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Corvette Fuel Injection & Electronic Engine Control: 1982 through 2001
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1/8/12 9:19pm - Original Message: '82 Starter appears to have failed.'
kwoody
Former Member
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Tucson, AZ - USA

Vette(s):
1982 Black/Tan Leather Build Code C09E Bronze TTop CrossFire Fuel Injection L83 85 Fuel Pump Auto Axle 2.72 Firestone Firehawk Indy500

Joined: 7/11/2010
Posts: 415

Hello all. I do apologize for the length of this post.

Well, Baby left me stranded for the first time ever this week. I got off shift a little after sunset and she started up just fine. I pulled out the light switch and proceeded to set up the radio for the ride home. I have never had to crank and crank the starter. She has started with just a burrup and gone through the warm up idle routine. In the 82 the engine goes up between 1200-1400 rpm for a short time and then starts a slow decrease in rpm to idle which is around 600-700 rpm. I've been slipping her into gear anywhere under 800 rpm or so. It takes a minute or two to get under way.

This time I did the regular start-up and as soon as I nudged her into reverse the motor just stopped. It was like turning off the key except the check engine and battery light came on. I immediately shut off the lights and cranked her again. This time no hint of ignition but, she cranked freely and I continued for 10-15 seconds. I let the starter sit for a few seconds and cranked again still nothing. I raised the hood and looked around for anything unplugged and found nothing out of the ordinary. I could smell gas so I knew the fuel pump was working and when I got back in and tried again, I could hear the pump run for a moment to pressurize the system as it should before start.

Near the end of the third long crank, 10-15 seconds, I noticed the starter speed slowing. I decided to pull the distributor cap and take a look at the rotor, cap and HEI coil. I noticed that the wiring harness was loosely connecting from the base of the distributor to the internally mounted coil. One side of the connector snap was broken off. That is where the B+ and the pulses get routed so it is a very good chance that there is where the ignition problem lies. It is a mute discussion for the time being.

So I reassembled everything and snugly plugged in the connector and tried cranking again. Here is the rub. I just got a ca-thunk from the starter and no cranking of the engine. I just concluded that the battery had died and waited for my wife to pick me up. I would try a few things before calling AAA in the morning. Same thing happened in the morning. Ca-thunk and no crank so, a nice guy from AAA carefully loaded Baby up on a flat bed and brought her home and between the two of us we got her in the garage bay.

I charged up the battery and now all I get is Ca-thunk. I have lightly tapped on the starter housing and no change. I remember that trick from an old MOPAR thing I had briefly in the 80s. The conclusion I'm coming to is I managed to break a perfectly good 30 year old starter. I checked my paper work and it does not show the starter ever being replaced. I have read most everything on this site about the starter replacement and mini versus a rebuild and the thoughts on the starter shields.

I did find the connector and harness in stock on Rock Auto and decided to install a newer more robust Spark Module while I was in there replacing the harness.. Those are on order and should be here by the end of the week. Does not matter much since I can't crank the engine.

So, my questions are on the starter. Plenty of clean oil in the engine and when she stopped I did not hear any grinding or clunks. She did crank three times very smoothly before I apparently killed the starter. I do not think the engine is seized. I have read about putting a Ford starter in but, I would rather not do that. I'm checking where locally I could have it rebuilt if it is not the attached solenoid. It sounds like the throw out action is functioning. The sound of a motor under load can be heard as I briefly hold the switch in the start position.


Thanks for reading all of this and thanks in advance for the advice and suggestions. I do seem to remember watching someone replace a starter before on a Nova. There was a lot of cussing and throwing of things...... that must have been my brother in law.   I replaced my starter on the lawn tractor once and that was a piece of cake.

Keith




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K Woody
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1/8/12 10:31pm - Reply: 'Re: 82 Starter appears to have failed.'
Adams' Apple Lifetime Member
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Duncanville, TX - USA

Vette(s):
#1-1974 L-48 4spd Cp Med Red Metallic/Black deluxe int w/AC/tilt/tele./p/w-p/b/ Am-Fm/map light National/Regional/Chapter NCRS "Top Flight" #2-1985 Bright Red/Carmine Cp.L-98/auto Member: NCRS, NCRS Texas, Corvette Legends of Texas

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I read the entire post, and here's my thoughts, for what it's worth.
The smell of raw gas, and the engine not cranking over(ca-thunk) would worry me. My suggestion would be to pull all of the sparkle plugs, and see if the engine would crank over then. It's possible that the infectors have leaked enough fuel into a cylinder to hydraulically lock it...and if so, any further attempts to make the engine spin over is gonna damage more stuff(ie:bend the rod[s]). The same thing could happen if a head gasket springs a leak, or a head cracks....coolant can lock a cylinder down.

