1969 Deville

Started by hhumph1006, November 24, 2007, 05:41:12 PM

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hhumph1006

I have a 1969 deville that won't start.  I've had it for 10 years and its always started (with a loving shot of Thrust).  Nights in North Carolina have gotten cold and I thought it was the battery.  I had it charged and checked at autozone.  The battery passed the tests.  The cabin lights and come on and the dash lights light up but the engine shows no sign of life.  No rapid fire clicking from the compartment, no sound whatsoever.

What do you all think my first step is in diagnosing the problem?
Hugh Campbell

1969 Coupe de Ville

TJ Hopland

Park neutral switch?   Try (with foot firmly on brake) wiggling the shifter and even try starting it in various gears.  On slightly newer cars the switch is located just under the dash on the steering column, not sure about yours.  Thats about the only 'common' thing that would keep it from doing anything unless its the ignition switch itself?  Does it seem like everything else is happening like it always did when you turn the key to start?

Starting fluid is very hard on engines. 472 is a good motor.  If it doesnt start fairly quickly find someone that knows Qudrajet carbs and have it rebuilt before you have to have the motor rebuilt from those hard starts.
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

hhumph1006

TJ H:  Thanks for your response.  I will give it a shot tonight.  Yes, everything seems to be happening normally in that nothing happens at all. 
Hugh Campbell

1969 Coupe de Ville

hhumph1006

TJ H:

Last night in about 40 degree weather I did what you suggested, without Thrust, and she fired.  Had a great ride around the block with the top down.

Do you think its the park neutral switch that needs replacing?
Hugh Campbell

1969 Coupe de Ville

LBF

Probably.  Is there a lot of play in the gear selector lever?
Matthew Taylor

TJ Hopland

40* where you are, must be nice to be that warm.  Where Im at its been singles with a strong wind.


At least now you have it narrowed down to a specific area. 

Option A:  Switch could just be out of adjustment.  If its like the slightly newer cars its held on the steering column with a strap/clamp so all you do is loosen the strap and rotate it slightly in the proper direction so it works when the shifter is in P or N.

Option B:  Transmission linkage is worn and or out of adjustment causing the switch to appear out of adjustment.  If this is the problem you may also notice that to get to D you have to pull it a little past the D or it sits in the previous gear.  It may not always catch in park or not go into low it things are worn.   My eldo has this problem.  I have it set so park works but I now have to overshoot what Im aiming for and cant get it into low.  It starts in P & D now so I can live with it.  I now own a lathe so I plan to make some new bushings to fix it right.

Option C: Switch is bad.  If its worn or broken you may just have to replace it.  On the slightly newer cars it also does the vacuum release for the parking brake and the backup lights.  When my 73 quit working (cops pulled me over because the backup lights were on) I discovered that the switch has 3 parts, the strap, the cast main body, and the switch mechanism(s).  The switch mechanisms are held onto the body by tiny tabs in the main casting.  On mine one had cracked so the body was pulling away from the casting.  Mine seems to be one of the change years and I could not find a replacement at the time so I ended up drilling small holes in the casting and using nylon ties to hold the switch body to the casting.  Its worked fine for 7 years now. 

StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

hhumph1006

Quote from: LBF on November 28, 2007, 03:35:02 PM
Probably.  Is there a lot of play in the gear selector lever?

There seems to be but its been that way since i bought it 10 years ago so its all i know...

Hugh
Hugh Campbell

1969 Coupe de Ville

hhumph1006

Parson the confusion but is seems I am back to square one.  Foot on the brake, key in the ignitioin, brake, oil etc lights come on, shifter back and forth and back and forth from gear to gear but no action.  I don't mind figuring out how to replace the park neutral switch but is there a change its a starter or battery wire/charge problem?  At some point I have to break down and get someone with clue to look at it since I'm probably not describing things correctly.
Hugh Campbell

1969 Coupe de Ville

TJ Hopland

So now it does not crank no matter what you do?   Do some of the lights go off when you turn the key to start?  If you turn on the headlights and or the dome light do they seem to dim at all when you turn the key to start?  Im wondering if if maybe the key is not pushing the switch far enough to get it to the start mode or if you have a bad switch.
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

hhumph1006

Quote from: TJ H on December 10, 2007, 09:27:49 AM
So now it does not crank no matter what you do?   Do some of the lights go off when you turn the key to start?  If you turn on the headlights and or the dome light do they seem to dim at all when you turn the key to start?  Im wondering if if maybe the key is not pushing the switch far enough to get it to the start mode or if you have a bad switch.

First off let me ask a general question:  Do you all mind these types of questions?  I have used other forums to figure out problems with my furnace, plumbings etc and sometimes the professionals would get sore about the DIY types.  I just want to be sure I don't step on any toes. 

