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Richard Vyse
05-29-2017, 01:34 PM
After the Lifeliner has been sitting for a week or so when I go to start her it initially sounds like the batteries need a charge. It cranks slow then it takes off. My batteries are 850 crank power and fully charged. Now once it is started for the day it cranks strong. It has never failed me but thought I would ask.

Ideas?

Philip Scanio
05-29-2017, 01:44 PM
Richard, have you checked the cables and connections?

Walter Suiter
05-29-2017, 03:26 PM
Long story made real short, all batterys made since 1990 SUCK.
The old cell to cell connector bar was replaced by a barely adequate on its best day wire that is prone to failure in the parked condition when the battery isn't working. It's a problem that can drive you nuts finding.

You can buy a digital plug in voltmeter on ebay for a few bucks that can plug into the lighter socket and watch the voltage as you crank.

Quick and dirty, if you don't have a meter, pull the headlights on for about half a minute before attempting to start engine. That will generally work the battery enough to give you good starting current.

Another quick and dirty, put a charger on the battery, even a 3 amp charger, for 5 minutes before attempting start.

All the above presumes you do not have a parasitic draw on the battery in parked condition. Vehicle batterys do NOT respond well to small parasitic loads, such as the wonderful GE two way radio "memory draw".

You can also develope a parasitic draw from corrosion, but usually that doesn't happen in collector cars, except in some battery switches.

About the 850 amp rating, it's a lot like the horsepower ratings on box store air compressors and power tools.

Paul Steinberg
05-29-2017, 03:26 PM
You should have batteries with at least 1100 cold cranking amps. With dual batteries, you should be able to get along with what you have.

Peter Grave
05-29-2017, 07:09 PM
If this rig still has negative cable connected to the front cross member on the right side remove the bolt and clean cable lug and frame where it attaches this may help. What I have done in drastic cases is to add a longer (heavy gage) negative cable and run directly to a starter bolt from the battery. Then add a cable from the back of the engine to the firewall for a good ground to the body. This may not be needed if the original ground strap from the engine is still there. Also check positive cable has it been replaced with a smaller gage (lighter) cable than original this will cause voltage drop under load remember that starter draws heavy. NO gypsy terminal ends either they drop voltage under a load. If you have dual batteries check connections between them.

John ED Renstrom
05-29-2017, 10:44 PM
The car should start good on one battery. What I would do is after letting it sit. Assuming you shut the batteries off when you do that. Is check the with a volt meter and see if your getting a drop in voltage when she sits. If the batteries are still at 12 volts after sitting. Then clean all the grounds. Both batteries. The problem will most likely be the starter going bad. But usually your first indexation of a bar starter is hard starting warm.

We're the 850 batteries are a little light the two of them should be will over the nessary amps to crank the car. But if one of them is going bad you will not get the power you need.

All you need to do to test that is try to start it on one battery if that works the try the other one.

Does yours have the cole hearse switch or the selonads? The selonads will burn out the contacts you should have full voltage on Either side with it closed. Same for the rotating switch.

But I would suspect that the batteries are dropping when parked the only current draw with the batteries shut off would be the clock. That should not bring down the battery it's hooked to.

Richard Vyse
05-30-2017, 06:57 AM
Got some great ideas and appreciate in the input. I have a cole switch and always turn batteries off when car is not driven. Batteries are less than a year old and had new cables installed about a year ago. I tried to install a 950 cold crank battery but it was too big for the space.

Jon Kluczynski
05-30-2017, 09:04 AM
Just a thought,,,did you check your timing?

Richard Vyse
05-30-2017, 10:11 AM
Just a thought,,,did you check your timing?

Just had the carb re-built and a complete tune-up. Funny thing is it has always done this ever since I've owned it. Is there a chance I may have a starter issue?

John ED Renstrom
05-30-2017, 12:12 PM
If you changed the cables did they put in ready made #4s. About the size of your little finger?
Have the change the power cables to at least a #2. You will most likely have to have them made up as stated all ready. As I said the starter will normally give you trouble with a hot start. Spin fine when cold but drag when the heat swells things up.

