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Couldn't get her started

Discussion in 'GM Powertrain' started by vanimal, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. vanimal

    vanimal Member

    First off, I did a search and just couldn't find what I was looking for.

    Now, I have a 97 Seirra with a 4.3 and just finished my engine swap. I tried to start it she just clicks. I was wondering if it was how I connected the starter. There are two wires right? The cable that connects to the battery and one little one that comes from the wiring harness? Please correct me if I wrong. I just want to get it running! I've been 10 months without it :frown: Also, maybe if somebody could go through a basic checklist of what needs to be completed that would be great, just to make sure I haven't left anything out.
    Thanks very much in advance! :great:
  2. stephan

    stephan Rockstar 4 Years 5000 Posts

    Welcome to the GM Truck Club Vanimal
    Ok start with the basics. Is the battery good? If you had a battery tester it would be great, if you don't then turn on the headlights and see if they're BRIGHT. (not a great test but better than nothing & I'm guessing this battery has been sitting for the 10 month build) Even if it was good then it might not be good now, even if you charged it today.

    Check all the battery cables. It's easy to forget one on a 10 month build.
    Put a wrench on all nuts & bolts for the cables and check.
    Follow the ground cable for it's entire length and see if it goes to eng. & then frame or frame and then eng. OR is there a separate ground that runs between the eng and frame that is loose on one end?

    You're getting something because it's clicking, you just aren't gettin enough due to either loose cables, or low battery.

    You are correct about the two wires to the starter/sol. They are not interchangable due to the size difference.
    If you check all the above and they all check out, then get a battery from another car that you know is good :great: & use it to jump it.

    One more thing I can think of since this is a swapped engine. Have you ever put a wrench on the crankshaft and actually turned this engine over? Salvage yard/wrecking yard engines have been known to be seized up for various reasons. Keep us posted as to what you find
  3. vanimal

    vanimal Member

    Thanks for the info! I was able to turn the engine over when took the torque converter off to put my clutch kit on. Now that you mention the ground, I know I broke one when I yanked the old engine out and pretty sure I haven't connected a replacement from the frame to the block. I'll check that tomorrow. I did turn the all the lights, radio and other electrical components on to see if the battery had juice. I suppose it does but maybe just not enough to crank it. Also, another possible cause could be how the starter is connected.... There are two small terminals, on the starter, for the wire but I used the smaller one that's closer to the engine instead of the wheel. Would that make a difference or do both of them go to the same place?

    Since I have your attention, I need to bleed my clutch since it's a hydraulic clutch. I was just wondering where the bleeder valve is located on the tranny?

    Thanks again stephan!
  4. stephan

    stephan Rockstar 4 Years 5000 Posts

    I would definitely search out the eng to frame ground cable and replace it as it won't crank w.a s. without it.:great:

    Re: the two wire connectors on the solonoid. No they don't both do the same thing but you are connected to the correct one or it shouldn't click when you turn the key. The other connector is for a "power out" feed when the engine is running.

    The bleeder valve for the clutch is located on the clutch "slave cylinder" that is attached to the bellhousing.
  5. vanimal

    vanimal Member

    Thank you much! You are my savior on this project!
  6. stephan

    stephan Rockstar 4 Years 5000 Posts

    You're welcome. I'll check in once or twice tomorrow. If any more problems just ask. :glasses:
  7. vanimal

    vanimal Member

    Well, I trickle charged the battery all day and still got the click. I also bled the clutch but I don't think the pedal felt as soft as it did 10 months ago. It almost feels like the clutch isn't disengaging and I bled the thing for almost 45 minutes and actually didn't see that much air come out of it! When I took the old engine out I left the tranny hooked up and didn't disconnect the hydraulic line going to it. I am thinking the truck won't start because of this reason but I am not very good at diagnosing issues like this. I wish it was a spring clutch....
  8. stephan

    stephan Rockstar 4 Years 5000 Posts

    I don't understand what you are saying about this. The hydraulic line would not have anything to do with the starting problem. Can you clairify?----> ((When I took the old engine out I left the tranny hooked up and didn't disconnect the hydraulic line going to it. I am thinking the truck won't start because of this reason))


    Ok first the clutch: If you are proficient at the bleeding process then you have probably got all the air out by now and the "feel' could just be mechanical adjustment. I'm not clear as to whether this slave cylinder & mounts, & linkage was original or came with your new swap, so do this. Watch the slave cyl and the depression rod that disengages the clutch while you have a helper push the pedal down.
    Is the slave cyl rod moving?
    How far is it moving?
    Is it moving far enough to disengage the clutch?
    Shine a bright light in there and you will either see the clutch move or not.
    Also have your helper hold clutch pedal down for a full minute while you watch the slave cyl rod and see if it slowly sneaks back to it's rest position. If it does then the hyd system has a leak in it somewhere.

    Starting: Did you ever try jumping it with a battery that you are sure is good?

    If you have a "remote starter cable" hook it up to the solonoid start wire and to the battery positive. Click it and see if it turns over or not. This will bypass all your wireing and the ignition switch. If it still only clicks then get your jumper battery (one that has just started some other car recently that you KNOW is good and jump your battery. If it still doesn't crank over I have one more idea.

    P.S. Did you ever replace the ground strap that we talked about before??
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  9. vanimal

    vanimal Member

    I did put the ground cable on but it hasn't helped. What I was trying to say about the clutch line is that it doesn't feel like its disengaging the clutch when I push the pedal down and that is why the engine won't start, because the clutch is still engaged. I must have had a brain fart trying to explain it before haha. Anyways there is a new problem, when I pump the clutch, fluid pours out of the bottom of the tranny. So now I think the slave cylinder is bad. Which could also be why I'm not getting the "right" feel of the clutch like before. I am going to test the starter to see if that's also a problem but I don't see it being the issue.
  10. stephan

    stephan Rockstar 4 Years 5000 Posts

    OK, yes you are correct, if the slave cyl is pouring fluid out the bellhousing/trans it has a seal gone bad, & is not disengaging the clutch. You can rebuild these if the bore is not pitted.

    The bad slave cyl won't keep your engine from cranking over. It should crank regardless of a bad slave cyl. just be sure the trans is out of gear.

    It is easier to jump your battery than to R&I the starter and test it. Have you jumped it yet with a good battery?

    **The clutch "safety switch" that keeps it from cranking should be on your clutch pedal, & not on your slave cyl.

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