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Thread: Ignition / Starter Gremlin!

  1. #1
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    Ignition / Starter Gremlin!

    First.. thanks to those who solved my last problem, the solution was much better than lighting the car on fire... here is a problem I have had for a while and can't seem to figure out..

    65 Riviera.. it is stripped and ready for paint (no dash, interior, nothin..) After putting the motor back in I noticed that about 85% of the time when I put the key in and turn it to the "run" position, the starter kicks for a split second... When I hold the key over to start it, everything works as it should. When I turn the car off and the key crosses that spot between run and off, the starter kicks again. I have replaced 3 ignition switches thinking that was the problem. I replaced the starter solenoid and replaced the wiring from the starter to the engine bay. What's crazy is that it didn't do it at all before the car was taken apart and it doesn't do it all of the time. In the past day or so it has gotten worse. Now when it does happen, it engages the starter and keeps it spinning while it is in the off or run spot so I have to screw with the key to until it stops otherwise it chews on the flywheel.

    The only thing I can think of is maybe since the ignition switch is just hanging there, that something isn't grounded? The ignition does have a couple of wires that I don't recognize.. one wire looks like it's covered in fabric, and there is a bulb looking resistor type thing there also.. Could the problem be the starter itself although I replaced the solenoid?

    Thanks again..

  2. #2
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    The next time the starter misbehaves, please run this test: Shift the transmission to any gear other than park or neutral and let us know if that cuts off the starter. Also, ground the switch body if it is still hanging by its wires. That one is too inviting to pass up.

    Ray
    Last edited by raycow; 11-20-2012 at 06:30 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by raycow View Post
    The next time the starter misbehaves, please run this test: Shift the transmission to any gear other than park or neutral and let us know if that cuts off the starter. Also, ground the switch body if it is still hanging by its wires. That one is too inviting to pass up.

    Ray

    I tried that and it did the same thing.. in fact, the problem has now become a 100% of the time issue..I cursed myself!

    Now each time the key is turned to Run it tries to start so I turn it off to take the key out and it continues to start! I turn it to ACC (the click to the left) and it stops, but I can't get the key out in that spot.. so I have to click it back and forth until it happens to stop while the key is in the off spot.. I think I will put the old (new) switch I just took out back in and see if it's still as bad.. I could have a combo problem.

    Thanks Ray.. you have become my personal Buick advisor. The check is in the mail!

  4. #4
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    So just to make sure I am understanding you correctly, are you saying the problem still occurs when the shift lever is in Drive, 2, 1, or Reverse?

    Ray

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    Yes.. I turned the key to run and the starter went nuts.. as it was turning the engine over I cycled it through the gears. Then I freaked out and started frantically turning the key to all positions to try and get the damn thing to stop turning over.. haha.

    When I get off work I will try and see if it will do it if I put it in gear first to see if the Neutral Safety Switch is working. Also, I forgot that I took a close up of that switch hanging from the dash with all of its guts hanging out to post here. I will attach that when I get home also... not that I post and surf the forums while I'm at work, that would be wrong.

    I'm almost at the point where I considered paying a bunch of money for a high end RFID push button start kit like on my old vette!

  6. #6
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    Check the wiring with the following:

    http://www.chip.com/buick/techtips/pertronix.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by WildKitty View Post
    Check the wiring with the following:

    http://www.chip.com/buick/techtips/pertronix.html

    After reading that, maybe we are closing in on the problem... I didn't change any of the wiring from the ignition, but it got me thinking about some of the updates I did and how I may have upset the universe when I did it.... It has the MSD PRO Billet Distributor on it... that required me to call MSD Tech folks to get it to start. Because of the voltage drop to the coil, they had me run that pink coil wire to a 12V relay first and the 12V power out to the coil.. I did that and it started right up. That's the only thing that has been screwed with on the ignition side.

    That wiring post does talk about the regulator wiring which got me thinking.. I switched to a one wire ALT.. the "kit" came with a cap that plugs into the male end of the harness and supposedly just connects everything back to itself.. That kit came with another small plug that plugged into the factory connector on the harness that plugged into the factory alternator. That small plug was only about 2 " long and plugged into the back of the new ALT. When that was plugged in like they asked, the car had a constant drain.. I just unplugged the plug they gave me from the kit and now the car charges and holds. I'm an electrical tard-o but maybe I upset the riviera gods?

  8. #8
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    Try disconnecting the Yellow wire at the "R" terminal on the starter. Almost willing to bet that you have a feed-back problem with the "New" ignition set-up via the relay.

    Tom T.
    Tom Telesco
    Classic and Muscle Automotive
    12 Cook St.
    Norwalk, CT 06853-1601
    Day Phone 203-324-6045 ET
    NailHead Mini-Starters '53-'66
    Adjustable Roller Tip Rocker Arms - All NailHeads
    Custom forged pistons
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    Many other "Nail" parts
    "If I can't get it, you don't need it!"

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    On the alternator conversion kits that I am familiar with, the first plug (the larger one) is a jumper which attaches to the stock 4-wire regulator connector. The smaller one is an adaptor that lets you connect the original plug-in 2-wire harness to the new alternator. These parts are designed to furnish the energizing current needed by a 3-wire internally regulated alternator when the ignition switch is turned on, and also to enable warning light operation on those cars which have a warning light. Because of the way a stock GM alternator works, the regulator does have a connection to the ignition switch.

    A kit like this would serve no useful purpose with a 1-wire alternator because it doesn't require energizing current and doesn't support warning light operation. Additionally, the parts could possibly cause unintended consequences (like your battery drain) when used with a 1-wire alternator.

    Do your parts look like the ones I described, or if not, can you describe them? Also, did you get any instructions with them that specifically mentioned a 1-wire alternator?

    Ray

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    Well..it looks like I have some things to research tomorrow.. I appreciate your help. Tom, I think I'll try your suggestion (cause it's easy..) or maybe even try disabling that relay and run the stock ignition wire back to the coil. The car won't start, but the starter will turn and act crazy (or not).

    Ray.. the kit you describe is exactly what I have. Not one part of that operation came with any instructions at all. Most of it was done via Google and by me jambing plugs in places they look like they go.

    The small plug to the alternator has been unplugged for a while.. Are you saying that the big plug that acts as a jumper doesn't need to be there at all on a 1 wire setup?

    Oh.. Happy Thanksgiving!

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