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BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER.... A's, G's & E's


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rebar
RodStRace
6 posters

    Van Doesn't Start Checklist

    RodStRace
    RodStRace


    Number of posts : 3046
    Location : Chino Valley
    Registration date : 2010-01-21

    Van Doesn't Start Checklist Empty Van Doesn't Start Checklist

    Post by RodStRace Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:15 pm

    Van Doesn't Start Checklist
    NOTE: I wrote this for a new member with a Dodge. I will come back and edit it for the other makes later.


    You must have a fully charged battery with good cables and connections. Don't even try with a weak battery and some jumper cables.

    Remove the spark plugs. Make sure the engine turns over by hand and has oil in it. No point in starting it if it's going to kill it! Also make sure it's got coolant in it and if it has an automatic, there is fluid there too!

    Disconnect the big fat coil wire at the dist. and connect the loose end to the block (Ground in America, Earth in the UK). This is so you don't have a bunch of sparks all over. Attempt to crank it over. Without plugs, it should turn easily and you can check for oil pressure.


    You can bypass the starter switch and wiring by using a starter push button or jumping the two terminals on the starter relay. These are the big one and the one with a little cover and screw on Dodges.
    Van Doesn't Start Checklist Manual_starter_solenoid_small

    If the engine spins and you have oil pressure, continue. If it doesn't spin, either the engine is locked or the starter, relay or wiring is at fault. If it doesn't have oil pressure, fix that before any more attempts!

    Now that it spins and has oil pressure, check for spark.

    Since the key switch provides the power for the coil, you must either have the switch working or "hot wire" the coil. If the key cranks the engine, continue. If the switch doesn't work, either fix the wiring (smart, since it gets the van closer to really running) or connect a jumper wire from the big connector on the relay or the battery to the ballast resistor opposite the wire that goes to the coil. This bypasses the ignition switch as shown.
    Van Doesn't Start Checklist Ignitiondiagram

    This will get hot and you should not wire direct to the coil or the coil side of the ballast. Remember, to stop spark (and the engine), you have to disconnect (usually pull off) this wire. So make sure you think of this before and DURING any emergency!


    The big fat coil wire you have connected to ground should be able to be connected to one of your spark plugs. Lay the plug on the engine (grounding the body) and crank the engine. There should be spark at the plug. I do not recommend holding the plug as shown unless you LIKE sparks biting you!
    Van Doesn't Start Checklist 100_1781_TestingForSpark

    If you do not have spark, you will need to check for power to the coil. Also check the points and condenser. You must have spark to continue!

    So now you have crank and spark. Hopefully during this you heard the engine pumping air out of the spark plug holes. That's compression.
    Now all you need is timing and fuel. We will assume that this was a running engine at one time and that the cam timing is good and that the dist. is reasonably close so it will run. All of this will need to be checked if the engine will not run later.

    Install the spark plugs (new ones if the old ones are fouled) and connect the coil wire to the dist. cap.
    At this point, you should have an engine that cranks, with spark. Before cranking, operate the throttle while looking down the carb. There should be a squirt of fuel when the throttle is opened. If not, either there is no fuel in the carb, or it needs to be rebuilt (or both).

    You can try some starting fluid (ether) but be warned it take practice and fire is a common result!

    Crank the engine over and it will hopefully start. There are a bunch of things that can cause it to be hard to start, but you have eliminated most of them. If it refuses to start, check the ignition timing, the carb, fuel supply, and last, cam timing.
    rebar
    rebar


    Number of posts : 151
    Location : northwest
    Registration date : 2012-10-31

    Van Doesn't Start Checklist Empty Re: Van Doesn't Start Checklist

    Post by rebar Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:28 pm

    Thank you for another excellent, informative post Mr R.

    Although this may be common knowledge and have small relevance to starting the engine, I've found that good clean, tight, ground (earth) connections are often beneficial. My negative battery lead is connected to the engine just above the starter motor, along with two ground straps. One strap is connected to the chassis. The other strap is connected to one of the mounting bolts for the starter relay (shown in your post), that's mounted on the doghouse. (This second ground strap may not be necessary but since I mounted a small light fixture inside the doghouse that is grounded to the doghouse, I thought it'd be best to ensure the doghouse itself is grounded).

    Ruth-66
    Ruth-66


    Number of posts : 10
    Location : Germany
    Registration date : 2011-06-18

    Van Doesn't Start Checklist Empty Re: Van Doesn't Start Checklist

    Post by Ruth-66 Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:43 am

    Excellent, thank you. I hope i go trough the whole prozess next week to make sure everything is correct.
    Chroma66
    Chroma66


    Number of posts : 101
    Location : Seattle, WA
    Registration date : 2011-03-02

    Van Doesn't Start Checklist Empty Re: Van Doesn't Start Checklist

    Post by Chroma66 Thu Jun 06, 2013 4:27 am

    Thank you for this list, it's a relief to have a definite troubleshooting procedure to follow. However, I am going to throw this out there in the hopes that someone has had a similar problem, and try to narrow down my causes.
    About one out of three times, I turn the key and the starter clicks and doesn't turn over, as if the battery were dead, and the voltage goes from 14v to 8v.

