She Won't Start!

The Era of The Square Body Racing Comets

She Won't Start!

Postby Jims65cyclone » Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:28 pm

Well, I backed the Comet out of the garage this afternoon for a nice Sunday drive, pointed her up the driveway and shut her off to go in the house and get the wife. We came back out, hopped in the car, turned the ignition to start and there was nothing but the sound of crickets. No grunt, no nothing. I pulled the ignition switch wire off the starter relay and touched a jumper from the terminal to the + side of the battery and the engine turned over, so I know it wasn't the battery, relay or the starter. I crawled under the dash...and it's a rat's nest. :roll: It's all the original wiring, brittle and with several PO's repairs and modifications. Plus, the PO who painted it pulled all the instruments when he painted the dash, but didn't mask anything off, so all my wires are red instead of color coded. :evil: (A new wiring harness has been on my to-do list, but I'd hoped it wouldn't become an issue before I could do it.) I found a wire hanging loose with a 90-deg boot on the end designed to slip onto a stud. The long threaded stud sticking out of the back of the ignition switch had several wires attached to it with a nut, but the long stud had nothing else attached. I wondered if this elbow wire was supposed to snap onto that stud and "just happened to fall off" after I backed it out of the garage. I checked continuity between the loose wire under the dash and both wires going the the start relay and got nothing. I don't know whether I should have continuity or not, so I don't know whether that means I don't, and I shouldn't, or I don't because I have a broken wire. It seems too coincidental that I should have a loose snap-on wire with very little slack hanging that close to an extended threaded stud on the back of the ignition switch, and it not supposed to connect there. It also seems unlikely that I should not have a had a problem with it before, and it just happened to pop off the stud after I backed the car out of the garage today. But, it doesn't seem like it would matter since I didn't have continuity between it and the starter relay (unless I AM supposed to have continuity, and the wire happened to break at the same time :shock: ). Is there supposed to be a wire snapped onto that stud on the switch? Should I have continuity between that end of the wire and one of the wires connected to the coil on the starter relay? Between the gathering darkness and the mosquitoes trying to drag me off into the woods for a feast, I finally jumpered the relay to the battery to get it cranked, and pulled her back into the garage until later. Any help will be appreciated.
Jim
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Re: She Won't Start!

Postby poboyjo65 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:06 pm

sounds like the cig lighter wire.

here is a diagram if you dont have one;
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Re: She Won't Start!

Postby Comechero65 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:27 pm

That's what happens to a 50+ year old car, they get butchered over the years. Either they didn't have access to a wiring diagram or too lazy to find one and thought they knew it all.

If you were able to jump the solenoid to start then at least the ign is good. The S term on the ign sw is the wire that goes to the solenoid to start. Ign is on the C wire.

Years ago before I tore mine apart i identified all the wires and labled all of them. I knew I would never emember all that. made it so much easier when I did put it together.

Maybe you can get enough paint off the wires to see what color it is. Brake fluid makes a good stripper plus is softens old brittle wires.

On mine the Blue/wht wire is for the cigar lighter and comes directly from the bottom fuse on the fuse panel. Should have a 90 deg plug on the end to plug into the cigar lighter.
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Re: She Won't Start!

Postby Lou's Comet » Mon Jul 31, 2017 6:43 am

Hey Jim,

If it starts by jumping then I would think it is one of three things. Neutral safety switch, Ignition switch, or the wire that goes from ignition switch thru N safety switch to relay.

First thing I would do is see if the car starts in neutral, instead of park. Then if it doesn't start try starting it in gear, reverse, and drive. Make sure you are holding the brake on. If it starts in gear or neutral but not park the switch is bad, or out of adjustment, I would replace it.

I am assuming it is a automatic. If it is a manual trans then it may have a clutch safety switch on clutch pedal. Not sure mine was a automatic, (tho since I am putting a 4 speed in it I will wire a safety switch.) And you could pull the connector off it and stick a jumper wire in the connector to see if it starts. If it starts switch is bad

Next I would test the ignition switch with a test light. Ground the test light to a good ground and test the "S" terminal on the back of the ign switch. When you turn the key to the start position the "S" terminal should be hot/light the light. And only when the key is turned the whole way to start position. I think the wire on the S terminal is red with blue stripe. If this terminal/wire is not hot with key turned whole way to start then ign switch is bad.

If you can't see the "S" on the ign switch or see any of the other terminal markings test them all.

With key off only one terminal should be hot, this is the power supply into switch. Think it may be yellow wire.

