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Old 10-16-2009, 05:16 PM   #1
terd ferguson
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Default '55 2nd series Chevy Truck ignition wiring question...

My wiring is all stock, but it's a big mess. I'm going to rewire the entire truck, but not for a couple of weeks. I'd like to get it driving again in the meantime.

Here's some background info...

I've got lots of issues with brittle, broken and corroded wires. But I drove the truck for a week before it started running rough. I did a tune up with new coil, condenser, points, and rotor. The cap, plugs and wires looked new, so I left them.

I think my issue is definately in the wiring. I'm getting good gas and had good spark when I could still start it. Now the starter won't turn the engine. No click, no noise, no nothing. The battery is good. The wiring from the battery to the starter is good. The wiring to the coil seems questionable. More on that with some questions below.

First the starter, I bought a new starter switch today, but haven't installed it. I think this will cure the starting issues (I hope). Here's the first question. There's a nut on the side of the starter switch. Is there supposed to be a wire attached here? There was not one when I got the truck and it was running.

Now to the coil. I had an old timer experienced with these 235s tell me there is supposed to be a resistor on the firewall. My truck didn't have it. According to him, the wire comes out of the firewall, goes through the resistor, and then to the coil. Is this correct? Again, the truck ran fine without it before.

Also, with regards to the coil wiring, the loom coming out of the firewall from the ignition switch to the coil has three wires going nowhere. One is green, two are black. Purple is to the coil. Another black wire goes to the starter switch. Any idea where these extra wires are supposed to go?

Also if anyone has a wiring diagram for under the hood, that would help me immensely. And as always, thanks in advance for any help and thanks for this great forum.


***EDITED TO ADD***
Instead of a wiring diagram, pictures of your '55 coil wiring could help too. A pic where the loom comes out and where the wires go is what I really need. Thanks a bunch again guys. Y'all are the best on the innerwebz.
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:03 PM   #2
terd ferguson
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Default Re: '55 2nd series Chevy Truck ignition wiring question...

Anybody have any help?
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: '55 2nd series Chevy Truck ignition wiring question...

I can only help with the resistor. Early 12 volt systems, used the left over 6 volt systems. The resistor dropped the voltage to 6 volts. Usually, without it, no spark. As you said it ran without it, maybe everything was 12 volt. if you have 6 volt stuff that you bought, probably, it won't run very long before you fry everything. of course, maybe the stuff that was in there,got fried.
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: '55 2nd series Chevy Truck ignition wiring question...

those extra wires were probably for a tach.the green wire any way,as for the resistor it all depends on the coil.some are ballasted and some are not.does it get super hot?sometimes it is printed on the side of the coil.see if there is a part # for the coil and post it,im sure someone here will be able to tell you if it needs it or not.as for the ignition switch im gonna have to go look but i dont remember hooking a wire to that post in the center on mine.i beleive it has markings on it as well,at least mine did.what kind of voltage do you have at the starter?is the switch wire on the correct terminal on the solenoid?did you try switching terminals?the solenoid has the letters r on one terminal and s on the other,of course the s is for the switch.hope i kinda helped any way good luck man!
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: '55 2nd series Chevy Truck ignition wiring question...

Quote:
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I can only help with the resistor. Early 12 volt systems, used the left over 6 volt systems. The resistor dropped the voltage to 6 volts. Usually, without it, no spark. As you said it ran without it, maybe everything was 12 volt. if you have 6 volt stuff that you bought, probably, it won't run very long before you fry everything. of course, maybe the stuff that was in there,got fried.
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6 volts?i have never heard of that,i have only run into 9-11 volts just enough to keep points from burning up as well as photo cells for mallory.
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: '55 2nd series Chevy Truck ignition wiring question...

i read again and may have missunderstood the switch you mentioned were you talking about the the one on the starter itself?(solenoid switch)
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:14 PM   #7
terd ferguson
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Default Re: '55 2nd series Chevy Truck ignition wiring question...

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i read again and may have missunderstood the switch you mentioned were you talking about the the one on the starter itself?(solenoid switch)
The switch on the starter itself is what I was talking about. It's not really a solenoid, it's a mechanical switch. As to that specifically, there is one big terminal on top. On mine, one wire from the battery and one wire from the igintion switch (dash key) goes there. There is another small terminal on the side with a nut, and on my truck there is nothing there. The diagram I got (see below) shows one wire from the battery and one wire from the ammeter on one starter terminal and then one wire from the ignition switch on another(?) terminal.

Also, a buddy on the chevy truck forum got me a wiring diagram. And from that, it looks like it was a miracle I got to drive this truck at all for the week it was running.

The diagram definately shows a resistor. Something has to drop the voltage to the coil from 12 volts to around 9 to keep from frying the points. Since I don't have one, I must assume my points got fried. And as for the starter not working, I don't know if it's the switch on the starter that's gone bad or wiring itself from the ignition switch broken/corroded/cut causing problems.

I really need a new harness which I'll be getting in the next couple of weeks. I just wanted to get it driving until then. It's so fun to drive, I can't stand to not drive it.



I'll post a pic of the diagram...
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:18 PM   #8
terd ferguson
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Default Re: '55 2nd series Chevy Truck ignition wiring question...

