My Engine Won't fire

I know the answer to this story, but figured I would share, if nothing else maybe it saves someone else time in the future.

GT 40 was running fine (Ford small block). Late one night after softball in early September, thought I heard a weird noise when I started it up. Convinced myself I didn't hear anything and then half-way home it quit. Home and in garage, turned the key and nothing. Starter not working, seems that the solenoid stuck and that made sense for the noise. Many hours later, starter out and to a shop to rebuild. What is it off "small block Ford with a Porsche transmission on a GT40". 10 days later starter is rebuilt, finally get it back in about a week later. Turn the key, engine won't start. Oh, a few weeks not running, something else went wrong. Check Webers, still getting gas, smells gassy though, must be flooded. Check spark, has spark (at least with plug laying against header). Blow out cylinders, let them dry out good. Won't start, seems like not getting spark. Check spark, has spark. Change plugs. Check spark, has spark. Test MSD box, that seems good with quick test. Test Blaster coil (.7 ohms on primary, 5.1 K on secondary), that is good. Change out coil, doesn't matter. Check spark, has spark. More extensive test of MSD, including videoing LED light while cranking, that thing blinks like crazy, so it is getting trigger. Talk to MSD support. Test more, the spark will jump a 1 inch gap and is blue. Get another MSD box, put that in, doesn't matter, still won't start. Has Spark. Maybe gas, drain gas and check filters, all that seems good. Drained gas into tiller after tiller run dry. Tiller fires right up, gas is fine. This all takes a couple weeks, at wits end on what it can be. Could have someone effed with my wiring, check and make sure plugs are right and firing order is right, that is OK. Maybe I burned something in distributor, I guess I will dig into that. Take four plug wires off, so I can move it to the side. Remove distributor cap. Turn it over with the key. Rotor is turning clockwise. Wait a minute.....shouldn't it turn counterclockwise. That is weird.

Have you figured out what is wrong? Answer tomorrow.


Well, if your started has a permanent magnet motor, wiring the terminals backwards will cause it to run in the opposite direction. But would the Bendix gear run backwards?
The terminals were wired correctly on the starter, there is the big lug (4 Gauge wire from battery onto that one) and the little spade connector that has the 12v trigger wire (14 gauge or so). But I think things are getting warmer.......
I think we have a winner. Got a little bit of an unclear story on what happened (a very reputable electric starter/generator/alternator place). I came to the conclusion after many hours that "I think my starter is turning backwards", so I took it back to them to ask if it was possible to build it to spin backwards. He thought they used my bendix/gears and didn't think that was possible, but was going to have the guy who worked on it call me. No call and after a couple of days of waiting to hear back from the guy who worked on it, got a call, it was rebuilt again. Talked to them when I picked it up and didn't get a completely clear story, rather something along the lines of "it sorta looked like a volkswagon or porsche starter, but built it to rotate like a Ford small block starter".

Anyway, they rebuilt it second time to rotate the other way. Put it in last night. Turned the key, two seconds later it was running. So happy ending, but I don't have a clear answer, as I didn't think that things could be make to run backwards.

So, if anyone ever runs into this is possible.
Just in case a little more clarity is required on the starter. Ford small block, the starter tucks along the engine with the nose (where the gear is) of the starter sticking towards the rear. In my case, since the starter has to be mounted to the Porsche Transaxle, the nose of the starter faces forward. The starter is technically a Porsche starter. And it rotates the opposite direction. The engine was cranking over like crazy in all my testing, just backwards.
Oh, sorry. I should have thought more about the "couldn't resist" and caught that. I guess the pain is too recent to yet be humorous, but I am getting there slowly.

Randy V

Lifetime Supporter
Now we just need to figure out why the solenoid hung up with the starter bendix engaged to begin with.....

Ian Anderson

Lifetime Supporter
Now we just need to figure out why the solenoid hung up with the starter bendix engaged to begin with.....
well I have seen the return spring on the key switch, when the key is released does not stay in run but as keys swing on the key ring click the starter on momentarily when the motor is already running cooling the starter.


Bill Kearley

Thats not bad, don't know your car but what side of the flywheel is the starter on? back side of FW or front of FW.
All and all My best one was the rental of a Honda water pump I was using to load ships in port with water. The pump quit in the middle of a Stanley cup final and had to call the rental outfit for a replacement. The next day my then buddy informed me that the pump would't run to well on diesel.
Starter is behind the flywheel. Funny, diesel was in consideration. The most recent fill of the car had been with it on a trailer after inspection, and I had filled my pickup and both tanks on the car by pulling in, filling at two pumps, backing up and filling the other car tank on the other side of the pumps. go in to get rung up three times and the girl says "OK, that is $75 of gas on 2, $45 of gas on 4 and $30 of diesel on 3". I was like "Whoa, that is not right, I had three pumps, but they were all gas". She panics (16 yr old), runs around a bit and finally decides that someone else had filled diesel and she had charged them the $25 that was one of my gases. I of course, question her and question how good of attention I was paying, did I really use the non-oxy pump, or was I stupid and used the diesel. Opened both tanks, smelled, all seemed well. Checked again when I got home and finally convinced myself that all was well. I had driven some and sucked some from both tanks when the starter thing happened, but did remember the "diesel" incident and had to check everything again, because "what if there was diesel in the one tank and it mixed with gas and I couldn't smell it and is that why it doesn't start......"