slow cranking starter

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donald4ham
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slow cranking starter

Post by donald4ham » Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:53 pm

Is it time for a new starter? The battery is full charge and when you push the starter button, it cranks slowly then picks up speed. Any ideas? All the connections are clean and tight.


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Re: slow cranking starter

Post by Dellpound » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:16 pm

Check all battery cables. This includes the ground connection at the frame.

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Re: slow cranking starter

Post by RajoRacer » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:36 pm

If you've never been into it, it's most likely just dirty w/sticky brushes OR the rear Babbitt bushing is swollen or "coming from together" causing a bind.


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Re: slow cranking starter

Post by Jeff Hood » Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:21 am

They crank slow, RRRrrr........RRRrrr........RRRrrr........RRRrrr. After a few revolutions they pick up a little, especially if it fires once or twice.

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Re: slow cranking starter

Post by JohnH » Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:45 am

There are many possibilities. High resistance connections, insufficient wire gauge to the starter. Starter switch burnt or has high resistance contacts. Battery defective - the voltage at its terminals while cranking will reveal any problems there. Starter motor bushings and brushes. Besides measuring the voltage along the wiring while cranking, any warm connections will also reveal undesirable voltage drop.
Don't overlook a dragging high speed clutch either - how easy is it to hand crank when cold? If everything is in order, it should crank at quite a reasonable pace.

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Re: slow cranking starter

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:02 am

If you have one of those braided negative cables it's probably best to lose it. Smelled "burning" on my slow cranker and it was that cable which had good connections & looked fine.
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Re: slow cranking starter

Post by Tom Hicks » Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:36 am

My first T when I didn't know a T from an A had not run for years and did not have the battery. I started with a new 6 volt battery which allowed it to turn over slowly. I cleaned all terminals , it still turned over slowly. I replaced the wiring, it still turned over slowly. I replaced the starter button, it still turned over slowly. The replacement starter button burned out (don't buy the Tractor Supply starter button), so I replace it with a starter button from Langs. All I got from the starter was a slow grind. I took the battery back to Advance, they tested it and found it "weak". They said 6 volt batteries are not big sellers and might sit on the shelf for a long time before being sold and degrade some during that time. So I got a 12 volt battery, she cranked great, and I have not looked back. 12 V cranks stronger and makes auxiliary lighting with LED's easy.

So, I would begin by using a separate battery known to be good and fully charged. Connect heavy gauge jumper cables directly to the starter so you know it is well grounded by one cable and the positive goes to the starter terminal. Then connect them to the good battery and you will find out if your starter is weak.

If the starter is good, then put a heavy gauge jumper across the starter button terminals. If it cranks well then remove the battery from the vehicle and take it to Advance to get tested.

If Advance says the battery is good, replace all the wiring and make sure the connections are all good. Include a ground wire from where the negative attaches to the frame to a bolt that hold the starter on for a good ground.

Old wiring, for example battery terminal connections, can sometimes degrade to where they will show zero ohms of resistance, but won't carry the load they would when new.

If your starter is good, and your starter button is good, and your battery is good, and your wiring is good, you are good to go.


I check the starter first because it is the most expensive item and easily checked. The starter button next because it is easy to check. The battery next because even new ones, especially 6 volt, are suspect. The extra ground wire to the starter might be overkill, but that is how I do it.
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Re: slow cranking starter

Post by Scott_Conger » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:33 am

Caution:

Using a jumper cable from 6V battery to starter is not a valid test of the starter unless the jumper cable is 1/0 wire (and it will not be 1/0). A standard jumper cable is typically designed for 12V and will be too light gauge to conduct the current that the starter will draw. There will be a voltage drop that the starter will not appreciate and will perform marginally even if in top shape.

Additionally, a ground directly to the starter is unnecessary, as resistance through the frame is typically well below 1 OHM. There may be a minimal benefit if your cables are too light (for 12V), otherwise it is unnecessary.

A practical example would be my dad in TN. His car ground slowly for years. I found 12V cables, with a ground directly to the transmission. I installed proper 1/0 wire to starter button and to starter, and a good 8" woven ground strap and with 6V battery you'd have thunk the car would tip over as the old starter spun the engine so well.

There is no substitute for the proper cable and any testing or periferal parts purchased are wasted time until the cables are in place.

