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Thread: '80 D50 2.6L won't start

  1. #1

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    '80 D50 2.6L won't start

    A couple of days ago I tried to start my truck and all I got was a "click". After a couple of minutes of inspection, and trial and error, I wacked the starter a couple of times and it fired right away. So the next day I went and picked up a new starter and installed it. All excited, I hoped in, and "click". A buddy helping me, loosened the bolts slightly, and gave it a giggle. Tried turning it over and it fired right away. So I turned the engine off, and tightened down the bolts. Went for test drive, and drove to destination about 5 minutes away. Turned it off, tried turning it back over, "click". Inspected wiring and everything a 5th time, and gave the starter a couple of taps, and it turned over. On the drive back home, the vehicle died out on me 3 times while in motion (but would start back up while still in motion, I never stopped). Then it finally died after pulling in at home, and that was the last time it ran. Since then, I have ran a couple of new of wires for some fresh connections, added the MSD 0.8 ohm ballast resistor, and put on new battery terminal clamps. My 2 big concerns at this point are a) why do I only have 1 wire coming off my alternator (blue wire in pictures 2 & 3) where there is a "t" connector and autozone is telling me I am suppose to have a second going "somewhere" and b) why my starter won't engage to turn over the vehicle.

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    Last edited by OCD Boss; 10-09-2013 at 07:12 AM.

  2. #2

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    sounds like you need an alternator, turn the truck on disconnect the the negative battery terminal and if your truck dies or sounds like its going to die it is probably your alternator. Not a full proof test but it really gives you an idea of what is going on.

  3. #3

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    all of this this at idle of course. check your battery also.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by amcervantes View Post
    sounds like you need an alternator, turn the truck on disconnect the the negative battery terminal and if your truck dies or sounds like its going to die it is probably your alternator. Not a full proof test but it really gives you an idea of what is going on.
    I would try, but the starter won't engage for me to actually be able to turn the motor over. As far as the alternator goes, I took that up to AutoZone, and it passed with flying colors. Thanks for the thoughts though.

  5. #5



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    did the new starter come from autozone? I have put at least 6 rebuilt starters in Geronimo from them - shitty low bidder rebuilds. Changed it so often 1 summer it took me longer to raise and lower the truck than change the starter. Also check the starter relay above the fuse panel and the ignition switch on the column, and the neutral safety switch if automatic - try and start in neutral instead of park.
    Pennyman1
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    Living the D-50 lifestyle since 1980

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by pennyman1 View Post
    did the new starter come from autozone? I have put at least 6 rebuilt starters in Geronimo from them - shitty low bidder rebuilds. Changed it so often 1 summer it took me longer to raise and lower the truck than change the starter. Also check the starter relay above the fuse panel and the ignition switch on the column, and the neutral safety switch if automatic - try and start in neutral instead of park.
    It was from autozone. I did have a friend mention that I should try one from Napa. It is a 5-speed so no safety switch issue. I have tried starting it in both neutral as well as in gear (clutch in of course). Same result either way. It's just weird because it was running fairly well before the starter went out. It has been a nightmare since. I will check the starter relay tomorrow. The same buddy who suggested the new part at Napa also suggested removing the starter, and spinning the gear and reinstalling, with the idea that it might free it up or assist with lining up the gears. Think I might give that a shot too.

    Now, I've been really frustrated by the lack of info I have found for the wiring scheme for the alternator. Apparently I'm suppose to have 2 wires coming out of that "T" connector in photos 2 and 3 in the original post. I pulled back the shielding and I can't find any trace of any other wires. What is the deal there? Is it something I need to worry about or no. I just haven't been able to put my head around what it is for.

