North American Turbocoupe Organization



Major electrical gremlins
t-bird88 Offline
Senior Member
#1
Sorry guys, I have not been on here for a while. Life has gotten in the way. But I will bring you up to speed. Last year I had to pull the motor out to fix an oil leak around the pan gasket. Before the pull, the car could set for up to a week and not have a dead battery. I yanked the motor out and fixed the leak. Reinstalled the motor and now if I let the car set for more than a day, the battery is dead as a post. Now living with that monster, the starter gave out. This was almost a year ago. I am now on starter number 10!!! No joke!!!! The things will last about two weeks or about a dozen starts and then starts to drag and then not work at all. I have been looking at doing the starter upgrade and hope to have that problem sorted out...fingers crossed. The starters I was getting were reman and done in china, so go figure right???? Anyways, the bigger problem is the one killing the battery. I done the wire wiggle test to the group behind the alt and now the car can set for 2-3 days before the battery goes dead. I know that I should not have it connected this way, but my volt meter is hot all the time. And when the car is off, it reads 10-11 volts. If I start the car, the gauge will peg out to less than 8 volts, sit for a second, then jump up to 14.3 volts charging. I have already fried one battery because of this and I have only a rough idea on where to start (behind the alt). Has anyone else had this problem and if so how was it fixed?? Alt checked good, new starter silonoid, 10 reman starters over the last 12 months, different battery, wires seem like they are in good shape, just not looked at yet for any shorts or freys, all grounds in good shape and connected. When my clutch slave cylinder blew out, the guy at the parts house said that just about every t-bird had this peticular short. so I am at a total loss.

Jim B :mad:
Gunmetal Grey 88 TC!!!!
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Jeff K Offline
Administrator
#2
I assume your "voltmeter" will also red Amps?? Assuming it does, charge the batt, disconnect the neg lead and hook the amp meter, on a 10 A or higher DC scale and hook it between the neg batt post and neg batt terminal. Be sure the key is off and doors shut, etc. What does the meter read? Typical draw is 50 mA or less, depending on accessories like amplifiers, etc. If meter reads near zero Amps, go to a more sensitive scale and check again.

If over 50 mA, disable the dome light and start pulling fuses while looking for the draw to drop to isolate the circuits causing the draw.

Hood light, glove box light, trunk light, dome light that dont shut off will kill a battery in a day or 2.

Try a good quality starter, like NAPAs best with all new internals, Motorctaft, Delco Professional series, etc. FYI, Delco "Advantage" series parts are cheap junk from China. Like with anything, you get what you pay for.

I have had a NAPA best starters in my 88 TC and 86 5.0 for 15+ years and over 120,000 miles combined with zero problems.
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
05 Taurus SEL Duratec daily driver
04 Taurus Duratec (wifes car)
02 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized
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t-bird88 Offline
Senior Member
#3
I have always gotten my starters from O'Reilly's and never had any problems with them until last year. I am thinking that since they are now reman in china, they are junk...period.

Let me get back to my house, as I am in town now, and I will see what I can come up with on that wiring.

Jim B :mad:
Gunmetal Grey 88 TC!!!!
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anasazi4st Offline
Senior Member
#4
This is really out in left field and is JUST A GUESS....

This all happened after you pulled the engine, correct? Have you checked all the ground strap leads that connect to it? I know there is a braided wire strap that connect to the bellhousing, and a small one that connects to the turbocharger, and several more.

I am aware that this suggestion is likely not the answer...but if we are to deduce that removing the engine caused the problem, and you’ve taken no other action aside from that, this would seem to be a good place to start at least. Perhaps through this investigation you can determine the real cause of the problem.

One more question: did you remove the starter with the engine (obviously this means you pulled the bellhousing out with the engine), or was it pulled separately?
Another proud dues-paying member.

1987 Turbo Coupe w/T5OD, 8.8 axle, grey smoke; most options. Got it in 1991 with 41K miles: 3 turbos, 2 heater cores, 1 T5OD full rebuild, 5 clutches, 1 head gasket, 2 Teves II ABS units, etc. later....
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turbo80sdriver Offline
Administrator
#5

t-bird88 Wrote:... I know that I should not have it connected this way, but my volt meter is hot all the time. And when the car is off, it reads 10-11 volts. If I start the car, the gauge will peg out to less than 8 volts, sit for a second, then jump up to 14.3 volts charging. I have already fried one battery because of this and I have only a rough idea on where to start (behind the alt)...
Jim B :mad:

Regarding starters, I have had great performance from DB Electrical high torque mini-starters in 4 of my vehicles thus far. Been installing them for about 10 years now in TCs, Bronco, F-150s and a Taurus, and have been highly satisfied with the starters and HO Alternators (130 amp Gen 3, powder coated ones as well).

Now, I'm looking for clarification on the section of your post quoted above - your voltmeter "hot all the time" - did you install a voltmeter? Is your OEM Ammeter still in service? If so, what's it reading (although, noted that the stock ammeter is woefully inaccurate and unreliable), at least if it deflects in the right direction, it's a good sign.
'88 TC-Black (TC February 2011)T-5 with 73K
'88 TC-Blue w/93K. Stocker w/t-5. (Feature project 2013)
'88 TC-Grey w/82k. Auto, well optioned, 2nd owner car - getting more options!
'87 TC-Blue w/123k t-5 parts car - less of a car now
'87 GN w/15.5K
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Jeff K Offline
Administrator
#6
Have you checked for parasitic drain yet? System voltage dropping to 8 V during crank with a new battery tells me either the starter is drawing way too much current or you have bad battery cables or connections or bad major grounds. DO a volt drop test on the both the + and - batt cables and engine ground strap. If you dont know how to do a volt drop test, google it. Volt drop test is something every automotive DIY'er needs to know.
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
05 Taurus SEL Duratec daily driver
04 Taurus Duratec (wifes car)
02 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized
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t-bird88 Offline
Senior Member
#7
I have checked for the voltage drop, not yet like Jeff suggested last, and it seems that everything is okay. There seems to only be a 6 mA draw, but on that I am even puzzled. No matter what fuse I pull, there is still a small arc that appears when I reconnect the battery. Why that happens, I don't know. I changed out the battery because it shorted out on me, and replaced it with a new one (lower cranking amps) along with the upgraded starter. The starter has now bit the dust! The bendix does not come out of the housing, it just spins. I took apart the steering column and found that the ignition switch was loose. Thinking this may be the problem, I tightened it back up. The little fingers that hold that plastic to the metal housing were loose. The starter is still acting up! This starter started the motor 5 times then failed, and this is a starter from a 98 F-150!! I replaced the starter wire with a new one and the wire that now comes off the solenoid is an 8 ga. wire. I will check the grounds when I get home and see what is up with them. This is starting to drive me nuts!!!

As for the ground wires, I do have one from the battery to the power steering bracket, one on the driver side of the bell housing, and one one the turbo bracket. Also, the volt meter installed in the car no longer drops below 8 volts, so I am sure that the battery shorting out on me was the culprit on that.

Jim B :mad: .
Gunmetal Grey 88 TC!!!!
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Jeff K Offline
Administrator
#8
Have you bench tested the starter to see if it spins up and the drive gear pops out?

A volt drop test between the batt + terminal and starter hot terminal is in order here. Cables can look fine externally, but have corrosion / high resistance under the insulation.

Is the new F-150 starter an original 80's type starter or a newer PMGR starter (sounds like it to me)? Are you sure the starter drive gear has the correct gear tooth count?

Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
05 Taurus SEL Duratec daily driver
04 Taurus Duratec (wifes car)
02 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized
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