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Originally Posted by MEDDLER1 View Post
those extra wires were probably for a tach.the green wire any way,as for the resistor it all depends on the coil.some are ballasted and some are not.does it get super hot?sometimes it is printed on the side of the coil.see if there is a part # for the coil and post it,im sure someone here will be able to tell you if it needs it or not.as for the ignition switch im gonna have to go look but i dont remember hooking a wire to that post in the center on mine.i beleive it has markings on it as well,at least mine did.what kind of voltage do you have at the starter?is the switch wire on the correct terminal on the solenoid?did you try switching terminals?the solenoid has the letters r on one terminal and s on the other,of course the s is for the switch.hope i kinda helped any way good luck man!
The coil says it requires an external resistor. Before I talked to the old timer, I just assumed there was one. But I can't find it. I bought one. It looks like the ignition switch on the dash is wired wrong too.

And as for the coil (and see my previous post), there are only two terminals. Well, that and the one for the plug wire to the top of the dizzy.

Like I said, I really need a new harness to eliminate all this jibber jabber. I just wanted to be able to drive it until then.

Stay tuned for the diagram.
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:20 PM   #9
terd ferguson
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Default Re: '55 2nd series Chevy Truck ignition wiring question...



This is for a '58. Should be the same except for the fuse box which wasn't available in '55.


Pictures are easier for me to follow than wiring diagrams. I wish somebody could post a pic of the stock 235 wiring between the firewall to the coil and dizzy. And from the battery to starter. Pretty please.
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Last edited by terd ferguson; 10-16-2009 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 10-16-2009, 11:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: '55 2nd series Chevy Truck ignition wiring question...

Anybody got a picture?

And thanks again.
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Old 10-17-2009, 12:47 AM   #11
terd ferguson
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Default Re: '55 2nd series Chevy Truck ignition wiring question...

Found another wiring diagram on the oldcarmanualproject (awesome site by the way)...


http://chevy.oldcarmanualproject.com...55ctsm1202.htm

But it's not too clear, kind of blurry. Anybody got a better copy? Or some pics?

Thanks again.
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Old 10-17-2009, 01:13 AM   #12
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Default Re: '55 2nd series Chevy Truck ignition wiring question...

wire from ign switch goes to resistor, wire from other side of resistor goes to + coil.

wire from starter switch side contact also goes to + coil. you could connect it at the resistor if you have a screw terminal resistor like original.

pretty simple
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Old 10-17-2009, 01:20 AM   #13
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Default Re: '55 2nd series Chevy Truck ignition wiring question...

crap man i was really no help sorry,i should have read your post better.my nieghbor has a similiar setup in his 52 except he has the foot switch type starter.dont know if its any different or how different it is.but i can say it hung up once on us and we thought the starter was toast until we figured out it was hung up on the flywheel.it was jammed good and only made a slight click when we tried to start it.you didnt say if you had any voltage there at either terminal.also have you tried jumping out the key switch?oh and dont get scared when you first fire up the ballast resistor and it starts smoking they sometimes do that the first time around.and like the diagram shows and your buddy said it does go inline before the coil.i can look tommorow at my nieghbors truck to see if i can get a better idea about the wiring.cant remember how it is now.
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Old 10-17-2009, 09:48 AM   #14
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Default Re: '55 2nd series Chevy Truck ignition wiring question...

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wire from ign switch goes to resistor, wire from other side of resistor goes to + coil.
oldcarmanualproject seems to show this is correct. Do you know where the resistor is mounted? Engine bay on the firewall or under the dash?



Quote:
Originally Posted by squirrel
wire from starter switch side contact also goes to + coil. you could connect it at the resistor if you have a screw terminal resistor like original.

pretty simple
Neither wiring diagram seems to show this to be the case. But I'm not an expert by any means.



The resistor I bought is the screw terminal type. This is mighty frustrating. I've dealt with troubleshooting wiring issues before, but usally only one circuit was bad. Just a matter of narrowing down which one was bad. This truck has missing wires, cut wires, corroded wires, broken wires, ugh. All ignition circuits seem to be criscrossed and in the wrong places. I really need a harness, but don't have the money for a couple of weeks. How this truck ran at all is beyond me. If I had one to look at that was wired right, I'm sure I could get it running again til I get a harness.
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Old 10-17-2009, 12:08 PM   #15
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Default Re: '55 2nd series Chevy Truck ignition wiring question...

The wire that connects the starter switch to the coil is kind of strange, it is a violet wire that connects the starter switch to the ignition switch, not like I said earlier. You can just connect the two under the hood instead, it's not a big deal. This truck is a 59, and it has a tach added so there are a few extra wires.
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Old 10-17-2009, 02:25 PM   #16
terd ferguson
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Default Re: '55 2nd series Chevy Truck ignition wiring question...

Quote:
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The wire that connects the starter switch to the coil is kind of strange, it is a violet wire that connects the starter switch to the ignition switch, not like I said earlier. You can just connect the two under the hood instead, it's not a big deal. This truck is a 59, and it has a tach added so there are a few extra wires.

Thanks a million. That helps tons more than the wiring diagram.

Mine is wired up just plain wrong. The violet wire goes to the coil in my truck. There is no wire going to the side terminal on the starter switch on the starter itself. And there is no resistor. I think I can make something work with your pics. Thanks again.
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Old 10-17-2009, 04:04 PM   #17
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Default Re: '55 2nd series Chevy Truck ignition wiring question...

Small victory. With the help of squirrel's pics, I was able to get everything routed properly (I think). I got the starter to turn over twice. Remember before, the starter would make no noise what so ever. But it only turned over twice and then quit.

The wiring in this tuck is just for shit. There's just bad connections everywhere. I pretty much feel like it's not going to run again until I get a new harness. Sucks, but at least then everything will be tip top.

Thanks again squirrel for the pics. They helped out a bunch. I at least have an understanding of the ignition wiring routing which will help out a bunch when I go to install the new harness.
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