Q&A / Tech

Mailbag: Diagnosing Starter Issues and Resurrecting Your Ride

 Got questions?

We’ve got the answers—Mondays when the Summit Racing tech department tackles your automotive-related conundrums. This week, we’re troubleshooting a starter and bringing a dormant vehicle back to life.

From: Ron Brandelli • Oak Harbor, WA
Q: The starter on my 1936 Ford street rod breaks every year. The copper stud completely burns out at the inner solenoid contact. This has happened several times, and I don’t understand why. I’ve owned the car for five years, but it was fully restored in the 1980s. Can you help?

A: A missing or bad ground is a sure-fire way to burn out your starter’s copper stud. First off, make sure there is no paint on the starter or block. It could be causing a poor connection. Then make sure you have a good ground from the block to the frame or from the battery to the block. Once there’s a solid connection, you should no longer burn through starters. If you need more help chasing down your electrical gremlins, check out our post on How to Diagnose Electrical Ground Issues.


From: Ricky May • Enoree, SC
Q: I have a 1987 Monte Carlo SS with a 305 HO engine and an automatic transmission. I bought it from a Chevy showroom back in 1987, and since then it’s been my baby! Unfortunately, it’s been stored in my garage for over a decade. I would love to have it up and running again. I want to restore it back to its 1987 condition. Which parts should I replace and what’s the best way to crank it over since it’s been so long?


A: Begin by carefully starting the engine to determine its health. Spray WD-40® in each cylinder and try to crank it over by hand first. Then, start the engine and thoroughly examine it for any issues. Chances are there will be some bugs to work out here and there. Anything that sits for over a decade will develop a few kinks!

Depending on how everything runs, we suggest replacing a few key items. Breathe new life into your engine with a Holley remanufactured carburetor (HLY-64-70087). This carb is completely rebuilt with all new components and will have your ride running back to factory standards in no time. After that, replace your worn and cracked hoses with a Goodyear Super Hi-Miler hose kit. These EPDM/Nomex hoses exceed factory specs for long lasting dependability. Then fire up your ignition with stock replacement spark plug wires from AutoExtra (AXT-27837) and spark plugs from ACDelco (ACF-R45TS).

Before hitting the street, make sure you extensively check your brake system. Flush all the lines and double-check your hardware. Once you feel confident, start up your revamped ride and conquer the road!

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