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#1466040 Sun Sep 11 2022 10:17 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 12
rnigel Offline OP
I have been in the process of refreshing my 55 1st Chevy 3100 for some time. While I haven't driven it in a couple of years, I would start it and let the engine get to temperature every week. That ended about five months ago when I replaced the leaky original radiator with a new, shiny aluminum one.I figured that while I was at it I should replace the water pump and thermostat. Problems developed when trying to find a water pump that actually fit, and when I did, the hoses wouldn't fit! Those problems have been solved but now the truck won't start. Won't even turn over. The starter was rebuilt by a shop here a few years ago and never gave me any trouble. At first, the engine turned over a couple times but sounded terrible. Then nothing. I have replaced the battery, the cables and the stomp starter. Still nothing but the positive cable gets very hot. I was afraid that the engine had seized but it will turn if I put the truck in third gear and push it. I am stumped! Any ideas? Thanks


55 1st 3100

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Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 10,392
Hot cable is likely due to poor connection, either at the battery terminal or at the lug on the starter switch. Take them off and make sure that they squeaky clean. While you are at it do the same with the negative terminals. If it still won't start and the cable still gets hot, at least you will have ruled out the connections. Cleaning all starter wire connections should be considered a part of ones general maintenance schedule.
If it still won't start, you may have a bad starter, regardless of how long ago it was rebuilt. Stuff happens.

Joined: Nov 1995
Posts: 5,745
Unrepentant VW Lover
Second what Carl says -- Battled that issue over the Summer. Its an issue with 6 volt systems, especially. I did as Carl said -- cleaned the battery terminal connections and the connection at the starter solenoid and issue went away. I also switched to a heavier gauge cable on my battery to ground and battery to starter connections -- I'm running welder cable smile helped a lot, too.


"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
Will Rogers

'49 Chevrolet 3804
'73 IH 1310 Dump
'14 Ford E-350 4x4 (Quigley)

Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 31,731
Bubba - Curmudgeon
I have done all that Carl & John suggest with my 6v 1954 Suburban.

I also use heavy cables - 00 Gauge (2/0 AWG)
I also use 00 ground straps (everywhere).
Optima 6v RedTop high-performance AGM battery (12+ years old)

Clean connection points for ground straps and use a conductive antioxidant grease at connections points.

If the truck has been sitting a long time, I might have to prime the carburetor and then use the choke.

Starts first-time every time.

Tim []
1954 3106 Carryall Suburban [] - part of the family for 49 years
1954 3104 5-window pickup w/Hydra-Matic [] - part of the family for 15 years
- 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 engines are not "splash oilers" - this is a splash oiler. []
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,240
Sir Searchalot
New battery? New cables? Should do more than "won't turn over" at all. Hot cable is cause by resistance. I go with carl "you may have a bad starter, regardless of how long ago it was rebuilt. Stuff happens." ...and I will add this: many times starters don't get rebuilt by people that know what they are doing anymore. Sad. Labor issues, they can only get Chinese parts....and.....dedication/work ethic is long gone.

If you live near the ocean, that will cause all matter of corrosion as Carl John Tc are saying, at
connections all over the place, cables, battery terminals, starter terminals, all grounds, starter switch.

Here is a scenario I've seen since you mention new water pump. If water pump is somehow frozen/belt too may be able to push truck in gear and seems OK because belt slips, but starter can't over come the fiction. This is just something I had to say. Not my no.1 guess.

Check your oil for milky before continuing.

Check voltage at battery posts.

You can remove the belts if you suspect anything and push again or try to start motor.

Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 25,692
Kettle Custodian (pot stirrer)
Take the fan belt off and try to crank the engine over. Since the water pump was the last thing you installed, how about checking to see if it managed to lock itself up during installation. Hot cables can also be caused by the starter trying to turn an engine that's almost locked up, either with tight bearings or a belt driven accessory that doesn't want to turn. Look for the simple stuff first before you take a stroll "around Robin Hood's Barn" looking for something complicated!

"It is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak and eliminate all doubt!"
Abraham Lincoln

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Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,619
Take a look at that positive cable. There are a lot of cheap stuff out there. Some of them look good on the outside but are all plastic with a small copper conductor.

They say money can't buy happiness. It can buy old Chevy trucks though. Same thing.

1972 Chevy c10 Cheyenne Super
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 12
rnigel Offline OP
I appreciate all the suggestions. I took the belt off and still got nothing. All the connections are good. Again put the truck in third gear and pushed it to make sure the engine turns. It does. It's gotta be the starter. I called the local shop that rebuilt it and the owner answered the phone to tell me that he is closed for good! After 45 years he gave up due to not being able to find anyone who wants to work and he got an offer for the property that he couldn't refuse. Pretty sad; another rebuild shop gone. The closest one now is on the other side of Mobile. I just may order one from Jim Carter and see what happens. Thanks all!


55 1st series 3100

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Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 11,478
Grease Monkey, Moderator General Truck Talk & Greasy Spoon and HiPo Forum
I find it hard to believe (but if true it’s sad) that with the huge Cuban population in Florida, that is known for its mechanical ingenuity, a Starter/alternator shop is not closer.

I just GOOGLED Starter/Alternator rebuilders in Florida and got well over 50 hits.

'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)

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,619
Try turning it over with the spark plugs out. Put a little oil or trans fluid in the spark plug holes. The engine might have some corrosion in the cylinders making it tight.


They say money can't buy happiness. It can buy old Chevy trucks though. Same thing.

1972 Chevy c10 Cheyenne Super
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