Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

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Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by jfallon83 on Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:28 am

I've been building my 1969 Baja Bug from the ground up and am having some issues finally getting it started. I was hoping someone on here could suggest some problems to look for because I can't think of a single issue that I haven't checked for. The car has a 1600 DP that I rebuilt about 6 months ago. It's been sitting in my garage since. It's running a Solex 34 carb and an Empi stinger exhaust. The carb was pulled off a running car, so it should be tuned decently enough to at least start the car.

Things I've checked:
Valve lash
timing (it's set at exactly TDC right now, but I've spent hours trying to spin the distributor at all kinds of degrees)
spark (by attaching a timing light to each wire)
New plugs, wires, cap, rotor, coil, condenser, points and set the points
fuel (intentionally flooded it and then pulled the spark plugs - they were soaked)
compression test
new starter
new battery

The engine won't burble or backfire or anything. It just spins over. The only clue that it is giving me is that it seems to be spinning over a little slowly. Also, the battery can be fully charged and it only lasts for about a minute of turning the engine over. Then I have to put it on the charger again. I had it tested and they said the battery is good. Is it possible for the engine to be pulling too much power while trying to start?

Any advice would be extremely valuable. I've spent countless hours putting this car together and now that I'm 95% done, I've hit this huge hurdle. I'll post a video of it tonight turning over which might give you some additional insight into the problem. Thanks for the help.
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by jfallon83 on Wed Apr 13, 2016 1:29 pm

Here is a short video of what happens when I try to crank it.  At this point the battery had been on charge for 12 hours and this is my first attempt to turn it over.  There are a couple things that I find odd:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5bwZ4U2Dtk

1 - It never turns over very fast.
2 - For a good battery, it doesn't turn over for very long.
3 - When the battery appears to die all of the dash lights will still shine bright.
4 - In my experience, when a battery is dead, the starter will still click a few times, but I never get that.  It just slows to a lull and then quits turning.
5 - Autozone tested the battery and said that it was good.  I also have a couple other batteries laying around the garage and they all do this exact thing when I hook them up.

I'm thinking that it is somehow pulling more energy than it should while cranking, but I don't know how that could happen.  Again, any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by fluxcap on Wed Apr 13, 2016 5:50 pm

Did you put a new bushing in when you installed the new starter? Also, what brand starter did you get? I personally have had nothing but horrible luck with the rebuilt starters local auto parts stores sell.

How hard is it to turn the engine over by hand (using a wrench on the pulley)?

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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by jfallon83 on Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:33 pm

I believe the starter was an AC Delco unit from Autozone. I did replace the bushing when I replaced it (used a 12mm tap and bolt to pull it).

If I decide to replace it, what brand should I go with?

It turns over fairly easy. If I pull the spark plugs, I can turn it over with just by grabbing and turning the crank pulley by hand.
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by jfallon83 on Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:47 pm

Correction, I checked and I replaced it with a Duralast starter.
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by fluxcap on Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:56 pm

I'd try to find a real Bosch starter. Even a 30 year old used one is better than any I've gotten from the local stores. But others have had decent luck with the rebuilds.

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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by pwmcguire on Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:34 pm

Do you plan on trying to get to Bug-a-Paluza with your Baja.

I can let you borrow an OG starter to try. I have replaced the solenoid on it, it should work. I'm in Kennesaw.
Call or text me tonight before 9:00 or tomorrow 770 546 0035
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by bakertim2 on Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:07 pm

I'm wondering if you are losing power from the switch when the starter is engaged? Maybe check the power at the coil when someone is trying to start it.
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by type4revolution on Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:50 pm

Hot wire coil to positive 12v source and use a hand held remote starter and see if it starts
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by type4revolution on Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:51 pm

HAve  seen plenty of dizzy gears put in wrong . also take cap off and.make sure rotor spins when starting


Last edited by type4revolution on Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by jfallon83 on Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:51 am

Thanks for all the advice. I wasn't able to work on it at all last night, but I'm gonna try some of these things tonight. I'll follow up and let y'all know how it works out.
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by jfallon83 on Sat Apr 16, 2016 3:58 pm

Well, it's still doing the exact same thing.

I checked the coil and it's still getting 12v while cranking.

I double re-checked the distributor and the rotor is spinning. Also, I've got the wires on in the proper order and the rotor is hitting them at each cylinder's respective TDC. It's currently set at 0 degrees TDC.

I replaced the battery with a fully charged 710 cold cranking amps one. Still slows spinning after about 10 seconds and then slows further until it's not cranking any more. I checked the battery immediately after doing this and it's still fully charged.

I'm thinking that it must be the starter. I don't think I'll be able to find a Bosch unit on the weekend, so I'm going to take this unit back to Autozone (still under warranty) and maybe get one that works at least for a little while.
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by type4revolution on Sat Apr 16, 2016 5:35 pm

Make sure you have a good ground strap from trans to chassis
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by vw57drvr on Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:38 pm

Bearings too tight?
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by type4revolution on Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:44 pm

Does it have the correct length spark plugs. Your dizzy might be faulty advance it to 7 degrees to start it.
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by type4revolution on Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:58 pm

Do you have any pics of this monster Baha motor
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by JWILL on Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:40 pm

Couldn't get the video to play and I an certainly not the expert here...

