Ford 555C starting problems from cold!

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Markwood20
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Ford 555C starting problems from cold!

Post #1 by Markwood20 » Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:46 pm

So i bought a 1984-ish Ford 555C Special a couple of weeks back. (I say 84ish as the id plate in the cab reckons its a 1979 build, but they didn't start producing 555's until the mid 80s, also its a 4 cylinder and as i recall the earlier 550's were only 3 cylinder)

No major problems except staring from cold!

It sounds like it has a flat battery when you try to start it, as if there isn't enough juice to turn the engine over. Ya know what i mean, tries but fails! lol

The battery is brand new and it even seems to be charging properly, whilst i don't have a battery tester i have had it off and on a charger overnight and still get the same problem.

It may take up to 5 mins to get it started from cold, i try and start it for a few mins and its just like a battery that doesn't have a lot of charge in it... I leave it for a couple of mins and go back to get the same again, several failed tries at turning the engine over then hey presto, turns over strong as an Ox and fires up first full turn of the engine!

Ive even tried the heater button for 10-15 secs before trying to start it (even when its a warm enough day not to need it!) and still no joy.

Ive checked battery connections, starter and alternator connections and cant see or find any shorts, damaged wires etc.

I'm thinking it might be one of those crappy non branded starters thats just not up to the job, but wanted a second opinion before i head out and put another dent in my bank balance!

Also is there a simple way of checking that the alternator is kicking out enough juice without buying a new multimeter? (Mine died a couple of years back and never replaced it because it only got used once in a blue moon...)


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Re: Ford 555C starting problems from cold!

Post #2 by topkit » Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:03 pm

I had a similar problem a while back symptoms were battery would not turn it over fast enough to start it, then i tightned up the battery connections and it was fine, i would maybe start by getting a couple of decent heavy duty battery leads made up, then go around and clean up all your connections remove them clean them up and put vaseline on them and make sure that they are done up really tight and any crimped connections remove clean and tighten up to. Check you small wire connections as they quite often go brittle an break.


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Re: Ford 555C starting problems from cold!

Post #3 by topkit » Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:03 pm

I had a similar problem a while back symptoms were battery would not turn it over fast enough to start it, then i tightned up the battery connections and it was fine, i would maybe start by getting a couple of decent heavy duty battery leads made up, then go around and clean up all your connections remove them clean them up and put vaseline on them and make sure that they are done up really tight and any crimped connections remove clean and tighten up to. Check you small wire connections as they quite often go brittle and break.


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Re: Ford 555C starting problems from cold!

Post #4 by Markwood20 » Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:20 pm

Thanks man,
I'll go over all the wiring again, wirebrush and grease up the terminals too.

I had a good check of the main battery leads and they look like they have been replaced already (they arent new,new, but look distinctly newer than original! The bare copper at the battery connectors is still dull copper coloured, it hasnt gone black and grotty looking yet)


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Re: Ford 555C starting problems from cold!

Post #5 by essexpete » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:01 am

If you have done all the usual checks plus a good battery I would have the starter off and see if you can find a local repair service. I am lucky as I know a really good alternator/starter man. He transforms lazy starters by new brushes and skimming the commutator ring on a lathe. Usually half the price of a cheap new starter. A lot of the farming fraternity seem to favour Iskra starters as replacements but I understand they are expensive.


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Re: Ford 555C starting problems from cold!

Post #6 by Markwood20 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:22 pm

Just a follow up to the advice given.

Cleaned, wire brushed, copper greased and refitted:
battery terminals and connectors,
All the starter terminals and leads running to/from and Repaired a cluster of earth leads that ran to one of the terminals.
Ignition block in the cab.

I also replaced the spade connector on the injector sensor lead and
Replaced the spade connector on another sensor about halfway down the engine block on the left side (think its an oil pressure sensor?)

After all that it was trying a little harder to start but still the same problem!
Anything that i may have overlooked before i consider going and spending £150 on a new starter?

Ps. I also had the starter off and on the bench to strip all the terminals down properly!

I spoke to the dealer about a new solenoid and he said its not economical to replace as they are only £50 cheaper than the whole starter unit and chances are that you would end up back at the parts counter for a starter anyway!

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Re: Ford 555C starting problems from cold!

Post #7 by widget » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:15 pm

Dont forget to check the earth cable between the engine and the chassis (if it has one?)
Many people overlook this which can cause problems, as the engine is usually insulated to a degree by the engine mounts!
just a thought :thumbup:
I want to rust out not wear out


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Re: Ford 555C starting problems from cold!

Post #8 by Markwood20 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:20 pm

Ill have a double check in the morning at that, i dont recall seeing one whilst i was scrabbling around under it earlier!


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Re: Ford 555C starting problems from cold!

Post #9 by TrevorJ » Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:36 pm

Your starter is probably ok, (I struggle to think of any of the older fords I've been around that have a sufficiently large enough starter that isn't going to kill itself slowly with overloading.) You could test it while it's out, for free spin speed. If you're a confident sort of fellow, pull it apart and check the brushes for length and good movement in their guides and if the commutator shows signs of poor contact. Ensure bushes and bearing are not too worn, lubed and turning freely - which I've had a number of instances where poor starting was due to a flogged out bush.

However first I woulds suspect:

It may have an excess fuel button you should push in on the injector pump for cold starts.

Not all the heaters are working properly.

The high amp contact swithch in the solenoid needs to be serviced due to arcing eating away the "switch" area. Yours may be designed with maintenance in mind, but plenty of the newer versions are now "harder" to pull apart and service as they're not designed to be pulled apart and fixed. You can test that by making up a set of battery leads to place together just after engaging the solenoid via the switch.

If when it does start it runs just a little uneven, it may point to the injectors themselves not spraying properly.

The timing is off just a bit, a smidge too advanced. It's probably not likely as generally injector pumps wear so they are more retarded which makes them start easy but splutter a little at high revs.


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Re: Ford 555C starting problems from cold!

Post #10 by Markwood20 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:54 pm

Thanks @ TrevorJ

I took the battery down to the garage to get that checked this morning, 100% charge and holding well!
I knew it wasn't a battery problem but had it checked to be sure.

I possibly didn't clarify the 'cold starting' properly, i didn't mean cold weather i meant cold engine! Although it also has the same problem from starting when its warm too!

When it starts it runs purrs away wonderfully! No splutters or smoke on starting, no spluttering at high idle, no lumpy running at all! In fact it runs that well you wouldn't believe for a vehicle its age!

I'm taking the starter down to a specialist to be overhauled this afternoon, he was recommended by the local farmer that he does a bang up job and is a lot cheaper than anyone else locally!

It does look like its the original Lucas starter and i'd say its been out before as someone didn't put the 3rd bolt back on the engine side...


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