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From Another C3 Forum:

"My '76 won't crank sometimes":

1. I hooked up my battery backwards and burned the wires from alternator to starter.
2. Replaced those burned wires.
3. Started up okay with same battery
4. Heard some ticking or arcing from the starter as it was cranking, not sure what that was, but seems to start every time with a bit of a pumping of the gas and then idled. Happy days.
5. Left it for a week, changed the oil (5W-30), then went to start and starter would only crank one turn (starter is 5 years old)
6. Tried multiple times, no luck
7. Replaced battery, checked all cables and grounds. cleaned up all contacts etc. No luck.
8. Pulled the starter, bench tested and works well from what I can tell.
9. Checked solenoid, pulled it apart, seems good.
10. Reinstalled my starter and now there's no crank at all.
11. Checked fusible link, was a bit rattly so replaced it. No luck.
12. Checked power to starter, getting 12.5v
13. Checked S terminal on starter, when turning key, no power there (may have tested it wrong? (Voltmeter positive on small S bolt and negative to ground).
14. Hooked up a starter trigger to the the starter, does the one turn crank at a time (should it be faster or is this normal with a trigger? Sounds like #5 in my list).
15. Checked relay and fuse link on passenger side (next to circuit breaker) and replaced it, still no luck starting.
16. Cleaned up the fuse panel, some corrosion and blown fuses. Got radio, power windows and blinkers working. Didn't realize they weren't working! WIN there!
17. Turning the key to accessories, I get all power with accessories, then to start it cuts power to all accessories - I think this is how it's meant to work?
18. Volt drop tested battery 12.5v.
19. Volt drop tested alternator and it drops to 6v while trying to start, is that normal?
20. Checked the fuses again, I noticed the small 5A fuse is busted and identified as IGN on the panel, is that ignition? I don't think this could be the issue??

I think I may have ruined the alternator or starter with the reverse polarity?

Thanks in advance for any advice.


All of this could be caused by an internally corroded aluminum block-to-frame ground cable. The cable that is out of sight so few C3 owners even know it exists. I would replace that aluminum cable with a copper cable and then go from there.
 
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