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Starter Problem?

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  • Starter Problem?

    As I continue to work towards getting my 63 Daytona Convertible tuned up and running smoothly, I now have a starting problem. The guy down the street is helping me with it (he has several late 60s/early 70s Chevy muscle cars) and is quite a good mechanic. Anyway, we were cranking my car over the other day, checking for spark, etc., and it just quit. I hear a faint "click" when I turn the key, but no cranking. He said it was probably the starter.

    I installed a new solenoid, hoping to get away cheap and easy, but it still does the same thing. What puzzles me though is that I don't even have interior lights now (occasionally, but ever so dim). So... is my starter shot? Could it just need a new Bendix drive (I remember my dad changing several out on his Studes)? How can I test the starter? What's my first (and easiest) move here?

    Thanks (again) in advance for the help.

    '63 Daytona Convertible

  • #2
    If your lights are dim and the starter won't turn over it sounds like a bad battery or a battery connection problem. Check and clean your battery posts and connections, including the ground wire(s). If that doesn't help try a different (known good) battery.

    1960 Lark Convertible
    1962 GT Hawk
    Dan Peterson
    Montpelier, VT
    1960 Lark V-8 Convertible
    1960 Lark V-8 Convertible (parts car)


    • #3
      Look around for shorts. A dead short will produce the click and dim lights that you experienced. Shorts kill your battery instantly. I have a station wagon with lots of 'custom wiring' that had to be removed. My little demons existed in that custom wiring. Do you have an aftermarket radio? These are the places where I had problems. I don't expect that yours will be the same, just B.T.D.T.[:I]

      I realize searching out shorts is a pain in the wazoo.[xx(] Unfortuneately it comes with the territory (old cars).[B)] Speaking of old wiring, at least most of yours isn't the rayon wrapped stuff that they used in the old, old cars like my '52![}] Count your blessings I guess.

      Oh, yes! Before you give up on that starter...[:0] Take it apart. there's just two screws holding it together on the top of the case. Mark it so you can remember which side is up. clean it out and put it back together. Studebaker placed their starters in the perfect position to collect the maximum crap over the years.[}] That crap may be preventing the starter from moving the gear into place and doing it's thing.

      I've found this to be the case in three of mine.

      Lotsa Larks!
      A.K.A: out2lunch
      Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
      K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
      Ron Smith
      Where the heck is Fawn Lodge, CA?


      • #4
        Check the solenoid to make sure you got the wires back where they should be and I would look first for a short in this area. Those wires get very hot if starter stays engaged for too long. But you really need a volt meter to do this. Also check the ground wire to the block from the battery. Good luck!!

        63 R2 Avanti


        • #5
          Thanks all.

          The battery was #1 suspect so I have a brand new one in the car. I cleaned the terminals really well prior to hook up, so that's not it. Haven't check for shorts, but I'll make sure everythings tight before trying it again.

          If that fails, I'll get her lifted up this weekend where I can crawl underneath an drop the starter. A good cleaning might do it, as studeclunker suggested.

          AS A TEST... when I get the starter out can I test it with jumper cables straight off the battery? (don't wanna fry anything)

          '63 Daytona Convertible


          • #6
            yes. you will get a bit of a spark so hook up the ground to case last so you don't mung up the post.

            good luck


            55 Commander Starlight
            62 Daytona hardtop
            55 Commander Starlight


            • #7
              You can test it with cables alright. Just be damned sure you hold onto it good![}] Those things are really torquey[:0] and will spin if you don't hold on good.

              Did you check the other end of the negative cable? It should be attached to the engine someplace for good starting amperage.
              I WILL SAY - I HAVE HAD one of those starter motors just quit DEAD - in the middle of cranking. And it was fried internally![xx(] It is, after all, vintage stuff. And sometimes it just gives out and wants to be rebuilt.[V]

              Forgot to mention - you can have a cable go bad too. Inside where it's end is crimped on. Seen it too many times myself. This sort of situation is a good time to have one of the hand-held ammeters that you situate on the battery cable while tring to crank the car.

              Miscreant at large.
              No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.


              • #8
                I had that problem in my Hawk a few months ago. Pulled and checked the starter (was fine), replaced the solenoid, and added a new ground wire...I apparently only had one before. Not sure what fixed the problem, but think it was adding the ground and cleaning the existing connections. My lights are much brighter now too.



                • #9
                  quote:Originally posted by Mr.Biggs

                  Forgot to mention - you can have a cable go bad too. Inside where it's end is crimped on. Seen it too many times myself.
                  Miscreant at large.
                  You win the boobie prize, Mr. Biggs. After a new solenoid didn't fix the problem, I go a new pair of good heavy battery cables, wire brushed the grounding point on the block, and installed the new cables. My cranking problem vanished. It cranked and cranked and cranked (almost started). A buddy of mine is going to help me with the timing later. Right now, I have a carburetor problem... (see Carburetor Reconditioning thread).

                  Thanks a million, Mr. Biggs and everyone else. I still intend to remove the starter and clean it real good. jsp

                  '63 Daytona Convertible