Mechanics

CAR WON'T START. NO SPARK.

2011 Dodge Custom • 6 cylinder 2WD Automatic •

I have a 1948 Dodge Custom. When I got the car delivered from the previous owner, we tried to start it, but the 6v battery was dead, even though it had been fully charged 2 days before. The man then used a 12 v battery to try to start it, and it did start, but ran very rough, taking a lot of throttle to keep it going. He got it up my driveway, and couldn't understand how it had previously started so easily, and ran so smooth before this. Then I pointed out the the 12v battery was beginning to smoke. He pulled off the battery cable, and said that he forgot that this car was a 6v Positive ground. He reconnected the battery the right way, and it started easily, and ran smooth.
After that, we have been unable to start the car. I tested the coil, and it came up bad, so I got a new 6v coil. Still, no spark to the plugs, and none from the coil, either. What to do?
Avatar
Cke140
July 20, 2011.



Are we "Old Car" literate in any way?

Can you perform "Fixin' Tasks"?

I do not understand "Starting w/Battery hooked up backwards"?

Generally when you hook a battery up backwards "POLARITY" is switched throughout your rig. Starter would spin backwards. No cranky?

Just for Giggles (and only for giggles) I'm gonna pretend you do not have any carburetor issues and it's all ignition related. (A simple test to rule out fuel issues is: if you can get it sputtering again, a spray bottle w/ fuel squirting it down the carb. Does it pick up and run better?)

I do not know you rig much at all. My #2 daily driver is 2 years older than yours, I resurrected him from nothingness, completely by myself, including upgrading to 12V, alternator, all necessary ignition wiring to the coil. Kept the points. Started with absolutely no wires, used 3 different diagrams to sorta customize my wiring to suit my wants and needs, and added fuses, as originally, there were none.

So I can see, you sorta sense the pain I experienced over a 2 year period

I wish you were running, this would be EZer. If not, can you remove the Generator and have it tested?

Can you perform voltage tests with a voltmeter? Do you know how to work on point systems? Tune Up an old car?

Anymore stuff I need to know?

I sorta wanted you to see, I'm not inexperienced and do have "hands on" with stuff like yours

Last question, Why didn't you get a "Real, Proven, Beautiful Vehicle". Like mine!

Your Turn

The Medic


Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
Jul 20, 2011.
Hi !
I said the battery was hooked up backwards because it is a 6v POSITIVE GROUND system, therefore the ground is the + terminal. The man used a 12v battery with the - terminal hooked up to the ground. Surprisingly, the car started and ran, though really rough, like this. When he switched the cables around, everything worked great. The car started easily, and ran smooth. That was the last time it ran.
I've done just about every kind of work on all kinds of cars for over 40 years now, but have never had one quite this old, and never a 6v, nor a positive ground.
I've heard about polarizing the system the wrong way. The stater does crank the engine around, but just will not get any spark to the plugs. I never thought to check if it is spinning it the wrong way.
I replaced the condensor thinking that would have been easy to burn out. I tested the old, original coil in the car, and it came up bad. I replaced that with a new 6v coil. I used my tester, and somehow get 6v to the positive terminal on the coil with the ignition off, and this falls to zero with the ignition on, just the opposite of what I would expect. The points open and close (cranked with the dist. Cap off) and you can see them spark.
Maybe it is polarized backwards. I'll have to check which way it should turn, and see if it does that. I thought that the polarizing only affected the generator. Since it won't start at all, I can't tell.
Gas is not an issue, as I know it is getting to the carb. We even tried a shot of ether in it. I pulled the #1 plug wire off, but there is no spark gapping from the lead wire when cranked.
Like I said before, the car DID start easily, once the batt cables were put on the right way. Just won't do a thing since. Please let me know, if you know, just how much switching polarity would affect the car. Would that only cause the generator not to work, or would it switch everything backward?
Thanks for your help.
Bob


Tiny
Cke140
Jul 20, 2011.
I'M PROCESSING STUFF! HAVE SOME THINGS FOR YOU TO CHECK. PLEASE ANSWER
QUESTIONS AND NOT ROAM AWAY TO OTHER STUFF, AS MANY OTHERS DO!

CHOW TIME!

NOVEL WRITING WILL BEGIN SOON!

THE MEDIC


Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
Jul 20, 2011.
Hi !
OK, I will be up. I'm in Japan right now, and just got up from a nap. So, I will wait for your response.
Thanks again.
Bob


Tiny
Cke140
Jul 20, 2011.
1) IS THIS THING MOSTLY ORIGINAL, INCLUDING THE WIRING?

