Starter problems on 1977 425

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500, 472, 425, 368 Discussion, Starter problems on 1977 425 in Cadillac Engine Discussion; Hey guys, me and a friend just picked up a 1977 Cadillac Hearse, and we are hoping to get it ...
  1. #1
    prs1989 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
    Automobile(s): Cadillac
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Starter problems on 1977 425

    Hey guys, me and a friend just picked up a 1977 Cadillac Hearse, and we are hoping to get it running for Halloween. It is very rough cosmetically...but it supposedly runs and drives well. It hasn't been started in about a month. So all the fluids are full and we put in a brand new battery. I cranked it for about 6 or 7 seconds, then stopped, so we could prime it again and so I didn't overheat the starter. I went to crank it again, and it just made a CLUNK sound. Checked the battery and it was at 12.58, a 700 CCA battery that is brand new. Got a different battery and the same thing. So I am thinking the starter went out? I can hear the clunk but that's it. I tried tapping it with a hammer, and one time it sounded like it made "half a crank" but then went right back to clunking. So... is a starter all that difficult to do on the 425? I honestly never did a starter before, but I think I can do it, it looks like maybe 2 bolts and some wiring. Is this something I can do myself? I have done plenty of other things on cars...just never a starter. The only other thing I was wondering is when I put the new starter in do I have to like align it in a certain way so the teeth line up or will it just kinda snap in place?
    I was planning to do it tomorrow in the driveway, so if there is any suggestions or things to look out for please let me know, or any other diagnosis, although I'm 99.9% sure the starter went.


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  3. #2
    drmenard is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
    Automobile(s): 95 FWB 81SDV 96 FWB 94 Fleetwood
    Join Date
    May 2003

    Re: Starter problems on 1977 425

    disconnet a battery terminal first.. pull out the starter and bring it to Autozone and ask them to check it .. I think they still do that.. or there might be a local rebuilder who can check it out... starters are as cheap as $40 there... go with the cheap one if it tests bad...

  4. #3
    Angry Matt's Avatar
    Angry Matt is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
    Automobile(s): (2) '81 FWBs, '86 Cutlass Supreme
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Limerick, PA

    Re: Starter problems on 1977 425

    Starters are very easy to do on these cars. They're heavier then they look though, so just don't let it fall on your head when you unbolt it. Two bolts hold it in and one nut on the power wire stud (don't overtighten it or it will strip, but make sure it's tight). That is a hot wire with no fuse so disconnect the ground from the battery before doing anything. If there are any shims, save them and put them back the way they came out. Definitely a driveway job, half hour if all goes smooth.

    will it just kinda snap in place?
    Yes, it will just line up. The teeth turn freely on the starter. Check the old starter and the flywheel for improper wear on the teeth, like clipped corners or missing teeth.

    I like to hook mine to jumper cables to see if it turns freely when it's out of the car, although it's not under load so it's probably not an effective test, just for fun.

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  6. #4
    deVille33 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
    Automobile(s): 1977 Coupe (blue), 1977 Coupe (yellow), 1977 Coupe (green)
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Western Massachusetts

    Re: Starter problems on 1977 425

    There should be another support brace at the front of the starter. These High Torque starters are prone to flex and that front brace is neccessary. You should check your ground cable with a digital multigauge to ensure that the cable is good. I chased this problem for a week before I determined that the ground cable was bad.

  7. #5
    hardley-etc is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
    Automobile(s): 94 ETC 78 Eldo 69 Eldo
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    Re: Starter problems on 1977 425

    if you put in a known good battery
    turn on the head lights and try to start
    if they go dim when key is turned
    check the engine ground strap
    clean the connections up good
    make sure all are tight
    if won't start now
    might be starter
    make sure hot wire going to starter is not oil soaked either

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