OT: 58 Edsel Battery Issue. Reaching out for fellow Ford guys.

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2017: OT: 58 Edsel Battery Issue. Reaching out for fellow Ford guys.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Brough on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 - 09:10 pm:

Posted on an Edsel forum board, but I'm up against a time window and little or no response over there, so I thought I'd reach out to my fellow Ford owners and see.


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Working on a friends 58 Edsel while he is laid up. I have no history with the car so don't know what the bench mark is. Won't start and sounded like dead battery as the solinoid would click when the key is turned, but nothing else. Fully charge new batter and new solinoid installed, same thing. Turn key and rapid buzzing or clicking from the solinoid. So my first thought is short in starter. But, with key off and lights on, when I honk the horn, the lights go out and the horn sounds barely activated. So, some sort of massive drain on the battery. It's still fully charged and jumping form another vhicle changes nothing. If it's a starter issue, why the drain on the lights and horn with the key off?

Does all the power go through the starter?

both battery cables look new and connections are good, tight and clean at both ground crossmember, fender bolt and solinoid on the fender.



Where should I look? Thanks in advance.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Matt cwynar on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 - 09:20 pm:

Is the engine possibly seized? If not possible the starter is stuck. That would cause a huge drain. I have had a model a starter bendix get stuck in the flywheel teeth and would cause a huge drain and not be able to even budge the engine.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Walter Higgins on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 - 09:23 pm:

Is there a battery disconnect in the system? Particularly one of those with the green plastic knob on the ground post?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Dodd on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 - 09:27 pm:

Bad cable, bad ground or both


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 - 09:48 pm:

What Bill said above; throwing a load on the battery and losing everything is a bad connection. (or a bad battery but you said you replaced it). Battery cables or possibly a ground from the engine to the frame is shot or missing. The chattering solenoid might be losing it's ground. I take from what you've described that the starter isn't operating at all. Find that engine to frame ground wire and check it out.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Sullivan on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 - 09:56 pm:

I'll add my vote to those above, sometimes the cables look good but have corrosion inside, use a multi meter, easy to find. Dave in Bellingham. WA


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Walter Higgins on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 - 10:02 pm:

Where I was going with the disconnect in the circuit is they will fail internally but seem fine on the outside. I mentioned that since you indicated you inspected the cables and connections. If there is one, take it out of the circuit and try again.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Aaron Griffey, Hayward Ca. on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 - 10:09 pm:

Poor connection on battery post.
Seized engine will not cause solenoid to click.
Could also be at ground, solenoid or starter.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Fred Dimock, Newfields NH, USA on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 - 10:10 pm:

When I have a problem like this I go full retard and by pass the solenoid.

With the battery in the car connect a ground cable directly from the battery to the block. Use a jumper cable.
Then take the other jumper cable and clamp one end on the starter post.
Next touch the other end of the cable to the battery post and see if the starter turns.
If it dosenít turn you have a problem with the starter or frozen motor.

If it turns remove the ground cable and try again.
If it dosenít turn you have a ground problem.
If it does turn the problem is in the solenoid or wiring


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Aaron Griffey, Hayward Ca. on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 - 10:11 pm:

Poor connection on battery post.
Seized engine will not cause solenoid to click.
Could also be at ground, solenoid or starter.
Put a socket on the crankshaft at the front and turn the engine over.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Brough on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 - 10:21 pm:

I'm thinking grounds or connections as the low horn and dim lights that die when the horn is pushed, have noting to do with the starter or solinoid unless all "hot" goes through them.

I like the jumper cable negative to block idea to make my own grounding circuit. No battery shutoff that is obvious and when I mentioned the initial problem to the owner, he did not mention any obvious things that came to his mind. The battery not taking a jump off a working battery also has me thinking connections or cables. I'm taking the solinoid back to NAPA as changing it did not change any perameters, so I'll pick up two new cables.

The negative cable goes to crossmember, but also has a smaller wire that comes off the terminal and goes to a bolt on the fender. The same fender that the solinoid is connected to. Hmmmmm..

I'll play with the ideas suggested here and report back.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mack Cole ---- Earth on Thursday, November 02, 2017 - 12:14 am:

If it has a green knobbed disconnect thingy on the battery,throw that piece of #&$^ as far as you can away from the car. As they age you have to tighten them more and more and eventually they arc internally and will make problems.
What I have found in several cases is the copper cable it's self will be corroded up inside the lead terminal. If the post were corroded,and you brushed them off, then take each cable in your hand,bend the wire back at the lead terminal and if you see green up in there where the wire goes in, that could spell bad connection.
I run into this on tractors that have factory cables and some old cars.

