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Old 12-02-2009, 07:56 AM   #1
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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One fix for 454 starter Problems, remote Ford Solenoid

Remote Starter Solenoid Installation
So your Chevy is experiencing hot start problems. You've ruled out the starter as the culprit, or replaced it entirely, you've checked all the connections but you still experience those no start conditions. What to do next? Add a Ford Starter Solenoid to your Chevy of course!
It worked for Chevy, it can work for you. Chevrolet offered a remote solenoid for their motorhomes for the very same reason.

Why? Because when wire gets warmer, its resitance goes up. Which means, when things are toasty warm your starter is not getting enough juice to activate the (on starter) solenoid from the original "start" wire. The wire is essentially acting like a ballast resistor. As well, the starter heat soak creates its own set of unique problems. Wiring in a Ford Solenoid will alleviate the wire voltage drop problem by giving the starter mounted solenoid full battery potential when you turn the key.

What you need to do;

  • Get a Ford starter solenoid, of course.
    • These units ground through the bracket. For fool-proof grounding, run a well grounded wire to one of the screws you use to secure the solenoid to the firewall.
    • If you are adamant about not having any Ford parts on your General Motors product, simply visit your favorite AC Delco parts house and purchase p/n U939.
    • You can use just about any Ford starter solenoid, later model cars came with a stubby unit with all the terminals opposite the mounting flange, such as found on 1987 and newer Ford Crown Vics and Mercury Grand Marquis. (until 1996 or so when Ford went to the starter mounted solenoid like the Chevy your converting. Go figure.)
  • Relocate ALL the wires that are currently connected to the BAT terminal on your starter (the large terminal) to the 'hot' side of the Ford solenoid (that's the side connected to the battery, typically the large post to the left on the ford solenoid)
    • This will allow you to relocate the wires away from the headers and hot engine block. You will only have a SINGLE cable running to the starter, not a bunch of wires.
  • Relocate the 'start' wire on the starter solenoid (small terminal closest to the engine) to the 'S' terminal on the ford solenoid.
  • Run a new heavy guage wire (battery cable) from the right side (non-hot) of the ford solenoid to the BAT terminal on the starter (the large terminal).
  • Run a wire or short the "S" terminal to the "BAT" on the stock GM solenoid. This way, the solenoid is getting FULL battery voltage to the solenoid.
Thats about all there is to adding a remote solenoid to your GM. A couple advantages to having the Ford solenoid:

-It's a lot easier to "start the car with a screwdriver" since all the terminals are up on the firewall.

-Convenient to connect a "bump-starter switch" to set valve lash.
-Only wire wire running to starter. Which means much easier to install or remove starter, and less likely that a group of wires will be touching headers or exhaust manifolds.

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Old 12-02-2009, 04:35 PM   #2
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John,

Thanks for the info. I think I'll add this to my winder must do list.

Brad
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Old 12-02-2009, 05:00 PM   #3
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John- Great tip. Though I havn't had the hot start problem related to solenoid wires (knock on wood) doing this mod would prevent such in future as well as the troubleshooting advantages. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 12-02-2009, 05:24 PM   #4
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Some say it is not the Fix all for the starter issue's discussed ! But it is an Option that many Big truck and Mudders do to deal with certain and specific issues!

I am also going to Order the heavy duty Hitachi starter for High performance 454 engines that can be rotated.

and I am working on Wrapping my Banks Header pipes with High performance wrap to keep the heat in and out the back like another poster suggested.

The other thing I am working on experimenting with is a Marine, Bilge Blower that I can turn on Manually to run on HOT days to exhaust or feed cool air to the starter area. I do this for the exhaust and Intake manifold area on the H.B. Generator to run on Hot days during the summer.

Race cars direct air flow across the Brake area so Just working on some options ???

I sure am open to new and better Ideas for long term better performance and LESS wear and tear, service on the vehicle and Parts !!!
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Old 12-02-2009, 06:22 PM   #5
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I learned this trick from the classic car repair book, How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive- A Guide For The complete Idiot. Old VW vans have this problem due to the age and length of the wires going from the battery to the ignition, and back to the starter. I did this in 1985 on a '58 delivery van. It worked like a charm!
I believe it will add to the life of your starter as well, though the old '58 had a 6volt starter on a 12volt system. It really didn't need the extra kick: I lost the throwout bearing once and had to start the van in first gear to drive it home, and I learned how to speed-shift all in the same day! Lucky me. It would start in gear with more power than the old 40hp 1200cc had. BTW, the top speed in those oldies was 48mph! Look out!

Rich the Viking
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:27 AM   #6
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Another vote for this mod. One of my old Internationals had the hot start problem, even with a "heat shield" covering the starter.

