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Technical Why isn't my engine cranking?!?!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by IzzyGarcia7, Aug 25, 2021.

  1. IzzyGarcia7
    Joined: Apr 3, 2021
    Posts: 14


    I have a 1962 Chevy Impala with an inline 235 and a generator. A couple of days ago I got nothing from the engine. Turn the key, absolutely nothing but usual interior lights turn on. The battery is only a few weeks old, and it tested good as well. It turns out the starter was bad, so I replaced it. Still nothing. My next thought was the ignition switch, so I replaced that too. Still nada. I'm now onto the voltage regulator. I tested it yesterday by jumping the car because it's the only way to start it at the moment and it was reading a stronger 14V, as it should. Yet, while I'm driving I get sputtering and acceleration problems (common symptoms of a bad regulator) and like I said I have to jump the car just to get it started (no ignition completing my hat trick of symptoms). I'm about to replace the voltage regulator. If that doesn't work, what else could I be missing here?
  2. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 5,572


    Izzy, how about an intro?
    firstinsteele and 302GMC like this.
  3. theboss20
    Joined: Dec 30, 2018
    Posts: 274


    Looks like you are using the spray and pray method of troubleshooting…
    Blues4U, desotot, HSF and 2 others like this.
  4. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 7,157

    from Idaho

    Firewall connector for the main wiring harness ....

  5. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,286


    First off, welcome. If you haven't done so, post an intro. Sort of a tradition around these parts.

    As for your issue, @theboss20 is right when he says it sounds like you're throwing parts at the problem without an actual diagnosis. Thankfully, there are a limited number of issues and parts in the chain that can fail to cause your symptoms.

    Get back to basics here. First off, get your test light and start checking the flow of power. Does your ignition switch have 12V coming out of the "start" position pole? If no, that's probably your issue. If yes, move on. Do you have 12V at the solenoid? If no, it could be a bad bulkhead connector, or the wire is damaged somewhere. Etc.

    Also check for loose grounds, and make sure there is a substantial ground on the engine to the frame and body.

    This method will help you isolate your issue, rather than replacing parts in the system hoping that that's the culprit.
    41 GMC K-18 likes this.
  6. Dan Timberlake
    Joined: Apr 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,372

    Dan Timberlake

    41 GMC K-18, Hemi Joel and VANDENPLAS like this.
  7. IzzyGarcia7
    Joined: Apr 3, 2021
    Posts: 14


    Just got it done! I'm only 24, but I swear I'm getting old due to the time it takes me to paste an image.
  8. IzzyGarcia7
    Joined: Apr 3, 2021
    Posts: 14


    I tested the starter and it tested bad, so that needed replaced. The owner before me decided a tiny Honda battery was good enough for him, even though it was more than 100 CCA under what my engine needs, so that needed to go as well. Only thing I've really unnecessarily bought was the ignition switch, so thankfully I'm not out too much.
  9. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 10,068

    anthony myrick

    not turning over?
    not starting?
    not charging?
    not turning over due to not charging? (dead battery)
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2021
    F-ONE likes this.
  10. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 3,092

    from Alabama

    It’s a 60 year old car with 60 years worth of grime, paint and corrosion. Plus 60 years worth of “who knows what has been done and with what?
    Clean all the electrical connections.
    Pay attention to the primary cables. They need to be clean, in good shape and the right size. The cables at the parts store are for Hondas.
    Make sure all the ground straps and cables are clean and connected to a clean surface.
    Make sure all connections to the starter relay (solenoid) are clean.
    Check for power with a meter or test light.
    I like a test light because it’s simple.
    Get a shop manual.
    41 GMC K-18 and harpo1313 like this.
  11. harpo1313
    Joined: Jan 4, 2008
    Posts: 2,403

    from wareham,ma

    Now just take the advice above and start hunting, I would start with grounds and connections . Welcome aboard.
    41 GMC K-18 likes this.
  12. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 3,092

    from Alabama

    Don’t rule out anything.
    Electrical is the first assumption.

    It could be mechanical such as starter alignment, bad teeth on the flywheel ring etc etc ect.

    Let the car tell you through tests.
    41 GMC K-18 likes this.
  13. MCjim
    Joined: Jun 4, 2006
    Posts: 450

    from soCal

    You said " I tested it yesterday by jumping the car because it's the only way to start".
    Seems that would eliminate a lot of things.
    Bad connection at battery, battery is shorted out, poor is somewhere around there.
  14. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,927


    As said above, don't just shotgun the fix. That could get costly, and might never cure it. Start with the easy/cheap stuff. Take every power cable off and clean the connections. Then every ground cable and clean those. Use a dab of dielectric grease on each connection as you reassemble. Fresh lock washers and nuts on the studs wouldn't hurt either.
    41 GMC K-18, Wanderlust and F-ONE like this.
  15. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,479


    So you said that it will start if you jump it. What does it do if you don't jump it? Does the starter turn at all? Does it turn slowly? What are the symptoms before you apply the jumper?