2) ORIGINALLY POS GROUND? THE VEHICLE DON'T CARE WHERE THE "POLES" ARE, AS LONG AS IT'S FIXTURES ARE HOOKED UP ACCORDINGLY, OR ARE WIRED TO SUIT,

3) SOMETIMES DEVISES ARE USED TO "UP" VOLTAGE TO 12V, OR "DOWN" VOLTAGES TO 6 VOLTS, TO MAKE THINGS WORK. ANYTHING LIKE THAT ON YOUR RIG?

4)OTHER THAN WORD OF MOUTH, AND A BATTERY SITTING THERE, HOW DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE THIS IS A 6 VOLT SYSTEM. WHEN IT WAS STARTED WITH 12 VOLTS, WAS THE STARTER DOIN' A BILLION RPMs?

5) IS BATTERY POS, HOOKED TO GROUND?

6) CAN YOU CHARGE THE 6 VOLT BATTERY? EVEN BARELY CHARGED DOES THE ENGINE TURN, AND IN THE PROPER DIRECTION (WATCH FAN, SEE IF IT "WOULD BE BLOWIN' REARWARD". HOOKING A 12 VOLT BATTERY POS GROUND, WILL IT SPIN THE MOTOR THE PROPER DIRECTION?

7) WILL THE STARTER MOVE AT ALL? I RECKON THAT SHOULD BEEN A 1ST QUESTION!

CAN YOU SEND PICS ---A BIT OUT, THEN IN ON THESE ITEMS IF YOU HAVE THEM. STARTER. STARTER SOLENOID, OR IS THIS "FOOT START". GENERATOR, OR IS IT NOW A ALTERNATOR. DISTRIBUTOR (AND INSIDE AT POINT SYSTEM). VOLTAGE REGULATOR.

WHAT ABOUT A BALLAST RESISTOR, IS THERE ONE, SOMEWHERE ON YOUR IGNITION WIRE (KEY ON WIRE)?

THIS OUGHT BE FUN. WITH A "POLARITY TWIST"!

THE MEDIC


Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
Jul 20, 2011.
Hi Again !
Thanks for your response.

1. Yes, the car is an all original 1948 Dodge Custom. This site did not have a vehicle year choice that far back, so it says 2011 Dodge, but it's not - it is an all original, 6 volt system. The wiring is also all original, fabric insulated. Some fraying on the distributer wires, but they are not shorting, and I get good continuity on them.

2. Yes, the car was originally manufactured as a 6 volt, positive ground system, as most were at the time.

3. There is a small, relay-looking item that the ignition wires go to and from the distributer, and I am told that this is an after market voltage reducer, which was common at the time, to reduce the voltage to the points to make them last longer. It is the only item not on the original schematic.

4. No word of mouth, this is a 6 volt car. The starter turned faster with the 12 v batt, but not THAT fast.

5. Yes, the battery POS terminal is hooked the ground.

6. We charged the 6v battery, and the engine cranks around just fine, just no spark produced. I don't know if the engine is spinning the right way, or not. I'll have to look at that when I get out to it. I have not tried using a 12v battery in it.

7. The starter moves just fine, and cranks the engine around well.

It is a generator - this is a really original, un-altered car. I can try to get some pics for you, if that will help. There is no ballast resistor, no fuses, either. Only a circut breaker on the headlamp switch, which I looked for, but could not find, or recognize. The car has an ignition switch, with the key, and a starter button on the left of the dash.

I am starting to get the idea that maybe, when the car was started, and ran real rough with the 12 v batt, that it actually started and ran BACKWARDS. The previous owner very infrequently drove the car, so maybe he drove it up the driveway in reverse, with the engine running backwards? Why it ran OK after switching the cables, and will not start now, is still a mystery.
This would presume that the whole ignition circut is now backwards, and not just the generator.

I really need to see if the starter turns the engine backwards.

Thanks,

Bob


Tiny
Cke140
Jul 20, 2011.
LIKE I SAID WATCH THE FAN BLADE ACTION!

THE VOLTAGE REDUCER IS A "BALLAST RESISTOR"!

I MIGHT THINK IT WOULD BE THE PROBLEM!

12 VOLTS MAY HAVE BURNT IT UP!

WE CAN CHECK EZily!

IF YOU CAN SEE, MANY BALLAST RESISTORS ARE A COIL OF WIRE, TUCKED INSIDE CERAMIC, TO PROTECT THE COIL AND IT GETS HOT TOO. MINE IS A HOLLOWED OUT CERAMIC BAR, YOU CAN SEE THE COIL FROM THE BACK SIDE. SEE IF YOURS IS FRIED!

