Electrical short

I was trying to crank my 49 the other day and I hadn’t replaced the vacuum line to the distributor.  Initially I thought I had ran down the battery but it appears that I have somehow created a short in the ignition system.  When I push the starter button the voltage drops and the starter would only click.  I charged the battery and it did the same thing.  I checked the wires from the ignition switch to the starter button and they seem to be okay.  I don’t know where to go from here.  


  • Your solenoid is suspect
  • Starter armature or field windings can also short to ground , drawing LOTS of amps and dropping voltage. This happened to a recently rebuilt to 12V Hydramatic starter in a '51 Hornet I am familiar with. Try replacing the solenoid first. If the condition still exists, then it's most likely a short in the starter motor.
  • Okay.  I put a test light to the battery and touched the wires on the coil and both terminals lit up.  Can the coil cause a problem also?
  • Is all your wire connection tite check for lose wires under the dash try moving them when you try to start the car my two cents worth
  • Your starter drive may be jammed in the flywheel
  • I have had a battery fail where it would give good reading on a light but when you hit the started it would not have the juice to do a thing.  If you have a volt meter make sure your batter is close to 12.5 v or 6.3 or so (depending on your system) just sitting there.  Then turn on your lights and look at the voltage drop.  If significant it is the battery.  What is better is a battery tester that will out a load on the battery.


  • Your starter is jammed in the flywheel.  If you have a standard transmission you can put the car in gear, and rack the car back and forth, that will usually jar it free.  If you have an automatic you have to pull the starter and put it back on, can do that with the standard trans also if you want to.
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