Auto Question, starter sticks

Looking for opinions from other mechanics. I am a retired mechanic myself but a little frustrated.

I have a 1988 for truck with a 302 engine. The starters in these trucks do not have a starter solenoid all of the power for the starter runs through the starter relay on the fender wall. The problem is the starter stays running sometimes. The contacts on the relay are welding themselves together and sticking closed.

In the past I have always fixed this by locating and correcting an excessive current draw usually caused by a bad ground, too small of cables or a dragging starter. I have replaced all the cables with 2.0 and also replaced the starter and used a heavy duty relay. Battery is also new. Problem still exists.

History, I had the engine overhauled a few years ago and only have about 200 miles on the truck since. I suspect the motor is a little tight but it does turn over easily. I am starting to think now tht my only option is to see if I can find a starter that will match that uses a starter solenoid on the starter or possibly installing an extra relay on the fender wall to reduce the load on the first one. I have never had to do this in the past but I am at witts end. Any opinions or possible solutions?

What’s the existing relay rating?

225 amps continous, 600 amp surge

I’m no help. My 88 Ford has the 460, and uses a solenoid. I just had to replace the starter myself a while back.

Maybe hit it with a hammer? :slight_smile:

Sounds like a bad starter to me.

Starter is brand new, seems to crank fine. Engine may be tighter than normal from overhaul even if it shouldn’t be. I suspect that this configuration using no starter solenoid may be marginal from the git go.

Sounds like your replacement starter is also bad.

The starter cannot cause itself to stick with this design. It has no solenoid. If it were dragging it could contribute but neither the last starter or this starter appear to be dragging. Engine cranks over fine, just won’t always quit cranking.

Thinking about it, I think I may take it down and get the timing checked if I can’t find my old timing light. Seems to crank over a little longer than it should since the overhaul. On a marginal system this could tilt the balance.

those old Ford starters without an integral solenoid were of the “movable pole shoe” design. they may have no solenoid to get stuck, but there’s absolutely a lot of mechanical bits inside the starter which can get stuck.