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 Ghost in the Machine?

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49ina35

49ina35

Posts : 3
Join date : 2019-03-10

PostSubject: Ghost in the Machine?   Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:07 am

On my '92 Roadmaster Estate which I call Buford. Here in NC it seems like we've had rain constantly daily. Still with all the weather, never had any problems until about a week ago, i go to the grocery store and upon leaving, I go to start and get a no crank condition. Lights and everything else are working OK. Good voltage on the voltmeter. Tried to jump start with still nothing. All the while during a mist of rain. Ended up having him towed home. Rain every day for the next 6 days and still no crank condition. I finally break out the GM service manual and look at the cranking circuit. Pretty much battery to ignition switch to starter with a splice between the ignition switch and starter for the ALDL test link which has a 5 amp fuse in slot #20. So my theory is to test for voltage on the fuse while key is in cranking position which if there should verify the ignition switch is good and give cause to check out the solenoid. Test light in hand, I pull the ALDL fuse, insert test light and when I go to start, the damn car fires right up. Has fired up ever since the past 3 days.

Only thing I can think of is condensation must have somehow gotten into the solenoid which is dry on the outside. All connections are good at all electrical points. No broken wires visible and the cable from the battery to the starter appears to be fine and not getting hot like some do when they get age on them.

Either Buford just said he's not moving until it stops raining or didn't like the idea of adding pontoons. Anybody have anything like this to happen?
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dmg4

dmg4

Posts : 847
Join date : 2014-08-13
Age : 64
Location : Geneva, New York

PostSubject: Re: Ghost in the Machine?   Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:25 am

What you describe sounds a lot like battery terminal deposits, starter on the way out, or a bad solenoid.  The rain might be a red herring and nothing more (although if it keeps raining, a carp in the air intake will also cause issues).

When Buford was misbehaving, could you hear the click of the solenoid when you turned the key to "start"?  Did the lights in the car dim when you did so?

You could take the car to Advance Auto or some other parts store chain, and they'll clamp their magic machine onto it to give you some stats on the starting/charging system.  If you luck out and get a competent employee, they might eliminate some possible causes.  If you are not so lucky, the needle on the machine will swing over to "buy unnecessary parts now".  If so, just leave and try another store and see what they tell you.

These intermittent problems are vexing.  You need to catch Buford in the act, or he'll never learn.

That's about it.

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49ina35

49ina35

Posts : 3
Join date : 2019-03-10

PostSubject: Re: Ghost in the Machine?   Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:15 am

Battery terminals are clean with new battery about 6 months old. Never did hear the click on the solenoid which is why I was checking for voltage on the ALDL fuse between the ignition switch and the solenoid. Lights dimmed as they should. I've checked the charging system now that it's running and it's right at 13V where it's always been in the 8 years I've owned him. I've got a new ACDelco ignition switch, solenoid and starter in my inventory if I need it. Drove him today into town and back with no problems.
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Fred Kiehl

Fred Kiehl

Posts : 5038
Join date : 2009-11-13
Age : 70
Location : Largo, FL 33774

PostSubject: Re: Ghost in the Machine?   Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:35 pm

My first guess is the solenoid. Since the solenoid is part of the starter, that would implicate the whole starter mechanism. They are rather inexpensive, but a little difficult to replace. You must either remove the frame brace, or drop the exhaust to get the starter out (there may be a way to orient the starter without disassembling the above, but I have not found it.) The frame brace is one of the most miserable parts to remove, because the center bolt is designed to torture the mechanic. I put dual exhausts on my TBI cars, and the starters are now simple to replace.
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