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Solve hot-start problems by
installing a remote starter solenoidHeaders are a great addition to any V8 Chevrolet but they also
generate large amounts of heat in the engine compartment. One component
that is specifically affected by this heat is the stock GM starter
solenoid. Because of its location on the starter, it is very close to
the headers. The heat can cause problems starting your car. Most of the
time all you need to do is wait and let the solenoid cool down and the
problem goes away. However, this can be annoying and embarrassing and in
the long run will kill the solenoid altogether.
heat shields help the problem, they don't solve it. The best solution to
the problem is to relocate the starter solenoid to some other location
under the hood, away from the heat of your exhaust system. You obviously
can't move the stock solenoid from a GM starter but you can use a
separate, remote solenoid like on a Ford, to control the GM solenoid.
Here's how and why it works: On the GM solenoid, the winding is fed
through a resistive lead to the starter from the switch key, which
results in less than the 12 volts being applied across the solenoid
winding. As the current in the lead increase so does the voltage drop on
the lead going to the GM solenoid winding, resulting in less voltage at
the solenoid winding, giving less than satisfactory operation. So, the
bottom line is, when the unit gets hot, it draws more current in the
lead from the switch to the solenoid winding resulting in less voltage
across the solenoid activation coil. So the solenoid does not close the
contact to the starter motor nor does it engage the pinion gear. The
Ford solenoid, when installed, solves this problem by applying the full
battery voltage across the GM solenoid activation winding, resulting in
positive operation of the solenoid, pinion gear and rotation of the
Installing a Ford solenoid is very simple and
inexpensive. All the parts you need are available from your local auto
parts dealer, and it will only take a few hours to complete the
installation. Total costs will be about $15.
Summit Racing Equipment Mail Order has packaged this as a kit
(#SUM-G1750). However, the last time I checked it costs $24.95 +
You will need:
- some 12-gauge wire
- 2 solderless connectors
- 1 heavy battery cable
- 1 Ford style starter solenoid (from a full-sized, V8 equipped car
like an LTD)
- Disconnect the negative battery cable.
- Remove the battery cable from the battery terminal on the GM
- Remove the ignition wires from the smaller "S" terminal on the GM
- If equipped, remove the ignition wires from the smaller "I"
terminal on the GM solenoid. (Not used in electronic ignition systems)
- Use a length of the 12-gauge wire and the two solderless
connectors to connect the battery terminal to the "S" terminal on the
GM solenoid. This is how the full 12 volts from the battery will be
applied to the "S" terminal of the GM solenoid.
- Install the Ford solenoid in the remote location of your choice.
- Connect the battery cable to the "A" terminal of the Ford
- Use the new additional battery cable to connect the "B" terminal
of the Ford solenoid to the battery terminal on the GM solenoid.
- Move the wire leads from the small "S" terminal of the GM solenoid
to the "S" terminal of the Ford solenoid.
- If equipped, move the wire leads from the small "I" terminal of
the GM solenoid to the "I" terminal of the Ford solenoid.
- Re-connect the negative battery cable.
The headers on my Nova would kill
a starter in about three of four months. I bought a starter heat shield
to help the problem but the starters would only last about a year. I
installed this Ford style solenoid with a new starter and the heat
shield in my Nova back in August of 1993. I have not had to replace the
starter since and I have never had a problem starting. I would suggest
adding a heat shield to your starter of you do this project as a little
Some other benefits of
doing this project:
- The starter can be installed/removed easier. The only wire that
needs to be connected/disconnected is the heavy battery cable on the
- The "A" terminal makes a great battery connector for things like
an MSD box or aftermarket driving lights, especially if you have trunk
mounted the battery.
- You can easily connect a hand held switch for "bumping" the engine
over while setting valve lash or checking compression.
Here is an alternate method to accomplish the same thing
however this uses a 30A relay instead of a Ford solenoid and it keeps
the connections to the original starter.