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TR6 Non-Starter with flat battery syndrome


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Dear Fellow Members

Having finished putting my 1976 TR6 (US import to Belgium) back together I managed to start the engine without too much hassle. After a couple of weeks I was getting her ready for the MOT equivalent and found she refused to start. With a new battery I tried turning over the engine but she failed to 'catch'. I then checked and cleaned the plugs - very oily and tried again. At this stage the starter motor refused to turn the engine giving all the signs that the battery was dead. Charged the battery overnight and tried again the next day. Same problem. It is as though the battery is still flat - it's not but there is a huge power drain. Thinking the starter motor was at fault I ordered a new one with high torque. Before I fit it I wondered what I should be checking? I did notice the earth cable from the battery got a bit warm. I do not wish to invalidate the warranty on the new motor so if there is anything I should be checking please point me in the right direction.

I should add that I have had several earthing problems with the lights but these have all been sorted now. Concerning the condition of the old starter motor. There was no rubber end cap or washer so the axle was free to wobble all over the place. There's also an metallic scraping noise when I try turning the pinion. Definitely not healthy. 

Also wondering which cables I should attach to the starter motor. When I removed the old one it had three leads to the one point on the motor including the major red one from the battery and a smaller one with a Lucar connector. I assume that I still connect all three main wires to the same point on the starter and the smaller cable to the obvious Lucar connection on the motor? The old ballast resistor has been taped up and isn't in use anymore.

As usual will be grateful for any guidance or advice you can offer. While searching for a similar problem on the forum I did read about the fitting of the new motor and found several useful pieces of advice on the fitting so hopefully I shall be well-equipped to get the thing on once I pre-check everything else.

Steve 

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Is your earth cable from negative battery terminal to the engine well connected? You're describing the exact symptoms I saw, but I noticed the heater control cable got very hot.

John

 

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2 hours ago, stevefmyers said:

Dear Fellow Members

Having finished putting my 1976 TR6 (US import to Belgium) back together I managed to start the engine without too much hassle. After a couple of weeks I was getting her ready for the MOT equivalent and found she refused to start. With a new battery I tried turning over the engine but she failed to 'catch'. I then checked and cleaned the plugs - very oily and tried again. At this stage the starter motor refused to turn the engine giving all the signs that the battery was dead. Charged the battery overnight and tried again the next day. Same problem. It is as though the battery is still flat - it's not but there is a huge power drain. Thinking the starter motor was at fault I ordered a new one with high torque. Before I fit it I wondered what I should be checking? I did notice the earth cable from the battery got a bit warm. I do not wish to invalidate the warranty on the new motor so if there is anything I should be checking please point me in the right direction.

I should add that I have had several earthing problems with the lights but these have all been sorted now. Concerning the condition of the old starter motor. There was no rubber end cap or washer so the axle was free to wobble all over the place. There's also an metallic scraping noise when I try turning the pinion. Definitely not healthy. 

Also wondering which cables I should attach to the starter motor. When I removed the old one it had three leads to the one point on the motor including the major red one from the battery and a smaller one with a Lucar connector. I assume that I still connect all three main wires to the same point on the starter and the smaller cable to the obvious Lucar connection on the motor? The old ballast resistor has been taped up and isn't in use anymore.

As usual will be grateful for any guidance or advice you can offer. While searching for a similar problem on the forum I did read about the fitting of the new motor and found several useful pieces of advice on the fitting so hopefully I shall be well-equipped to get the thing on once I pre-check everything else.

Steve 

Hi Steve,

I do know what part of the UK you are in? If you are I would take that battery out and take it to your nearest Halfords and ask them to test it you will know strait away what the situation is? TR's never had a ballast resistor fitted but used a resistive wire in the harness, when cold it passes 12v then it reduces the voltage to 9v. My 1973 TR has 2 wires fitted to my Wasp starter motor one to activate the solenoid  white /yellow with small Lucar and the other to power the S/M the big red one with nut termination. Has your car been modified to use a 12 coil?

Bruce. 

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Hi Steve

A similar but not quite same problem.

So I struggle to get my car to start as well, also its running on all original refurbed Lucas. Now my car is just out from a, well fairly lengthy home restoration by me so that probably explains it all.

But the battery is good, fully charged and about 12.6 or more V on the multi-meter and i've checked the earths as well.

Testing the V at the pump I’m getting 1 or more V less. Well that’s the prob then, voltage drop via the new (quality) harness. So def worth checking that. But the solution is simple direct feed (via relay) to the pump all should be well.

