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Hey guys, been lurking/learning for a little while from old threads, thanks to all of you for all the great info I've used already. This is my first post because I can't seem to find anyone with the same problem. The car is my first Z and is a '73 240Z with a 400 sbc (stock w/ headers) and a Saginaw 4 speed.

 

I took the car for a short drive one night, parked it, came out the next morning and it won't start.  When I turn the key to "start" the starter bendix gear engages the flywheel but does not turn. When I jump the starter solenoid to the short post, same thing happens. When I jump it to the long post, nothing happens. From what I've read, when I jumped the solenoid to the "long" post, the starter should have turned, right?

 

Also, when it fails to start, a relay clicks and won't reset until I disconnect the negative battery cable and reconnect. Is this normal?

 

I'd like to be sure the starter is the problem, I'll have to unbolt the motor, jack it up, take off the header and spark plugs and remove the starter solenoid from the starter before it will come out.

 

Thanks,
James

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From what you said it seems very likely the starter is bad. About the only thing more you can do is measure the voltage at the starter to make sure the connections are good. Connect a voltmeter across the starter, meaning the black lead on the starter housing (ground) and the red lead on the lower large lug on the solenoid (not the one with the battery cable attached). When everyrthing is off the voltage should be 0. When cranking the voltage should be about 9 or 10 depending on the condition of the battery. If the voltage is 12 when trying to crank but the starter is not turning the starter is bad. If the voltage falls to 0 or perhaps 1 or 2 volts but the starter does not turn you probably have a bad battery or a bad connection or bad cable.

Edited by beermanpete
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So, I had the starter tested and it works fine. Now I'm really stumped. I'm going to replace it with a new mini starter anyhow because it's such a chore to get to but what else should I be checking? Ignition? Are there relays somewhere that may have gone bad? I apologize for the ignorance, I'm brand new to small blocks and to Z cars.

 

Thanks for your time.

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Make sure the thing is shimmed correctly so as not to bind.

 

That is the first thing I though reading your post. Chevy starters are NOT and no never have been "bolt on" there are starter shims to move them off the machined mounting pad to get proper engagement, other the Bendix drive jams in place, won't release, etc...

 

Shims are as near as a coke can...that's what we cut them out of, or you can buy official precut parts to make the pinion engage the flywheel properly and release...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok, so the problem is not fixed. I've replace the starter and still no-go. When I turn the key, the starter gets power but only for a split second and then a relay on the firewall clicks and I lose all power. Same thing happens if I jump the solenoid directly to the starter. In order to restore power, I have to remove the ground from the battery and put it back on.

 

Does this make sense to anyone? I could really use some more advice.

 

Thanks,

James

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Sounds a whole lot like a bad battery cable connection.  One of the big wire connections.  Loose/dirty/corroded, the resistance from the current pulled to turn the starter motor heats up the connection and it opens.  Cool down and the connection comes back.  It's actually pretty common, it almost got me a year ago.  If you have the bolt-on on cable ends, check those, also the typical post/connector interface.

 

The clicking relay is probably coincidental to the power loss when the connection opens.

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Problem solved! Thanks to everyone for all the great ideas. It was, in fact, the negative battery connection. It has those cheap clamp on connectors with the two bolts to clamp the cable to the connector, it was all corroded under there. Good call Redwine and NewZed and thanks to everyone else for the ideas.

 

Can I solder the cable to these cheap bolt-on connectors? Or do I need to buy different connectors?

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  • 4 months later...

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