I WANT YOU TAKE A JUMPER WIRE (ALLIGATOR CLIP TYPE, SHORT LENGTH IS FINE!) AND JUMP ACROSS THE BALLAST RESISTOR (VOLTAGE REDUCER). THIS WILL PROVIDE FULL 6/ 12 VOLTS TO THE COIL. IF IT RUNS, KILL IT, YOU NEED A NEW RESISTOR AND A SERVICEABLE 6 VOLT BATTERY, BEFORE YOU MESS UP THE COIL!

HERE'S A PIC OF MY BALLAST RESISTOR.I BELIEVE THEY ARE DIFFERENT 6 VOLT AND 12 VOLT (DIFFERENT WINDING).I NEVER INQUIRED, SINCE I STEPPED UP TO 12 V ANYWAY!

BACK UP AND LOOK AT MY "BEAUTIFUL" L-134 45 H.P. POWER HAWG INCREDIBLE ENGINE!

TOWARDS THE TOP, LEFT, IS THE OIL FILTER. RIGHT OF THAT IS MY ENGINE. IN THE MIDDLE IS A "WHITE THINGEE". THAT IS MY BALLAST RESISTOR. ON 2 OCCASIONS IS HAS BROKEN, PROBABLY FROM BOUNCING "WILLY" AROUND. NOT FROM JUST HEAT ALONE! I CARRY A BUNCH OF FIXIN' STUFF WITH ME. WHEN I FIGURED IT OUT, I SIMPLY CONNECTED THE 2 FEMALE CONNECTORS TOGETHER AND ELIMINATED THE "BR" TILL I COULD GET A NEW ONE (IT IS EXTENDED LIFE FOR A COIL AND POINTS). FINE, SINCE ORIGINALLY IT DID NOT HAVE ONE, AND 12 VOLTS IS "NORMAL" FOR MINE NOW, I HAVE A 12 VOLT COIL, AND MY CONDENSER IS FOR A 12 VOLT SYSTEM.

YOUR'S IS 6 VOLT, RUNNING 12 VOLT FOR EXTENDED PERIODS IS NOT GOOD. HOWEVER USING THE 6 VOLT BATTERY, AND TEMPORARILY ELIMINATING THE "BR". STILL USING FULL 6 VOLTS, TO THE COIL, WILL DAMAGE NOTHING, JUST SHORTEN COIL AND POINT LIFE.

I DO RECOMMEND YOU REPLACE IT, IF THIS IS YOUR FIX!

YOUR TURN AGAIN!

THE MEDIC


Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
Jul 20, 2011.
Hi Again !

I will certainly check the fan rotation when I get home. The engine being turned the wrong way will explain a lot.

The item that I was told might be a 'voltage reducer' is no ballast resistor - I have seen yours in the photo, and have seen many others before. There is no ceramic piece at all. It actually looks like a mini voltage regulator, with a rectangular domed metal cap. I went to NAPA to see if they had one, and we found a picture on their computer of an identical item. They call it a horn relay. Maybe it is exactly that, but it is not located where the schematic says it should be, and is an obviously added-on part. The ignition wire connects to it, and this car was originally manufactured so that the ignition must be on in order to sound the horn, unlike modern vehicles. I am trying to get a new one of these, anyway, since something may have burned out in it, but I really don't think this is the cause. I could certainly try jumping it, anyway. I can also try hotwiring the car.

First of all, I will crank it again, and check the fan rotation. It it goes backwards, then I know the problem. Re-polarizing the system seems pretty easy to do. Failing that, I will jump the relay, and/or just hotwire the car.

I hate to be convinced of a solution based on conjecture, but a lot of things add up here. First, the owner fully charged the 6v battey, and then installed it in the car before delivering it to me - but he probably connected the negative to the ground, draining the battery in the 2 days it took to get here. Then he hooked-up the 12v to it, also backwards. It started, but ran real rough, and took lots of throttle to keep it running, because the engine was really running backwards! I think this would be possible because the timing is close to TDC, so not such a reach. Then, not really that familiar with the car himself, wound up putting it into reverse (it's really a Fluid Drive) to drive it forward into the driveway. Why it started again really easy after hooking up the battery the right way is still a mystery, as the polarity should have already been switched at this point. Somewhere in this scenario, whatever was left in the field winding of the original 63 year-old coil probably gave out, and that's why it tested bad later.

So, I will just have to see what way the engine turns, and go from there.

I'll let you know how it turns out. Thanks again for all your help.

