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Ballast resistor question


Working on my 1956, 261 engine.  I have had it running and everything was going ok.  Last time I went to start it, it would just click.  Done some playing with the starter solenoid and drive spring and managed

to get it to crank and start a few times.  Then back to just a click.  Shorted the solenoid and got it to crank a few times. Then it would not crank over even when shorted.  I assumed the old starter was toast so took

it in and had it rebuilt.  New drive and solenoid and general go over.  Put starter back in and still same.  Just clicks and will not crank over even when solenoid shorted.  I notice smoke coming from the ballast

resistor when the key is in the on position. I am thinking that the resistor may be the problem.  My question...  Could the resistor prevent the starter from cranking over, even when just attempting by shorting the

solenoid?



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Mike, the short answer to your question is YES. It really sounds like your ballast resistor has crapped out. Check  to make sure the wires are snug but not over tightened because the resister cracks real easy. Good luck.



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1957 Pontiac Pathfinder Deluxe sedan restored 261 six

1974 Chevrolet Caprice Estate wagon low milage original 400 V-8



Poncho Master!

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Sounds like your voltage down at the starter is low. Wether it be low battery, loose connections, or bad battery cables. And the ground is equally important. 



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As JC stated, sounds like voltage or poor connection. Do you have a volt meter? Check voltage at S terminal while trying to crank then check voltage at bat while trying to crank. If bat at 12v and S term at 9v poor connection if both at 9v poor bat. If wired right ballast resistor is bypassed in start position, should be around 9v with key in run position.



-- Edited by hawkeye5766 on Thursday 25th of June 2015 09:34:55 PM

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Phillipsmusclecarparts.commay have a nos ballast for you

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Addicted!

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Thanks for all the replies. Battery and cables are all new. Connections seem to be tight. Seems to be a lot of spark when jumping the solenoid. Will try ballast I guess and go from there.


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Must have missed it.Will it not crank or will it not start.confuse"Then back to just a click.  Shorted the solenoid and got it to crank a few times. Then it would not crank over even when shorted."



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Guru

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Sounds like your starter is bad.......The not cranking should have nothing to do with the ballast resistor.....Ballast resistors create a lot of heat, it may have been just burning off some dust or oil from sitting

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I don't know my 50's cars as well as 60's but I've never heard of a ballast resistor for a starter, only to reduce the voltage for the distributor. It wouldn't make sense to reduce voltage to the starter, you want as much voltage there as you can get.

As stated, testing the voltage at the starter solenoid crank wire is a good start. However, if there is good voltage there under a no load test, I don't think that guarantees the voltage stays up when actually trying to crank it. I have seen a wire that has perfect voltage when tested but when put under load, the voltage drops seriously because of a problem with the wire or a connection on it.

Is there a good ground at the engine on the negative cable?

Is the engine properly grounded to the frame and to the body?

What if you pull the starter off an bench test it? What happens then?

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Carl makes some excellent suggestions.  The ballast resistor is used in the running circuit, it reduces voltage to the coil during operation.  When cranking, the starter provides the full 12V to the coil.  You're best to be diagnosing this with a voltmeter.



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seventy2plus2 wrote:

  You're best to be diagnosing this with a voltmeter.


 nod.gif^^^^^^^ Look for a voltage difference between bat and S terminal while cranking. They should both read the same, if "S" is lower by .5volt (while cranking) or more could be a poor connection. If you jumped it with a screw driver and it doesn't crank, your cutting out the stock wiring system. As Carl stated, would be looking at ground or pos to the starter. Sometimes I use jumper cables and hook them up direct from neg on bat to the back of the starter to ensure a good ground.



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Carl Stevenson wrote:

I don't know my 50's cars as well as 60's but I've never heard of a ballast resistor for a starter, only to reduce the voltage for the distributor. 


 That's what I thought also, but I was not 100% sure for '50s cars. The ballast resistor later changed over to a resistor wire in the early '60s except for 348/409 cars.



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Addicted!

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Well, I guess it just goes to show you can never trust a new battery. Battery was showing full charge with trickle charger but when loaded it crapped out. After checking and rechecking everything else, decided to boost from other car and it cranked no problem.

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paris69 wrote:

Well, I guess it just goes to show you can never trust a new battery. Battery was showing full charge with trickle charger but when loaded it crapped out. After checking and rechecking everything else, decided to boost from other car and it cranked no problem.


 Mike, you had us all fooled.



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1957 Pontiac Pathfinder Deluxe sedan restored 261 six

1974 Chevrolet Caprice Estate wagon low milage original 400 V-8



Poncho Master!

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Try to crank, just click = bad battery.

Dave

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