    Some other points are:
    1) The battery is new.

    2) The starter and ignition switch are also new.

    3) Sometimes I can get it to start by turning the headlights on and off (!?).

    4) Heat seems to make the problem worse, whether from the engine being hot after a long drive or when the weather is above 70 degrees.

    5) We also have an auxilary battery (for charging cell phones and running interior lights) attached to the main car battery.

    Has anyone ever had this kind of problem? Any feeedback is appreciated!
    Twinpilot001
    Twinpilot001


    Number of posts : 6186
    Location : spokane ,Wa.
    Registration date : 2009-09-28

    Van Doesn't Start Checklist Empty Re: Van Doesn't Start Checklist

    Post by Twinpilot001 Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:09 am

    Yes likely we all have ?- check #1= battery condition-LOAD Test it! also = do a =specific gravity test.! Take the battery to a good- battery sales place that knows what theyre doing! #2=Check Battery cables!1 clean both ends on each cable & re-attach! Sometimes a battery cable can internally corode -causing the same problem! Have the battery cables been replaced recently?? #3= having a new?? -likely a rebuilt started doesnt guarentee anything=shoul;d the battery & BOTH! Cables check good - pull the starter & have it tested!! Was a new solenoid used?/ Installed/ If this van has a divorced starter solenoid??( not on actual starter??) id get it replaced 1st!!==All solenoids are nothing but a magenetic switch- and internally - they can get a burnt area / spot & do exacctly what you are encountering here! If before you have not replaced the actul solenoid?? change it & check then?? Happy vannin!!

    I will also comment - cranking?= is not the same as starting the engine-does it crank?? im thinking thats your problem & after thats fixed it will run fine fo ya.
    Chroma66
    Chroma66


    Number of posts : 101
    Location : Seattle, WA
    Registration date : 2011-03-02

    Van Doesn't Start Checklist Empty Re: Van Doesn't Start Checklist

    Post by Chroma66 Sat Jun 08, 2013 2:23 am

    Thank you for the feedback!

    We did a couple things today; installed a push button starter (photos on request but it's pretty basic) and took out the old amperage and oil pressure gauge. Here's where it was on the dashboard:
    Van Doesn't Start Checklist Vansta10

    Here's the back of it:
    Van Doesn't Start Checklist Vansta11

    Then we closed up the loop-to put it vaguely. That old gauge could have been the problem all along:
    Van Doesn't Start Checklist Vansta12

    Don't know if the photos help-I have a crazy theory that I am not even going to mention right now-but I am definitely keeping this checklist handy if things don't work out. Or even in general.






    Digz
    Digz


    Number of posts : 3794
    Location : United States Six Lakes MI
    Registration date : 2008-05-17

    Van Doesn't Start Checklist Empty Re: Van Doesn't Start Checklist

    Post by Digz Sat Jun 08, 2013 4:02 am

    You've probably already done this but check the big harness connector in the DH. Everything related to starting ,charging and running goes through it. 3 out of 4 of the vans I have, have shown signs of heat damage at that point from excessive amperage going through for whatever reasons.
    Chroma66
    Chroma66


    Number of posts : 101
    Location : Seattle, WA
    Registration date : 2011-03-02

    Van Doesn't Start Checklist Empty Re: Van Doesn't Start Checklist

    Post by Chroma66 Sat Jun 08, 2013 11:40 am

    Duly noted. We're in the test drive stage right now, more details to follow!


    Chroma66
    Chroma66


    Number of posts : 101
    Location : Seattle, WA
    Registration date : 2011-03-02

    Van Doesn't Start Checklist Empty Re: Van Doesn't Start Checklist

    Post by Chroma66 Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:40 am

    UPDATE:

    Since we took out the old amperage meter I've been driving all over the place this week and it starts right up every time (knock on wood).  Haven't even touched the push button start.  After all that trouble with the mechanic-guess I'll be doing my own repairs from now on.  Thanks to the panel of experts here at VintAGE Vans.
    Chroma66
    Chroma66


    Number of posts : 101
    Location : Seattle, WA
    Registration date : 2011-03-02

    Van Doesn't Start Checklist Empty Re: Van Doesn't Start Checklist

    Post by Chroma66 Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:24 pm

    Digz wrote:You've probably already done this but check the big harness connector in the DH. Everything related to starting ,charging and running goes through it. 3 out of 4 of the vans I have, have shown signs of heat damage at that point from excessive amperage going through for whatever reasons.
    Yep...that's what it is:

    Van Doesn't Start Checklist Van13_11

    I haven't had a chance to go through the van start checklist yet-we keep finding other things to fix that seem to solve the problem-at least temporarily....
    RodStRace
    RodStRace


    Number of posts : 3046
    Location : Chino Valley
    Registration date : 2010-01-21

    Van Doesn't Start Checklist Empty Re: Van Doesn't Start Checklist

    Post by RodStRace Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:39 pm

    Digz, since I wrote this back in JAN and 10 months later I still haven't edited for GM or FORD, can you do one for the GMs?

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