1966 Wildcat - no crank no start

I am the owner of a 1966 Wildcat 4-door sedan since last Friday. Today I finally have my first issue: no crank no start. I searched the forum and could not find a threat addressing this specific issue with the 1966 Wildcat.

Roadmap: https://www.teambuick.com/reference/diagnosis/engine_will_not_crank.php

Here is my list of culprits:

- The battery: a cheap Econo Power battery (with a 1/21 date on the sticker?) with actual output of barely 10V instead of 12V.

- Battery ground cable.

- Wiring (really ugly): Feed wire to the ignition switch via the bulkhead connector (check the inside terminal)

- Neutral safety / back up light switch (corroded wire connections at the neutral safety switch has been an issue with manual transmission)
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- Ignition Switch

- Stater relay (there does not seem to be one)

1613800451321.png1613800558384.png

1613800303893.png

- External starter solenoid

- Starter motor (may need to change anyway as it is really slow -- but could be caused by the low charge of the battery, barely above 9.6V)

I'll start tomorrow with the battery and progress from there to the ignition, neutral safety and the back to the engine compartment.
 
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68 wildcat

Active Member
Check reviews for batteries online if possible. Any advice I would give you would be based on what I can buy here in Canada and wouldn't be much use to you. The Battery has to be rated for your car which all battery retailers could look up if their info goes back far enough.
 

LARRY70GS

Active Member
There aren't that many battery manufacturers out there. Most name brand batteries are made by someone else. Interstate, Die Hard, Duralast, and Deka are made by Johnson Controls. Look around and get the best price and warranty on a battery. I just bought an Interstate battery at Costco. Battery prices have gone up and warranty terms have gone down in the last 5 years or so. Expect to pay 100-150.00 for a battery.
 
So I got a new battery from O’Reilly: Super Start Extreme Battery Group Size 34 with a cold cranking amps (CCA) of 800. Did not fix the problem but it’s not the battery.

Next I tried the usual trick of tapping on the starter and solenoid to unblock the brush (using the car jack lift crank). Didn’t do anything — except teaching me where the starter is located (under the engine?!). I hope I won’t have to change it.

Next step: the troubleshooting roadmap located on Teambuick reference page, in the general topics section under “***Diagnosis”. https://www.teambuick.com/reference/diagnosis/diagnosis_1977.php

First step I checked that the windshield wiper works (I only have 1) — it does. I have a low voltage at the junction in the engine. So next I need to check the neutral switch.

Step 2: access the neutral switch. The body manual isn’t available but the chassis manual Section 90-6 would suggest it is located behind the steering wheel.

so I need to remove the steering wheel. The first step is to remove the actuator bar assembly — but there is no explanation. There is a mention of “screws”.

Where are they?

I tried to find a YouTube how-to video for that type of steering wheel but couldn’t find any.

Suggestions would be greatly appreciated?
 
For futur reference - Section 90-4 and graph 90-6-45-46-48000 Steering Wheel Assembly.
 

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LARRY70GS

Active Member
The neutral safety switch is frequently located ON the steering column, under the dash. No need to remove the steering wheel. Try this. Attach a length of 14 gauge wire to the + battery post. touch the other end to the small "S" terminal of the starter solenoid. The starter motor should crank the engine.
 
Thank you. I found it and I now wish I had a floor shifter — the location under the dash is just impossible.

I’ll try the 14 gauge electric cable trick if I found a way to reach the starter under the engine.

Is there a way to reach the S terminal on the solenoid without having to lift the Wildcat?
 
Charles, yes the purple and yellow wires at the starter come up to a pull-apart connector near the end of the + battery cable. This is shown in the "View in Circle B" attachment of your 2/19 post above. These items can be reached under the hood along the rear of the left fender.

Per attached pg 68-23, pull apart the connector and touch the purple wire pin to the post where the cable from the battery terminates. The starter should engage. There may be a small locking tab on the connector which has to be pushed down to release the connector halves. Or a small screwdriver might be needed to pry the locking tab free.

Make sure the gearshift is in Park before trying this.
 

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DEXTERS

Member
I am the owner of a 1966 Wildcat 4-door sedan since last Friday. Today I finally have my first issue: no crank no start. I searched the forum and could not find a threat addressing this specific issue with the 1966 Wildcat.

Roadmap: https://www.teambuick.com/reference/diagnosis/engine_will_not_crank.php

Here is my list of culprits:

- The battery: a cheap Econo Power battery (with a 1/21 date on the sticker?) with actual output of barely 10V instead of 12V.

- Battery ground cable.