With key turned back to acc. Two should be hot the power supply and the acc terminal which I believe is the center post.

With the key turned to run, the position the key is in when driving. Three should be hot, the supply (think yellow) the center accessory terminal and the wire going to power coil -(think it is red with green stripe.)

Now these should all test good since car runs jumping relay. The last terminal on the ign switch is the one to the relay. Think the wire is red with blue stripe this terminal should be hot only when switch is turned whole way to start.
If it is not hot/lighting the light when key is turned to start the ign switch is bad.

If it is hot then could be wire feeding relay or still the neutral safety switch more testing would be needed, or you could just run a jumper wire from the start terminal on ign switch to the starter relay/solenoid to run car, tho you would lose the safety switch and car would then also start in gear.

Couple questions, is the car a auto? Does it have backup lights?

Hope it helps

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Re: She Won't Start!

Postby Jims65cyclone » Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:36 pm

John, Ron.....based on the schematic and your comments, I'm thinking the loose snap-on wire is probably from the cigar lighter, too. It will probably be this weekend before I crawl under the dash again, but I'll check the cigar lighter for a missing wire, and try wiping some brake fluid on the wires to see if the original colors show up. If it is the cigar-lighter wire, it should be hot all the time since it goes directly to the fuse block, right?

Lou...thanks for the guidance on how to check out the ignition switch. Based on this car's history of having been converted from a 4-speed to an automatic and back to a 4-speed, all probably under the shade of an old oak tree in the backyard, I suspect any neutral switch probably got ripped out and straight-wired years ago, but I'll check it out.

I'll keep you guys posted on what I find. Thanks for the guidance.
Jim
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Re: She Won't Start!

Postby lavron » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:49 pm

My '64 doesn't have any "safety" features, they must have cost extra :roll: it has never had seatbelts, 4 way flashers, or a neutral safety switch (or clutch engaged to start, it has always been a standard shift car.

Also my Comet has never had a radio so there is no hole in the fender (and I wish I could find my radio delete stuff, I took it out for some reason) it does have a single door mirror that is way too far back. So a totally base option less car, had the original seat covers and rubber floor mat when I got it (not in too good of shape).

Now I am of the age, I really don't care if it ever has a radio (probably won't) I wish I could get a rubber floor "carpet" and I kinda think a seatbelt is a good idea.

One thing, my Comet has always had two horns, I would have thought the second (tone?) horn would have been an option, it seems that I remember that to be so but maybe the Comet being a Mercury and a "fancier" car it got the second horn?

See Ya,
Mike
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Re: She Won't Start!

Postby Lou's Comet » Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:24 am

Jims65cyclone wrote:
Lou...thanks for the guidance on how to check out the ignition switch. Based on this car's history of having been converted from a 4-speed to an automatic and back to a 4-speed, all probably under the shade of an old oak tree in the backyard, I suspect any neutral switch probably got ripped out and straight-wired years ago, but I'll check it out.

Jim


If your car has been converted back and forth with transmissions I would agree prob no safety switch.

Since you plan on rewiring the car at a later date you ok with correcting/installing any safety switches then?

Either your ign switch is bad, or the wire going from switch to relay is bad.

If you can't find/see the colors to the wires on the ignition switch then one way around it would be to find the start/relay wire by process of elimination.

Turn your key to the normal run position, the center accessory post should be hot and two of the other three wires in the plug should be hot. Pretty much all the wires going to the ign switch should be hot with key in run position, .....except one....

The one that is not hot is the starter relay wire, the one that goes to activate the starter relay.

When you turn your key to start position this wire should become hot. If not the ignition switch is bad.

If the starter relay wire is hot with key in start position then your issue is with wiring.

You then have two choices
1) rip into the wiring and find the problem, which depending on what previous owners have done could be a pain,,, or 2) cut the starter relay wire coming off the ign switch and splice in and run a new wire from there to the S terminal on the starter relay. Which would get you on the road and be fine, except no safety switch. Which you could take care of when you rewire car at later date.

When I am at my shop today I will get a picture for you of the ign switch plug so you can see the orientation and colors of the wires in plug.

Pretty sure the power supply wire for switch is yellow, wire for power to coil is red with green stripe, and wire to activate starter relay is red with blue stripe but I will check mine to be sure.

Lou

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Re: She Won't Start!

Postby Lou's Comet » Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:39 am

lavron wrote:My '64 doesn't have any "safety" features, they must have cost extra :roll: it has never had seatbelts, 4 way flashers, or a neutral safety switch (or clutch engaged to start, it has always been a standard shift car.