If you batteries are at full load after sitting and the starter drages think power to the starter.

The cold start is were it will draw the most current.

Wayne Krakowski
05-30-2017, 02:35 PM
Russ Dalziel and his 71 M-M had the same problem, wonder if he ever sorted it out rode to Milwaukee with him and often wondered if it would ever start but it always did. slowly but surely.

Richard Vyse
05-31-2017, 07:49 AM
I had a guy tell me to disconnect the coil and try to crank it. If it cranked strong it certainly could be the timing. He also said if that is the case I could hook up a on/off switch so when cranking the car turn the coil off then once cranking flip the switch to start her. Seems like a lot to go through.

Paul Steinberg
05-31-2017, 09:04 AM
A tune up is a lot easier, and will improve your mileage.

Richard Vyse
05-31-2017, 10:03 AM
A tune up is a lot easier, and will improve your mileage.

Thanks Paul, tune-up just done 3 weeks ago with a carb rebuild. It did it before the tune-up and has done this pretty much since I've owned her.

John ED Renstrom
05-31-2017, 11:40 AM
If it has done it all along​, try the jumper cable trick. Put one end of the cables to the negitive post on both batteries and clamp the other ends onto the engine. If it cranks good put a ground strap on the engine to the frame. A good place would be one of the starter bolts right to the frame. As suggested up a post or two.

Alwise done it is the clue. You have done a lot all ready suggested and it has made no difference.

Richard Vyse
05-31-2017, 04:25 PM
If it has done it all along​, try the jumper cable trick. Put one end of the cables to the negitive post on both batteries and clamp the other ends onto the engine. If it cranks good put a ground strap on the engine to the frame. A good place would be one of the starter bolts right to the frame. As suggested up a post or two.

Alwise done it is the clue. You have done a lot all ready suggested and it has made no difference.

I haven't done anything as yet have not had the time.

Paul Steinberg
05-31-2017, 04:30 PM
How many miles on the engine? I had to replace the timing chain on my engine at 70,000 miles. If, when they did the tune up, they didn't check for a jumped tooth on the timing gear, then the timing would be too far advanced, and cause the hard starting problems. One way to check this, is to turn the harmonic balancer in one direction, with the distributor cap removed,, and keep turning until the timing mark is located at the 0 degree mark on the timing tab. Then, turn the harmonic balancer in the opposite direction slowly, watching the distributor rotor pointer, until it moves, and then stop. Compare where the timing mark is in relationship to the timing tab. If you find that it has moved more than 1/8" to 1/4", the timing chain has stretched, and most likely has jumped a tooth.

John ED Renstrom
05-31-2017, 06:32 PM
I haven't done anything as yet have not had the time.

But you have new batteries ,cables ,tuned the engine. A lot of what has been sujested you have done. And it still nothing has changed. So the problem has to be something you have not done.

Richard Vyse
06-01-2017, 02:18 PM
How many miles on the engine? I had to replace the timing chain on my engine at 70,000 miles. If, when they did the tune up, they didn't check for a jumped tooth on the timing gear, then the timing would be too far advanced, and cause the hard starting problems. One way to check this, is to turn the harmonic balancer in one direction, with the distributor cap removed,, and keep turning until the timing mark is located at the 0 degree mark on the timing tab. Then, turn the harmonic balancer in the opposite direction slowly, watching the distributor rotor pointer, until it moves, and then stop. Compare where the timing mark is in relationship to the timing tab. If you find that it has moved more than 1/8" to 1/4", the timing chain has stretched, and most likely has jumped a tooth.

80,000 miles and not aware of having the timing chain being changed.

Walter Suiter
06-01-2017, 09:37 PM
Timing theory is real easy to prove or disprove with a timing light on that vintage.

Paul Steinberg
06-01-2017, 11:29 PM
Timing theory is real easy to prove or disprove with a timing light on that vintage.

Please describe the method using a timing light that will prove a bad timing chain.

Walter Suiter
06-02-2017, 01:31 PM
Please describe the method using a timing light that will prove a bad timing chain.

The timing light will indicate where the engine is firing during the starting attempt.
If the chain is excessively sloppy or one of the sprockets is badly enough worn it will be evident with the light.

