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86 Veloce
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Discussion Starter #1
I have been finishing up the final stages of the engine swap and yesterday it was time to reconnect the battery. I got in the trunk and started to reconnect the ground and as soon as I touched the post it sparked. Significant other came by and we ran errands so I went back out this morning. I grabbed the meter and found I had positive potential at the ground post cable. I took the battery out of the car and started doing ohms checks. I ran a long lead test wire from the + battery clamp up to the engine compartment and test continuity to the starter post and got a tone. I tested to the housing and also got a tone. I removed the + 1 ot cable from the starter and tested across the solenoid posts and also found continuity. I assume there is an internal short in the starter? It is a new (rebuilt) gear reduction starter, the old starter was working fine but figured they are such a pain to swap I would just replace it. Is there something I am missing? I think my troubleshooting methods are sound but thought I would run this past the board and see what you guys think. Also, due to the short and the "spark" I got off the battery post is there a possibility the computer is now fried? I am not looking forward to removing the plenum and all that goes with that for access to the starter without first exhausting all the possibilities....
Signed, slightly pissed.
 

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Administrator
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Can you get a photo of the connections at the starter? There should be the main battery cable and a medium size red wire that goes to the junction box on the left inner fender. And another small wire (black?) for the starter switch/solenoid.
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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10,475 Posts
If there were a dead short to the starter you'd get a lot more than a spark. Probably melt the battery cable.

A small spark when you connect the neg terminal is normal, as the computer and other components pull a little power with the ignition off. If you're worried, set your multimeter up for amps and connect it between the negative battery post and negative battery cable and see what the draw is. Should be <30mA, but start with the meter on the 10A setting so you don't blow the fuse in case you have a big draw.
 

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86 Veloce
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Discussion Starter #4
I pic would be hard down there but I connected the large wire from the battery and the red wire that goes to the alternator/junction box together on the starter post and the black wire to the spade connector on the starter. During my checks I removed all the connections and tested between the hot post on the starter to housing/negative post, there is continuity between the posts
 

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86 Veloce
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Discussion Starter #5
No, it was a BIG spark. Only a fraction of a second. I'm sure the battery would explode if I truly connected it. The power of the "spark" is what lead me to check main leads right off.
 

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86 Veloce
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Discussion Starter #6
Everywhere I checked I found potential in the ground system. I have not attempted to apply any power to the system at this point, something would certainly melt/fry/explode...
 

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Premium Member
86 Veloce
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Discussion Starter #7
I should have reworded that. I have not found potential because I have not applied power. I have found continuity everywhere between + and - fields. My reasoning right now is that since the starter is grounded through the housing to the system that it would affect grounds everywhere. I see no way to connect power to the system until I find out where the short is. To me it just seems logical that it is in the starter. If I exhaust all other possibilities I will pull the starter ( ugh) and bench test it.
 

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86 Veloce
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Discussion Starter #8
I should have reworded that. I have not found potential because I have not applied power. I have found continuity everywhere between + and - fields. My reasoning right now is that since the starter is grounded through the housing to the system that it would affect grounds everywhere. I see no way to connect power to the system until I find out where the short is. To me it just seems logical that it is in the starter. If I exhaust all other possibilities I will pull the starter ( ugh) and bench test it.
 

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86 Veloce
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Discussion Starter #10
I did, while I was running ohms checks. I just went back out to satisfy a curiosity and with nothing connected to the starter, there is continuity between the positive post on the starter and the engine block.... doesnt that surely sound like an internal short in the starter?
 

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86 Veloce
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Discussion Starter #11
Stuck solenoid maybe?
 

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86 Veloce
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Discussion Starter #12
Stuck solenoid maybe?
 

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Administrator
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It is a new (rebuilt) gear reduction starter...
Won't be the first time I've seen faulty 'new' parts.

... is there a possibility the computer is now fried?
Not likely. Unless you connected the battery backwards and switched on the ignition.
 

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Premium Member
86 Veloce
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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you. At least I feel safe about the computer.... I can see no other possibility than a bad starter/solenoid when there is a short between the positive post on the starter and the housing. What is the easiest/ best way to pull the starter out of a Bosch car? Any suitable links? I was thinking pull the intake plenum but I really want to avoid that if possible. I sent PartsGeek a message informing them of this issue.
 

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86 Veloce
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Discussion Starter #15
Just another question/thought.... when the solenoid engages it opens the electrical path, yes? If the solenoid is stuck it may give a short continuity test? I wonder if I hooked up a charger and touched the + post a couple of times if it would help or give me a hint of what is up? Just a thought..
 

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Registered
1978 Spider
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343 Posts
um...kinda sounds like what happened to me...are you sure you didn't have the cables backwards?

I did that by accident...only for a split second it seemed. Big angry spark like you describe and the feeling the battery would explode.

The PO had a battery with reversed terminals and I failed to double check when I hooked it up the other week. My 78 has like zero electronics I think but it did manage to fry both fuel pumps.
 

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The PO had a battery with reversed terminals and I failed to double check when I hooked it up the other week. My 78 has like zero electronics I think but it did manage to fry both fuel pumps.
Are you sure it wasn't the fuses?
 

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Premium Member
86 Veloce
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Discussion Starter #18
While we are on electrical stuff, I found these after a pulled the engine and tranny. I'm sure I never unhooked the Bosch connector and pretty sure I didnt unhook the red wire or I would have labeled it. What are they? They come out of the loom right above a lever thing that moves with the throttle linkage ( always wondered what that was too...) the pic is kinda dark looking at the Bosch connector but it is touching the header in the pic. Anyone have an idea what they are?
 

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definitely sounds like the solenoid is stuck closed. Try giving it a good whack then check it again.

There is an issue with sticking replacement solenoids on V6 starters and they require a shim to make them work properly. Maybe a similar issue is arising with Nord starters.

If the red wire is long enough to go to the starter then that is most likely where it should go or to the alternator. If neither then maybe the power block on the left fender. There aren't too many wires of that gauge on your spider.
 

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Looking at your photos, the ones near the steering box could be for the O2 sensor. Early cars had a single wire O2 sensor, later they added wires for a built in heater.

The red wire likely goes to the junction box on the left inner fender.
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