Now I’m getting 12.3 or 12.4 V at the pump, but it still won’t flipin start.

But I can get it to start. Battery in the boot connected directly the the pump. If I let the pump run for couple of mins it starts fairly easily but it won’t rev very well.

If I let it idle for 5 mins then remove the boot battery and connect it up as normal and then try to start it, well its starts pretty easily and runs and revs ok, if a little roughly.

So I’m not really sure what the problem is but I’m going to get some help and look at the fuel system first.

 Cheers  Keith

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Steve and Keith. I'd have cleaned and checked all relevant earths as a first step towards solving both your problems although Steve's wobbly rotor in the starter motor probably means it's on the way out.

Like Keith , I have a huge direct feed via a relay to the Bosch pump in the boot, but it still needs a good earth point. I had considered running 2 wires from to the battery to the pump, like the battery in the boot idea, but it wasn't needed.

 

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17 hours ago, JohnC said:

Is your earth cable from negative battery terminal to the engine well connected? You're describing the exact symptoms I saw, but I noticed the heater control cable got very hot.

John

 

Good point. I shall put that on the top of my check list.

 

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12 hours ago, Keith66 said:

Hi Steve

A similar but not quite same problem.

So I struggle to get my car to start as well, also its running on all original refurbed Lucas. Now my car is just out from a, well fairly lengthy home restoration by me so that probably explains it all.

But the battery is good, fully charged and about 12.6 or more V on the multi-meter and i've checked the earths as well.

Testing the V at the pump I’m getting 1 or more V less. Well that’s the prob then, voltage drop via the new (quality) harness. So def worth checking that. But the solution is simple direct feed (via relay) to the pump all should be well.

Now I’m getting 12.3 or 12.4 V at the pump, but it still won’t flipin start.

But I can get it to start. Battery in the boot connected directly the the pump. If I let the pump run for couple of mins it starts fairly easily but it won’t rev very well.

If I let it idle for 5 mins then remove the boot battery and connect it up as normal and then try to start it, well its starts pretty easily and runs and revs ok, if a little roughly.

So I’m not really sure what the problem is but I’m going to get some help and look at the fuel system first.

 Cheers  Keith

Thanks for that Keith. I'm not sure mine is a fuel delivery related problem as I seem to have enough fuel in the carbs. However, when I was trying to locate starting problem (before the the power loss problem) I did realise that the choke cable was not fully engaged which probably accounted for oiled-up plugs after trying to turn the engine without a properly enriched carb setting.

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14 hours ago, astontr6 said:

Hi Steve,

I do know what part of the UK you are in? If you are I would take that battery out and take it to your nearest Halfords and ask them to test it you will know strait away what the situation is? TR's never had a ballast resistor fitted but used a resistive wire in the harness, when cold it passes 12v then it reduces the voltage to 9v. My 1973 TR has 2 wires fitted to my Wasp starter motor one to activate the solenoid  white /yellow with small Lucar and the other to power the S/M the big red one with nut termination. Has your car been modified to use a 12 coil?

Bruce. 

Actually Bruce I'm stuck here in not-so-sunny Belgium. I live here but under normal conditions I would be popping over to Blighty every month. Sadly, circumstances dictate that I have to stay here until such time as both the UK and Belgium appear to have the virus under control again. I will test the battery to make sure she is delivering power and that without the starter motor connected I have full power with the lights etc. As various people suggest I will also check the earth strap. There were a total of four cables to the starter motor, three to the main pole and one to the Lucar. I assume I connect it up to the new starter motor in the same way. I will also check the earth once the motor is installed although that shouldn't be a real problem - he  said famously!

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Thanks everyone for your helpful guidance. I shall now dig out the car again and see how far I get. One step at a time seems to be the watchword.

When I bought the new motor I also ordered the optional shim (just in case as there is nothing worse than having ordered one thing you discover you need something else and as I have to order everything over the internet from Rimmers or whoever it pays to overorder rather than pay twice for the postage). Question is do I really need that extra shim? One obvious way to find out is to fit it and see but I'm not sure what I am looking for. If I try it without the shim and it doesn't close then it is obvious but if it does fit ok then how do I tell whether I should have fitted the shim? Or am I overthinking the problem?