I'd be inclined to look to a timing chain problem in a slow starter situation far after I eliminated all possible low voltage to the starter possibilities.
GM was famous for minimalist capacity on the ground connection between engine and battery.

The slow first start of the day followed by good starter speed for the rest of the day pretty much says either a battery or a ground problem.
In a vehicle with parallel 12 volt batteries a bad intercell jumper could easily draw down both batteries in parked condition if the batteries are not isolated.

Since it was mentioned GM connected the battery to engine in this model via the frame crossmember, my first move looking for the problem would probably be jumper cables from engine block to battery-. That would bypass any resistance in either the connection made by frame rivets or a corroded connection to the frame itself.

I see the problem more related to a high resistance connection at initial start that self solves through vibration.

John ED Renstrom
06-02-2017, 09:39 PM
The only way I know to test the slack in the change with a light is to.have the engine warm .set the timing on the mark. Print the engine off idle up around 1500or do the mark should advance as the rpm goes up with the mechanical advance and drop right back to were it was when you let go of it. Shut the car off and start it the mark should be right on if not the chain is warn. Now then if it jumped time like Paul hinted, this test would not tell you that only that the chain or gears were so loose the it would not hold time.

As in the case of my Oldsmobile the high torque starter for the 454 is no longer a across the counter thing. But if you use the low torque starter the problem is the hot start not the Cold. Drove me crazy till I got told I had the wrong starter on it.

Richard Vyse
06-05-2017, 05:12 PM
Ok here's the deal. I just tried to start it with the coil wire off, no difference. I tried activating the headlights first, no difference. I tried starting on battery #1then battery #2, no difference. Tried starting on both batteries same ole same ole but per usual always starts. Drags for a turn then takes off. I've got a battery charger on it and will check in the morning. :D I'm not worried about it starting just thought it should crank and go instead of dragging.

Paul Steinberg
06-05-2017, 10:15 PM
How old are the batteries, and what is the condition of the battery cable terminal ends? Are they the lead terminals that you replace the original terminals with using 2 bolts that clamp the wire to the terminal?
If the engine jumped time, then the engine valves are not opening and closing in the proper sequence to the pistons. so removing the ignition coil wire might not prove anything. Some Cadillac engines used plastic coated timing gears, and eventually the plastic would flake off, causing a loose chain, which would lead to the chain jumping a tooth or two. You can try my method of checking the timing chain, or the method suggested by Walter Suiter.

John ED Renstrom
06-06-2017, 12:13 AM
Jumper cables try that one. Ground the engine to the negative posts on the battery

Richard Vyse
06-06-2017, 06:51 AM
How old are the batteries, and what is the condition of the battery cable terminal ends? Are they the lead terminals that you replace the original terminals with using 2 bolts that clamp the wire to the terminal?
If the engine jumped time, then the engine valves are not opening and closing in the proper sequence to the pistons. so removing the ignition coil wire might not prove anything. Some Cadillac engines used plastic coated timing gears, and eventually the plastic would flake off, causing a loose chain, which would lead to the chain jumping a tooth or two. You can try my method of checking the timing chain, or the method suggested by Walter Suiter.

Cables are the ones with the two bolts ends bolted on. Batteries are only a little over a year.

Richard Vyse
06-06-2017, 06:52 AM
How old are the batteries, and what is the condition of the battery cable terminal ends? Are they the lead terminals that you replace the original terminals with using 2 bolts that clamp the wire to the terminal?
If the engine jumped time, then the engine valves are not opening and closing in the proper sequence to the pistons. so removing the ignition coil wire might not prove anything. Some Cadillac engines used plastic coated timing gears, and eventually the plastic would flake off, causing a loose chain, which would lead to the chain jumping a tooth or two. You can try my method of checking the timing chain, or the method suggested by Walter Suiter.

Cable ends are the ones you bolt on.

Jumper cables try that one. Ground the engine to the negative posts on the battery

I'll try that this morning.

