View Full Version : Starter troubles...SBC w/ Volvo 270

08-13-2013, 07:58 PM
I'm having some issues with the starter on my 76 X-18. For the past few weeks, the starter would only engage occasionally when trying to start it, like once every 2 or 3 times, regardless of hot or cold engine conditions. The starter itself was rebuilt in mid-june, the battery was replaced in early July and has a full charge. All connections are clean and tight. When the ignition key is turned, theres nothing, just the drop in the needle on the voltmeter. I had the starter out and checked the solenoid on the bench, kicks out the bendix just fine and the starter turns freely. With the starter in the boat, I jumped from the battery stud on the starter to the solenoid stud and the engine turns over and starts fine. With the battery disconnected, I tested the starter circuit, and the switch appears to be working properly, but the starter won't engage even if I jump it at the switch. I'm kind of at a loss, and this weekend is the start of my week of vacation. Any ideas?

08-13-2013, 08:54 PM
Do you have a slave solenoid? Went through a similar condition last year on a buddies boat, he did not have one like many of our older Donzi's. I had a spare Ford stater solenoid which did the trick. To see if you need one try jumping the solenoid at the stater if it works every time install a slave.

P.S. All newer installations have a slave!


08-13-2013, 10:49 PM
Check the voltage from the starter switch to the solenoid. I'm betting the starter switch contacts are worn and you're getting too much voltage drop across the switch contacts.

You could also meter the resistance in the switch from power to start.

08-13-2013, 10:55 PM
I had this same issue on my Hornet this Spring. 1972 SBC, Volvo 270. Every thing checked out fine. 2 year old Interstate battery was the culprit. Load tested it and it had a dead cell.... I know you have a new battery, but double check just to make sure...

08-13-2013, 11:45 PM
all good input you'll need to test each

08-14-2013, 06:17 AM
If you jumped from the Main Battery Cable on the solenoid to the Lead coming out of the starter housing that is screwed/bolted to the solenoid and it starts fine you have a voltage drop inside the solenoid. You can inspect or verify this by removing the solenoid, remove the Black or Brown Bakelite , and inspect the contacts inside the solenoid. There will be 2 large contacts, 1 each for the main battery cable and the starter field, and 1 small "wiper" that is on the smaller bolt. The 2 large contacts should be relatively clean, if not you can loosen the retaining nuts enough to turn them 1/2 turn to the unused side of the contact bolt, and retighten. Also be sure to check the "washer" that these contacts "run" against, if it is burnt up looking, you can remove the "E" clip retaining ot to the plunger, flip it over and reassemble. If you reassemble the solenoid you have a "rebuilt" solenoid now, and it should correct the problem.
If you go the "Slave" solenoid route, use the current starter wire from the switch to energize the "Slave" solenoid, and run a 10 gauge wire from the Positive battery post to one side of the "Slave" solenoid and from the other side of the "Slave" solenoid to the Starter solenoids "Start" post. The idea is to increase the "volume" of voltage going to the starters "Start" post.

Hope this helps,

08-17-2013, 05:53 AM
Thanks for all the great recommendations, I'm heading up this morning and have full confidence that I'll be able to figure it out because of your help. I'll let you all know what I find.

08-17-2013, 05:11 PM
If you can start the engine only at the solonoid~~~but Not the key-switch~~

Another area to check is all the connections on the back of the key-switch and any fuse, or circuit breaker, connections that feed the ignition starting circuit.
Key-switch internal switch "start" contacts could also be old & failing.

Make sure all the small "start" wire ignition key-switch connections are all clean , and the terminal lugs are all secure & in good condition.

75% of the time it will usually be dirty/corroded internal solonoid contacts from my experience from internal solonoid contacts cap water condensation.

Good Luck ~~