Also my Comet has never had a radio so there is no hole in the fender (and I wish I could find my radio delete stuff, I took it out for some reason) it does have a single door mirror that is way too far back. So a totally base option less car, had the original seat covers and rubber floor mat when I got it (not in too good of shape).

Now I am of the age, I really don't care if it ever has a radio (probably won't) I wish I could get a rubber floor "carpet" and I kinda think a seatbelt is a good idea.

One thing, my Comet has always had two horns, I would have thought the second (tone?) horn would have been an option, it seems that I remember that to be so but maybe the Comet being a Mercury and a "fancier" car it got the second horn?

See Ya,
Mike


Mine had a few options and safety features, had power steering, power brakes, interval wipers, back up lights, radio, seat belts, remote mirror. Only seat belts and remote mirror are staying, got rid of the ps, pb, int wipers, b/u lights, radio, and a few things I prob forgot.

Mine did have a neutral safety switch. It was on the trans with the back up light switch built into it. Since I am changing to 4 speed I will wire in a clutch safety switch when I get to the wiring just cause I "may" let my fiancé drive it.

Agree seat belts are a good idea!

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Re: She Won't Start!

Postby lavron » Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:44 pm

Lou's Comet wrote:Mine did have a neutral safety switch. It was on the trans with the back up light switch built into it.


Well that could answer part of it, Mine is one without BU lights, of course I am not sure in '64 the standard shifts had a clutch/neutral safety switch anyway.

Seems like '65 or '66 seatbelts became mandatory in cars, I think trucks came some time later.

See Ya,
Mike
64 Comet 202 Sedan, I6, Offy Triples, Header, CAM, Dual Point Distributor, 4.11 - 8" Rear.
My first car, I have owned it since 1979!
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Re: She Won't Start!

Postby Comechero65 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:58 pm

Generally 64 and earlier falcons and probably comets had a NSS switch mounted in the steering column under the dash. Backup kights were a part of that sw. With the introduction of the c4 the NSS sw moved to the trans. Manual trans only had a sw for the backup lights. Don't think any cars back in those years had a clutch safety sw as modern day cars do.
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Re: She Won't Start!

Postby Lou's Comet » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:44 pm

Looked for my ignition switch and plug.... Couldn't find them, thinking I may have given it away or something. Sorry Jim no pictures. Pretty sure with the info, you will figure out what's wrong in a short time this weekend.

lavron wrote:
Lou's Comet wrote:Mine did have a neutral safety switch. It was on the trans with the back up light switch built into it.


Well that could answer part of it, Mine is one without BU lights, of course I am not sure in '64 the standard shifts had a clutch/neutral safety switch anyway.

Seems like '65 or '66 seatbelts became mandatory in cars, I think trucks came some time later.

See Ya,
Mike


Thinking 67 for the seat belts. Then padded dashes, dual master cylinder, steering column, etc. pretty sure the seat belt regulation was the first one of the federal safety standards for cars.

Yea I agree, don't think your car had a clutch safety. Before the fed's safety standard wasn't a whole lot of safety stuff on cars.

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Re: She Won't Start!

Postby Jims65cyclone » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:18 pm

Well, as far as I can tell, I got her fixed. I'm 99% confident it was the ignition switch. I ran voltage and continuity checks at the switch and through the wire to the solenoid. Got a very low voltage going to the solenoid at first (.33V). I found a finger-twisted splice in the wire to the solenoid, so I spliced it properly. Checked voltage again and got 12V. Figured that was it, so I buttoned it back up and cranked the car several times with no problem. Backed out of the garage and started up the drive and it shut off as if I'd turned the switch off. When I tried to crank it again I got nothing. Had to jumper the solenoid to get it cranked and back into the garage. Checked voltage to the solenoid again and it was back at .33V. :? I had checked Advance Auto earlier to see if they had a replacement switch, which they did, but there were only two reviews on it and they were both 1 star. One guy said it fell apart after a few months, and the other said his car would just cut off for no reason. :idea: I checked and NAPA had an Echlin brand switch with 3-year warranty, so I got one for $17. Put it in this afternoon and everything seems to work well. Took it for a test drive (jumper wire on the seat beside me :wink: ) and had no problems. Hopefully, that's taken care of the problem. But, I'm going to keep that jumper wire in the car for a while, just in case. :) Thanks everyone for your advice.
Jim
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