  7. #7


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    Blue wire should go to the ignition and a white wire with yellow stripe should go to the charge light on the dash. you won't have the white/yellow wire if you have an amp or volt meter.

    the other thing to check is the starter exciter wire they sometimes break at the back of the connection and when you wiggle or move the wire a tiny bit it makes contact and will fire the starter. Also check the plug in under the dash that hooks up to the steering colume.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fordubishi View Post
    Blue wire should go to the ignition and a white wire with yellow stripe should go to the charge light on the dash. you won't have the white/yellow wire if you have an amp or volt meter.

    the other thing to check is the starter exciter wire they sometimes break at the back of the connection and when you wiggle or move the wire a tiny bit it makes contact and will fire the starter. Also check the plug in under the dash that hooks up to the steering colume.
    Ok. perfect. that help put my mind at ease about the wiring. What am I checking for with the plug in? That it is properly seated with a good connection or what? My gut is telling me that it is boiling down to my starter. Is there anything I can do to make sure that the starter gear is properly alligning with my motor?

  9. #9


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    Unplug the small wire going to the starter, use a test light or logic probe at the end of it then turn the key and see if the light turn's on. After that just have a buddy move the connector around and see if the light goes out while you have the key in "start". if the light goes out while you have the key turned on then you have a break in the wire somewhere. The break is usually with in the first 6-8" of the connector. A rusty connector will also cause this problem. take a real good look at it and replace or clean the end if it's rusty and try the starter again.

    Check the shop manual http://www.mightyram50.net/vbulletin...ory-manual-PDF under electrical for checking starter and under wiring diagram for where the wires go to.

    There might be something about alinement in there too.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fordubishi View Post
    Unplug the small wire going to the starter, use a test light or logic probe at the end of it then turn the key and see if the light turn's on. After that just have a buddy move the connector around and see if the light goes out while you have the key in "start". if the light goes out while you have the key turned on then you have a break in the wire somewhere. The break is usually with in the first 6-8" of the connector. A rusty connector will also cause this problem. take a real good look at it and replace or clean the end if it's rusty and try the starter again.

    Check the shop manual http://www.mightyram50.net/vbulletin...ory-manual-PDF under electrical for checking starter and under wiring diagram for where the wires go to.

    There might be something about alinement in there too.
    There wasn't anything about allienment. But I did see this bit that has me wondering.

    "Two kinds of starter motor are used for the 1980 model. Models with manual transmission are equipped with a 0.9 kW starter motor: those with automatic transmission are equipped with a 1.2 kW starter motor. The 1.2 kW starter motor has nine pinion teeth and the 0.9 kW starter motor has eight."

    So I'm going to head outside and take a look at a few things.

  11. #11

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    I finally prevailed! Fordubishi you get the gold star on this one buddy! It ended up being the exciter wire on the starter. It had a less than secure connection. I pulled it off and put it back on (making sure it would stay in a well connected state), and it fired right away. Further more, it is running SSSOOOO much better with the ballast resistor that I added to the MSD ignition coil. And the cherry on top........ on the test drive, I finally managed to swing by the place where I had my exhaust done, so they could finally put the tips on that I paid for, and never got a year and a half ago. So here are a couple of pictures I hoped out and took when I got back from my test drive.


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    So now all I have left to do on the "To-Do" list is to install my new fuel pressure regulator that I got from Summit Racing, and seal the sunroof. Unfortunately, the sunroof leaks, so I'm going to try some flex seal on it. I'll post some pictures of the after.
    Last edited by OCD Boss; 10-11-2013 at 01:06 AM.

  12. #12



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    Are you looking for a set of the centers for the stock wheels? I may have a good set to use to keep it all original.
    Pennyman1
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    LOL Pennyman I was going to say he needed a set of black center caps and to strip rims and have them powder coated yellow again to make them look new.

    Gratz on getting it running again.

  14. #14



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    Some stuff about starters FYI, glad you got it fixed.

    S-R Terminal Starters

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by pennyman1 View Post
    Are you looking for a set of the centers for the stock wheels? I may have a good set to use to keep it all original.
    That would be awesome. I really want to get new wheels and tires all together. That is the only reason I haven't done anything with the wheels yet, because I agree, they are horrible. I actually have a good powder coating spot down the road, I just haven't decided if I'm going to put the money into the stocks and keep it stock, or upgrade to larger wheels (mostly wider). Because traction sucks ass with the current tires.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fordubishi View Post
    LOL Pennyman I was going to say he needed a set of black center caps and to strip rims and have them powder coated yellow again to make them look new.

