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Caroline's Project-series 1

Discussion in '"Stock" Alpine' started by ladybeamer, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. ladybeamer

    ladybeamer Donation Time

    sorry for all the switching of forums. To get up to speed go to the chit chat area. I'm new from Alabama. Trying to get a series 1 running. I have lots of ambition to get this great car running. I'm counting on this group to help me out with the knowledge.
    My solenoid is clicking but the engine doesn't turn over. As suggested I put a wrench across the terminals. I didn't have the key in so I'm not sure if I did it correctly. The solenoid just clicked each time I'd put the wrench to it, just like when I turn the key.
    what should I do next? I attached a pic of the car, and one of the solenoid showing what looks like brown lamp wiring and one of the wires is broken. I'm seriously considering a total rewire job with a new wire harness. I don't plan to add lots of electrical components. I do want to figure out what drains the battery, switch to an alternator and maybe go to neg. ground.
    any and all tips, tricks, hints and info is greatly appreciated.

    Attached Files:

  2. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    If you shorted between the heavy terminals, there should not have been a click. Just sparks and a spinning starter. If you get the sparks and no spin, that is an excellent indicator of a bad starter. The key has nothing to do with this test.

    You mention a drained battery. Is it drained now? If it is, don't expect it to spin the engine, regardless of tests. Best to charge the battery before doing anything else. That could be the cause of "no spin".

  3. RootesRacer

    RootesRacer Donation Time

    Ah so you won this auction.

    There has been a lot of talk here about your car.

    Its a fine car.
  4. norville

    norville Donation Time

    If the battery is good, and you tried the solenoid trick, you could try tapping the side of the starter motor. Sometimes this will unstick it. sometimes it will not if that makes it go you are most likely gunna need a starter.


    Welcome to the forum
  5. ladybeamer

    ladybeamer Donation Time

    battery's good

    the battery is brand new and fully charged. I disconnect the ground (pos.) whenever it doesn't need to be.

    So I had the good battery hooked up, no key and put the wrench across it. The solenoid clicked, no motor spin. Does that mean I need a new solenoid or a starter. Dumb blond girl question:p-what's the starter motor look like. I have LOTs of pictures of the engine I can attach if someone can point out the starter.

    I didn't win the auction but had been in contact with the seller. the person that won apparently didn't pay or there was some type of issue. So He offered it to me. At the time I intended to purchase it and send it to my mechanic in Atlanta. During the transport from CA to GA I lost my job so I couldn't see paying to have it worked on while I sit at home. I've had a few British and Italian cars in the past-MG's, Sprite, Fiat 500 and a Siata Spring. If they didn't run I'd have Scott at checkered flag get them running and then I'd do the fun stuff-interior, paint etc.
    With the job loss I'm trying to get it going myself and hope I can. I don't want it to sit and waste away due to my inability. I'm counting on you guys to walk me through this and get it running. You'll be able to hear me scream the first time it turns over.
  6. ladybeamer

    ladybeamer Donation Time

    So did I get a decent car and be honest? I've been toyless other than my Harley for a few years. I got the itch again and wanted to find a Sunbeam or a Nash Metropolitan. I came across this car on eBay on evening and now it's in my back yard. I hope I didn't bite off more than I can chew. I want to get my daughter interested in restorations so I hope this will be a good one.

  7. puff4

    puff4 Gold Level Sponsor

    Caroline, You say your battery is charged - how do you know? I'd put it on a charger overnight at about 10 amps, and in 24 hours you'll have plenty of juice if it's a decent battery.

    The guys are right, though, if you've got a fully charged battery and you've manually connected those two terminals (with nice sparks) and you don't get a spin you've probably got a bad starter. Some older starters had a square shank sticking out the back of the starter motor and could be turned a bit with an open-end wrench in case you had a bad place on the starter's armature, but I don't think Sunbeams had that type starter on the early models - BMC cars did (MG/Austin/etc) and it was really handy.

