Starting/Ignition Switch Issues

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wbabst
Posts: 272
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:03 pm
Location: Lake Elsinore, California

Starting/Ignition Switch Issues

Post by wbabst »

I HATE intermittent issues and that is what I am dealing with now. I have a 61 Monza, with a powerglide transmission. On any given day the car starts absolutely beautifully, often in the morning I just reach in and turn the key and it starts right up. The issue is every once in a while, totally randomly you turn the key and NOTHING happens. There is no click on the solenoid, the dash lights don't really dim, nothing. I have tried jiggling wires on neutral safety switch, run the gear selector up and down, tried jiggling wires on ignition switch to NO avail. Then a minute later turn the key and the car starts right up like there in nothing wrong.
Last experience I went out to move the car into the garage. It didn't start on first try so when I tried the second time again nothing, repeated attempts and still nothing. I walked into the house and came back 20 minutes later reached in through the drivers window and turned the key, and it fired right up.
This experience is very frustrating. Anyone have similar experiences?
Current owner
61(x2) Monza Cpe
61 Lakewood
55 Pontiac Chieftain Wagon


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terribleted
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Re: Starting/Ignition Switch Issues

Post by terribleted »

Sounds like there is a loss of contact somewhere between the ignition switch and the starter. Since you have wiggled the connections at the neutral safety and ignition switch with no help I would suggest checking the wiring plugs between the engine harness and the main body harness and the main body harness and the dash harness as well as the connections between the engine harness and the 2 wire starter harness and the wires form the 2 wire harness and the solenoid. Might be corrosion or wires at the solenoid in poor condition. Corrosion in these connectors is common. Start by checking the engine to main body harness plug as this is the one that gives the most issues, followed by the 2 wire starter harness. If corrosion is evident cleaning can often help but the best solution is to replace the effected harnesses with new ones as new ones will likely not give troubles for 40 or 50 years and any cleaning of the connections may give short lived results.
Corvair guy since 1982. I have personally restored at least 20 Vairs, many of them restored ground up.
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bbodie52
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Re: Starting/Ignition Switch Issues

Post by bbodie52 »

In the schematic diagram illustration below, i tried to focus attention on the beginning (Ignition Switch) and end (Starter Solenoid) that are connected together via a 12 Gauge Violet (12V) wire. The beginning and ending wire connections at the Ignition Switch and at the Starter Solenoid are both labeled "S". Battery voltage (12 VDC) enters the ignition switch at the terminal labeled "R". When the switch is turned to the ON position, voltage is applied to the ignition coil positive terminal to power the ignition system. Further rotation of the switch key to START applies battery voltage to the "S" terminal, to energize the starter solenoid and crank the engine. HOWEVER, if you follow the 12V wire from the ignition switch "S" terminal, you will see that with a Corvair that has a Powerglide Automatic Transmission the circuit takes a detour through the NEUTRAL SAFETY SWITCH and then continues on to the starter solenoid. This voltage can only pass through the NEUTRAL SAFETY SWITCH if the shift lever is in the NEUTRAL position. The engine cannot be successfully cranked by the starter motor if the shift lever is in any position other than NEUTRAL.

Your problem appears to be with an intermittent connection when the starter is supposed to be cranking the engine. Possibilities:
  1. Faulty Ignition Switch
  2. Faulty Neutral Safety Switch
  3. Loose/Corroded Wiring Harness Connection or Damaged Harness Wire
  4. Faulty Starter Solenoid
Intermittent problems are often difficult to troubleshoot because the fault does not occur every time, and the cause is unpredictable. A multimeter can sometimes be used to test for voltage along the path of the 12V wire. You can also rig a temporary jumper wire to bypass portions of the circuit. For example,if you suspect a faulty Neutral Safety Switch, you could temporarily install a jumper wire to bypass the switch and cause the ignition switch to be permanently connected to the starter solenoid. If the starter engages successfully every time you attempt to start the car under these conditions, you can assume that the Neutral Safety Switch is either improperly adjusted or that it is defective and may need to be replaced. If bypassing the safety switch does not correct the problem, you must suspect the Ignition Switch or the other end at the Starter Solenoid. At some point in your troubleshooting you should be able to identify the area in the circuit that is causing your faulty starter operation.

To test the starter and bypass the ignition switch, the Neutral Safety Switch, and the rest of the wiring harness, a remote starter switch can be connected at the solenoid or at the 2-wire harness connector in the engine compartment.

Image

Corvair Starter Circuit with Powerglide Neutral Safety Switch Alternate Circuit Path
Corvair Starter Circuit with Powerglide Neutral Safety Switch Alternate Circuit Path
Left-click the image to enlarge it for better viewing. Click a second time for maximum enlargement...
1962 Combined Passenger Compartment & Engine Compartment Wiring Diagram
1962 Combined Passenger Compartment & Engine Compartment Wiring Diagram

Image


Image

If you determine that the Neutral Safety switch needs adjustment, the procedure can be found in the attached 1961 Chevrolet Corvair Shop Manual - Section 6e - Automatic Transmission, page 6E-4.



Dielectric-Tune-Up-Grease can sometimes improve the electrical connection in older metal connectors...
Most rear circuits route through the engine compartment multi-connector (below the voltage regulator, near the firewall). The number of metal connector pins inside depend on the Corvair model year, ranging from 8-12 pins. This rear multi-connector is a common source of trouble, as it is subjected to age, vibration, heat, and moisture for many years. Even when the outer plastic shell halves appear to be tightly connected, the internal metal pins may not be providing good electrical connectivity, as they may be loose, dirty, corroded, or bent.

:link: https://www.amazon.com/Permatex-22058-D ... ric+grease
Permatex 22058 Dielectric Tune-Up Grease, 3 oz. Tube

Image

CORVAIR COMBINED WIRING SCHEMATIC DIAGRAMS

:link: :ty: viewtopic.php?f=225&t=12968


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Attachments
1961 Chevrolet Corvair Shop Manual - Section 6e - Automatic Transmission.pdf
1961 Chevrolet Corvair Shop Manual - Section 6e - Automatic Transmission
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Brad Bodie
Lake Chatuge, North Carolina
Image 1966 Corvair Corsa Convertible

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wbabst
Posts: 272
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:03 pm
Location: Lake Elsinore, California

Re: Starting/Ignition Switch Issues

Post by wbabst »

Thanks, terribleted and bbodie, I will start looking at my wires and harness and try to find it, but like mentioned intermittent is a real bugger. Thanks to both of you for your thoughtful and informative replies.
Current owner
61(x2) Monza Cpe
61 Lakewood
55 Pontiac Chieftain Wagon


61 Progress here
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chevrole ... 7898185672
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Goose-N6 ... 8869056897

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