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'84 gsl-se not starting and I'm a bit hopeless

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'84 gsl-se not starting and I'm a bit hopeless

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Old 01-24-18, 02:18 PM
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'84 gsl-se not starting and I'm a bit hopeless

I picked up my '84 se back in August and although the previous owner told me it could be finicky to start, I never really had any problems. Until about a month ago when it just went ahead and decided starting wasn't it's thing.

I've been working on it with my brother and we narrowed it down to the starter and ordered a rebuilt Bosch one. It came in and we installed it, but still nothing. As far as I've been able to tell, the grounds are good and the battery reads at 12.77. Took the starter out just to see what it's doing, and it does not spin or jump forward to engage the flywheel. Just a click followed by a whirring noise. Any idea what I can do?

I've got a video on my phone but it's saved as an mp4 so it's not letting me attach it

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Old 01-26-18, 02:22 PM
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Tried working on it a bit more today and the starter reads right around 12.5 for the connection to the solenoid and right about the same with the solonoid connection to the rest of the starter. After attempting a push start and a jump start we've managed to get the starter to turn, all be it slowly. Even with it spinning and engaging during the jump start the thing still wouldn't start. I've got spark and fuel so I'm not really sure where to go from here.
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Old 01-26-18, 03:54 PM
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It sounds like the wiring to the starter may be too small, damaged, or have bad connections.
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Old 01-26-18, 06:08 PM
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You said you got a new starter, did you get a new solenoid too? It sounds as though the solenoid is moving but perhaps it's damaged? With a new motor I'm betting it's either the solenoid or like what rx787b said and the starter isn't getting enough power (amps that is). Make sure that the grounds are for sure good and if they are, try cleaning the battery terminals and any other connections between it and the starter. Also try bypassing the solenoid and giving it power strait from the battery. Good Luck!
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Old 01-27-18, 10:57 AM
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I got a new starter and solenoid, gonna try to get them tested later today just to be sure everything is good. If the wiring is what's wrong, how would I go about replacing it?

What I'm curious about though is a jump start gets it engaging and spinning at full speed but the egine still doesn't start up. There's gotta be some other issue in the mix too. Even though I've got spark, could the distributor also be giving me issues?

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Old 01-27-18, 11:04 AM
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If the solenoid is working when you turn the key and the starter works when you test it, replace the wire that goes from the battery to the starter. It should be something like 6 or 8 gauge (go with a bigger wire if in doubt). Make sure all the connections are good and solid. If that doesn't fix it, it's got to be a grounding issue or your battery is toast. Hope that helps.

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Old 01-27-18, 08:23 PM
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When you push start, also known as bump start, it does not use the starter. The car however does need the key in the ON position. The push start method is best done using second gear. This gets the engine going at least 2000 RPM. Using the tradition Starter method only get the RPM to 1/10th of this.

When testing the starter outside the car, ensure you the 12 volt trigger wire going to the solenoid. The ground jumper cable goes to the case and the positive goes to the big bolt. Use a small wire to connect the trigger wire.

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Old 01-28-18, 02:30 PM
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Went and got the starter tested, all's good there. Picked up a length of 4 gauge wire and new connectors so once it stops raining here I'll try replacing to replace the old wire and see what happens.

Should have a haynes manual showing up so that should make this a tad less confusing.

Considering neither a bump start or jump start got it going, where would the next place to look be if this doesn't work?

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Old 01-28-18, 02:40 PM
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The factory service manuals can be found here: Foxed.ca
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Old 02-03-18, 03:21 PM
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Alright so I replaced the wire to the starter and sanded down the connections on the chassis ground wire. Still no luck, the starter turns and engages but it's terribly slow and the car won't start. So it seems the starter still is not getting enough power.

After going through the repair manual I figure it should be noted the interior lights dim significantly when I turn the key.

My next step I guess would be to replace the chassis ground wire, but I can't find replacement connectors so I'll have to find some way to reuse the old ones.
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Old 02-03-18, 06:30 PM
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we've managed to get the starter to turn, all be it slowly.
I figure it should be noted the interior lights dim significantly when I turn the key.
take the battery and have it tested, not just putting a volt meter on it. testing the battery under load will determine if it has the amperage to run the starter at the desired speed to start the engine.
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Old 02-03-18, 06:43 PM
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The way I did it was to run one ground from the battery to the starter. I used some pre-made wires from Tractor Supply. I THINK it was size 1 gauge. I then ran a two foot pre-made cable attached to the negative terminal bolt to the driver shock tower where the factory chases ground is. I then ran another pre-made two foot cable from the long alternator bolt to the shock tower factory location for good measure.

Best to be safe and use a string to get the length for your car but here are some suggestions. Also, replace the negative and positive cables. I personally don't like the cables with the built in pigtail. but the links below have them. I replace the though bolt on the negative cable with a long one so I can add the other grounds.

Negative (battery to starter) https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pr...k?cm_vc=-10005

Positive (battery to starter) https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pr...d?cm_vc=-10005
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Old 02-04-18, 02:25 PM
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Hook up some jumper cables to a running vehicle and try to start.
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Old 02-04-18, 10:31 PM
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I've tried a jump start a few times, and it'll get the starter going at a pretty good pace, but it still doesn't start. Gonna take the battery in to get tested tomorrow morning and for right now I'll try and use the wires I have considering the nearest tractor supply is a good 45 minutes away from me.

