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Old 07-04-2008, 11:59 AM   #1
Gas Giant
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Default What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

Working on my 56 Buick Special. The wiring has been fouled up pretty badly by previous owners.

After a long electrical diagnosis (in the 90 degree heat) I have come to the conclusion that my starter relay isn't functioning properly. Unfortunately, I can't find a replacement online or in the stores.

Would it be possible to use a different relay in place of the original starter relay? For instance if I just went down to the auto parts store, slapped the old relay down on the counter and told the kid behind the counter to find something that looked like it?

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 07-04-2008, 12:44 PM   #2
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)



Does it look like this ? ? eBay search ... for $34.50

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/START...QQcmdZViewItem

I would imagine a Ford type solenoid ... would work just as well ...
As long as you stay with 12 volts.

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Old 07-04-2008, 01:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

Have you converted it to push button start or start on the key or is it still on the gas pedal? Didn't Buicks have the floor the pedal to start switch?

If not, any starter solenoid will do, the Ford style is most popular and easy.
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Old 07-04-2008, 01:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

Actually, the relay looks like this:




The solenoid works. If I bypass the relay, and bump the ignition, the starter engages and spins the engine until the sparks scare me enough to let go of the wires.

I am not using the floor mounted switch setup, mainly because it isn't there anymore. I got a 4 position universal ignition switch and I am hooking that up. (Off, Acc, Run, Start)

So, in short, the starter solenoid works. I am getting voltage to Terminal 1 of the relay (which comes from the ignition switch) but nothing is coming out. So I am thinking I need to replace this relay, it's as old as the car, but they aren't too common and I was wondering if I could find something similar or wire it in such a way that I don't need this thing.

Thanks for the replies so far! BTW, the pic above isn't on my car, I took it from Agent Budd's 56 Buick site.
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Old 07-04-2008, 01:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

GAS GAINT,
After converting to 12 volts on my '51 Chev using the original 6 volt starter and solenoid the solenoid would stick sometimes. I wired the original 6 volt solenoid to be always hot and installed a Ford remote solenoid. It worked for me.

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Old 07-04-2008, 02:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

I've used Ford solenoid's on everything imaginable. Wired correctly it should work for a 56 Special too.
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Old 07-04-2008, 03:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

Ditto on the Ford relay and a jumper wire on the starter solenoid.
But if you don't want to do that, look at some horn relays for 50s/60s cars. They look about the same as your starter relay.
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Old 07-04-2008, 03:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

That's what I was thinking. A '69 Chevelle horn relay looks similar...............
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Old 07-04-2008, 04:06 PM   #9
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

All I really care about is being able to start the car. The Ford relay sounds interesting, I know those things are readily available and cheap. How do you wire one up? (Pretend you are explaining to a 5 year old how to wire it....)
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Old 07-04-2008, 06:17 PM   #10
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gas Giant View Post
All I really care about is being able to start the car. The Ford relay sounds interesting, I know those things are readily available and cheap. How do you wire one up? (Pretend you are explaining to a 5 year old how to wire it....)
Looking at the Ford solenoid above, the starter wire from the ign. switch goes to the small terminal on the left (usually marked S on the solenoid........duh ;^) ). The hot cable from the battery hooks to the large terminal on the same side. A battery cable (eye on each end) runs between the other large terminal of the solenoid and the hot terminal of the solenoid on the starter. Use a jumper wire between the cable terminal and the S terminal on the starter. If you've been doing electrical repair for long enough (or too long), you might have discovered that Ford used this exact setup on some of their 460 starters in the 70's. They even made a factory "jumper strap" that you can use, pictured below. That's about it.
You can use the feed back wire off of the original solenoid or the small I terminal on the Ford solenoid to feed the coil while the starter is engaged.
A benefit of this setup is that it seems to help cure the starter kickback when the engine is hot and you don't have any hot wires going to the starter when the engine is running. It's kind of a bummer when your main hot wire melts to a header tube and kills your wiring.
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Old 07-04-2008, 06:39 PM   #11
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

Why bother running another relay when all you need to do is to find the terminal with the wire coming from the starter solenoid on the bad relay and wire that directly to the ignition switch start terminal or if you have automatic make sure the neutral safety switch is between the ignition start terminal and the wire coming from the solenoid. If you want to use a relay just use a horny relay.
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Old 07-05-2008, 04:02 PM   #12
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

The original starter switch on a 56 Buick is on the rear passenger of the carb base it's a black plastic piece with two screws there may be two wires in that area if I remember right one is yellow. I'm not at home so I can't send wirring diagram.
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Old 07-06-2008, 02:15 PM   #13
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

Most of the original setup is gone. The original carb is gone as well, replaced with what I believe is a WCFB 4 barrel.

I have started wiring up the Ford relay, but I am running into some issues. There are several wires left over that originally went to the relay. One is a green wire that goes to the voltage regulator - what should I do with this wire?

Another in the neutral safety switch wire. Where should I connect that? Also left over is a 10 gauge black wire that goes to the starter solenoid.

I haven't been able to get under the car to install the jumper on the starter yet, but I should be able to tomorrow. I apologize for dragging this out so long, but I am absolutely terrible at understanding wiring.
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Old 07-06-2008, 03:22 PM   #14
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gas Giant View Post
Most of the original setup is gone. The original carb is gone as well, replaced with what I believe is a WCFB 4 barrel.