    Gratz on getting it running again.
    I have a buddy that has been pushing me pretty hard to do exactly that. Recoat in yellow powder coat, and keep it mostly stock. I just can't fight my urge for performance. Unfortunately, performance on a budget. Thank you though, it had me stressed out there for a minute, because my other vehicle's (2000 Ford Expedition) air bag system just went out, and now I have to fork up $800 for the conversion kit that I want. So thanks for all the help, you guys saved my ass!

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by BradMph View Post
    Some stuff about starters FYI, glad you got it fixed.

    S-R Terminal Starters
    That is exactly the information that I have been looking for! Thank you! Unfortunately, most of my mechanical experience was from the age of 12-16 working on my dirtbike (1982 XR200R yeah buddy!) in my parent's garage. And so since this is my first project truck (14 years later....), a lot of this information is new. So thanks again!

  18. #18


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    That Truck is VERY Yellow... is it's nickname "Tweety Bird"?

  19. #19


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    Grab a set of these http://www.ebay.com/itm/16-6-LUG-TRA...-/151120679369 then powder coat them yellow and you have a set of stock looking 16x6" rims

  20. #20

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    I actually really like those. The only thing I'm wondering is how wide the rim is. I am definitely trying to go much wider than stock. These are the wheels that I had my eyes on.

    http://www.summitracing.com/parts/crr-3657760/overview/

    It would keep the same style but achieve the rim dimensions I was looking for.
    Last edited by OCD Boss; 10-11-2013 at 01:10 AM.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by OCD Boss View Post
    I actually really like those. The only thing I'm wondering is how wide the rim is. I am definitely trying to go much wider than stock. These are the wheels that I had my eyes on.

    http://www.summitracing.com/parts/crr-3657855/overview/

    It would keep the same style but achieve the rim dimensions I was looking for.
    Those Cragars are actually pretty similar to the 2nd gen MM optional wheel upgrade from the base stamped steel. My SPX has them.

    [IMG][/IMG]

  22. #22



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    If you go wider then a 235 60R 14 you may need to keep those truck bed fenders off the rubber because the wheel well can't take much more then that.
    I went as far as I could go with a stock diameter and pretty sure they are 7in. rims I used on a lowered 2 inch block rear and cut coil front cassis.

    These images sort of show the spacing. This was the direction I went though with higher profile tires so the speedometer stayed in check. You could go low profile with a taller rim to compensate the short profile. You want to try and maintain your correct MPH readings unless you know how to re-calibrate a speedometer.
    Front

    Back

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by originalowner View Post
    Those Cragars are actually pretty similar to the 2nd gen MM optional wheel upgrade from the base stamped steel. My SPX has them.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Your right. I really like those. What size wheels and tires are those?

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by BradMph View Post
    If you go wider then a 235 60R 14 you may need to keep those truck bed fenders off the rubber because the wheel well can't take much more then that.
    I went as far as I could go with a stock diameter and pretty sure they are 7in. rims I used on a lowered 2 inch block rear and cut coil front cassis.

    These images sort of show the spacing. This was the direction I went though with higher profile tires so the speedometer stayed in check. You could go low profile with a taller rim to compensate the short profile. You want to try and maintain your correct MPH readings unless you know how to re-calibrate a speedometer.
    Front

    Back
    HEY, nice to see another Washington resident. Thank you for that info. I have been playing with ideas of sizes but wasn't 100% sure. I really like your truck. I checked out your other pictures of it too. I think I am gonna stick with pennyman1's lead with the 16 x 8 wrapped in the 205/55-16R rubber. I would certainly settle for 16 x 7 if I found the right wheel. But that's what I had in mind. And according to this tool ( http://www.discounttire.com/dtcs/infoTireMath.dos ) it wouldn't have TOO dramatic of an effect. In the worst case scenario, there is a local place that I know of that recalibrates for around $100 or so.

  25. #25

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