If the other suggestions do not help, I would spray a little starter fluid/carb cleaner in just to see if it is a fuel problem- because what you explained sounds similar to a clogged fuel line issue I have had in the past.

The other thing I would do is pull one of the rear plugs put it back in the cable and ground it, so you can see the plug actually spark.

One more dummy check could be verify the pushrods are opening the intake valves.
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by ggaagg57 on Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:35 pm

where in woodstock are you im in alpharetta if you want me to i will come over some time this week end and see what going on
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by jfallon83 on Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:33 am

Ok, it's still not running, but I figured I would give everyone an update.

I still haven't been able to get my hands on a new Bosch starter (bank account is a little low at the moment), so the search for a good used one continues. We worked around this by hooking it's tow bar behind my truck and rolling it around the neighborhood in gear. We'd stop every 50 yards or so and make an adjustment then continue along. My neighbors probably think that I'm thoroughly crazy now.

I actually wired the negative wire from the battery directly to the engine. Took the wired off and held them each to the block while turning it over and it appears they all have good spark. Also set the distributor to 7 degrees advanced. We've been trying it everywhere between TDC and 10 degrees advanced. I checked the spark plug gap, but how do I check to make sure that the plugs are long enough?

I filled the carb bowl with gas and have been using starter fluid. Loosened the intake manifold and the starter fluid is making it through the intake to the heads. Popped the valve covers off and the valves appear to be opening. Is there a better way to confirm that the fuel is actually getting into the combustion chamber?

While we torqued everything to spec when assembling the motor, it is definitely possible we could have made a mistake and tightened the bearing too tight. However, when the starter was brand new the engine turned over fast and smoothly. I'm not really interested in cracking this case back open, so I hope this isnt the issue.

ggaagg57, I actually live in Roswell off Hwy 92 now (need to update my profile). While I would certainly appreciate someone else coming over to take a look at it, it may be futile until I can get a new starter. I should be able to get one this weekend or early next week. Would you be available one afternoon next week?
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by vw57drvr on Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:42 am

Are you saying that you are dragging it around with a tow bar and trying to get it to crank? That will work, just be careful. If you hydro lock a cylinder, you will bend a rod. Anyway, we have to go with the basics here. You only need spark, fuel and air to start (and compression) Especially dragging it around, you should get some sort of attempt at ignition, no matter where your timing is set. I wouldn't worry about the spark plug length. The stock heads take short reach plugs anyway. What was the results of your compression test? Are you positive the valves are opening? Set to TDC, check number 1 cylinder to see if the lash is correct, then spin to see if the valves open and close. There isn't much else if you are positive you have spark.
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by ggaagg57 on Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:15 pm

just let me know question are u sure you got cam and crank marks lined up when you put it together and is the drive for dist in right too you can go on line and find a picture of where it should be . also are plug wet they should be after all the cranking and pumping of the gas if you have spark make sure they are not fouled out. im in the crabapple area
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by jfallon83 on Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:24 pm

Yea, we tried to crank it by towing it behind my truck with the key in the on position. I'm not saying it was the best idea, but we were tired from working on it all day, had a few beers in our system and it seemed like a good enough idea at the time.

The compression test resulted in 85 to 90 psi in all 4 cylinders.

I used a welding rod through the spark plug hole and watched the valves to judge each individual cylinder's TDC and made that it was matched up with the crank mark and the it's spark wire location at the distributor.

I actually rechecked the valve lash last weekend and they are all set at .004". I plan on running a leak down style test where I'll run my compressor line through the spark plug hole at 75 psi and will rotate the engine over by hand. If the valves are opening, I should hear air escaping out of the intake and exhaust depending on what valve is open. The spark plugs smell like starter fluid, but don't seem as damp as they should be.

I appreciate all of y'alls help. I'm at a loss because it appears that I have compression, spark and fuel. All I can do at this point is replace that starter and keep testing for these three things. I'm sure that I've forgotten about something small that is throwing a wrench in this.
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by ggaagg57 on Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:23 pm

thats not a lot of compression but it should run if you turn the motor over by hand dose the valve adjustment get looser how did you adjust the valves at tdc and 180 or each valve one at a time.
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by vw57drvr on Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:48 pm

Those compression numbers are very low. What procedure did you use to check it? I say it may be too low to crank if it's accurate. You might put a small amount of oil in the cylinders to see if you can bring those numbers up. All that fuel may have washed the cylinders or maybe you have a ring on wrong. I assume the cylinders are new?
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

Post by type4revolution on Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:08 pm

Is this a 69 Baha on a 69 IRS chassis.
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Re: Fresh Rebuild Starting Trouble

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