    One other option... as your car is an early one, if your car came with its original hand crank, and you've got a nice gent with a decent pair of arms, you might just be able to crank-start the car, providing there's spark and fuel. Ensure you've primed the carburettors by lifting the lever under the fuel pump several times until you hear them fill and the lever gets less resistant (BTW, priming the carbs is always a good idea when starting a Sunbeam engine if it's not been run for a while - saves cranking!), then pull the choke out most of the way and turn the ignition to 'run'. Then to crank it, make sure he grips the handle with his thumbs NOT wrapped around the handle... his hands should make a "C" not an "O" around the crank handle (although the crank will automatically disengage, it's just a bad habit to use your thumb on the wrong side).... then turn it over slowly once or twice to get air/fuel into the engine, then give it a couple of swift cranks and sometimes this will get it to kick over and start. Once started, withdraw the crank immediately.

    The other reason for cranking it by hand is a stuck bendix on the starter... sometimes the starter's bendix (gear) locks in engagement with the flywheel (gear) and can cause the starter to jam and not to crank... and hand-cranking the engine will break it loose.

    On edit:

    The starter is the round tube-like thing on the bottom left-hand side of the motor, underneath the carburettors and intake/exhaust manifolds and behind the exhaust pipe. It's about 8-9" long and 4-5" in diameter. The big, thick black wire from your solenoid goes directly to it.

    On edit #2:

    You say that when you jumped the two large connectors on the back of the solenoid that it 'clicked'... as Bill noted, it shouldn't have. The only way to get it to 'click' is to connect the one coming from the battery (big terminal) to the one going to the switch (the smaller terminal). You should only be connecting the two BIG terminals together... and it should not click at that point, it should just spark and, if there's a short in your starter, perhaps hum a bit.
  8. Alpine Addict

    Alpine Addict Platinum Donor Diamond Level Sponsor

    Welcome to the Sunbeam world. I watched this car on E-Bay.

    The easiest way to find the starter is to follow one of the big cables from the solenoid. It will go to a large round object on the engine same side as the solenoid.
  9. ladybeamer

    ladybeamer Donation Time

    After I got the car home from GA I put the battery on a charger so I'm sure it's good.

    there's an oil cooler or radiator in front of where it would be cranked. I attached a photo. It's in the "scoopy" thing between the fog lights.

    Is the starter the rusty thing next to the solenoid? I attached a picture of that as well.


    Attached Files:

  10. sunbby

    sunbby Past SAOCA President Donation Time

    I was thinking something similar:

    The first thing I would do is figure if the motor turns at all. Maybe it's locked due to non-use, or hydraulic locked due to fuel in a cylinder or something.

    If you put it in 3rd or 4th gear and push the car backwards it should turn the motor a little bit (I think backwards will help if it's a hydraulic lock). Using 3rd or 4th gives you better "leverage" to turn the motor. Note the motor won't turn that much, but should be noticable, maybe watch the fan.

    If the engine spins a little it may well free up a stuck bendix too.

    If you don't have a hand crank you can bump start it too. Helps if you're on a hill: let the car roll with the clutch depressed; put it in 3rd; release the clutch, the motor should turn over and hopefully start before you get to the bottom of the hill... I have done this on my own, on level ground, but it is pretty tough getting the car moving fast enough then jumping in that way!