    If the battery is good, but you still have to jump it, it sounds like a bad connection between the battery cable and post.
    41 GMC K-18, Budget36 and F-ONE like this.
  16. Jokester
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 565


    Is the battery side terminal or top post?
  17. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 8,426


    As @jaracer says, time to get cleaning the batter cable connections. Not just at the battery, but at the starter and block Clean both block and cable sides. Make all three side shiny. Wire brush and elbow grease.
    41 GMC K-18 likes this.
  18. greybeard360
    Joined: Feb 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,913


    Are you jumping it with another battery or jumping the terminals on the starter?

    If jumping at the starter does the trick it could be the neutral safety switch if it's an auto trans car.
    41 GMC K-18 and Moriarity like this.
  19. Mimilan
    Joined: Jun 13, 2019
    Posts: 1,108


    This ^^^^, or go one step better and add a Ford Starter relay.

    The solenoid "S" wire from the ignition is notoriously weak [and the cause of the dreaded "heat soak" issue that some experience]
    The Ford solenoid allows a decent whack of 12v to the starter.

    Also check the wire from the "R" post on the starter to the coil. This could cause the engine not to fire while cranking if faulty.

    Buy yourself a multi-meter and learn to read a wiring diagram [these old Chevy's are simple]

    One more thing. The battery pos+ goes to the starter, and from the starter to the ignition switch [main power feed]
    Check these connections at the solenoid [on the same post]
    The battery neg- [ground] connects directly to the engine [usually on a water pump bolt] so the engine can crank
    The engine is grounded to the body via a wire on the generator body [they really need star washers]

    Check all these cables for proper connections.
    Elcohaulic and 41 GMC K-18 like this.
  20. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,782


    Does a '62 Impala have a neutral safety switch?
  21. greybeard360
    Joined: Feb 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,913


    Yes.... Starting in 58 I think.
    41 GMC K-18 likes this.
  22. What he said!!

  23. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,286


    That's always what gets me. I go to start the car, nothing happens, and I flip the fuck out, go straight to worst case scenario, JFC the engine is locked, I'll never financially recover from this.... then I realize I left the thing in gear, shift it to park, and it immediately starts lol
  24. spanners
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,487


    No wonder I like manual transmissions. At least with them the worst that happens when you hit the starter in gear is they crash through the shed wall.:)
    Wanderlust and 427 sleeper like this.
  25. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,866


    DO THIS FIRST ^^^^^^^^
    I've lost track of how many cars I have gone out to trouble shoot for other people that had bad ground connections. including way too many coats of shiny new engine paint under the ground strap insulating it from the engine.

    The neutral safety switch is reasonably easy to check or bypass temporarily. The tab that moves with the shift tube often breaks off on old ones.

    As others said, quit throwing parts at it and guessing and quit listening to the spit and whittle club down on the corner. Test light, volt meter and check one step at a time.

    A voltage regulator will NOT keep any car from starting on it's own. Nor will an alternator/Generator. they have absolutely nothing to do with an engine being able to run. All they do is supply and control the supply of voltage back into the battery after the engine is running. "it has to be the regulator" is total bull shit. If the car is running and driving and the battery is either going dead or overcharging then and only then you might have a regulator issue.
  26. bangngears
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 993

    from ofallon mo

    Fuseable link???
  27. Mimilan
    Joined: Jun 13, 2019
    Posts: 1,108


    Most early Chevy's have a total loss system on the ignition /starter circuitry

    On a 57 they connected the electric wiper motor [option] to the ballast resistor .
    If the wiper jammed ,it would "Chernobyl" the main ignition circuit going through the firewall to the ignition switch
  28. Hemi Joel
    Joined: May 4, 2007
    Posts: 1,239

    Hemi Joel
    from Minnesota

    There is no way we can diagnose this over the internet with the information you have provided.
    There is a process you go through to diagnose stuff like this, and the next step depends on the results of the last step. With 40 guys throwing out guesses, your likely to get confused and misdirected.
    Your best course of action is to get a good service manual that contains the diagnosis procedure, and then follow the steps. Ask us if you don't understand the instructions. Then you will learn how to be a mechanic.
    Or just keep buying parts and guessing until you get it. Best of luck!

    Edit: I didn't see those diagnosis videos. That seems to be the modern replacement for a service manual. Get yourself a volt meter and give it a shot.
    41 GMC K-18 likes this.
  29. 57Fury440
    Joined: Nov 2, 2020
    Posts: 57


    You didn't say if the car was working before. Like said above check for power at your connections. Are you positive the starter solenoid is working properly? I had a 60 Chevy back in 1969 with the 6 in it and I had the same thing happening and it was the solenoid.
    41 GMC K-18 likes this.
  30. Mimilan
    Joined: Jun 13, 2019
    Posts: 1,108


    A jumper wire from the battery+ to the "S" post will confirm /eliminate that

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