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5 minutes ago, stevefmyers said:

Actually Bruce I'm stuck here in not-so-sunny Belgium. I live here but under normal conditions I would be popping over to Blighty every month. Sadly, circumstances dictate that I have to stay here until such time as both the UK and Belgium appear to have the virus under control again. I will test the battery to make sure she is delivering power and that without the starter motor connected I have full power with the lights etc. As various people suggest I will also check the earth strap. There were a total of four cables to the starter motor, three to the main pole and one to the Lucar. I assume I connect it up to the new starter motor in the same way. I will also check the earth once the motor is installed although that shouldn't be a real problem - he  said famously!

3cables to the main pole? This has got me thinking? The normal original red power cable has a molded on black power take off termination half way along its length where I have 5 brown wires coming off with the large 30 amp Lucar connectors. If you do not have this I suspect that the main red power cable is not original?

Bruce.

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Who's high torque starter did you fit? There are some wire changes depending on which type of starter solenoid you have, any chance of a picture of the wire connections on the starter pls

John

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43 minutes ago, John L said:

Who's high torque starter did you fit? There are some wire changes depending on which type of starter solenoid you have, any chance of a picture of the wire connections on the starter pls

John

Thanks John. In the process of uncovering the car and will post a photo of the new starter together with the cables that connected to the old one - it's a late model TR6 so had a 2M100 with solenoid attached.

16 hours ago, astontr6 said:

Hi Steve,

I do know what part of the UK you are in? If you are I would take that battery out and take it to your nearest Halfords and ask them to test it you will know strait away what the situation is? TR's never had a ballast resistor fitted but used a resistive wire in the harness, when cold it passes 12v then it reduces the voltage to 9v. My 1973 TR has 2 wires fitted to my Wasp starter motor one to activate the solenoid  white /yellow with small Lucar and the other to power the S/M the big red one with nut termination. Has your car been modified to use a 12 coil?

Bruce. 

 

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Steve i had similar problem. it was the earth connection.

I confirmed it by connecting a jump lead from battery earth to engine block and was perfect , so re did all connections and never been better

Roy

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5 hours ago, John L said:

Who's high torque starter did you fit? There are some wire changes depending on which type of starter solenoid you have, any chance of a picture of the wire connections on the starter pls

John

It's a Power Lite starter motor from Rimmers.

I think I have got to the bottom of the cables. The two extra wires that were attached together with the red from the positive pole on the battery were both white/orange. Looking at my wiring diagram, one of them goes to the 'bulb test' relay while the other goes to the 'seat belt module'. As far as I am aware neither of these two were working and therefore I think I can safely leave them off. The fourth wire is White/red coming from the ignition and has the Lucar connector.

I've cleaned up the earth connections to the body and the engine, replacing the star-washers so all seems well in that department.

I also noticed that the red cable from the battery was showing some bare wire which I've sorted. Just wondering if it was shorting itself on the body of the old starter as the plastic shroud was a wee bit melted. Fingers crossed I can now install the motor. Being a lefty I don't have the same problems when it comes to access although it will never be easy trying to reach those parts other beers cannot reach!

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I'm thinking you will have to take off the little jump red wire, as on the Rimmers photo, and the small wire on the car harness from the key switch will go to that black connector on the starter motor.

If you have a volt meter,  set it to ohms, and place one end on the centre of the lead of the battery negative terminal and the other end to any part of the engine iron the meter should read almost zero, that will test how good all your wires and connections are.

John

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Hi All

The odd thing with mine is that once warmish it starts no prob on the main car battery. Only when cold or not started for a while does it need the "help" of the boot battery.

I'm going to try a temp direct earth to see if that improves things but the battery earth strap to the body has been checked and as everything has been done and its a new harness i was hoping things would be ok.

But i've got a few other electrical tasks to do, like a weak horn so i'm going to be playing electrics for a few days, yeah.

Cheers  Keith

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18 hours ago, John L said:

I'm thinking you will have to take off the little jump red wire, as on the Rimmers photo, and the small wire on the car harness from the key switch will go to that black connector on the starter motor.

If you have a volt meter,  set it to ohms, and place one end on the centre of the lead of the battery negative terminal and the other end to any part of the engine iron the meter should read almost zero, that will test how good all your wires and connections are.

John

Thanks John. That's very helpful. Not something I would have thought of. It's a bit too cold outside today so will try tomorrow and let you know what happens. Seems like the earthing is a major cause of most electric faults on the TR6 although probably not limited to the TRs. My mate has a P4 and his problems were all down to the quality of the earth.

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