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Thread: 1951 Buick Special Starter Issues

  1. #1
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    1951 Buick Special Starter Issues

    Hi,

    I'm new to this forum and I just took delivery of a 1951 Buick Special Deluxe 4Dr Tourback Sedan.

    When it was delivered, the truck drivers dropped it off for me in a grocery store parking lot only a few blocks from my home. At first it had a little trouble starting so the guys driving the delivery truck gave me a jump. In order to start they also sprayed just a little ether into the air intake, as well. The car drove fine after this, though I did notice a little bit of revving/surging at one point which I assumed was probably because I wasn't familiar with the Dynaflow transmission.

    The next day though I wasn't able to restart the car. I thought it might be due to the battery being weak, so I tried giving it a jump, but nothing happens.

    Basically, I get no indication of the starter engaging at all, with the only sounds detected appearing to be a faint sound of the linkages connected to the gas pedal moving.

    When I opened up the hood, it looked like the carburetor may have flooded and spilled over a little, so I let the car sit for a day, but with no luck.

    Since I don't hear the starter engaging my first thoughts are that there might be an electrical issue preventing power from getting to the starter, but since I'm really unfamiliar with cars like this, I wasn't sure, and thought maybe I should check around on the internet.

    If anyone has any suggestions I'd be very greatful.

    Thanks

    Pat
    Last edited by PFJN; 10-14-2012 at 11:10 PM.
    - 1951 Buick Special Deluxe 4Dr Tourback Sedan

  2. #2
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    First, make sure the transmission is in Park. On the starter solenoid, use a heavy screwdriver to jump across the battery terminal and the small terminal. The starter should crank the engine. If it doesn't, jump across the two large terminals. The starter should spin, but not crank the engine, because the drive pinion won't be engaged with the flywheel. If it still doesn't do anything, make sure the battery is charged and check the cable connections.

    Please post back and let us know what you find out.

  3. #3
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    Hi

    Thanks so much for your quick response. I tried as you suggested with no luck. So I removed the battery and took it up to an Auto Parts store that had ordered me a new one on Friday. Unfortunately the distributor forgot to add it to their delivery today, so it should be coming in tomorrow instead. In the mean time, I tried to hook up my battery jumper and it sparked a bit and I did get the responses that you indicated, but I didn't want to push it much because of the sparks. So hopefully it was just the battery.

    Hopefully by tomorrow or Wednesday I should know for sure.

    Thanks again for your input, its been very very helpful.

    Regards

    Pat
    - 1951 Buick Special Deluxe 4Dr Tourback Sedan

  4. #4
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    Replaced battery but...

    Hi,

    I got my new battery and installed it today. I tried starting the engine and he starter engaged and turned over briefly, but since that first time every time that I try and start the car again all I get is a click sound.

    Anyone have any thoughts?

    Regards

    Pat
    - 1951 Buick Special Deluxe 4Dr Tourback Sedan

  5. #5
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    Clean your battery cable terminals till they are shinny and all connections at the starter and the solenoid. Take voltage readings at main terminal (the stud) on the starter when you are trying to start it. Look for strong voltage (12 volt) at every connection. Remember cleanliness is next to -------. Battery cables will look good till you give them a real close inspection and then some times you will see green corrosion in the cable. Get some new ones and the best battery cable you can get is welding cable with the proper ends crimped on with shrink tubing over the crimps.

  6. #6
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    Hi,

    Thanks, I'll give that a try.

    Pat

    PS. I guess since my car is just a 6v system, I should be looking for a strong 6v at every connection, instead of 12V, though?
    - 1951 Buick Special Deluxe 4Dr Tourback Sedan

  7. #7
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    Yes since you are working with 6 volts you need every one of them and 00 size battery cables at a minimum. Battery maintenance and clean terminals are a must with 6 volts.

  8. #8
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    I double checked the battery...

    Hi,

    Thanks for all the help.

    I double checked the battery connections and was able to get the car to start, though later when trying to restart it again, I couldn't get it to do so regularly. When I turn the key to start normally the gas gauge and other such gauges will swing toward their normal operating positions, and stay there when I depress the pedal and the starter engages. Other times though, when I step on the gas pedal, at the point where the starter would normally engage all the gauges drop to their at rest positions and no sound comes from the starter.

    Based on Raycow's post above and a recommendation from the 1951 Buick Shop Manual I can usually start the car by placing a screw driver across the leads of the starter solenoid, but I don't feel comfortable doing this unless its an emergency, etc.

    As such, I think I'm gong to take the car to a local mechanic and ask him to look over the car to check out everything.

    Unfortunately will doing a brief run up to the gas station today I encountered anothe problem, that I'll do a separate post on.

    Thanks again for all the recommendations. They really helped.

    Pat
    - 1951 Buick Special Deluxe 4Dr Tourback Sedan

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