Never a problem again after this mod.
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:21 AM   #7
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Something else you may be able to do, is replace the old style starter with a reduction-gear starter from a more modern engine. I replaced the starter in an older Chevy truck that had hot-start issues with a starter for a '96 Corvette, along with a new pair of starter bolts. the starter is much smaller in diameter, and therefore sits farther from the exhaust, as well as having more torque.
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:45 AM   #8
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I haven't experiienced this problem with the 455 in my Buick conv. However, the potential is there. I do have starter heat problem with the 455 that I placed into my Jeep J20 pickup. Battery relocation creates an awkward placement route of the cable. Since the Jeep's original AMC 360 had it's soleniod on the 'firewall' your solution may me a new option for me. Thanks.
Neil.
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:37 PM   #9
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:51 PM   #10
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Remote Starter Solenoid Mod

So your Chevy is experiencing hot start problems. You've ruled out the starter as the culprit, or replaced it entirely, you've checked all the connections but you still experience those no start conditions. What to do next? Add a Ford Starter Solenoid to your Chevy of course!
It worked for chevy, it can work for you. Chevrolet offered a remote solenoid for their motorhomes for the very same reason.

Why? Because when wire gets warmer, its resitance goes up. Which means, when things are toasty warm your starter is not getting enough juice to activate the (on starter) solenoid from the original "start" wire. The wire is essentially acting like a ballast resistor. As well, the starter heat soak creates its own set of unique problems. Wiring in a Ford Solenoid 'My Way' will alleviate the wire voltage drop problem by giving the starter mounted solenoid full battery potential when you turn the key.

What you need to do;

  • Get a Ford starter solenoid of course. =-)
    • These units ground through the bracket. For fool proof grounds run a well grounded wire to one of the screws you use to secure the solenoid to the firewall.
    • If you are adament about not having any ford parts on your General Motors product, simply visit your favorite AC Delco parts house and purchase p/n U939 (the item pictured above).
    • You can use just about any ford starter solenoid, later model cars came with a stubby unit with all the terminals opposite the mounting flange, such as found on 1987 and newer Ford Crown Vics and Mercury Grand Marquis. (until 1996 or so when Ford went to the starter mounted solenoid like the Chevy your converting. Go figure.)
  • Relocate ALL the wires that are currently connected to the BAT terminal on your starter (the large terminal) to the 'hot' side of the ford solenoid (thats the side connected to the battery, typically the large post to the left on the ford solenoid)
    • This will allow you to relocate the wires away from the (hot) engine block
  • Relocate the 'start' wire on the starter solenoid (small terminal closest to the engine) to the 'S' terminal on the ford solenoid (if using the relay as pictured above, the S terminal is usually the one on the left)
  • IF you are still using a points ignition system relocate the bypass wire (small terminal furthest from engine block) to the 'I' terminal on the ford solenoid.
  • Run a new heavy guage wire from the HOT side of the ford solenoid to the BAT terminal on the starter (the large terminal).
    • Yes, thats correct, the bat terminal will be hot at all times like the original hookup
  • Now, for what makes this a ford solenoid conversion "My Way", run at least an 8 guage wire from the cold side of the ford solenoid to the 'S' terminal on the starter. (Thats the large lug on the right of the ford solenoid to the small terminal closest to the engine block on the starter).
    • becuase many of the no start problems are related to excess voltage drop on the original 'start' wire and a hot starter, this method of wiring allows full battery voltage to reach the starter solenoid.
    • the ford solenoid does not require anywhere near as much current to activate, therefore the voltage drop problem is essential irrelavent.
Thats about all there is to adding a remote solenoid to your GM. A couple advantages to having the ford solenoid,
-its a lot easier to "start the car with a screwdriver" since all the terminals are up on the firewall.
-my favorite, disconnect the wires that run to the starter from the ford solenoid and you only need to drop out the starter from the bottom, no fiddling around while lying under the car to disconnect the wiring from the starter, especially if you have header tubes cleaverly designed to be in the way.


Wiring Diagram;





This information is only intended as an overview and may not include all the necessary information, data, or facts.
Every vehicle is unique, and research for your particular vehicle is recomended.
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Old 12-04-2009, 02:47 PM   #11
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Added this mod to our 1978 Chevy crew cab pickup with 454 v8, years ago. A simple fix that works! Got the advice from some old geezers in an old-fashioned autoparts store. Handed me the Ford solenoid and drew a wiring diagram on an old envelope.
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Old 12-04-2009, 03:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
Added this mod to our 1978 Chevy crew cab pickup with 454 v8, years ago. A simple fix that works! Got the advice from some old geezers in an old-fashioned autoparts store. Handed me the Ford solenoid and drew a wiring diagram on an old envelope.
Many times that IS the best source of Information Phoenix !!!

Now we also have the internet, and forums to pass along goodies!

I also see now that Chevy offers a remote, mounted ground, solenoid for the starter issue
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Old 02-19-2011, 06:43 PM   #13
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I am still working on this Modification
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