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Chev 454 hard starting Wil B 8-7-02  
My Chev 454 has always been hard starting, recently was unable to get it started at all. Changed starter, battery,cables..wouldn't start.came back to it later and started right up..drove it home tried starting it..turned right over fine..tried week later not staring again. Previously when attempting to start, smell burning insulation(cranking maybe a 1/4 turn)
this last time wiring in instrument panel actually started smoking..not sure what wires, but they are not directly off ign. switch. This is an'88
Help!
Re: Chev 454 hard starting Robert 8-7-02  
To state the obvious, there definitely is a short somewhere behind the dash which caused the wiring to fry. It could, however, also be related to your ignition switch. I would first disconnect the battery, and fix the burnt wires. Then using an ohm meter, try to find where the short is. It could also be that your ignition switch is bad, and somehow kept a circuit close between the switch and the starter solenoid, causing an overload. There is a jumble of a mess of wires behind the dash, but with a little patience and an ohm meter, you should be able to troubleshoot this problem.

Good luck.
Re: Chev 454 hard starting Joe 8-8-02  
Since you changed the starter, and I'm assuming the solenoid also. The problem is somewhere in the wire from the ignition switch to the "S" wire on the starter solenoid. Start at the Solenoid by disconnecting the wire on the "S" terminal. Take a test light and hook up one end to the "S" wire and the other to the positive terminal of the battery. See if the light is lit indicating a direct short. If so, Trace the wires back to the switch. See what you find. If the light isn't lit, remove the test light from the battery and hook it to a good ground then have somebody turn the key to the start position and observe if the light is lit. If so then unhook the test light from the "S" terminal and hook it to the battery cable and see if it is brighter. There is a fix using an additional relay, but first see what happens trying to find the short. There has been a problem with GM motorhomes and starting for ever. The long run from the switch to the starter combined with the firewall connection has given many people headaches with the "No hot starting" problem.
Re: Chev 454 hard starting Sam Watson 8-10-02  
Joe, as you said, GM wired it wrong. The pull-in windings in the solenoid can draw 20 amps. If the Bendix drive balks before full engagement and complete pull-in, then that draw continues instead of the lower hold-in current. That 20 amp load is quite a bit for the switch and wire to the "S" terminal.The old 460 Fords that used a Delco starter also used, as you said, a relay, just as Ford does today. The addition of a relay is quite simple and is done at the firewall. This is a modification---plus the HD heat shield for the starter to take care of the heat soak, no hot start problem---that we did to the GM products in our fleet.
Re: Chev 454 hard starting Robert 8-13-02  
I've also been experiencing troublesome starts that behaves much like a dead battery, or a bad starter/solenoid with a high amp draw on our '85 Winne Class A built on a Chevy P30 with a 454. But unlike Wil B's, it happens whether it's hot or cold. The battery is a brand new, fully charged 850 cold cranking amp automotive type, and the starter and solenoid looks as if they were recently swapped (we just bought the rig in late May); it looks new, but of a rebuilt type. All the cables and wiring looked sound and squarely attached. What I've noticed was on the first try of turning the ignition key, either nothing happens, or the engine tries to turn over for a flash of a second (with a clunk), then nothing. But, when I try a second time, or jiggle the ignition switch a little, the engine turns over fine and starts with no problem (the engine is freshly tuned and runs well). I'm wondering, in my case, if it could be a bad ignition switch? Also, I'd noticed that there is what looks like a Ford/Chrysler type starter relay mounted on the firewall close to the battery. The battery cable, starter and ignition wiring are connected to it. Sam's explanation now makes some sense, as I've been wondering why there would be a Ford/Chrysler type starter relay on a Chevy chasis, especially when the starter already has its own solenoid attached to it. In this case, could this relay be sticking in the open position, and how would I check this?
Re: Chev 454 hard starting Glenn 8-30-02  
I have found a connection between the gearshift and the starting problem! If I re-position the shift lever from Park to Low and then back to Park a couple of times the 454 will spin to life. Somehow I think the transmission lockout switch is at fault, at least with mine.
Re: Chev 454 hard starting Joe 8-13-02  
You will probably need two people to try it. There is also a relay of this sort for the "Emergency Start" feature built on most motorhomes. Don't confuse the two. You will need a test light and someone to turn the key to the start position. Probe the small wire facing out with the test light as the key is turned to the start position. See if you get good power there. Then try the one that is not connected to the battery but(the one that goes to the "S" terminal of the starter solenoid. See if you have good power there. Check power at the "S" terminal. Worn brushes in the starter will do the same thing. It's a long story, but without the brushes making good contact, sometimes the solenoid will kick in and out.
Re: Chev 454 hard starting phil 9-18-02  
I have a 86 pace arrow and had problems
from the beginning. I would select the
ignition to start and I could hear the
selenoid click. The starter would not
engage. sometimes it took 10 try's to
get it to start. I put in a new ign.sw.
didn't help. repalaced the starter sel.
still n.g. Installed a rebuilt str.
still n.g. Installed a new starter same.
Installed an extra ground cable to the
intake manifold. Same cond.
After many other trys including shims
at the atarter base.I finally found the
answer. On top of the engine forward of
the air cleaner is a "remote" selenoid
I repalced it and it starts every time.
I disassembled the old sel. and the
contacts inside were full of crud thus
reducing the voltage avail. at the str.
Re: Chev 454 hard starting Mel 10-4-02  
I strarted having the same problem a couple months ago. Acts like battery is to low to turn engine over mostly after driving a distance, also smoking wires under dash. After two starters and two batteries. I tried a 4 gauge ground braid from starter mounting bolt to the frame. It now starts every time hot or cold. Frame has a hole in it that I taped for a 10mm bolt. What happened to original engine ground?? Hope this helps everyone as much as it did me.
Re: Chev 454 hard starting dennis 5-15-03  
Help. Getting ready to travel. Put batteries back in 1987 southwind. Won't start. New battery,checked starter,everything to the distributor has juice. Change everything new in the distributor. Spark going in, no spark coming out. Need help! asap Thank you
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