And a final thought: unless the starter is hooked up to a test stand and rigged to measure torque, any testing performed otherwise is a does-it-work-test as opposed to knowing if it is working as designed.
Scott Conger

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Re: slow cranking starter

Post by Tom Hicks » Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:20 pm

Scott_conger wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:33 am
Caution:

Using a jumper cable from 6V battery to starter is not a valid test of the starter unless the jumper cable is 1/0 wire (and it will not be 1/0). A standard jumper cable is typically designed for 12V and will be too light gauge to conduct the current that the starter will draw. There will be a voltage drop that the starter will not appreciate and will perform marginally even if in top shape.

Additionally, a ground directly to the starter is unnecessary, as resistance through the frame is typically well below 1 OHM. There may be a minimal benefit if your cables are too light (for 12V), otherwise it is unnecessary.

A practical example would be my dad in TN. His car ground slowly for years. I found 12V cables, with a ground directly to the transmission. I installed proper 1/0 wire to starter button and to starter, and a good 8" woven ground strap and with 6V battery you'd have thunk the car would tip over as the old starter spun the engine so well.

There is no substitute for the proper cable and any testing or periferal parts purchased are wasted time until the cables are in place.

And a final thought: unless the starter is hooked up to a test stand and rigged to measure torque, any testing performed otherwise is a does-it-work-test as opposed to knowing if it is working as designed.

I thought you would weigh in, maybe I am clairvoyant!

For some readers I can not assume common sense will be used and I have to be explicit down to the very last detail. Most readers of this Forum know enough that that level of detail is not necessary.

Let me try again. The starter is the most expensive piece of the system and the most work to replace. So check the starter. Use a 12 volt battery known to be good and fully charged with heavy duty jumper cables. If the starter spins fast enough you know the starter is good. Maybe not to factory specs, but is anyone really going to remove a starter that works satisfactorily to get it hooked up to a test stand and rigged to measure torque? Well, I guess some would...

As I said, the ground to a starter bolt might be overkill, but if the ground to the frame gets corroded your lights might work, but it won't carry the load for the starter.

Starter buttons can have zero ohms resistance and not have the ability to carry the load for the starter. A simple jumper test will tell you.

Cables do go bad, not the cable itself but the ends. Again, they may pass the zero ohms test but not be able to carry the necessary load.

First make sure your starter is good, easy test.

Now let's try to get precise for the pedants.

Disconnect the positive battery terminal from the battery in the vehicle.
Leaving the jumper cable ground to the starter connected, put the positive to the load side of your starter switch. Does the starter crank like you want? If not, you have a bad cable or corroded connection.

If it cranks, put the positive connection to the line side of the starter switch and push the button. Does the starter crank like you want? If not, you need a new starter switch.

If it does work properly, connect the positive from the jumper to the terminal you removed that went to the positive of the battery. Push the starter button, does it crank like you want? If not you need a new cable from the battery to the starter button.

If it does, take your battery to an auto parts store and get it tested.


Bottom line, if your starter works under load, your starter button works, your cables are good, and your battery is good, you are good to go! Figure the most efficient and least time consuming way of troubleshooting them, fix the problem, and drive on!
Technology, the solution to all of our problems... and the cause of most of them.

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Re: slow cranking starter

Post by George Mills » Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:42 pm

The easiest test for a slow starter is to hook up a cheap volt meter with one lead to the starter stud, the other to ground and watch the voltage reading when you engage the starter. Get on the order of 5.8 v or less (i’ve Seen where 6 v won’t do the trick either)? You have weak battery, weak wires, dirty contacts in the starter switch cause...something is eating the voltage and at that point the mechanical part of the starter is just doing the best it can.


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Re: slow cranking starter

Post by Scott_Conger » Thu Jun 06, 2019 3:54 pm

Tom

I'm sorry you took umbrage at my advice, but will state with certainty that if someone had trouble with a starter that I rebuilt, it would not be acceptable for me to tell them to hook it to 12V and if it started the car, it was a "good starter". It might be functional at twice it's designed input voltage, but it would not "good".

