pinched wire issue recently, it resulted in a plume of white smoke. That really blew my legs out until I found the cause (with help from this site), so I know how you probably were feeling! Glad your issue is fixed!

I had a similar issue with another car I had years ago. The prior owners rigged the starter wire harness with a giant wire nut. One day I went to start the car and it was stone cold dead. Battery was fine, alternator fine, starter fine, I fought with it for 6 mos. with no luck. One day I was cleaning stuff in the garage, and from a different angle, noticed a small, thin wire hanging down near the firewall behind the engine...


1957 Chevy Panel Truck, powered by SBC 350 from 1977 Camaro
Author, Bring CHANGE Into Your Life (a truly easy investment tool)
https://www.amazon.com/Bring-CHANGE-Into-truly-investment/dp/1077276869
Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412871 Sun Jun 06 2021 05:07 PM
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 17
S
SteveJ Offline OP
'Bolter
Well, what a difference a day makes. Went out to start the truck and had the same problem - turns over once or twice then stops. Rechecked all the connections which seem secure. Frustration returns.


1949 chevy 3600
First attempt at restoration
Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412874 Sun Jun 06 2021 05:22 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 8,245
B
Sir Searchalot
So to be SPECIFIC, which we really really need here, "then stops" means with foot pushing on pedal, starter turns motor over a few revolutions, then still pressing on pedal, starter no longer operates? All is dead? no sound and no starter trying to rotate motor?

Do you have a multimeter? If so, set to DC volts and place probes on pos and neg posts of battery and report reading. (not on the cable clamps). Next see if starter spins by hand operating the button on top of starter.


Watch out for careful drivers!!!
I'm away on an ego trip. Will be back on Feb 30.
I'm not an Auto Mechanic, but I play one on TV.
I charge $0.02 for every opinion and I take Paypal.
Plan B is always better than plan A, by definition.
Sometimes no nonsense makes sense, in a sense.
You can't teach a new dog old tricks.
Honk if you're Amish


Re: Truck wont start
bartamos #1412877 Sun Jun 06 2021 05:42 PM
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 17
S
SteveJ Offline OP
'Bolter
I get 6.29 volts at the battery. When I depress the foot pedal the engine turns over once or twice, then a pause, then once maybe twice, and this pattern continues. After my last attempt to start when I looked under the hood there was a small amount of white smoke near the starter. Not sure if that is because I held the pedal down longer than I normally do or if that is an indication of a bigger problem with the starter. The fact that it worked yesterday but not today, makes me think it is still a ground issue, but I am at a loss. The starter does turn if you push the button. Appreciate any help.

Steve

Last edited by SteveJ; Sun Jun 06 2021 05:46 PM.

1949 chevy 3600
First attempt at restoration
Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412880 Sun Jun 06 2021 05:53 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 8,245
B
Sir Searchalot
When turning over once or twice, is it fast'ish or slow? Barely rotating? or fast then stop? If battery is not breaking down during load, which you can't tell unless a load test is done, then it does sound like a starter problem. You can use a 12V battery to see what happens. It won't hurt the starter if you don't lay on the pedal too long. That may identify a bad battery or a bad starter. I don't think you have a ground problem if you cleaned where the cable attaches to food pedal bracket or to starter bolt. Where is it connected now? For turning over motor, there is only one ground that matters, the negative cable attachment. I assume you have checked the positive cable clamp and battery post and the negative clamp and battery post and have shinned up everything and tightened.

WARNING Advise us BEFORE you do the 12V battery.


Watch out for careful drivers!!!
I'm away on an ego trip. Will be back on Feb 30.
I'm not an Auto Mechanic, but I play one on TV.
I charge $0.02 for every opinion and I take Paypal.
Plan B is always better than plan A, by definition.
Sometimes no nonsense makes sense, in a sense.
You can't teach a new dog old tricks.
Honk if you're Amish


Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1412881 Sun Jun 06 2021 05:56 PM
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 61
R
'Bolter
It might be a timing issue. I noticed the same behavior with my '28 four banger. The fix (for my problem) was to make sure that when trying to start the engine, the spark happens at TDC, not before.

If the spark happens before TDC, the explosion is pushing AGAINST the starter and the starter has to push through the explosion. If the spark happens AT TDC, this 'push back' is not there and the engine turns over nicely.

Hope this helps. Dean


Dean 'Rustoholic' Meltz

Lurch: 1927 1-Ton Chevy Cattle Truck
In the Stovebolt Gallery [stovebolt.com]
Old and ugly is beautiful! -- The Saga [stovebolt.com]
More fun with Lurch [stovebolt.com]

Justin: 1928 Chevrolet AB Canopy Express
In the Stovebolt Gallery [stovebolt.com]
Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1414845 Fri Jun 25 2021 02:55 AM
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 17
S
SteveJ Offline OP
'Bolter
I went through everything again and kept on coming back to that it had to be the starter. I took the starter to a different shop and they found that there was a short happening internally of the starter. They made some repairs and I just put it back in today and the truck started right up. Thanks for all of your help.

Steve


1949 chevy 3600
First attempt at restoration
Re: Truck wont start
SteveJ #1414867 Fri Jun 25 2021 12:26 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 9,900
Grease Monkey, Moderator General Truck Talk & Greasy Spoon
Thanks for getting back to us with the solution to your problem.


Martin
'62 Chevy C-10 Stepside Shortbed (Restomod in progress)
'47 Chevy 3100 5 Window (long term project)
‘65 Chevy Biscayne 4dr 230 I-6 one owner (I’m #2) “Emily”
‘39 Dodge Businessmans Coupe “Clarence”



"I fought the law and the law won" now I are a retired one!
Support those brave men/women who stand the "Thin Blue Line"! Hug a cop!
USAF 1965-1969 Weather Observation Tech (I got paid to look at the clouds)

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