Loose ground on engine will do this 2.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Thursday, November 02, 2017 - 01:25 am:

If all fails try Fordbarn.com the late V8 forum section.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Davis on Thursday, November 02, 2017 - 01:26 am:

I agree with the above posts, some sort of bad connection or corroded wire or terminal lug which can develop high resistance due to corrosion and old lead solder crystallization, one other thing if the starter was indeed shorted it should blow the fusible link, if the car has one, I don't know what year Ford started putting them on, another test is to use a battery load tester both at the battery both sides of the disconnect and then at the starter, see if any thing starts smoking or gets warm or hot to the touch, I too have seen old wires that looked good have bad corroded wire, just start at the power source / battery and work towards the starter till You find the problem, a cheap auto zone test light is the tool I use most in finding electrical problems just don't test the air bag connections but then the Edsel didn't have one.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George Hand on Thursday, November 02, 2017 - 01:29 am:

Do a voltage drop test at each segment of the system best done with a volt meter, You would be looking for high resistance in each segment 1st test the ground side place 1 meter lead at the neg. terminal post on the battery then place (use black or common terminal of meter)
then place the other lead at starter motor case(ground), try to crank, any reading above .5v will indicate a voltage drop in excess. The higher the voltage reading the more loss to that segment of the system. You can test battery to battery post also! If acceptable reading go to the hot or positive side of the system, red lead on positive battery post other lead at positive cable terminal at battery, move that second lead on to hot side of the starter solenoid, do a crank cycle at each position note results, if needed move on to having the second lead on the starter solenoid post. this will test the battery feed and ground circuits. If needed test the solenoid circuit starting side, this can be done via voltage drop or test lamp test. These test also may be performed by the use of an automotive headlamp capsule with leads soldered to the headlamp terminals instead of using the volt meter, when testing the brighter the light from the lamp the greater the voltage loss, use a helper and both use safety glasses when making these test. These instructions may seem more complicated than the actual test and it assumed the battery is capable of generating enough amperage to operate the starter while maintaining a battery voltage above 10.5v during cranking. Good luck


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Hatch on Thursday, November 02, 2017 - 02:01 am:

Also: Load test the Battery. I have seen bad brand new ones. Dan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Miller, Mostly in Dearborn on Thursday, November 02, 2017 - 04:59 am:

Clean the connections on the left post of the solenoid. It is at that point where current goes to the starter as well as the lights and horn. There will be two or three lugs on that terminal and they tend to corrode.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Miller, Mostly in Dearborn on Thursday, November 02, 2017 - 06:13 am:

Re-Reading your original post, you state the connections at the solenoid are clean.

Then I would suspect the other side. I would try connecting a jumper cable from the negative battery post to a good ground on the engine. I have seen a few cases where the grounding post on the block has corroded. There should also be a small ground strap on the back of the RH cylinder head secured to the dash. This provides the body ground. Years ago, I saw accelerator cables failing when this wire corroded.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By dale w on Thursday, November 02, 2017 - 08:40 am:

two separate problems:

A) bad ground connection(s)

2) jammed starter on seized engine.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ed Baudoux Grayling Michigan on Thursday, November 02, 2017 - 08:52 am:

You have a faulty connection somewhere. As has been said, they can look fine, but make no contact. Don't over think it. The number one rule to electrical diagnosis is, the bigger the symptom, the simpler the solution. Thankfully you have a big symptom. I have seen many of these situations, but the best one was a 1968 Chevrolet sedan. The alternator was not grounded to the engine and would not charge. I removed the alternator and shined up the mounting surfaces. It still had no ground. I ran a redundant ground wire to the frame of the alternator and fixed it. Had I not seen that one myself, I would not believe it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Thursday, November 02, 2017 - 09:31 am:

Got jumper cables? Simple test: cable from the neg. batt post to the engine. You describe grounds to the frame and fender but none to the engine. A neg. cable to the frame and another to the fender are doing the same thing but their NOT grounding the engine. Thinking now it may be something else because the horns are body grounded.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Brough on Thursday, November 02, 2017 - 06:35 pm:

I'll do some testing tomorrow. And I dont see a downside to removing the negative cable from the frame and cleaning up all contacts. A battery to frame grounding issue might explain all the issues I am having.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Lloid on Thursday, November 02, 2017 - 07:46 pm:

Sounds like ground, starter or dirty battery cables or dead battery. Jmho


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By William Dizer on Sunday, November 05, 2017 - 04:11 am:

If the battery is good, turn a load on like hi beam head lights, and start feeling carefully for heat at connections. Resistance generates heat! I have seen many cables fail where the wire enters the lead battery connector. If it has any of those cheap replacement ends, suspect the cable connection there. Use a voltmeter between the ends of the cable, Connect volt meter directly to the battery post, and then to the solenoid post, or the engine/body grounds and check readings. If it reads any voltage, you have a bad connection. Again, this is with a load like headlights on.. You are going ground post to engine/body ground, and positive post to solenoid/main feed wire to electrical system.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Miller, Mostly in Dearborn on Sunday, November 05, 2017 - 09:43 am:

Can I get closure here? What was it?

