newprotest.org: ELECTRICAL GREMLINS

ELECTRICAL GREMLINS

February 16, 2007
by: jovial_cynic
I think I figured out the problem.

I went through and singled out the starter wire to see if I could start cranking the engine from the ignition switch. Each time I tried, the starter would seize up and click, which seemed like it wasn't getting enough juice. My guess: the wires from the starter to the battery are faulty.

I pulled the battery out and stuck it next to the engine bay and connected it to the starter via jumper cable, bypassing any potential faulty wiring. No luck... the starter still just clicked. I thought it might have been the battery itself, so I moved my wife's minivan up to the 510 and ran the jumper cables from the minivan batter, and still no luck. The only constant was the starter itself... so I yanked the starter.

The starter looked fine, and when I ran the battery to it directly, it ran just fine as well. I reinstalled it and connected to the 510 battery, and it started cranking over just fine. So... the battery is good, and the starter seems to be good. What could be the problem?

I wired up the ignition switch again with the battery back in the trunk where the battery cables are located... and the starter seized up again. And... when I moved the battery up front again and connected it, it stayed seized.

... and I think I figured it out. There is a bad connection between the trunk and the engine bay. Whatever the reason, there's not enough juice getting to the starter; the teeth engage the flywheel, but then they get stuck, and even when I bring the battery up front and bypass the faulty wiring (most likely a bad ground somewhere), the solenoid can't tell the starter to do anything because the teeth are locked onto the flywheel. Since the driveshaft isn't hooked up to the transmission, and the transmission isn't bolted up to the car, I can't rock the car to disengage the starter from the flywheel.

Instead of taking the starter off to disengage it, I'm going to mount up the transmission and driveshaft. I think that'll make it easier for me to trace down my ground issue, on account of being able to disengage the starter whenever it gets bound up.

Whoops -- I forgot to add:

The hood won't close with the engine as upright as it is. I'll need to modify the driver's-side mount some more to get it to tilt over. Once I install the transmission properly, I can get a better idea of dimensions of the space where the mount sits and modify the existing mount accordingly. I suppose I could go out and just buy a mount from somebody, but I think it'd be fun to cut up the existing one and weld it back together.

np category: 510
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