We are separated by semantics I guess, as your test would show it to be "good" , whereas I'd say it was "functional on 12V", meaning it was NOT good. Now, I will say this with a smile on my face and say that I would probably not buy a good starter from you at a flea-market. A fender, maybe, but not a starter.
Scott Conger

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Re: slow cranking starter

Post by Tom Hicks » Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:48 pm

Scott_conger wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 3:54 pm
Tom

I'm sorry you took umbrage at my advice, but will state with certainty that if someone had trouble with a starter that I rebuilt, it would not be acceptable for me to tell them to hook it to 12V and if it started the car, it was a "good starter". It might be functional at twice it's designed input voltage, but it would not "good".

We are separated by semantics I guess, as your test would show it to be "good" , whereas I'd say it was "functional on 12V", meaning it was NOT good. Now, I will say this with a smile on my face and say that I would probably not buy a good starter from you at a flea-market. A fender, maybe, but not a starter.
Yeah, I guess it is semantics.

I would say that a starter that turns over fast at 12V with the engine as a load is "good". You would say it is " "functional on 12V", meaning it was NOT good."


Looks like I have four starters that are not good, but I won't replace them until they won't start the engines they are on!
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Re: slow cranking starter

Post by George Hand » Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:11 am

I would do a Voltage Drop Test. Hook up a Volt Meter between the Positive battery Post and the Starter Post engage starter at switch take and note reading. Do the same on the Negative Post to the Starter Case, again engage starter & note reading. Anything above .3 to .5 volt indicates the amount resistance or drop in the circuits (positive side being one, negative the other) that could cause poor performance. Start with the side that indicates the highest reading and test segments to isolate the issue. If you found a drop of say 3 volts on one circuit from a static voltage of 6.5 that would leave only leave 3 volts to do the work. Repair as needed.

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Re: slow cranking starter

Post by AndreFordT » Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:22 am

Sometimes a starter look like this. With a 12V battery it may be working but with a 6V battery it will be an other question.

Good luck
Andre Belgium
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Re: slow cranking starter

Post by Gonenorth » Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:54 am

Most of the "original" starters I have been into are full of oil and grime. Doesn't take much wear on the shaft bushings or clogging of the weep hole in the nose cone to allow oil to migrate into the starter itself. Just as a matter of routine maintenance, I always take an unknown starter apart, clean it up, install new brushes, replace the rear bushing with a sealed ball bearing, and install the kit with the seal in the nose cone. I also make the 45 mile trip to take the armature to a small town automotive electrical shop (none closer) to have the armature tested on a growler and the commutator turned. Its a good investment for $20. I try to live by that motto: "Do it once, do it right, and you don't have to do it again".


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Re: slow cranking starter

Post by Spade » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:45 am

Installing a large ground cable fixed mine.


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Re: slow cranking starter

Post by Norman Kling » Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:27 am

I will ask a few questions, followed by a few facts.
1. Is this a new problem or has the starter been slow since you got the car? The reason I ask, is because when a T starter is working it's best, it is now as fast as some of the more modern cars. Actually a 6 cylinder or 8 cylinder engine starter might sound faster, but that is because more pistons come up on compression on the larger engines.
If the slow starter is something which came about recently, you could have a problem with the starter, the electrical system, or with something in the transmission. One thing to check would be to jack up the rear wheels and put the parking lever in the neutral position. Does the starter speed up? If so, you might have dragging disks in the clutch. Another thing to check would be with the wheels on the ground and the parking brake lever in neutral, can you move the car forward or backward by turning the hand crank? Or does the engine turn over when you push the car in neutral? If either of these happen, you could have bands too tight.
Anyway, in addition to the others' comments and suggestions, these might be helpful. It is important that the starter turns the engine, but really only needs to turn as fast as the hand crank in order to start the engine.
Norm

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Re: slow cranking starter

Post by Ruxstel24 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:31 am

For an example, my 6V spins over as fast as my Subaru. A properly operational starting system will crank a T fast enough to move around in low gear. (Don't try this at home and don't ask how I know!). :shock:

After honing, new rings and tightening rod bearings, with the head off, it felt like I was picking the right front wheel off the ground when hand cranking. The starter spun it over effortlessly. And no problem with the 8:1 head on !! :D

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Re: slow cranking starter

Post by George N Lake Ozark » Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:06 pm

Also helpful to add a second ground strap from engine to frame.

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