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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-24-2019, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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66 impala issues starting.

Hey folks I seem to be having an intermittent issue with my ignition. When I picked up my Impala several years back it had a Buick 307 in it LOL yeah LOL.. since then I put a 355 in it SBC.
I'VE NOTICED IN THE LAST FEW YEARS INTERMITTENTLY I would go somewhere shut off the car.. then go to leave a little bit later turn the key and nothing okay. All the dash lights lit up but no starter or solenoid click.. eventually it would go back to normal and the car would be drivable..I noticed this phenomenon at first when the car was hot.. over the last few years it's been getting worse.. it left me stranded over and over..
Completely randomly. The only fix was to jump the solenoid at the starter with a screwdriver. It would just take a top just to hear the starter click then I was able to use the key again for a while.. it's now at the point of about 95% of the time not starting cold or hot when I turn the key no click no nothing.. I've resort it to running a wire from the solenoid up to the battery in case of emergency which I pull out of the fender and touch the positive post and the car starts.. at first I tried to run a bypass from the ignition switch to the cigarette lighter power and it worked at First but eventually it to became problematic.. a buddy of mine changed a bunch of the wiring in the car... But the problem persists.. the last time he checked he told me for some reason he was getting up about 7 volts to the fuse box.. he suspected some sort of relay box that is located up near the front corner driver side right behind the headlights .... anybody got a clue what's going on? I'd like to be able to start the car with the key like I used to not have to pop the hood and jump it constantly..

Thanks
T
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-24-2019, 09:45 AM
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I would start with figuring out what wiring changes your buddy did and then either undoing them or at least understanding what he did. I would then invest in a new starter. Your symptoms sound like the solenoid is soaking up too much heat from the exhaust (are you running headers or factory manifolds?). I would replace the starter and also invest in either a heat shield for the solenoid or just get a solenoid relay kit and mount it well away from any major sources of heat.

1968 Impala SS
496 Stroker
T56 Conversion
3.73 Posi-Trac
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-24-2019, 11:24 AM
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Heat soak. I had the same problem with my 327. Bought a stock replacement starter from Auto zone and after a year it started having the same problem. Replaced it with high torque mini starter, 3 years now and no issues with starting.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-24-2019, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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It's not a heat soak it did it with a brand new starter...I've changed for starter so far and all the starters are still good..my car could be sitting for two weeks I go to start it up cold and it still gives me the same issue unless I take the bypass wire and touch it directly to the battery
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-24-2019, 01:41 PM
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Problem with electricity is you can not see it. It will take a lot of quality time (so much time that there are very few mechanics who will even consider diagnosing an electrical issue) with a multi-meter and a ground test wire to determine the issue.

I agree what you initially posted sounded like heat soak in the stater, but if you have replaced it four times I now have to ask is your block painted? Paint under the starter motor isolates the starter from the block which completes the electrical circuit. Paint is made of plastic and it is an electrical insulator. Same for were the ground cable attaches to the block. It has to ground the battery, free of any paint. Finally did you use starter bolts or hardware bolts? A starter bolt holds the starter to the block and keeps it from moving around by way of the bolt being swedged to interference fit itself into a tight clearanced hole.

Then you can see where the issue lies if scraping paint doesn't resolve the problem by following the factory trouble shooting procedures printed in the Chassis service manual or the Wiring Schematics manual from the factory. Add to the multi-meter a test lamp with three to five foot leads to attach to different circuits to see from above the hood what you attach the leads to under the hood. This way you can see if the solenoid is being energized when you hit the ignition key (or in a different situation if the brake lights come on when you hit the brake pedal). Having another set of eyes and hands is very helpful, but for the first ten years I owned my garage I worked alone after coming home from my day job to work on race cars or engine building tasks. It can be done, just frustrating and requires being innovative.

Big Dave
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-24-2019, 01:43 PM
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Would have been helpful to know you had already changed the starter in your first post. Have you checked for 10+ volts at the ignition switch? Should be a 12g purple circuit if it's anything like my '68. Also, check your grounds. The intermittent nature of your problem sounds like you could have a bad ground somewhere.

1968 Impala SS
496 Stroker
T56 Conversion
3.73 Posi-Trac
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-24-2019, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68WASAGOODYEAR View Post
The intermittent nature of your problem sounds like you could have a bad ground somewhere.
Do you have all of your ground straps connected?

There are five ground straps that complete the circuits that the car requires to use a steel body as a wire. You have the big (00 gage wire from the battery to the block to ground the engine. But the motor is isolated from the car by three rubber mounts. It needs the added flat cable ground straps that attach the motor to the car body and the car frame (frame is isolated from the body by rubber body mounts).