I assume there's something going on outside of the starter and wiring, maybe the distributor or fuel pump, but as of right now just getting the starter to work like it's supposed to is priority number 1.
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Old 02-05-18, 06:07 AM
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If the starter is working properly when jump starting than there's nothing wrong with the wiring or starter. Have the battery tested, then work from there.
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Old 02-05-18, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by AAAOA View Post
I've tried a jump start a few times, and it'll get the starter going at a pretty good pace, but it still doesn't start. Gonna take the battery in to get tested tomorrow morning and for right now I'll try and use the wires I have considering the nearest tractor supply is a good 45 minutes away from me.

I assume there's something going on outside of the starter and wiring, maybe the distributor or fuel pump, but as of right now just getting the starter to work like it's supposed to is priority number 1.
Have you checked compression, spark, and fuel? If the starter is spinning over at a good pace, something else is wrong.
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Old 02-05-18, 09:08 AM
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Try and get it to run by jump starting it. If it spins just fine then spray some starting fluid down the primary's. If that doesn't work, check if if you have spark. Make sure that if you remove the air cleaner/box, that you plug the idle compensator hose with a bolt or something, otherwise you'll make a good sized vacuum leak.
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Old 02-06-18, 11:33 AM
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So, figured out that second reason. Forgot about all the previous failed attempts to start the car and when I was testing for spark I realized the engine wad most likely flooded.

Pulled all the spark plugs and put the fuel line into a water bottle then cranked for a bit. Oddly enough, with the spark plugs put it cranked just fine but once I returned them to their holes the starter was slow again. A jump start got her going, so now I guess it's time to replace that ground wire.

One new issue though, near the end of my test drive a nasty misfire developed at idle. Nothing up top, no power loss that I can detect, even sounds normal once once you put your foot in it. But at idle it shakes violently and sounds like one of those single cylinder dirt bikes, so that's neat
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Old 02-06-18, 02:22 PM
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With taking out the plugs, you removed the compression by allowing it to escape through the plug holes. That's why it spun easier. If a jump start got it going fine, it's you battery. The misfire at idle is probably a bad AF mixture or some ignition issue. Check your timing and see if all the plugs are firing.
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Old 02-08-18, 05:13 PM
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Okay that makes sense, the spark kinda seemed a little weird when I tested it. Should have some new spark plug wires and some ngk br9eq 14 plug coming in sometime in the next few days.

Hopefully I can get it running this weekend. If that doesn't work then I'll try digging through the fuel system to see if something's up.
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Old 02-08-18, 06:25 PM
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Coincidentally, I'm in the process of getting my '80 rx7 to run. I just swapped over the exhaust, intake, carb, emissions system (yes the rats nest too), etc. from my 1982 parts car. It's having idle issues that I'm hoping to get figured out by the weekend too. Good luck on your project and update us when you get the new plugs and wires. By the way if the plugs and wires don't fix it, warm up the car and check the resistance over the coils. It should be around 1.35 ohms.
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Old 02-08-18, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by AAAOA View Post
So, figured out that second reason. Forgot about all the previous failed attempts to start the car and when I was testing for spark I realized the engine wad most likely flooded.

Pulled all the spark plugs and put the fuel line into a water bottle then cranked for a bit. Oddly enough, with the spark plugs put it cranked just fine but once I returned them to their holes the starter was slow again. A jump start got her going, so now I guess it's time to replace that ground wire.

One new issue though, near the end of my test drive a nasty misfire developed at idle. Nothing up top, no power loss that I can detect, even sounds normal once once you put your foot in it. But at idle it shakes violently and sounds like one of those single cylinder dirt bikes, so that's neat
did you put the plug wires back on correctly? if on one housing you mixed them up you probably wouldn't notice it much in the higher RPM range then you would at idle
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Old 02-08-18, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by lduley View Post
did you put the plug wires back on correctly? if on one housing you mixed them up you probably wouldn't notice it much in the higher RPM range then you would at idle
The wires all went where they belong and are on all the way, but I did notice one of the wires for the front rotor was a real pain to get the spark plug in and was hesitant to spark. I assume that somehow it may have been damaged, but we'll see if replacing it fixes the problem.
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Old 02-10-18, 10:15 AM
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If the troubled plug/wire was the leading plug, it could be an issue. If it was the trailing, it won't have a big effect on trying to start the car. If it was indeed the leading wire, try swapping with the trailing for a test.
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Old 02-12-18, 01:02 PM
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Alright so I finally managed to replace the ground wire, but I had to find a way to reuse the middle connector. New spark plugs and wires are in now too.

Unfortuenetly, the car still won't start on it's own. With a jump start there is no hesitation to start up and it seems the plugs and wires halfway fixed the misfire. The shaking is gone but occassionally the idle still sounds like a dirt bike. A few taps of the gas usually fixed it and I noticed the idle with randomly jump up a few hundred sometimes so there is definitely a fuel issue.

However having it run right doesn't matter all that much if it can't start on it's own. I've replace the terminals, starter wire, ground wire, shock tower ground, connector to the starter and the connector to chassis ground. The battery tested good so the only thing I can think of is maybe that brass bolt in the lower part of the wheel well. It's the only thing I haven't replaced, could that really cause it not to start though?
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