That said I'll check it out tonight.  It a convertable so its short a some light but if I leave the door open I'll watch the lights in the wells.
Hugh Campbell

1969 Coupe de Ville

Glen

hhumph1006,

While it is likely there are professionals on this forum the majority of us are DIYs too.  We are here to help each other out, so feel free to ask your questions. 

Glen
Glen Houlton CLC #727 
CLCMRC benefactor #104

hhumph1006

Quote from: hhumph1006 on December 10, 2007, 02:41:12 PM
Quote from: TJ H on December 10, 2007, 09:27:49 AM
So now it does not crank no matter what you do?   Do some of the lights go off when you turn the key to start?  If you turn on the headlights and or the dome light do they seem to dim at all when you turn the key to start?  Im wondering if if maybe the key is not pushing the switch far enough to get it to the start mode or if you have a bad switch.

First off let me ask a general question:  Do you all mind these types of questions?  I have used other forums to figure out problems with my furnace, plumbings etc and sometimes the professionals would get sore about the DIY types.  I just want to be sure I don't step on any toes. 

That said I'll check it out tonight.  It a convertable so its short a some light but if I leave the door open I'll watch the lights in the wells.

Still no go.  I've had the battery out/tested.  The headlights did not dim a bit when I tried to crank.  My only thought at this point is the starter or the wire(s) running from the steering column to the starter.  Any other ideas?
Hugh Campbell

1969 Coupe de Ville

Glen

The fact that the lights don’t dim when the key is turned to start tells me the starter solenoid is not getting power or is burned out.  A burned out solenoid is a very rare thing in my experience, so I would go with the first suggestion. 

The first suspect is the neutral safety switch.  The quick test of that is to check your backup lights.  If they do not come on with the key in the run position and the shift lever in reverse then your neutral safety switch is most likely out of adjustment or broken.  Try moving the shift lever through all the gears to see if the lights come on in any position at all. 

If the backup lights work right then your problem is in the wiring or the ignition switch. 

From your earlier post I think the neutral safety switch is loose or has become disengaged from the shift lever.  The switch is mounted on top of the steering column about 6 or 8 inches from the firewall under the dash. 

Glen

Glen Houlton CLC #727 
CLCMRC benefactor #104

TJ Hopland

Does the 69 have the ignition switch down the column that is operated by a rod from the key?  Or is still on the dash?    The next thing we need to know is are the idiot lights supposed to go off when you go to start mode?   This will tell us if the ignition switch is getting pushed far enough if its the rod operated style.  If its tilt steering have you tried it with the wheel in different positions?

Good thought on the backup lights for getting an idea if the park/neut switch is at least close to working. 
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Big Fins

The '69 has a rod operated switch, and like Glen said is mounted on the top side of the column. It is affixed to the column with 2- 1/4" screws. The mounting holes are elongated for switch adjustment.

Just crack the screws loose, or to where you can slide the switch back and forth, and see if the adjustment is the problem. Make sure you mark the original position, so you can always go back to it. Being out of adjustment usually means it is just plain worn out.

The switch is readily available at good parts stores. NAPA would be the best bet. The big chain stores cater mostly to the newer car gizmo's, and not real cars.

Fins

hhumph1006

Well well well.  Gentlemen, you are all prescient.  When I got down and put a flashlight on to the switch I saw something I'd never seen before yet knew it looked wrong.  The switch as a black plastic cover attached to a gray pot metal backing.  In between the black and gray was a slash of white.  I reached out to touch the switch and a spring and copper piece dropped out.  The black and gray are supposed to be held together but the tabs of pot metal that did the holding had finally failed after 30+ years.  Since I wanted to turn her over (like to do so at least once a month) I tried using plastic zip strips to tie things together but could not make it work.  I landed on a good old wood c-clamp, cranked and ran on my block (nothing highway, of course) at night for about 30 minutes.  What a feeling.

I have photos of the part if anyone is dealing with the same issue and am happy to load them.

I cannot thank you all enough.  Now I'm off to NAPA or the junkyard to get my new switch.
Hugh Campbell

1969 Coupe de Ville

The Tassie Devil(le)

G'day Hugh,

I like your plain and simple description of a Neutral Start Safety Switch, and I had a similar problem with one in the '69 I am working on.

Solved it with a little bit of alteration and adaption and strategically placed straps to hold it together.

It is a bit different to what is in your car as this is a RHD Conversion, done using the Cross-over Gearing method.   Plus, when the Conversion was done back in 1969, they were a bit rougher than today.

Bruce. >:D

'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
'02 VX Series II Holden Commodore SS Sedan
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Past Cars of significance - to me
1935 Ford 3 Window Coupe
1936 Ford 5 Window Coupe
1937 Chevrolet Sports Coupe
1955 Chevrolet Convertible
1959 Ford Fairlane Ranch Wagon
1960 Cadillac CDV
1972 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe