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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been doing some electrical work on the car recently and turning the lights on and off a lot, so tonight I thought I'd start the car and let the battery charge a bit. It was starting hard--the third or fourth time I tried to start it, I saw sparks coming from the area of the battery/starter solenoid (the hood was up). I tried starting it again, and got nothing but a click when I turned the key and a click when I turned it back. The battery is brand new and seems to have plenty of charge--the lights come on and have plenty of juice.

The instrument cluster was still off when I tried to start it. What did I screw up?

Thanks in advance for your help
 

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Probably nothing if you say it was turning over to start with. Might be the cables and posts just need cleaned and tightened. They'll do that if not getting good contact. If the batter is dead after that then charge the battery and see if it does it again with a good charge. I've seen smoke coming from mine before for that reason. You haven't actually swapped any of the wires around have you, just following them etc
 

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If you are using the disconnect with a knob, they wear out. Mine did, and the sparks are how I spotted it. I switched to the lever type and all has been fine
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I haven't swapped any of the wires, but I didn't have the instrument cluster reinstalled when I tried to start it. Didn't think it mattered.

Tonight I cleaned the cable terminals and the posts on the starter solenoid. The battery is brand new, so its posts are good. Still nothing. I can hear a click when I turn the key and when I turn it back--sounds like the solenoid is engaging. Could it still be making that noise and not engaging?

Also, the fuse on the line between the ignition and the solenoid was very close to the solenoid and has a metal casing. It looks like it may have arced there--there are marks on both the fuse and solenoid body. If it did that, and that's where the sparks came from, do you think the solenoid is fried?

Thanks
 

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If what you are calling a fuse is the little rectangle shaped box bolted to the solenoid a fuse that's probably the thingy for the convertible top and nothing to do with the starting of the car. Relay i think is what it is.

I don't know if it matters on the cluster or not short of things grounding that shouldn't be when the key is on. Could be the solenoid died. You can hook a wire preferably heavy one to the positive battery terminal/post and touch it to the post on the side of the solenoid that the big cable is on that goes to the starter. If starter turns over then the solenoid is probably bad. It won't start that way unless the key is on. If you try that make sure the car is in park or neutral and don't stand in front of it just in case. Even a short wire from one large post on the solenoid and then to the other or the handle on a pair of pliars will work for the posts on the solenoid way of doing it but be careful not to touch anything else.

Even though the battery is new it could still go dead trying to start the car. Forgot what engine you have now. I always get a step higher/hotter battery for my 390 as it will eat a cheap battery that isn't rated for it with just a couple starts. It sure did the battery i had used out of a gm van i had. It was a new battery, then it was a toasted battery. lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ShotRod, thanks for the advice, and for clearing up what the "fuse" is. I had no idea!

I'll try to see if the solenoid is good without electrocuting myself.

The engine is a 390 (4 sp). The battery is an Advance Auto Gold brand, 800 cca. I would hate to think it's dead after four days, but I guess anything's possible!
 

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If it has been sitting there and you have electrical issues there could be a short drawing power in addition to trying to start it. It is hard to say. I don't know if it cranks if that really means the solenoid is bad or not since the cluster is out. Don't know if there is anything there that would effect it though. If you have a meter you can check the battery or take it in and have it checked. I have an Interstate but the cca are the same and 1000 ca. Decided to get something other than walmart and autozone batteries but pay for it also. lol Been about 4 yrs, knock on wood, and still going. I bet its just too low to crank it. Good luck! You will see a spark when you first contact them together just so you know or usually will. lol
 

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Take some jumper cables and instead of putting the positive lead on the battery post, touch it to the starter side of the solenoid, if it turns over replace the solenoid. If not check the connection on the starter. Make sure the starter is grounded to the block and the block also has a good ground.
 

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Take the Solenoid connections off and CLEAN them on both sides. THe sparks you saw were from a poor connection there on the solenoid not on the battery.

Clean both sides.
He already did that part on the solenoid.
 

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If you are going to be jumping big wire connections use a vice grips. So for example clamp the vicegrips to the battery terminal and touch the starter wire to the vicegrips. If you touch instead straight to the battery terminal you will chew it up in no time.
 
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