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Starting issue

Jim M

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I have a 1963 R-1 Avanti that has been sitting for several years.  I'm not the most skilled mechanic, but I have prepped it to bring it back to life (changed the oil, put some marvel mystery oil into the cylinders, changed out the spark plugs, etc.), but when I put the key in to start the car up I got nothing.  It doesn't even attempt to turn over. I swapped out the battery for a brand new one and made sure it was charged.  I have dash lights and blinkers and exterior lights so the car is getting power.  However, when I turn the key there is no sound - no clicking and no attempt to turn over just silence.  


So what I need is some advice on trouble shooting this problem.  Maybe a list of some  possible causes from most likely to less likely.  Or some direction on where to look.  Anything to get this project moving forward.

Thanks in advance

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First thing I would do it to see if the engine turns over by hand with the spark plugs out. Nothing good happen when one rolls an old engine over at cranking speed if it hasn't been turned over by hand first. 
If it turns over then you can check the starter relay to see if it has voltage to it and then puts voltage to the starter when the key is turned. If it sends voltage to the starter and the starter doesn't turn, hit the starter a few times with a board or light hammer to see if it will engage. If not, remover the starter and bench test it to see if it turns. Some times starters get a few bad spots and won't turn the engine if the armatures sets on them. If you can't get the starter to turn then you have a bad starter.

Before you do any of the above clean all the power and ground connections as that's critical on a glass bodied car.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I recommend getting under the Avanti and access the flywheel gear. Use a dull stout flat blade screwdriver and advance the engine an inch a day for a couple of weeks until it moves freely. You should be able to turn it over using the starter, as long as the starter has been freed up. I had great success using this method on my 1964 Avanti that had sat on blocks since 1969. 

Good Luck!


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I have been doing this a very long time. The 63 I just finished sat over 30 + years and turned right over. You could check that as others stated but i believe its electrical. Im betting its your starter relay as other mentioned. I have done 24 willys jeeps and it was most always the starter relay and very rarely but it happened, a bad ground to the starter and sometimes the starter its self.

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