I have started wiring up the Ford relay, but I am running into some issues. There are several wires left over that originally went to the relay. One is a green wire that goes to the voltage regulator - what should I do with this wire?

Another in the neutral safety switch wire. Where should I connect that? Also left over is a 10 gauge black wire that goes to the starter solenoid.

I haven't been able to get under the car to install the jumper on the starter yet, but I should be able to tomorrow. I apologize for dragging this out so long, but I am absolutely terrible at understanding wiring.
The neutral safety switch should have two wires coming from it. You can splice it between the ignition switch and the S terminal of the Ford solenoid. That is, S wire from starter switch to one side of the neutral safety switch, the other wire from the neutral safety switch to the S terminal on the Ford solenoid. If the black wire goes from the relay to the small terminal of the starter solenoid, you can eliminate it. The jumper wire on the starter solenoid replaces it. I don't know about the green wire, unless it is a hot wire for the original relay. If it is you can eliminate it too.
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Old 07-06-2008, 09:58 PM   #15
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gas Giant View Post
Most of the original setup is gone. The original carb is gone as well, replaced with what I believe is a WCFB 4 barrel.

I have started wiring up the Ford relay, but I am running into some issues. There are several wires left over that originally went to the relay. One is a green wire that goes to the voltage regulator - what should I do with this wire?

Another in the neutral safety switch wire. Where should I connect that? Also left over is a 10 gauge black wire that goes to the starter solenoid.

I haven't been able to get under the car to install the jumper on the starter yet, but I should be able to tomorrow. I apologize for dragging this out so long, but I am absolutely terrible at understanding wiring.
Try this: Connect the wire from the neutral safety switch to the wire going to the solenoid. Then (if the other wire from the neutral safety switch goes to the ignition switch start terminal) try starting the car. (The other wire from the neutral safety switch probably goes to the IGN terminal of the Ignition switch as it did in the original configuration. Move it to the start terminal and it should work. If it starts then observe if the battery is charging, if not then the wire from the voltage regulator needs to be connected. My thought is that the wire from the voltage regulator is actually the armature terminal of the generator. This is used to prevent run-on of the starter when starting the car with the old gas pedal start setup. In your case forget about it and the FURD relay, you don't need it. DON'T OVER COMPLICATE something very simple. Need a before and after wiring diagram PM me
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Last edited by d2_willys; 07-06-2008 at 10:01 PM. Reason: updates
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Old 07-06-2008, 10:05 PM   #16
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

try www.car-nection.com/yesteryear or (941)743-7784.

no connection to me, he advertises in HMN.

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Old 07-06-2008, 10:19 PM   #17
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

A relay is a relay. Its just big enough to handle the amperage load of a full jolt of everything the battery can throw at it. If you take a hammer to it after you fix it, or destroy one you dont have any use for, all thats in there is a low amp coil used as an electro magnet to pull the steel rod against the two poles to connect the hot side of the battery to the hot side of the starter. Thats all any starter relay does.
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Old 07-06-2008, 10:58 PM   #18
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

Quick sketch on the back of an envelope. This will work on just about any 12 volt engine.
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Old 07-07-2008, 12:20 AM   #19
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gas Giant View Post
Actually, the relay looks like this:




The solenoid works. If I bypass the relay, and bump the ignition, the starter engages and spins the engine until the sparks scare me enough to let go of the wires.

I am not using the floor mounted switch setup, mainly because it isn't there anymore. I got a 4 position universal ignition switch and I am hooking that up. (Off, Acc, Run, Start)

So, in short, the starter solenoid works. I am getting voltage to Terminal 1 of the relay (which comes from the ignition switch) but nothing is coming out. So I am thinking I need to replace this relay, it's as old as the car, but they aren't too common and I was wondering if I could find something similar or wire it in such a way that I don't need this thing.

Thanks for the replies so far! BTW, the pic above isn't on my car, I took it from Agent Budd's 56 Buick site.
What I see circled in your photo is a horn relay. Where's the starter relay? The relay that directly connects the battery to the starter...The one with the really big wires to put it simple.
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Old 07-07-2008, 12:42 AM   #20
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Default Re: What to do about a starter relay? (Buick)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gas Giant View Post
Actually, the relay looks like this:




The solenoid works. If I bypass the relay, and bump the ignition, the starter engages and spins the engine until the sparks scare me enough to let go of the wires.

I am not using the floor mounted switch setup, mainly because it isn't there anymore. I got a 4 position universal ignition switch and I am hooking that up. (Off, Acc, Run, Start)

So, in short, the starter solenoid works. I am getting voltage to Terminal 1 of the relay (which comes from the ignition switch) but nothing is coming out. So I am thinking I need to replace this relay, it's as old as the car, but they aren't too common and I was wondering if I could find something similar or wire it in such a way that I don't need this thing.

Thanks for the replies so far! BTW, the pic above isn't on my car, I took it from Agent Budd's 56 Buick site.
I'm betting you don't have a starter solenoid.

"I am getting voltage to Terminal 1 of the relay (which comes from the ignition switch) but nothing is coming out."
Try honking the horn to see if anything is coming out then....Since it's a horn relay.

Somewhere at the other end of that black shielded battery cable is a solenoid or a foot switch.
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