Richard Vyse
06-06-2017, 07:18 AM
Ok then. I had a battery charger on battery #1 and when I went to start it this morning it cranked right up on just the one battery. Turned off and tried to start on battery #2 and it dragged. Switched to both batteries and took right off. So since t cranked right up on battery #1 with the charger on it I take it I may have weak batteries. I suppose that happens when they sit for so long in between use. I have a battery tickler on the motorcycle so perhaps I need to get one for the Lifeliner. Cheaper than replacing batteries.

Thanks for all the efforts and thoughts....

John ED Renstrom
06-06-2017, 08:28 AM
Dump those cable ends that is your problem. They will distort after a short time and cause the cable to be loose. They are also a source of crosion in to the cables. If you can't get any one to put the right ends on down there send them up here I will do it for you.

Richard Vyse
06-06-2017, 11:07 AM
Dump those cable ends that is your problem. They will distort after a short time and cause the cable to be loose. They are also a source of crosion in to the cables. If you can't get any one to put the right ends on down there send them up here I will do it for you.

Just might take you up on that Ed, thanks.

Walter Suiter
06-06-2017, 12:46 PM
You have 2 problems.

FIRST, scrap the crap battery terminals.
If you can't or don't want to use crimp on terminals for some reason, use these compression terminals. They are 99% as good as a properly crimped terminal.
https://www.delcity.net/store/Compression-Nut-Battery-Terminals/p_819607

I'd still like to see the result of a test employing QUALITY jumper cables from Battery - to the engine block itself, and I don't mean the paint on the block. That would bypass any corrosion resistance in the framee ground path.

When you make them up, employ some grease both to eliminate galling as the connection is made up, and to provide an anticorrosive agent. If you know a Cable TV installer con him out of a tube of the silicone grease they use.

Secondly, you may also have a bad intercel jumper on one of the batterys.
The quick & dirty test for that is a 5 minute charge to the battery at less than 5 amps. That will restore the connection and the battery will deliver full available power.

You may also have a low amperage parasitic draw causing the problem.
Is there any connection bypassing the battery switch suck as a clock or GE Phoenix radio?

Trickle chargers are a mixed blessing.
The ones called battery tenders employ voltage sensing that disconnects power to the charger at just below peak point of charge and turns power back onto the charger around 12 volts.
Fortunately that PC Board is available from China for about 5 bucks, and it is simple to build into almost any charger, including onboard chargers.

I continue to disbelieve this is a timing chain issue.

John ED Renstrom
06-10-2017, 10:20 PM
final got the hood of the 67 cleared off enough to open it. this is what you should see for battery ends. the positive end is a bit bigger the then negative one both are soldered onto the #4 gables. i did not have a piece of shrink wrap big enough when I did these or the connection would have that around it.

Richard Vyse
06-21-2017, 05:19 PM
Pictures of my two battery's and hook-ups. Probably need to replace the cables. I went out to start her today after a few weeks of sitting and she cranked slow but started right up. What is really fantastic is the WORKING A/C system which confuses me. Not used to that.

Paul Steinberg
06-21-2017, 08:51 PM
Quick ......... call your insurance carrier, and increase your fire insurance!! Who did the electrical hook ups on your car??? Joe the plumber???

John ED Renstrom
06-21-2017, 11:11 PM
High school shop class with a substitute teacher.

Every one grabbed the easy tap. But each wire they snuck under the strap made the cables that much looser.

Grab the cable and give it a tug, bet it will pull right out the end. But my big question would be why so many things wired hot all the time. The cable out to the mechanical siren and possible one for the clock makes sense but every thing else should shut off with the Cole hearse switch. Bring it up we can spend a week or so and straighten it out for you.

The batteries are backwards all the others I have seen the negative post it on the outside and the cable goes right down to the frame about a 1 foot cable

Richard Vyse
06-22-2017, 06:58 AM
Actually everything does work off the switch. Nothing operates until the switch is turned on. Not sure about all those other hook ups. I know battery #2 has a double ground on it.

John ED Renstrom
06-22-2017, 11:42 AM
You have two wires coming off the POS terminal of one of the. One with a inline fuse. Those wires are hot all the time to what ever t.hay are going to. One I suspect is your new ac set up.i would guess the one with the inline fuse.