Bob


Tiny
Cke140
Jul 20, 2011.
MY STARTER WILL TURN BACKWARDS--HOWEVER THE STARTER DRIVE WILL NOT KICK FORWARD. IT WORKS WITH AN ECCENTRIC WEIGHT, AND A ACME SCREW, AND TURNING BACKWARDS ACTUALLY SCREWS IT "INWARD" AWAY FROM THE FLYWHEEL!

I FOUND THIS OUT WHEN I INSTALLED MY NEW 12 VOLT FIELDS INTO THE OLD 6 VOLT STARTER HOUSING. HERE'S THE CATCH. INSTALLED MY BRUSHES A 1/4 TURN, FROM THE CORRECT POSITION

I TOOK IT ALL APART AND TOOK THE FIELDS BACK TO THE ALTERNATOR SHOP AND PROCLAIMED I HAD THE WRONG FIELDS, THEN THEY SORTA GOT ME ON TRACK, AND I HAD TO INSTALL THEM AGAIN, THIS TIME ROTATE MY BRUSHES INTO PLACE

LESSON WELL LEARNED---MARK POSITIONS OF ANY DEVICE WITH A MARKER, CHISEL, ETC. SO THINGS LINE BACK UP LATER!

I REALLY DO NOT THINK YOUR ENGINE COULD RUN BACKWARDS, UNLESS IT WAS A 2 STROKE!

CHECK YOUR VOLTAGE AT POS COIL, POINT'S OPEN. THEN WITH THEM CLOSED

A BALLAST RESISTOR WOULD MOST LIKELY BE FROM "ON", ON THE IGNITION SWITCH TO THE COIL. REVERSE POLES MESS ME UP. IT MAY BE ON POSITIVE SIDE OF COIL TO WHEREVER!

WITH THE EXCEPTION OF "ELECTRONIC IGNITION"----I WIRED "WILLY" MUCH THE SAME AS A '79 JEEP CJIF YOU WILL LOOK AT THE DIAGRAM (WHICH I COLORED IN "MS PAINT", MAKES IT EZ TO FOLLOW STUFF)

GO TO THE COIL CONNECTOR (POS SIDE) YOU WILL SEE ONE SIDE GOES TO THE SOLENOID "I" TERMINAL (TEMPORARY FULL BATTERY VOLTAGE, TO THE COIL, ONLY WHILE CRANKING) WHEN IT FIRES UP, RELEASE THE KEY, AND IT REVERTS BACK THE OTHER DIRECTION (TOWARDS THE "ON" POSITION OF THE KEY)

NOTICE WHEN YOU HEAD TOWARDS THE KEY, YOU ARE ON A "RESISTANCE WIRE". THIS TAKES THE PLACE OF A BALLAST RESISTOR ON A 1979 JEEP CJ. MANY OTHER VEHICLES TOO. USING A COIL WITH A INTERNAL RESISTOR COMPOUNDS THE RESISTANCE, RESULTS IN NO VOLTAGE TO RUN THE COIL.

THIS IS COMMON FOR A CJ TO GET THE WRONG COIL, THE RIGHT ONE IS FOR "EXTERNAL RESISTOR ONLY". WIRE OR BALLAST RESISTOR, IS EXTERNAL RESISTANCE!

WHEN I DID "WILLY", THIS IS JUST A "PLAIN JANE" WIRE. WITH A BALLAST RESISTOR INSTALLED NEARER TO THE COIL

I DID USE "I" TERMINAL (FORD SOLENOID. JEEP USED THE SAME) TO GIVE "WILLY" THAT TEMPORARY EXTRA BOOST OF VOLTAGE, DURING START-UP, WHILE THE STARTER WAS "STEALING" THE VOLTAGE IN THE SYSTEM

HOT WIRE ON MY JEEPS IS: POS BATTERY TO POS COIL (BYPASS THE IGNITION SWITCH)THEN CRANK!WITHOUT A WIRE DIAGRAM, I CANNOT SAFELY TELL YOU HOW TO DO YOURS, BECAUSE OF POS BEING GROUND, I DON'T EXACTLY KNOW HOW YOUR COIL GETS ENERGIZED

THE MEDIC


Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
Jul 20, 2011.
MISTAKE ABOVE IS "A RESISTANCE WIRE OR A BALLAST RESISTOR 'IS' EXTERNAL RESISTANCE".A COIL "WITHOUT INTERNAL RESISTANCE", IS A MUST!

KEEP ME POSTED, I LIVE FOR THESE KINDS OF REPAIRS!

THE MEDIC


Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
Jul 20, 2011.
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