Vintage (1973) Mopar (Dodge Challenger) Starting Troubleshooting Advice requested

By douvlosa ยท 15 replies
Jun 24, 2007
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  1. Good Evening: I am new to this webpage and hope that there is someone out there that can help me troubleshoot a starting problem with my 1973 Dodge Challenger. This was my first car and sat about 2 months. I charged the battery and poured a little gas in the center carburetor (it has a 340 6 pack and electronic orange box ignition) and cranked. It almost started, but kindof kicked back. When I tried again, all I got is one click. Jumping the starter relay on the firewall gave me the same results. I recharged the battery and pulled the starter out a little in case it jambed and tried again. Same thing. So I pulled the starter all the way out, put it back in and checked battery voltage - it was just a little over 12 volts. When I attached the starter cable to the battery, there was a spark and the cable warmed up so I quickly tried again. Same thing, one click. I replaced the starter with a new one and discovered I had accidentally grounded the hot lead to the starter housing when tightening it. Anyway, same thing with the new starter - one click. I thought maybe the engine siezed or hydrolocked, so I removed the spark plugs and turned the crankshaft with a socket and an extension. It turns. Started checking voltage and grounds including the ground to the neutral safety switch and continuity and everything checks out okay. But haven't checked the ignition switch. Was told it was okay because it of the solenoid "click" and that the electrical system should be okay because of the click. Just can't figure it out. Could it be the ballast resistor? Anyone who knows anything about this, I would appreciate your ideas on this. Thank you.
  2. halo71

    halo71 TS Rookie Posts: 1,090

    erm, You do realize this is a PC tech forum, not a car repair forum right? I am no car expert, but have you pulled a plug to make sure you are getting spark, and checked the timing?

    I think a member here called MoPar Man could help you though! ;)
  3. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Hmm... did you check your TCP/IP settings on that firewall of yours?

  4. megabomination

    megabomination TS Booster Posts: 153

    your relay sounds to be working,check if its switching 12v to starter solenoid when key is turned . if it is ,make sure the wire is connected to correct terminal on solenoid as most starters have two(for some reason) and wont work if on wrong one. also if the relay has two output terminals(the ones that go to starter/component and is numbered 87) get rid of it and replace it with one that only has one out(87).
  5. mopar man

    mopar man TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,379

    make sure the battery has got 12.7volts (at least).

    Then check the ground from the battery to the motor.

    It sounds like you have a bad ground.

    Do you wanna sell it? ;) I'll give you scrap price for it! :)
  6. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,188   +470

    If you have a remote jumper switch plus jumper cables, take the starter out and bench test it. You should be able to get the starter to crank. If not, the starter/solenoid assembly might be bad despite it being new. Or take it back to the parts store to have them test it. If it tests good, you have a primary wiring problem somewhere in the starter circuit. The ballast resistor is not part of the starter circuit so even if it was bad that wouldn't affect cranking.

    Also, as mopar man said a fully charged battery should be closer to 13 volts at rest even though it is nominally a 12 volt system. Once it's going, the alternator should be putting out around 14.5 volts.
  7. bearweiser

    bearweiser TS Rookie

    email me i will help you and by the way fof those of you you who dont know that 73 mopar is somebodies pc if you own a honda gm ford acura it more than likley has more computing power than your mac or vista os
  8. mopar man

    mopar man TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,379

    What did you just say? Did you just say that his Challenger is a Computer? Since when does a computer have a Starter? By the way, dumb idea to put your email on a public forum due to spam.
  9. KSochalski

    KSochalski TS Rookie Posts: 17

    try this

    has your problem been fixed? if not.. even though your battery charges it may be bad. put a volt meter on it and have someone crank the engine. if the volts drop down to like 9 or 8 or 7 right away, your batter is junk. make sure it has a full 12.6v charge to start with. if the battery only goes to 11 or 10 it is probably ok. next, try putting the volt meter leads on each end of the battery cables. for neg, go to the fram, and to the battery negative. for pos, go to the positive terminal, and the positive post on the starter. then crank. obviously you have 2 test leads so you can only do one at a time, either pos or neg. but neither one, when cranking, should be dropping mroe than .5 v . id start with those two. then if that doesnt work, it may be a fuel problem. try adding a little bit of propane to the carb as someone cranks it. wont take much, but be careful. if it fires right up, that its a fuel delivery problem. good luck. kevin
  10. familyman14

    familyman14 TS Enthusiast Posts: 185

    Was just looking through this site and came upon this old post. I am a hardcore Mopar man. LOVE them. I had a 72 duster, it only had a 318 but I liked it. 340 heads. pistol grip shifter down low on the tranny hump. I am trying to find an affordable 2 dr, Dart with a 340 or better but alas it is very elusive. Anyway the one thing ppl overlook with electrical problems in mopars is the ballister resistor because they are the only cars with them.
  11. mopar man

    mopar man TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,379

    familyman14, I own a 1971 340 Demon. No longer has the 340, and we made the mistake (well not really mistake) of cutting it up and making it into a bracket car. It still needs a little bit done to it before it is done. It has a 12 point rollcage, home built frame, and tubbed. We will be putting the Super Stock Leaf Springs on it, with a built 360.

    We have owned nothing other than Mopars, aside from a Ford that was given to my dad when he was younger. Never even drove it, and left it sitting in his yard when he moved.

    My dad traded me the Demon for the 1968 Plymouth VIP he bought me a few years ago.

    By the way, A friend of mine just bought a 71 Dart and put a 383 in it, once he gets it tuned and he gets his license back, he is gonna take it to the 1/8 mile strip (thats all we have here) and see what it runs.

    I was looking for a Duster because I was going to make it into a daily driver, but I decided I would get a truck for a daily driver.

  12. familyman14

    familyman14 TS Enthusiast Posts: 185

    Sorry Moparman I never checked back on this thread. Unfortunately I had to come back again for another ''operation'' . lol Anyways I tried to check out your picture but it says error on page. I'd love to see some of your cars. Email them to me if your up to it. I am currently trying to find a Rat rod. Preferably a 53,55 or 57 chevy. Dont get me wrong I am still a mopar nut but I would like to join my buddies car club which is 64 and under.
  13. familyman14

    familyman14 TS Enthusiast Posts: 185

    found my car

    Well I finally bought a 53 Chevy Bel Air.:D She rocks! I just need to think of a good name for her now. lol. I tried to upload some pictures I took yesterday but they are too big. How do I resize them to fit?
  14. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,173   +989

    I've seen cases where the actual key switch is the problem -- these are not just simple
    single throw toggles and even with the relay, there is a good current flow in the switch.
    With this age, everything is suspect!

    Best wishes
  15. 225moparmannky

    225moparmannky TS Rookie

    [have you tried checking your fuseable links by the fire wall on the drivers side or the voltage resistor box white one on the fire wall and also look at the ignition control module if it looks like tree sap coming out of it at the bottom replace it if that dont work then its the batery post not getting a good conection or the pick up in the distributor if the car doesent have points
  16. Dmo73

    Dmo73 TS Rookie

    If all power checks out and starter does work check the timing if it's not 180 off ( as if someone took it out and put it back wrong ).try retarding timing a little my 73 did that but mine did it when it was warm but same symptom

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