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Frying starters....C-30 350

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by jrodgers, Feb 17, 2001.

  1. jrodgers

    jrodgers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 229

    I have a Chevy C-30 with a 350 and standard tranny. About a year and a half ago I had the engine replaced with what was supposed to be a new one. About a month later it fried a starter(literally). I went to start the truck and it wouldnt turn over and all the sudden I started seeing smoke coming from under the truck. It was the starter so right on the job(actually in a customers driveway ) I replaced it and it was fine. Then it happened again same way about 2 months or so later. And then it happened again this time frying the wires going to the battery and everything. After that time I went and bought another truck but still kept that truck for a spare and to plow with. Well this morning it happened again and even caught fire this time(luckily I carry a fire exiguisher and it was just at my house). Anybody ever have a poblem like this or have an idea of what it could be. The guy who replaced the engine left that cover that covers the fly wheel behind the starter(the one that is like a peice of thin metal) and said that it wouldnt affect anything but I have a feeling that has something to do with it. Any input?????
  2. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    I see I'm not the only one who can never seem to find the particular problem I'm having mentioned in a service manual! (I looked through one trying to figure out what might be wrong) :confused: Nothing in there seemed even close, so I'm in "guesswork" mode now: Is the engine OK? Meaning, is the starter having to work extra hard to turn it over? Next, is there any spot where the battery + lead to the starter could be rubbing against something or contacting the exhaust, damaging the insulation and causing a short circuit? The same question applies to the other, smaller wires running from the starter solenoid, up over the engine and back to the cab. Finally, are all the fusible links in place, or were some/all of them bypassed during the engine swap. My company welding truck is a '79 C-30 350/4speed, I've got it at home right now and I just crawled under it to check for that tin piece you described. Ours doesn't have it in place either, and we've had it for almost 2 years now so I'm not sure if the tin piece does have anything to do with the problem. One thing I am sure of, though, there's enough knowledge out there that we'll get this figured out yet!
  3. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,555

    I suspect your ground and power wires too,i doubt the shield has anything to do with it.Make sure your ground is good and if it goes to the body or frame,that a thick jumper wire is also run to the ground of the block or an accesory where there is a good solid connection.Starter + should be in good condition,no corrosion,or loose ends.Very strange problem,its usually high resistance or a weak battery that make the starter draw more current,then burn up eventually,since he changed the motor,Id suspect the ground wire wasnt put back on in the right spot or the jumper wire wasnt reinstalled,good luck.

    [Edited by John DiMartino on 02-17-2001 at 10:29 PM]
  4. Alan

    Alan Member
    Messages: 1,185

    As soon as you said the engine had been out I thought "ground problem". That will make them do wierd stuff.
  5. bkpickell

    bkpickell LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    I had the exact same problem on my 70 Nova SS 396 a couple years ago after I Built my engine.. What I found out was that since I raised my compression it was a little too high for the stock starter and caused it to overheat.. So I would ask the person you got the engine from what the compression ratio is.. and for that thin piece of tin.. its just an inspection cover for the torque converter.. nothing too wory about I never put them back on cause they are more hassle than what their worth.. hopes that helps..
  6. bkpickell

    bkpickell LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Oh yeah one other thing.. I forgot to tell you what I did to solve the problem, just put in a high torque starter.. a little expensive but well worth the money considering how many starters I went through in such a short time.
  7. wyldman

    wyldman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    If that engine was replaced,i'd double check the grounds as said above,but one more thing to check is the block mounting surface above the starter.Usually new motors are painted,and sometimes that surface get painted as well.This rob's the starter of it's ground,thereby raising current flow.This also applies to the areas under your engine ground straps.If they are bolted over the paint,you may not get a good ground.
  8. jrodgers

    jrodgers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 229

    Ok well I,m trying to figure out where the grounds are. From what I can see I have a ground going to the alt. bracket from the batt. , and a small wire coming off the - btt. term. that goes to the front of the body(only about 6 or 8 inches) and then in the back of the motor there is a wire going from just under the valve cover to the fire wall( a ribbon like braided wire). Anywhere else? Also I noticed that with the thin peice of metal gone there is gap between the starter and the trans and im not sure if this is affecting the grounding( but I guess where the starter touches the engine block that should be grounding it) well thanks for the help so far. Luckily I bought a lifetime starter and I just keep taking them back and saying give me another.
  9. cmcfalls

    cmcfalls LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    Bring it down and we will fix it!! chuck
  10. Sawbones

    Sawbones LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    my 77GMC starter wires caught fire once due to being too close to the manifolds and melting the insulation. the exposed peices contacted the manifold(ground) and fried everything.

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