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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to this site, used to hang out on the Chevytalk site when I was building my 55 8 years ago. I have wiring questions. First off, this is a 55 Chevy Belair with 350 and 350turbo. When I got the car previous owner had put in HEI ignition and it has always started and ran perfect, until now! He put in HEI and Alternator and used most of the original wiring, horn relay and stock fuse boxe etc. The other day the car would not start, so I bought a new ignition module and it started but only ran good so I thought that was the end of it. Not so, it would not start after I parked it again. So I put another module and coil in, then it started, but when I tryed to restart it popped and smoked around the distributor. Does anyone have a wiring diagram for this setup that includes the wiring to the horn relay etc for using the stock items? I will probably rewire the whole car this winter, but would like to find my ignition problem now so I can play this summer. I really feel like I have a switch, horn relay, solenoid or something that has went bad as this car has always started and ran perfectly. Thanks for any help
 

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Trifive Automotive Electrical Wiring Expert
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Welcome to bowtie-trifive !!!!
The stock wiring between the ignition switch and the HEI is too small to supply suffucient voltage. Hopefully, the ballest resistor has been removed, "ign1" and "ign2" terminals of the ignition switch are jumpered together and a larger gauge (at least 14 gauge) wire run to the HEI. The stock 20 gauge wire will cause a voltage drop to the distributor and electronics won't last long running on low voltage. Stock wiring diagram. ....http://www.trifive.com/garage/55%20Chevy%20Assembly%20Manual/12-27.gif
 

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welcome! Follow Don's advice and put in a larger wire to the Coil from the switch. Some Hei's want you to keep the ballast resister in place but most don't use it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
wiring

I took the switch out and it does have two larger wires coming off the switch but the wire going to the HEI BAT side of the cap is from the solenoid. I know there are usually different ways to wire cars. I am no guru by any means, I did wire my 48 chevy truck with a kit and it worked well. I just can't figure out what is going on here since this worked well for years. It does have a horn relay on the firewall, does that have any role in this semi stock HEI setup?
 
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:hello: hi ya and welcome. good to have you here. i'll move it back to top.
 

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Trifive Automotive Electrical Wiring Expert
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I took the switch out and it does have two larger wires coming off the switch but the wire going to the HEI BAT side of the cap is from the solenoid. I know there are usually different ways to wire cars.
The wire from the switch must be going to the R terminal of the starter, then another wire up to the HEI. The starter solenoid is provideing the full 12 volts while cranking. Then "ign1" terminal of the switch can provide full 12 volts in the run position.
The only thing the horn relay might do is act as a tie point for the alternator wire to go the the battery or starter solenoid battery terminal.
 

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"ign1" and "ign2" terminals of the ignition switch are jumpered together

Why do you jump "ign1" and "ign2" terminals together? What were they serving independantly before that's not needed with HEI?

YOUNG57
 

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ACARDON

Why do you jump "ign1" and "ign2" terminals of the ignition switch together?

What did they serve independantly before an HEI and don't need with HEI?

YOUNG57
 

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Trifive Automotive Electrical Wiring Expert
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"ign1" and "ign2" terminals of the ignition switch are jumpered together

Why do you jump "ign1" and "ign2" terminals together? What were they serving independantly before that's not needed with HEI?

YOUNG57
On a 55 or 56 Ign 2 provides a full 12 volts to the + coil while cranking the engine to give a hotter spark to start and ign1 provides a reduced voltage through the ballest resistor in the run position to increase point life. An HEI needs a full 12 volts all the time, in start and run.
 

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I took the switch out and it does have two larger wires coming off the switch but the wire going to the HEI BAT side of the cap is from the solenoid. I know there are usually different ways to wire cars. I am no guru by any means, I did wire my 48 chevy truck with a kit and it worked well. I just can't figure out what is going on here since this worked well for years. It does have a horn relay on the firewall, does that have any role in this semi stock HEI setup?
You mean the wire going to the HEI plus side of the coil? The cap has only spark plug wires on it. What starter are you using? If it has 3 terminals it must be a 57 starter. 55 and 56 only have 2 terminals. Batt and S 57 starters have Batt, R, and S The R supplys a full 12 volts to the plus side of the coil to give a hotter spark on startup. Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
wiring

Thanks for everyones input. The engine is a 350 with later model starter. I just ordered a new harness today to convert to the HEI. The current wiring worked for years, but after digging into it some, it is pretty poorly done. For $47 I think a new harness will hopefully solve my problem, unless I have toasted the switch and solenoid.
 

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WELCOME

I saw you are new here and want to say:sign0016:tobowtie-trifive:shakehands:
 
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