Intermittent starting issue

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Aug 15, 2014
Los Angeles, CA
Hey guys, been searching for the right direction to diagnose why after a long drive (3+ hours) if I turn the 80 off to fuel up, it won't start again. I just did a round trip from CA to AZ and got stuck three times at a gas station. Some back story, couple weeks ago I went to warm up the 80 and it would not turn over. Light in the dash all seemed normal but the starter only made a Wizzing sound like if it was turning over but the plunger was not engaging the flexplate. Gave it a couple of taps on the starter and it started right up.

On Saturday we left for AZ and I didn't think of the starter issue. Made it to AZ but then the same issue happened of the starter whizzing but no engagement. Figured to change the starter with what was available at the moment (car quest reman unit) the part clerk said it was a cold weather unit that had a higher crank rating. Thats all the was available so I took it. Got it on and no more issues. On the way back to CA, had to stop for gas. Getting ready to hit the road again and now it didn't start. No crank no nothing. Checked fuses and battery terminals, all looked good. The original fusible link looked pretty old but not burnt so I swapped a new one in I lucky had just purchased as a spare. Cranked and started as normal and we were on our 2 gas stops the same issue happened. Normal dash lights but no crank. Looked it all over again and didn't see any issues. Sat for 20-30 mins each time then it started back up again.

Needless to say, it made a long trip even longer with some frustrating head scratching. Any thoughts were to start? This issue almost had me listing it on BaT as I sat waiting at the fuel stops..any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance and sorry for the long post.
Pic for attention 😁

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Get a new battery cable and ground cable kit. Someone on here sells them. There are like 2 or 3 fat ground cables. Cant hurt to try. After 25+ years its good insurance anyways. Hand full of times ive been overly frustrated and it was a simple grounding issue. Wish I checked that first.

See attached, I know it says its for a 60 series but I think its the same or close. At least its a good lead for the guy that sells them and an idea on his kits. I got it for my 80 as PM and everything fit great. Was very happy with the it.


  • Battery Cable Kit.pdf
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This sounds like 2 different issues to me.
The whirring starter with no engagement is the solenoid not pushing the bendix out far enough. Likely dried grease/poop in the bore of the solenoid. A rebuild with new contacts and plunger should yield a good starter, assuming nothing broken.

The no-nothing from the second starter is likely a poor contact or simply a faulty aftermarket starter. Aftermarket starters and alternators tend to have a very short lifespan in an 80. You want a Denso starter.

The starter logic path is pretty simple on these trucks. Battery +, fusible link AM1, fuse AM1, ignition switch, neutral start switch, starter.
The load side of the starter motor contact is a direct connection to the battery positive terminal.
The starter is grounded through the case which is bolted to the bellhousing.

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