My 86 yr. old dad drove his RPU to coffee this morning, when he came out it was completely dead, it had no lights or horn, I needed to pull him about 200 ft. to get it to where we could work on it an in that distance it jump started and he drove it home, after he parked it again it was completely dead again, the battery was new within the last 2 months, it has a distributer setup, I intend to have the battery checked this weekend but was wondering about the floor starter button. I would appreciate any suggestions of possible items to check, this truck has always been reliable but this has me baffled.
Thanks in advance , Neal in Iowa
Number one on my list of suspects would be a bad ground. Be sure all connections are clean and tight.
Hi Neal, sounds like it ran after pulling it on the mag. If you have a generator on your car it could be the Cutout on top. if it fails the batt. will feed back into it and try to make your gen. a motor and draw your batt. down. Try unhooking the yellow and black wire from the cutout and tape it up, then charge your batt. and see if it holds a charge and the car will start. Your foot switch may be just fine and if your batt. is low it will not turn your starter. I had this happen to me on my Firetruck and I caught it before it ruined my gen. Something to check. Jim
STEVE, I will check the ground, I think it only has the one from the battery to the frame, should we put on an additional one, if so from engine to frame?
James L. I will check to see if the cut out also could be the problem, really surprised at how quick this happened, from a running truck to completely dead ( not even a horn ) in less than 1 hr.
Check your all your battery cables, ground, battery to starter button and starter button to starter motor. I had a nick in one of mine from the battery to button and the other one from the button to starter motor was just old. Once I replaced those two, no more starting problems. Also check your connection on the battery. If that is loose, there is no starting.
Some people add that extra ground strap, but I don't think it's necessary. It isn't on my cars.
The cutout may be stuck closed motorizing the generator.
scott L. , if I disconnect the cut out wire as James L. mentioned will that unstick the cutout long enough for me to test start with a good battery or, if it is stuck does it call for a rework?
The cut out is a simple set of points that are spring loaded to stay open, with an electromagnet to close the points. When the engine is not running the spring opens the points so the battery is no longer connected to the generator. When the engine is running the generator makes electricity that energizes the electromagnet and closes the points connecting the generator to the battery thus charging the battery. The points arc as they open and close and sometimes weld themselves together thereby keeping the battery always connected to the generator, which charges the battery when running, but once the engine is shut down the battery will power the generator as a motor thereby draining the battery. So, a stuck cut out will cause the battery to drain, however, that may or may not be your problem.
By disconnecting the wire it will not unstick the cutout but as Jeff described it will help you diagnose the problem.
You have either a dead battery or a loose or corroded connection between the battery cable and the starter or the battery and ground. Disconnect the battery cables and put a charger on the battery. While the battery is charging, you can clean and check all connections including the ground strap to chassis. Clean up the battery posts and cables where they attach to the battery. Also clean the connection between the battery cable and the starter switch. It is unlikely the problem is elsewhere unless there is a grounded wire somewhere else in the circuit such as a stuck generator cutout which would quickly discharge the battery.
It is not impossible for a new or nearly new battery to have an internal fault causing it to fail at an early age. So If the above don't disclose your problem, have the battery checked and if bad, replaced.
I have a T with very similar problem. I found that one of the terminals which was crimped to the cable by the manufacturer, only crimped the very end of the cable and it came loose causing an open connection.
Norm, we did get a new battery today,also ordered a new cable and floor switch, we will clean the ground and check the other connections up to the starter for now, parts will be here the first of the week, I will let everyone know how this turns out, we do appreciate all the help
Just an update, I did order a new battery cable to the switch, also ordered a new starter switch, I will be cleaning all connections before the new parts go in, my concern now is that it could actually be in the starter, I did hook the battery with cables to the starter and the ground to the head, I got nothing out of the starter, (if I did it correctly, no key on or anything else), so if after I put the new items in and it still does nothing I will probably pull the starter. I have never done this on a T, I know the Bendix has to be removed first but what other things should I be aware of, or tips you guys can offer? also is it best to just get a rebuilt unit from the vendors or get it done locally at shop that works on older starters or something other.
There are three choices for starter repair. Take it to a local shop, get the MTFCA Electrical System book and fix it yourself, or send it to Ron Patterson. My personal experience says skip the first option and go with the second or third.
One thing on the starter which is quite weak is the connection to the terminal. It is soldered to a curved strap which is soldered to the ends of the windings. If the terminal is turned when the cable is installed or removed, it will break the connection or make a loose connection which will cause the starter to be very weak or not to work at all.
Steve, the local shop I was talking about does a lot of older stuff, they did the starter in my 1951 Crosley wagon and it has worked very well, but I understand what you are saying
From what I have seen, the terminal was never soldered, just pinned. If it was soldered only a tiny amount was used.
Have you tried the hand starter?
Mark, we did jump start the truck to get it home so it is in the starter system somewhere