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  1. #1
    Member Voodoo81's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
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    1981 ZZ383, Weiand 177, steeroids, Van Steel rear
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    Default 81 starting frustrations

    Hi all - new to the forum. Just picked up a stock '81 4 speed. Never restored a car before, but I figured this would be the one since I've loved the C3 and there's an abundance of parts and help available.

    The car runs fine and I've had a mechanic tell me it's in good shape.

    The first (of many) and most important question is that I've been having some difficulty starting it. In the past, as I recall when I turn the key, the electrical system would turn on (radio, HVAC blower, some dashboard lights). But it wouldn't even turn over. I thought it was an issue requiring clutch adjustment - it'd seem like I'd really have to push that thing in as hard as I could, although shifting when I drove was never an issue. Had a mechanic look at it again and he said (for free) that he had no problems and that the rubber clutch cover was loose and that sometimes that would make me have to push harder (???!)

    Anyway, I've been away for a week and wanted to fire it up just to make sure it was still working. Now I turn the key, get NO radio or sembleance of electrical life. Was I just imagining things before with the radio turning on before cranking? I've driven fuel injected, electrical-issue-free cars my whole life. Does this car need to be cranking in order to have the dash lights come on and I have a mystery clutch problem, or am I just an idiot with a dead battery after a week of sitting around?

    Thanks.

    Sorry if I'm pissing any of you guys off with the novice nature of the question. Please don't yell. I suck - I know it. There'll be a million more questions to come. But then again, that's the reason I got the car.

  2. #2
    Member petes74ttop's Avatar
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    1974 T-Top
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    Default

    You might want to see if the battery is good.
    Then clean the battery neg connection at the battery to frame and at frame to the motor.
    Then check the pos to starter connection. PG.

  3. #3
    Member minifridge1138's Avatar
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    1982 Black Fastback
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    Default

    With the key in the "on" position you should have electronics.

    If you don't have that, then you don't have power.

    If you have electronics, but the car won't crank, that is a different problem.

    Do you have the service manuals and Assembly Instruction Manual (AIM) ?

    Start with the battery, battery cables, and ground. They're pretty common problems.

    Feel free to ask questions, it is the only way to learn!!!

  4. #4
    Member Voodoo81's Avatar
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    1981 ZZ383, Weiand 177, steeroids, Van Steel rear
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    Default Thanks and here's another question

    Figured it out. Despite being put in in 4/08, pep boys told me by battery was bad. The joker who owned the car had gutted the compartments behind the seats in a lame attempt to start restoring it. The battery was sitting on the frame of the car with no insulation. I assume that it had shorted itself out oer time (in addition to being a gigantic fire hazard). So I got some new insulation and thin carpet for the battery compartment (actually enough to do the whole area behind the seats).

    So here's question 2: There's some loose insulation where the carpet is fraying in the rear. It's in decent shape (still molded to the shape of the car), but said joker seems to have glued the current carpet to the insulation, and I can't get the carpet out without pulling out half the insulation. Do you know if this stuff has asbestos in it (81 vette)? I can do a halfway decent job in the back without a custom kit. Should I tear this stuff out and reinsulate and recarpet, or is it acceptable to just carpet over the old stuff (reason being I'm changing interior from midnight blue to black)?

    Thanks again for the replies.

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