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View Full Version : Starter Engaging when in drive!! Help



74bigblock
05-10-04, 12:00 AM
For some reason this past Thursday, my car would not start. I got stranded at the restaurant! It had something to do with a bad connection on the positive lead to the starter I found out after getting a tow home (Thank goodness for AAA). Anyhow, I tightened up the bolt on the positive lead to the starter which resolved the issue of not starting, but now... a bigger issue. When I put the car in drive, the starter engages. It is sporatic in doing so, and I have no clue where to start looking. This is a 74 454 with a 400 auto trans. Any ideas would help. Thanks!
Dave

P.S. This is a great example of why you won't see me at Aubrun later this month... I don't trust her on a long drive yet!

P.P.S. The starter is engaging by itself... I'm not trying to start it while in drive. It just all of a sudden starts turning over (the noise is unbearable.. Cringe!)

brusso
05-10-04, 08:46 PM
While tightening the big pos lug, on the starter, is it possible that the large cable end is too close to the "S" terminal, on the solenoid?

74bigblock
05-10-04, 09:07 PM
I thought the same thing, and re-tightened and ensured it was no where close. Still doing it though. I'm thinking it might be a fried trans saftey switch.

Evolution1980
05-10-04, 09:29 PM
What happens if you go past drive and down into 1st or 2nd? Does it still crank?

You can check your safety switch by taking off your passenger side console panel. There should be two 7mm(?) screws that hold it in place.

Even so, I can't see how it would engage your starter. As a safety switch, it should keep the engine from starting when it's in drive, not trip the starter!

I would disconnect the battery then have someone get inside the car and have you underneath. Have them go through the shifting and watch for any cables that might be causing wires to touch or something to ground. You might find a open wire somewhere that is getting hit by the shift linkage.

brusso
05-10-04, 10:02 PM
Even so, I can't see how it would engage your starter. As a safety switch, it should keep the engine from starting when it's in drive, not trip the starter!

I agree, I would think that the safety switch would prevent engine start when it shouldn't or allow engine start when it shouldn't. Not cause engine start at any time?

Although, if engine is cranking while in drive, then the safety switch ain't working. If safety switch is functioning, you can still get this same condition if there is an external battery source applied to the "S" terminal of the solenoid. Try tracing the small wire from the "S" terminal to see if there is a partial short to a power source. If there is an "R" terminal, on the solenoid, it could be shorted to the "S" terminal wire somewhere.

74bigblock
05-10-04, 11:21 PM
I pulled the trans switch, but it appears to be working fine... the contacts are clean and it touches at each point.

The car will start in any gear P, R, N, D, 2, or 1.

I'll put her back up on the ramps tomorrow and see if I can find any shorts.

Did I mention that this blows? :(

Evolution1980
05-11-04, 12:19 AM
I pulled the trans switch, but it appears to be working fine... the contacts are clean and it touches at each point.
The car will start in any gear P, R, N, D, 2, or 1.When does the car automatically trip the starter?
If you can manually start in any gear, then it sounds like your Neutral Safety Switch is shot.
If the car starts itself regardless of the shifter position, then you've got an electrical problem.
What happens if the car is off, e-brake on, foot firmly on the brake, and then you throw the shifter into 1st? Does the car continue to try to start? Or does it only try to start when in D?
Does any of this occur if the ignition is off? With the key in the off position, does putting the car in D trip the starter?

Hmmm..either way, it sounds like the problem is going to be an open circuit somewhere and possibly not in the N-Safety switch.
It's definitely goign to require more input from someone that actually knows stuff. I don't really know much about cars...:L I just drive the hell out of 'em! :L

74bigblock
05-11-04, 06:22 PM
The starter is only tripped when the car is in D, 2, or 1... and I am moving. It only happens when I am accelerating... never at idle/N/Park/Rev. Weird huh? If the ignition is off, the starter does not engage. Everything is working properly, other than when I drive (in any fwd gear) the starter engages at will... there is no rhyme or reason as to when, and that I can now start the car in any gear.

I pulled what used to be the portion of the harness going to the starter. There are 4 leads I removed, plus a ground going from the block to the front mounting bracket of the starter. The 4 leads are fairly trashed... there was a metal tube/sheild that they ran thru... and then up towards the rest of the bundle of wires. The insulation is falling appart, and the casings are cracked quite a bit... but They have been this way for some time... why all of a sudden am I having this issue?!

I also pulled the trans saftey switch, but it appears to be in good shape, and the car would not start without it.

JohnZ
05-11-04, 06:33 PM
Regardless of the neutral safety switch, the only way the starter will engage is when 12 volts is applied to the "S" terminal on the solenoid, and the only way that (purple) "start" wire can get 12 volts is from the contacts in the ignition switch or if it's chafed against another wire that carries 12 volts all the time. You have a chafed wire somewhere that's feeding 12 volts to the purple "S" wire.
:beer

Shewter
05-11-04, 07:13 PM
Also take a look at your motor mounts. It sounds as though the motor is moving when you accelerate. This could cause your wiring to move near the starter and cause a short between them. If you can engage your starter in any gear, then your neutral safety switch is bad or out of adjustment.

Hope you find the problem!
Kevin

74bigblock
05-14-04, 11:04 AM
I fixed it! Turns out that the previous owner had jerry-rigged the seatbelt saftey switch with a wire. When we were working on the bad grounding issue on the starter, this wire accidentally got pulled out. We put it back.... but in the wrong spot. A simple glance at a recent engine picture revealed our little indescretion.


At any rate, I am now an expert at removing and replacing my starter and wiring harness, as well as the trans saftey switch!

Thanks for the ideas!

Dave

81 Corvette
05-14-04, 12:24 PM
concrads on teh fix.

Isn't removing starters fun. I've only had to replace mine 3 times this year so far.

brusso
05-15-04, 05:52 PM
I fixed it! Turns out that the previous owner had jerry-rigged the seatbelt saftey switch with a wire. When we were working on the bad grounding issue on the starter, this wire accidentally got pulled out. We put it back.... but in the wrong spot. A simple glance at a recent engine picture revealed our little indescretion.


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