Now this is more the norm under a lot of hoods. The hardest part of any restoration is redoing all the quick fixes done over the years. My offer still stands bring the bike up with it go play and I'll clean it up for you.

Peter Grave
06-22-2017, 05:57 PM
This is a laugh 1/2 hour ago my car hauler climbed into his diesel ford dually turned the key and click! Muttering he climbed out cleaned the battery terminals. Jumped in turned the key and CLICK no start. At this point he began screaming the F---ing starter just went. I took a look at the cable ends (done by same guy who did Richards Cadillac). Went got my battery terminal cleaning kit, took the junk miserable gypsy terminal end on the positive apart cable out cleaned it good and presto we had start.The set up on the Cadillac is one of the worst I have seen. I am with Paul BUY FIRE INSURANCE!!!

Richard Vyse
06-23-2017, 07:04 AM
But guys, nothing works period until the battery switch is turned on. I tried it by turning on everything in the car from lights to sirens and including the new A/C system. All dead until I turn the battery switch on. The headlights are the only lights that work with the key off. I have to turn batteries on as well as the ignition key to get anything else to work. I guess I'll take some time and follow (then mark) what the additional cables and hook-ups are and where they're going. Still last evening cranked slow initially for a revolution then faster for two revolutions then cranks right up. I may pull starter and have it checked. :rolleyes: So I take it my two 850 cold cranking amp batteries are strong enough then.

Peter Grave
06-23-2017, 10:54 AM
Richard the resistance built up with corrosion in the JUNK gypsy terminal ends is the issue. If you take them apart you are going to find I am sure white powder mixed in with the copper cable strands. The Ford truck mentioned in the earlier post had a burned melt spot in one place where it arced trying to make contact with the gypsy terminal end. Your problem is the gypsy terminal ends THEY ARE JUNK!!!! There is no other way to put it. Find a heavy truck repair shop in your area that makes battery cables for big rigs have them put proper ends on your cables the problem will leave. DON'T pull the starter the chances of it being the issue are VERY SMALL. The fact that you have gypsy terminal ends on EVERY CABLE to the batteries it is a wonder you have not had a fire. You have a beautiful rig make you battery cables match the rest of the rig. Over the years I have had more Triple A calls for dead battery where the battery was not dead but the JUNK gypsy terminal ends were corroded.

John ED Renstrom
06-23-2017, 11:09 AM
Batteries are big enough. You connections​ are poor. I'll bet you coffee that if you go out and buy 4 new battery ends like the ones you have clean up the wire ends and replace the terminology ends with the new ones it will work better for a time.

That is just the nature of them. If you go out and buy the compression ones as suggested they will last longer. If you have ends soldered on it will be a perment repair.

As for the wires coming off the positive post of the batteries . The cable is most likely your mechanical siren. The black one on the other post a charge wire. The red one with the fuse I'm betting is the relay for the blower on the AC unit. None of these would work untell they were energised with power to do that coming off the ignation Which gets it's power from the machanical switch.

The question I would have is the red wire should go off with the switch and if the other is the charge wire it only direct to one battery. This gives the other on a round about way to receive o the charge.

The car should start easily on one battery. Either one. And run on that battery all day long. From what I see if you have it on the left battery. It would not charge . That one will only get a charge if the switch is in the dule position.

The task of the Cole hearse switch is to be able to shut off all power to the car. There is a tap in the back that will allow you to bypass it for power to the clock. If you bypass the switch to supply power you defeat this purpose

Richard Vyse
06-23-2017, 12:34 PM
Thank you guys and appreciate all the in put. I will work on replacing the cables with the proper ones. Today I go out to test start her and it fires right up on Battery #1. No drag just crank right up. :eek:

Thanks again.

John ED Renstrom
06-23-2017, 08:32 PM
So how about battery number two? Which one is one the right or left?

Paul Steinberg
06-24-2017, 10:48 PM
DISCLAIMER: The opinions posted to this thread may include information from sources that may or may not be reliable and facts that don’t necessarily exist. All comments should be considered satirical and any and all quotes attributed to actual experts are complete and total nonsense. Pictures that represent actual car batteries should be considered altered and not in any way real.

