Sunday, May 8, 2011

Old cars need fixing

Happy Mothers Day to all you Moms out there.

I've been fooling around with the Comet this weekend, and it's been a bit of a roller coaster, but unfortunately, no ride.

When we last left the Comet, it had gotten a new head and exhaust manifold, and as usual, I had to install that heavy mass of parts three times before I got it right.  Except the car would turn over but made a terrible clanking sound.  Oh crap.  I walked away and pondered what it could be.  And pondered.  For months since it was winter.  Finally figured, if I bent some pushrods I would see by pulling the valve cover.  Pulled it and the pushrods lookd fine.  OK.  Pondered some more.

I have a trickle battery charger on the car to keep the battery charged.  Decided once the weather got nice that I would try again to start it.  Same clanking/grinding noise.  Researched some more, and finally slapped my head - must be the starter!  If it was not engaging or disengaging, it would grind and make that kind of noise.  A starter is a lot easier to replace than an engine.

The old starter came off in about 10 minutes, lots of room under the hood with this six cylinder engine, and the starter mounts high on this engine, so I didn't even have to crawl under the car.  It looked like the starter gears that spin to start the engine had been worn down pretty badly.  I may just be on to the solution, I thought.

Picked up the new starter and installed it.  At first the key wouldn't turn the car over at all. Grumble grumble.  There's a way to leave the key in the ON position and with a thick wire or pair of pliers you can jump the ignition at the solenoid mounted near the battery.  And doggone if it didn't start on the first try and ran nicely.  Woo hoo!  Except there's an ignition problem and I'd rather not have to raise the hood and start the car this way every time.  But I thought, maybe I can get that resolved and be driving this baby soon.

So, I'll spare you the rest of the frustrating details, but after several hours of troubleshooting, I no longer can get the starter to engage even from a new solenoid.  Argh!!!!  More troubleshooting to do, and I HATE messing with a car's wiring system.  So, I'll have to do some more research and try to figure this out.  I know I'll get it, but there may be a lot more wrench throwing that happens first.


  1. At least you were victorious in that brief moment. Hope you get the Comet up and running again soon because that is a sweet sweet ride.

  2. Thanks. When you're making one step forward and two steps back/sideways, you have to fight the urge to quit. I'll get it.

  3. Maybe you are just grounding out somewhere! Start with the smallest and simplest trouble shooting problem. I had a similar problem with Dart #1 but it turns out it was grounding. We figured it out AFTER I replaced the starter too, lol. Your wagon is a beut! I wish we could do a side by side shot with your car & mine :-) Good luck and keep me posted!

  4. Gotta say, spectacular car! and that it's a "Comet" is just awesome. I hope you get it running, good luck!!!