    Good luck,
  11. Ron67Alpine

    Ron67Alpine Silver Level Sponsor

    Hi again, Caroline,
    I'm like you, I want a reliable driver, while keeping it "cheap" on the wallet. At $85/hr plus, for a mechanic, learning to wrench is a great cost cutter. I've been posting in the Modified forum when I want to totally change something, and use the Stock forum for general questions.
    Like the other guys said, if you have a good, fully charged battery, and short the 2 big terminals, you should be able to get a sound of a spinning motor comming from the starter motor, and the engine trying to turn over.
    The solenoid, some people call it a relay, because that what it is. When you turn the key 2 things happen. It completes a circuit to the ignition system and it sends a current to the solenoid/relay. This current completes a circuit that causes an electromagnet to pull a switch down that allows high amperage current to the starter, through a direct contact between the 2 big terminals. By shorting the 2 big terminals, (I prefer a screwdriver rather than a wrench, as it has an insulated handle) you provide a direct path for the high amp current from the battery.
    BTW you can buy or make a "remote starter", that clips on the 2 terminals, w/ a button that you push, comes in handy.
    This is actually half the process known as "hotwiring". If the key is off, the only thing that will happen, by shorting the 2 large terminals, is the starter will turn. Are you sure you don't have a button on the bottom of your solenoid? This button does the same thing as "shorting" the terminals. I ask this, because mine was stuck and I had to push hard to unstick it.
    As to where the starter is, follow the 2 big wires going to those 2 terminals. one goes back to your battery, the other goes directly to the starter motor. On my SV, its on the left side, connected to the bell housing, which is part of the clutch/transmission, which is connected to the lower engine. It's a rather large cylinder thing...just follow the wire, you'll see it. As has been said, if you just get sparks and clicks, when shorting, chances are the starter motor is bad. Like Norville said, sometimes the starter can be tapped and it will free up. Starters aren't that hard to rebuild, if cash is hard, but it's so much easier to get a rebuilt one. Sometime just taking them apart, checking them out and cleaning will get them going.
    I've never had a positive ground car, but from everything I've heard, the neg ground is better. I don't believe there are pos gnd alternators, so if you stay w/pos gnd you will be stuck w/the generator and the external parts. I've just upgraded to a 1 wire alternator and it removes 3 other external charging system modules. I'm sure some of the real purist's will disagree. I don't know how hard it is to convert to neg gnd, but look around, use the search function and ask questions. There is a lot of info and willing people that have helped me quite a bit. Besides a factory shop manual and a moderate set of hand tools, you might want to get a multi-meter, timing light and dwell-tach.
    Hope you and your daughter enjoy getting dirty together:)
    Good luck
    Hope my explaination wasn't over complicated. :eek:
  12. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Platinum Level Sponsor

    I'm sitting in a airport as I write this, so no where near my car to check, but is it possible to put a wrench across the correct two terminals on the solenoid? I am pretty sure I have bypassed the solenoid before and thought I had to use a heavy gauge wire (actually, a jumper cable, IIRC) to get around the center of the solenoid.
  13. ladybeamer

    ladybeamer Donation Time

    Since I can't crank it due to what I think is an oil cooler, I'll try the push and start option. Hopefully some of my daughters school friends can come over and do the pushing. We've got a decent little hill to try.
  14. Ron67Alpine

    Ron67Alpine Silver Level Sponsor

    Caroline, remember if you try to bump start it, down a hill, if it doesn't start, it has to be pushed back up the hill. IMO, Try some of the "in place" suggestions first.
  15. sunbby

    sunbby Past SAOCA President Donation Time

    Yes, definitely don't go down a hill until you think there is good chance it will start! :)

    Of course if you have a few friends the Alpine is pretty light and you can try bump starting on level road.

    That's also why I suggest merely bumping the car back while in gear just to see if the engine will turn at all.
  16. puff4

    puff4 Gold Level Sponsor

    Caroline, your starter pointed out in the picture below.

    As for cranking, I thought for sure the early cars had clearance for a crank - can you S1 guys chime in and tell me?

    Attached Files:

  17. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    Hey, don't you old codgers remember the energy you had has a teenager? They could probably push the car all around town and have the energy left to push it back up the hill with the car in low gear and put it on the garage.

  18. ladybeamer

    ladybeamer Donation Time

    The car is up on ramps so I thought it would be easy to try the backward thing-wrong. DBQ-(dumb blond question) Does it need to be in gear or out? I had it in gear and tried to push- it wouldn't go. I didn't know if someone needed to be in the car with the clutch in and then pop it when it started moving. Harley-my daughter wasn't around so I tried it alone.
    I banged on the started and put the wrench across the terminals but still no spinning noise from the starter.
  19. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    The best way to turn the engine over by pushing the car is to put it in 4th gear and push. If you are by yourself, you may not be able to turn the engine over as it is not easy. My wife is not strong enough to do it.

  20. jmthehermit

    jmthehermit Donation Time

    Hi Caroline, are you sure that the engine is free to spin? Sometimes after sitting for an extended period the pistons stick in the cylinders. I would suggest get the car on level ground, pull all of the spark plugs, put the transmission in 4th with the key off, then try to rock the car back and forth. Watch the fan and see if it moves. I bought an Alpine that had been sitting for about 11 years and found the engine seized up. I pulled the plugs and squirted some Marvel Mystery Oil into the cylingers and let it sit for a week. After waiting for time to pass the oil worked its way to the rings. A couple of good pushes and the engine eventually freed up. If the engines frozen, no amount of wire chasing or trying to start it by using the starter will work. Welcome to the world of Sunbeams! Jeff

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