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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 02-12-18, 05:21 PM
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Can you post some pictures of the starter wires? There is a fusible link on it. If it's bad it won't crank.
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Old 02-12-18, 06:21 PM
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I'll try and get some pictures tomorrow once I get it back up on the jack stands.

The weather's looking decent this week so I should have more than enough time to fix it once I figure out where I messed up
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Old 02-13-18, 01:49 PM
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Alright so I got pictures of the terminals, shock tower ground, connection to the ground on the chassis and the connection to the starter. As far as I can tell it all looks good, but it barely cranks now unless I jump it so clearly I did something wrong.

wire from positive to starter is 4 gauge and the ground wire is a 6 gauge if tbat makes any difference.
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Old 02-13-18, 02:49 PM
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All the wiring in those pics looks good. Does the starter turn over at all?
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Old 02-13-18, 05:35 PM
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It turns but painfully slow. For the most part I'm just getting a ton of clicks.

I did notice before I changed the wires that when I tested the voltage at the starter and had my brother crank it would fall from around 11 or 12 to between 0 and 2. Not sure what would cause that but there aren't many variables left to change here.
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Old 02-13-18, 08:18 PM
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Your battery is losing its cranking amps because of all the attempts you've made. Can you have someone pull the car by chance? You're most likely flooded and have washed all the oil out by now. You can de-flood it but if you can pull it down the road it'll probably start. The nice thing about this method is you don't have to de-flood which can be a pain and less successful than actually pulling it down the road with an f150 haha. If it doesn't then you have fuel, spark issue. Maybe timing, I doubt it though since you said it was running.
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Old 02-13-18, 08:21 PM
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Sounds like you had quite tge adventure lol. It used to be flooded but that problems been cleared up, a jump start will get it going.

I might go ahead a pick up some $50 battery at Walmart just to see if my battery is the issue. I got it tested and the guy said everything checked out but at this point I've replaced just about everything else
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Old 02-13-18, 08:28 PM
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I have a couple of questions:

When you were cranking it, is the engine turning?
When the issue popped up initially, did the engine turn at a normal cranking speed and then over time got slower and slower?
When you took your spark plug out(and put your fuel line into a bottle?) were they wet with fuel?
What condition are your spark plugs in? Photos?

EDIT: Missed the post about the new plugs.

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Old 02-13-18, 08:42 PM
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Yes the engine is cranking, just really slowly.

Back when it went and decided not to run anymore the engine just gradually cranked slower and slower. It had occassionally been hesitant to start before and needed a push to get going.

Yes they were wet when I pulled them out.

New plugs are in it, I'll try to get pictures when there's some light

Last edited by AAAOA; 02-13-18 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 02-13-18, 08:47 PM
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Try another battery. If that fails, I'm saying the starter us suspect.
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Old 02-13-18, 08:56 PM
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Ok. Before you spend more money... because it really comes down saving time and most importantly money,

1.Check compression- that's how it happens man.. just one day it decides it doesn't want to start on its own. Check it before anything else. Seriously haha.
2. You say that you have wet plugs so gas isn't an issue so forget gas for now.
3. You've replaced plugs and wires so they're good. And it starts with a pull so you have spark.
4. Double check your wire configuration just in case.
5. Timing is probably good but worth checking. Very easy with a bit of research.

Edit: Get the car started and if you can drive it around for a while and charge up your battery with the alternator. You will get your cranking amps back for a proper compression test.

All of your vitals have been verified to be good accept for compression. Check your compression.

Last edited by Rotary Alkymist; 02-13-18 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 02-13-18, 09:12 PM
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If I remember correctly, aren't rotaries tested for compression differently than a normal piston engine? Is thwre some special compression tester I need or can I just swing by AutoZone and rent one?

I've driven it around a few times now trying to sort out the misfire at idle, still no easier to start. I know this thing had a habit of draining batteries according to the last owner but I'm not really sure what'd cause that. He just used one of those battery tenders and it worked for him, but I haven't been having the same luck with mine.
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Old 02-13-18, 09:30 PM
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You can use a normal compression tester for overall compression. Some people like to take the valve out when they're checking the compression pulses. I personally just hold the valve in as someone cranks. If you're seeing 80 or under on overall compression or if you have a noticeably uneven pulse rhythm then your internals are worn and an engine overhaul is necessary.

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Old 02-14-18, 04:34 AM
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There are two issues that are present right now: 1 The car won't start on its own, and 2 The car has a rough idle. I don't think the issues are related. Years ago my friend had a Nova with a high compression 454. The car struggled a lot to turn over when starting. One of the reasons for this was the weight of motor oil he was running in the engine. I doubt this is your problem, but I'd be interested to know what weight oil you're running. The car is pulling too many amps when you're cranking the engine and the previous owner had problems with the battery staying charged. It sounds to me like there's some kind of electrical issue. I would suggest to go through the electrical system and check for shorts or grounds. You may be able to isolate the fault by removing fuses to unnecessary components then cranking to see if the cranking amps improve.
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Old 02-14-18, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Rotary Alkymist View Post
You can use a normal compression tester for overall compression. Some people like to take the valve out when they're checking the compression pulses. I personally just hold the valve in as someone cranks. If you're seeing 80 or under on overall compression or if you have a noticeably uneven pulse rhythm then your internals are worn and an engine overhaul is necessary.
A compression test wouldn't hurt, I don't think it'll give any clue to the problems with getting the engine started though. Once you get the engine running you've said that it makes decent power, albeit after a rough idle. So, there's compression, and low compression wouldn't make the starter struggle to turn the engine over.
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Old 02-14-18, 11:53 AM
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You either have a junk battery, or junk starter, take/borrow a battery from another car/friend and see if its any different, if not, replace the starter
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Old 02-23-18, 08:30 PM
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Alright so long overdue update:

Long story short, she starts all on her own now and the misfire seens to have vanished along with the bouncy idle (I mean that's still there but it bounces up and down maybe 20-40 revs instead 400).

The not so short version is that I went to autozone to pick up a new battery and hopefully an alternator belt to replace my dry rotted one. After buying a battery that didn't fit or make my car start, this old guy with grease blackened hands in a beat up corolla from the 90s rolls up next to me and asked what was wrong. It took him all of 30 seconds to ask for a set of jumper cables and clamped one end to the negative terminal and one to the engine. Cranked it and the car started right up. Ran a wire from the negative terminal to a bolt near the power steering pump and right now all seems well. Only took me a few months and hundreds of dollars to not even get half as far as a retired mechanic did in 2 minutes lol. Guess that's life for ya.

Still a lot of issues to figure out like my temp guage always reading cold, un-jankifying the suspension, getting an exhaust that doesn't sound like thousands of bees discovered gunpowder, and more bodywork than I care to imagine.

Current question though is should I leave the old chassis and shock tower grounds in or are they due to be evicted?
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Old 02-23-18, 08:56 PM
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I don't know much about suspension but it's nice to hear that you finally got it fixed. Keep us posted.
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Old 02-23-18, 09:44 PM
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Leave the shock tower negative connection. I ran an extra negative from the battery to the long bolt on the alternator.
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