(Message edited by Tmiller6 on November 05, 2017)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Brough on Sunday, November 05, 2017 - 02:55 pm:

Well, I don't know about closure, but the door is, at least, closing with us. Don't ask for the numbers as my son did the reading while I turned the key and ran the light switch and harn. But, as of this afternoon, we are headed towards pulling the starter out and having it checked. Everything else appears to show within tolerances and installing a new battery, although a different group size, but still 12v, did not change anything.
Two wires attached to the starter that feed current to the lights and horn, so that might explain why they are affected without trying to start the car, if there is a short or issue with the starter, all current flowing through it would be affected, IMO.

So, right now, it will be up to the owner, who is recovering in assisted living from a massive stroke, if he wants to pursue it. We can assist with towing to a shop, or we might even be able to pull the starter out and take it to a shop for him, but there is very little clearance under the car to work and remove this starter and very little room in his garage to get a floor jack and jack stands under the car.

In a few weeks I will have access to a steel builidng with three bays and might be able to get the car there and work on it during the next few months.

I will report back and keep looking here for any other possible thoughts, but right now we are headed down the starter route.

Thanks to all...to be continued . . .


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Walter Higgins on Sunday, November 05, 2017 - 03:07 pm:

Edsels, like my Lincolns of the same era, derive their accessory power from the battery side of the starter solenoid mounted on the inside of the fender well. Edsel wiring diagrams confirm this. If I am correctly reading what you describe, pulling accessory power directly from the starter will only give you power to those accessories when you turn the key to "start" and then be cut off when you return it to "on". Accessories, such as lamps and horns, are normally hot regardless of key position including "off". If you are pulling anything for the lights and horn without the key turned to "start", it would have to be leakage through the solenoid and you shouldn't even have that.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By dale w on Sunday, November 05, 2017 - 06:38 pm:

Get a multi tester and set it to the ohms scale.
Jab one probe on the ground terminal of the battery and the other on your engine to see if you have continuity and therefore a good ground, or just take a good cable and attach the block directly to the battery ground.

Take a pair of pliers, turn them around so the jaws face you and use the ends of the handles to jump across the heavy cables on either side of the fender mounted solenoid, or take the cable running from the battery to this solenoid off the solenoid and touch it to the cable going from the solenoid to the starter.

If you get nuthin', smack the body of the starter a few times with a hammer to un-jam it and try again, or put a socket on the bottom engine pulley and turn it clockwise a bit to release the starter bendix from the engine's flywheel (this method will also tell you if your engine is seized).

If your cable connection to your starter is good and there is continuity in this cable from the solenoid to the starter, and it still wont work, you have a bad starter.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Sunday, November 05, 2017 - 08:45 pm:

So you're going to pull the starter without even taking 2 minutes to hook up a temporary ground from the engine to the frame which just might solve the problem. Well good luck to you. The expression "you can lead a horse to water" comes to mind..


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Brough on Sunday, November 05, 2017 - 10:20 pm:

Charlie,
Sorry, you feel that way. Let me recap, for your benefit, what we did this afternoon.
We got in the car.
We drove to my friends house.
We got out of the car.
We opened the garage door.
We opened the hood of the Edsel.
We looked at each other for direction.
We tested the circuit from the negative battery terminal to the block.
We tested the circuit from the positive terminal to the solinoid.
We tested across the solinoid.
We tested from the solinoid to the starter.
We tried to start the car.
We tested the volts on the battery.
We co put in the new battery.
We tried to start the car.
We connected a jumper cable from the negative terminal of the battery to the block .
We tried to start the car.
We connected the jumper cable from the positive terminal directly to the starter.
We followed the wires looking for the hot wires to the lights and horn.
We tested the lights and horn.
We tried to start the car.
We looked at each other for guideance.
We asked each other . . "where's Charlie?"

I'm reminded of another adage. But, it involves the other end of the horse.

I'll go away now.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dewey, N. California on Monday, November 06, 2017 - 12:44 am:

Robert, the standard "test" for a bad battery connection is to turn the headlights on, try the starter, if the lights dim out, then there is usually a bad batter connection, although a shorted starter could do this too. You could take the new battery, and with jumper cables connect to the starter (ground) and the the starter side of the solenoid, if it arcs badly and doesn't turn, THEN you have a bad starter.
USUALLY starters don't go bad just sitting around, but there's always the exception!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Davis on Monday, November 06, 2017 - 02:06 am:

Just remember its the little bugs that eat Your lunch. Good Luck, You should be able to get the lights and horn to work regardless of starter and solenoid condition. If You have a short there will be major fireworks when you connect battery cable to battery. If You can push or pull the car out of the tight garage so You have more operating room that might help, At least you and Your Son are spending time together working on it, "priceless"


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Davis on Monday, November 06, 2017 - 02:41 am:

One last 2 cents worth for the night, after You get the lights working if the starter still wont kick in, You may have a problem with the neutral safety switch which wont let solenoid / starter operate if the car is not in neutral or park depending on the car, You can sometimes jiggle the gear selector in park position to get starter to work, that problem can eat Your lunch.


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