This is a worst case scenario, of course. But....pulling the plugs to make sure is a lot easier, and cheaper, than pulling the engine and rebuilding. If the engine still won't crank over with the plugs out, then you may certainly have a starter issue, which is way less painful. It's just the description of the ca-thunk that scares me...most starter problems make click noises...not two syllable ca-thunks...

my .002


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1/8/12 11:51pm - Reply: 'Re: 82 Starter appears to have failed.'
kwoody
Former Member
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Tucson, AZ - USA

Vette(s):
1982 Black/Tan Leather Build Code C09E Bronze TTop CrossFire Fuel Injection L83 85 Fuel Pump Auto Axle 2.72 Firestone Firehawk Indy500

Joined: 7/11/2010
Posts: 415
Thanks Joel for your thoughts. 

I would have not thought of that.  I did a rebuild on the TBI and injectors last summer.  I ended up reusing the o rings on the injectors because the kit's o rings were the wrong size.  I now have new correct o rings to go into those but, I was waiting for a good reason to pull them apart again.  This may be that time.

I quit smoking 5 months ago so my sense of smell is much more sensitive now but, I did not think anything was out of the ordinary to smell gas as it did not start while cranking. At my last oil change (last month) I had the air cleaner off and they (injectors) were not leaking then.  When they are spraying it is quite a bit of gas going down the throttle bodies' throats. 

There should be a sign saying "Pour Gas Here".

Thanks. Still having fun in the desert.

Keith


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Nobody ever waves when I'm driving the Explorer.
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1/17/12 2:56pm - Reply: 'Re: 82 Starter appears to have failed.'
kwoody
Former Member
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Tucson, AZ - USA

Vette(s):
1982 Black/Tan Leather Build Code C09E Bronze TTop CrossFire Fuel Injection L83 85 Fuel Pump Auto Axle 2.72 Firestone Firehawk Indy500

Joined: 7/11/2010
Posts: 415
It has been a while since I could get out to the garage. 

          I pulled the air cleaner and did notice a leak on the forward (right) TBI unit.  Looks like it was coming up from one of the fuel connectors I loosened up and then re-tightened when I was waiting for the Fuel Pressure Assy from DCS that never came. Man, I'm still pissed about that. I got in there and got set up to tighten the lines again.  One goes to the other TBI and I think the other one is the return line to the tank via the canister.  Not sure on that.  I don't know how much would have to leak into the intake manifold to be troublesome but,  now I have a new problem with a buggerd up (bent and cracked) fuel line that runs out of the front (right)TBI and down the front of the engine. Don't know if I did that when I first loosened the line or later.   The pressure adjustor TBI is on the driver's side so, I'm pretty sure the front TBI is after the feed line from the tank. 
         So,  I'm looking in the manual where that goes exactly and now need to work that problem.  I was trained in making Hydraulic lines in the Air Force so, I'll see if I can remember how to do that.  Those were 3/4 inch lines.  Much bigger than the fuel lines in Baby.  I knew I'd have those lines off again.  I'm pretty sure I had them back on tight.  I did find a good source on line for the TBI rebuild gaskets for $18.00 plus shipping.  Much better than the auto stores around here.  

This post should be moved to the Fuels forum.  It will be a while before I get Baby ready to start.  I did get the new Spark module and connector with pigtail.  Those are ready to go in the distributor. 

Warm but, not going anywhere fast in the desert.

Keith


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Nobody ever waves when I'm driving the Explorer.
K Woody
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1/17/12 5:55pm - Reply: 'Re: 82 Starter appears to have failed.'
Jaws79 Lifetime Member
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Sykesville, MD - USA

Vette(s):
1979 Corvette Coupe Corvette Light Blue Midnight Blue interior Mirrored Glass T-tops

Joined: 4/27/2008
Posts: 4211
Hang in there, you'll get it! These cars always take longer than you think to get anything done! So much to go wrong!
 
Barry
 
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1/17/12 6:28pm - Reply: 'Re: 82 Starter appears to have failed.'
81zoomzoom
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Lusby, MD - USA

Vette(s):
1981 WHITE ALT WITH ALL THE BELLS

Joined: 10/18/2003
Posts: 56
 My car has made that noise before.   First time it was the ground cable to the the batt.  It was made of alum   not copper Put good copper ones one and zoomzoomzoom. Next time parts guy sold me a gas cap with no vent filled the tank parked next day the would not turn over. the engine was full of gas pulle4d the plugs tuned right over.   

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1/17/12 6:39pm - Reply: 'Re: 82 Starter appears to have failed.'
kwoody
Former Member
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Tucson, AZ - USA

Vette(s):
1982 Black/Tan Leather Build Code C09E Bronze TTop CrossFire Fuel Injection L83 85 Fuel Pump Auto Axle 2.72 Firestone Firehawk Indy500

Joined: 7/11/2010
Posts: 415
Thanks Guys.  

I'm getting use to me making more work for myself.  I'm pretty happy the front brakes came out as well as as they did.


I'm puttin' up an outside DTV antenna today.  Hooked it up inside and got all of the Tucson local stations.  Might be able to get more with it up 30 feet or so.

Still having fun in the desert.


Keith


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Nobody ever waves when I'm driving the Explorer.
K Woody
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