Starter and startabilty issue resolved - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2019, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
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Starter and startabilty issue resolved

I'm posting this just to share information that may help some other fool.

My troubles began when I decided to ditch the low hanging and badly dented headers on my '68 GTO convertible in favor of cast Ram-Air exhaust manifolds. The exhaust tucked up nicely but the starter was now right up against the new manifold. The solenoid actually touched. Not too long after that I started to have issues starting the car when the engine was hot. The starter would either just click or drag and barely turn the engine over. It seemed like a no brainer that it was heating up because it was basically touching the exhaust manifold. My solution was to install a mini starter that I purchased from Summit. That seemed to be the fix for awhile but the problem returned a short while later. I fabricated and installed a heat shield but it didn't help. During my research I ran across a post saying they had the same issue with the Summit starter and installed the Powermaster which solved the problem. I found one for $250 and decided to try it. The Powermaster 9410 says it will fit but the solenoid didn't clear the manifold in either of the two clocking positions available. The Summit starter had bolt holes most of the way around allowing you to rotate the solenoid to a number of positions. Again, the Powermaster had two. I called Powermaster who told me to rotate it 180 degrees so the solenoid was on the bottom. That looked like it would work but the solenoid bolt holes didn't line up. I went back and forth with Powermaster who insisted they would. They finally sent me a picture of what they wanted but the mounting plate in their picture wasn't what I had. OK, so I'm not crazy. They said I had an older version that didn't have the extra holes and agreed to send me a replacement. I decided to put the Summit starter back on so I could drive the car while I waited. When I did I noticed the battery cable had some rust on the terminal and maybe wasn't in such good shape in general so I replaced it with a better one I had in my parts stash. Guess what, the problem is almost gone. The starter still drags a little when the car's hot but it starts. At least it has for the week or so since I put it back together. I'm now thinking I had a poor supply of juice that was enough to start the cold engine but not when it got hot. If that's the case and it seems like it is it's unique to my experience.

I have since learned the Powermaster sells a 9410NM starter with the solenoid on the bottom.

I haven't received the new mounting block yet but when I do I'm going to install the Powermaster and new 2 gauge battery cables. My wife drives the car and I don't want to take the chance with the existing set up that she'll get stranded somewhere.

Again, just sharing....Happy Motoring.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2019, 11:16 AM
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Thanks for sharing this info. I am considering the Ram Air manifolds for my '68 and have wondered about the starter and the wiring to it. Appreciate your info
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2019, 07:04 PM
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Another thing to consider is battery cable gauge size. Many of the replacement cables tend to be a smaller gauge wire. Smaller diameter wire size is in essence a restrictor in the amount of voltage that can be passed down the wire - a straw vs a 2" pipe.

Go with the largest gauge you can fit. Larger gauge cables will cost more, but will give you all of the voltage needed.

Here is what I found:

What Gauge or Size Cable do I need?

6 Gauge - .333" Diameter
6 Gauge works for accessory leads and most stock alternators. Battery cables for small engines (like ATVs and sub-compacts). Some stock golf cart wiring.

4 Gauge - .360" Dia.
4 gauge wire makes great accessory leads and alternator wiring (up to about 180A). Many cars use this as battery cable. Some electric ATVs use #4 for the battery banks. It also makes very good automotive booster cables.

2 Gauge - .440" Dia.
2 gauge wire is recommended for 4 cylinder and small 6 cylinder automotive engines, hi-power accessories (like winches, power converters) and alternators over 180A.

0 or 1/0 Gauge - .520" Dia.
1/0 makes great battery cable for large or hi-performance 6 cylinder engines and stock V8s.

2/0 Gauge - .570" Dia.
Use 2/0 battery cables for hard to crank engines (like high compression, big blocks, or diesel engines), electric vehicle battery banks (depending on controller amperage), and large RV power converters house batteries.

3/0 and 4/0 are for very large marine or heavy equipment engines and high power alternative energy battery banks.

For very long cables (for example 15-foot long battery cables to relocate your battery) go one size larger.

Going up a size or 2 is worth it in the long run. The manufacturers make stock battery cables as small as possible but still get the job done. Use cables larger than the factory because they will work better and last longer.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2019, 07:48 PM
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What battery cable size were the stock factory cables?

Last edited by 11th Indian; 03-29-2019 at 07:13 AM.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 01:06 PM
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I wonder if what you're reporting in re. to the factory starter and RA manifold fit, is unique to a '68 GTO only. Like you, I threw away those nasty headers on my '71 GTO and went for the RA manifolds, which I've never been happier with. I had no problem with contact or fit. Actually, I made an insulating blanket and wrapped the starter with it, just to be on the safe side. Never a hot starting problem although I know the manifold and starter are close. Certainly good advice and info in another thread about the size wire to use. I'm also a big believer in grounds. It's recommended from what I read, to use the same size ground wire, from motor to frame, that you use for your battery terminals. Makes sense, Carmine.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 06:06 PM
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new cables on a new starter are always a good idea. to remove that last trace of drag, mount and wire a ford solenoid near the battery. from it run the cable to the starter. not only do you get a stronger kick to the starter, but you do not have a continuous live positive cable snaking around the engine and exhaust to the starter.
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  Pontiac GTO Forum > The 1964-1974 Pontiac Tempest, Lemans & GTO > 1964-1974 Tempest, LeMans & GTO Technical and Electrical Wiring

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