Most back yard mechanics leave these ground straps off because they are a pain to install. But you will have all kinds of electrical problems if they are missing or not installed to make an electrical connection (don't forget that paint problem, so all paint has to be ground off to bare metal, then painted again after the strap is attached).

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/s...4aAgDoEALw_wcB

These straps go from the motor to the fire wall, from the fire wall to the dash and from the motor to the frame. I usually buy two kits as redundancy helps (learned that flying aircraft) and they are usually too short to be easily be attached so I buy from different vendors to find different lengths.

Want to learn automotive wiring? Buy a C1 Corvette (1953-'62). Everything has to have it's own ground wire because the body is plastic and doesn't conduct electricity. Plastic car with poor wiring added to fifty years of abuse and corrosion.

Big Dave
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-24-2019, 08:40 PM
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This is kinda basic, but have you taken off the battery terminals and checked them? I can recall a situation where the lights would come on, but the corrosion inside the terminal prevented enough current getting through to start the car.

1964 Impala 4 door sedan

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-25-2019, 04:06 PM
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The ground straps are also crucial in avoiding a blown heater core. All the voltage zinging around in the coolant will zap the core if it has no path to ground and this is how you get a pinhole in the core and coolant in your passenger side front floorboard. Don't skimp on these while you're checking grounds.

1968 Impala SS
496 Stroker
T56 Conversion
3.73 Posi-Trac
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-26-2019, 11:33 AM
 
 
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Based on what you've said, if bumping the solenoid with a screw driver then turning the key works, you have your culprit - the solenoid.
I'd replace the starter. Not that expensive. Just get the right one for your flywheel size. If bolts straight across, small flywheel, else if diagonal it's a big flywheel. Tom
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-26-2019, 11:36 AM
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Heat impacts resistance. An issue with either the positive, or ground, battery cables can be impacted by heat. Either may have internal wire defects that are hard to see.

Before buying anything, suggest 'jumping' each of these wires (one at a time) next time it acts up (while it is 'hot' under the hood). If the problem is corrected; there's your culprit. Changing from the OEM 6 gauge wires to 2 gauge reduces resistance (and corrects any 'hidden' wire issues). Change to 2 gauge to correct.

I had these folks make up some cables exactly as I wanted them:

https://www.batterycablesusa.com/2-g...les-2-awg.html

Very impressed with their product.

Just something to check for free. Hopefully this is helpful.

Pete
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-26-2019, 04:50 PM
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Talyor Wire sells battery cables that exceed the factory requirements (size limit due to price of copper and how cheap Chevy is). I use preformed 4 gauge cables (crimped end and formed lead terminal if using post style batteries) for under the hood in my daily drivers and 0 gauge cable for battery in the trunk applications (also available in 25 foot coils) and use clamp on eyelett terminators.

The factory wiring was inadequate as to length and gauge of wire for the load. This is why I use painless wiring if I am building a race car. They custom build wiring to my needs as I specify the number of circuits along with the current carrying capacity and they size the wiring according to the fuse size and length of the wire.

In addition to heat causing resistance in wiring to increase, there is the issue of vibration and corrosion. That green roof on the courthouse is corroded copper. Because we use multi-strand wire in automotive applications (instead of a single copper wire conductor as in household applications) that increase in surface area not only increases current carrying capacity at the termination point, but it increases the risk of corrosion reducing your current carrying capacity to near zero. They use more expensive multi-strand wire to makes the wires more flexible to get it installed in a car. But that flexibility leads to work hardening of the copper (especially as the strands are small) promoting the wire strands breaking open with age from vibrations, or flexing. At a bend in the wire if it is unsupported, or connected to the motor, a large percentage of the strands may be broken only making contact intermittently.

Electrical gremlins are a pain due to diagnosing and repair are so time intensive. This is why automotive specialty shops like a stereo installation shop will remove and replace the complete harness if they do not find the problem in the first half hour of billable time. If you know basic DC circuits then a wiring diagram and test equipment and a couple of weeks of your time spent lying upside down with your head under the dash can fix anything, but it also explains why most just buy an American Automotive Wire harness to replace the aged factory wiring.

Big Dave
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-31-2019, 04:26 AM
 
 
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I had the same issue on my 76 GMC truck and it ended up being the ground wire from the battery to the radiator support. Itís about an 8 or 6 gauge. Looks like a fusible link. I donít know something to try. But it sounds like you have enough of us arm chair mechanics out here, that youíll find a solution rather quickly. Please update us when you figure it out.


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