Richard Vyse
06-28-2017, 12:57 PM
I had both batteries tested and they are strong. Turns out it is my battery switch. Took switch apart and jiggled wires and played with switch and got a good connection therefore it cranked right up on Battery #1. So I think I'll switch out the switch. Will this switch work on the Lifeliner? The last switch I purchased was a used one for $15 off eBay.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cole-Hersee-M-750-Battery-Selector-Disconnect-Switch-for-6-36V-truck-boat-car-/322561549852?epid=733387169&hash=item4b1a2aa61c:g:7ScAAOSwwvZZQZfz&vxp=mtr

Paul Steinberg
06-28-2017, 02:06 PM
If it looks like your original switch, then yes. If different, then you might have to deal with mounting holes, etc..

Kurt Arends
06-28-2017, 07:23 PM
Stick with a period-correct switch. The switch in the photo is not. You will get points deducted!! ;)

John ED Renstrom
06-28-2017, 10:27 PM
it always pays to play with everything.

Richard Vyse
06-29-2017, 07:05 AM
Stick with a period-correct switch. The switch in the photo is not. You will get points deducted!! ;)

Only thing I can locate are used ones. Not sure why they go bad. Turns out it is a simple wiring process. Hot side in from each battery then a single hot cable to the starter. :thumbsup: Since I've always left this up to someone else to repair replacing the cables is not such a big deal after all. Just need the proper length, next project. But in the mean time I did replace the cables ends and cleaned up the cables adding protective gel as well.

John ED Renstrom
06-29-2017, 10:20 AM
If nothing else it just cleans up the car. Now if you change the battery switch. Move the charge wire from the alternator to the wire out that way it will charge the battery in Either position. The same for that fused wire. eBay has a lot of sellers that will but ends on fore you and sell cable by the foot. You should not have a need for anything bigger then a #2 wire for the positive and ground. The ground wire should go from the terminal to the frame on the out side. You may have to flip on of the batteries to do that. The a ground cable from the engine to the frame.

My guess is going from the rust belt. As the rust built up things got moved. A neater routing of cables and wire not only looks better it works better.

Richard Vyse
06-29-2017, 01:09 PM
If nothing else it just cleans up the car. Now if you change the battery switch. Move the charge wire from the alternator to the wire out that way it will charge the battery in Either position. The same for that fused wire. eBay has a lot of sellers that will but ends on fore you and sell cable by the foot. You should not have a need for anything bigger then a #2 wire for the positive and ground. The ground wire should go from the terminal to the frame on the out side. You may have to flip on of the batteries to do that. The a ground cable from the engine to the frame.

My guess is going from the rust belt. As the rust built up things got moved. A neater routing of cables and wire not only looks better it works better.

Great information that comes in handy. Thanks for everyone's in-put

Richard Vyse
07-10-2017, 07:41 AM
Well guys got the new switch installed and same old thing. Got a little mad and grabbed the battery cables coming to the switch and pulled on them and wouldn't you know it, it cranked. Get this, ALWAYS double check all your cable connections before ramping up for a project. As I discovered the battery cable to the starter was very VERY loose on the starter. Tightened the cable up and now it cranks like a new one. It cranks on Battery #1, or Battery #2, or on both batteries with no slow cranking whatsoever. I don't have a mechanic on this side of the state therefore have to figure this stuff on my own with the help of the PCS crew.:applause:

John ED Renstrom
07-10-2017, 10:19 AM
If you do it methodigall with out anger one can normally have a easer out come. But what ever works. Hint is when you start having troubles go to the last thing you fix and fix it again.

But congratulations you can now add mechanic to you list

Walter Suiter
07-11-2017, 02:27 AM
Mechanic I know swears he's never made a buck finding a problem the first time. He's paid for a couple nice boats on the same problem coming up again from other cars though.

Education costs.

Richard Vyse
07-17-2017, 10:45 AM
Seems problem is truly solved. After sitting a week went out this morning and on battery #1 cranked right up.... YIPPEE:D