- Wiring (really ugly): Feed wire to the ignition switch via the bulkhead connector (check the inside terminal)

- Neutral safety / back up light switch (corroded wire connections at the neutral safety switch has been an issue with manual transmission)
View attachment 12776
- Ignition Switch

- Stater relay (there does not seem to be one)

View attachment 12778View attachment 12779

View attachment 12777

- External starter solenoid

- Starter motor (may need to change anyway as it is really slow -- but could be caused by the low charge of the battery, barely above 9.6V)

I'll start tomorrow with the battery and progress from there to the ignition, neutral safety and the back to the engine compartment.
Any time you disconnect a power cable polish the terminal (I use a Dremel) and the ends of the connection. Then cover with electric grease.
Drop the starter motor and check it by connecting to a battery. +12v to large post and to the small post which is the solenoid active. Als0 check the large post with cable from solenoid to the motor. The copper has a tendency to fray/crack on old age units. Can be replaced with any copper jumper you have or make.
 
Thank you very much for your assistance!

I was able to start the engine with a short 10AWG bypass wire between the junction box and the starter connector. So, my issue is likely with the safety neutral switch or lever.

I ordered a new ACDelco switch from CarID but they mailed me the wrong type (the Skylark one). Then I checked several parts suppliers and noticed that they all sell the wrong safety switch for the 1966 Wildcat Sedan (the same ACDelco Part No. D2217C).

E.g.:




The ACDelco GM part/SKU: 88923437 (ACD D2217C, 0477420181) is a safety switch for the 1966 Skylark or Special. See GM 1966 Chassis Manual page 120-17. The Neutral Safety Switch of the Wildcat (p. 120-19) is totally different: it connects to the lever on the back of the switch, not under the switch (as it is the case with the Skylark’s Neutral Safety Switch I received). These different Neutral Safety Switches are thus not interchangeable.

Am I missing something here?

The only supplier showing the right switches is: http://www.oldbuickparts.com/pdf/cat610/cat610.pdf
But they only have switches for 1962-1964 and then 1968-1972. Would you know another supplier I could contact?
 
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The correct switch is GM part no 1371068. Even with usage on high collector interest models like the Gran Sport and Riviera, no reproduction switches appear to be available. It was used on column-shift and console-shift cars.

Only a few expired eBay listings turned up during a search. Here is an old thread that details which 1965-68 Buicks use it:


Some guys have had success rebuilding the switch as seen in this thread:

 
Thank you Todd for the clarification. I emailed back-and-forth with CarId.com sale -- hopefully they'll stop misrepresenting the ACDelco switch (88923437) as compatible. But the issue might be with ACDelco and other suppliers misrepresenting their product. As long as the resellers believe they already have the right product, the missing switch won't be reproduced.

Fun development: I solved the no-crank, no-start and I don't know how.

I unplugged the connector to jump the starter (as recommended by you) with a wire connected to the junction box, then, before reconnecting, added some dialectric grease (as recommended by Dexters above). Still would not start. I then sprayed the cables and connections to the starter with degreaser as I am also trying to locate a leak on the nearby power steering.... and that solved my no crank no start problem.

Don't ask me how. Go figure! Maybe the change in weather and drier conditions.
 
Are any of these correct?

Hi Larry — I also checked RockAuto. Same problem: they list the same switch (for later post-1968 models) as compatible for all pre-1968 models — which is plain wrong.

These switches aren’t interchangeable as one connects to the lever on the back (1966) while the other connects under the switch (post 1968).

I didn’t find an official mod to use the later model (like a new back plate with opening to allow connection adaptor). Your two options are (1) bypass or (2) buy a modern floor shifter adaptor (using a later neutral safety switch) and install bucket seats.

But then why have a 1966 model....?
 
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Charles take a look at the bulkhead connection where it comes through the firewall. Pull it apart and look at the connections on both sides for corrosion or damage. Clean them up with a small file or nail file before reassembly with electrical grease. It may be the wires to and from the switch and not the switch. I had an ignition wire problem at the bulkhead that took a very long time to diagnose.


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Charles take a look at the bulkhead connection where it comes through the firewall. Pull it apart and look at the connections on both sides for corrosion or damage. Clean them up with a small file or nail file before reassembly with electrical grease. It may be the wires to and from the switch and not the switch. I had an ignition wire problem at the bulkhead that took a very long time to diagnose.


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This is what I did -- unknowingly -- with the connector on the starter wires between the bulkhead connectors and the solenoid, next to the power junction box, and that, indeed, solved my no crank no start.

If only a dirty bulkhead connector was the only issue 🤨.... Right now, I am focusing on weatherproofing the car to stop rusting/water damages (trunk, hood, doors, window weatherstrips) -- and stop gap/ damage control measures (I am short on cash). Next I'll deal with key safety components (mainly breaks) and overall sub/fluid/filters maintenance. Then I'll redo the electrical wiring and the engine. Whoever handled this car made a complete mess. Then strip and repaint to its original silver grey (not GM pewter) and interior restoration (with better sound system).

Then I'll retire and cruise endlessly around the block, windows down and The Waterboys blasting... 😆🤪
 
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