1956 356 "GT"

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Harlan Halsey
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Re: 1956 356 "GT"

#166 Post by Harlan Halsey » Sun Aug 08, 2021 6:43 am

The farther you get away from the original components, the less likely you are to have success with the starter. The original L19 size lead acid battery supplies somewhere north of 100 Ampers through the switch in the solenoid. Those Amps need to get out to the starter solenoid through the thick cable and back to the battery through the chassis ground. Obviously all the connections need to be clean. Within the starter motor the brushes need to connect to a round smooth commutator. If the commutator surface is no longer smooth, then it needs to be turned round and smooth again, not just sand papered. On a Bosch starter the solenoid both switches the heavy current, and moves the pinion gear into full contact with the ring gear. On a 356, one of the armature bearings is in the bell housing. So the starter cannot be bench tested without a transmission. I think 6 or 12 volt solenoids are available, mainly because of the large number of VWs which were sold world wide. Around here there are a dwindling number of Auto-Electric shops who service starters and generators. The work is simple if they are set up for it, with a lathe, and a growler, taking about an hour to rebuild a starter or generator with turned commutator, new bearings, new brushes, and a new solenoid. The starter system is very simple. With good components and the ignition switch supplying the pull in current to the solenoid, it has to work.
A friend of mine who had been complaining about the slow starter in his '57 just reported the revelation that after he cleaned the battery strap chassis connection the engine now starts flawlessly.

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Trond Vidar
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Re: 1956 356 "GT"

#167 Post by Trond Vidar » Sun Aug 08, 2021 12:37 pm

I agree Harlan, would prefer to keep this car all original and 6 volt. The problem may be the starter the battery or solenoid. Cabling should be fine, all connections are cleaned and/or brushed ground strap is new and solid.

Over here I can get a new 77ah battery for $180 whereas a new 12Volt same spec is less than $100. I am "struggling" to think it may be a better value to do a 12 volt conversion and get better electronic parts availability as well. It is the only 6 volt car I have but with 12 volt I could swap around the battery with my other classic cars. I find my self replacing batteries every 3 year due to lack of use.

Perhaps I will pull the starter and give a rebuilt starter a chance. Its back to work next week and garage time will be limited until the weather go bad.
'56A coupe & '63B coupe

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Greg Bryan
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Re: 1956 356 "GT"

#168 Post by Greg Bryan » Sun Aug 08, 2021 2:22 pm

I am finally going to convert my car to 12V and already installed the large body 12V generator after the 6V took a dive (although I'm still regulating it to 6V). The brighter lights, better hot starting, ability to use modern electronics, greater availability of 12V components are some of the advantages.
The 6V system works fine when everything is close to perfect, but perfect is hard to maintain on 50+ year old cars.
Greg Bryan

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Jay Broemmel
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Re: 1956 356 "GT"

#169 Post by Jay Broemmel » Sun Aug 08, 2021 3:32 pm

Trond Vidar wrote:
Sun Aug 08, 2021 5:08 am

The battery was a new quality battery 3 years ago, always charged with 3 months intervals when car stored. I also have a cutoff switch in the car that I use all the time I park it. :(

Considering li-ion from Antigravity batteries, any information on those at 28A and 240CC, may need two in parallell?
Trond,
If your cutoff switch is the type that clamps to the battery post and has a round knob, you should remove it and see if that solves the problem. They are very poor quality and don’t actually conduct much electricity. Jay

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Trond Vidar
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Re: 1956 356 "GT"

#170 Post by Trond Vidar » Sun Aug 08, 2021 4:55 pm

State of the 6Volt battery, water level in the cells close to each poles were approx 1-2 mm below the plates but the middle cell was 1-2 mm above the plates. This was a surprise, never checked it but car has only done 500 km on that battery. Perhaps the NOCO genius and maintenance charge is to blame, could be natural condensation as well my garage is hot in the summer.

I am going to fill it up, give it a maintenance charge and give it another try. At the same time I'll check that the charge voltage I get from the car is within spec.

Jay, the cutoff switch is from Pollak with; "current rating of 180 DC Amp and voltage rating of 6-36 VDC. It also has an overall length of 4 3/8 inches and a diameter of 2 5/8 inches approx. Lever Operated- 6-36 Volt- 180 Amps continuous capacity 1000 amps in Rush S.P.S.T. (Off-On)". Installed with a home made bracket from one of the terminals to earth.
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Greg thanks for the "support", seriously considering the 12V path. The cost is not bad, 600 Euro buys a german made 12 volt 30A generator, a blue coil, a 30A regulator, and a 12 volt solenoid. I already have all the bulbs and the $23 step down converter (120W) from Amazon did a good job in my 56 coupe. More than enough to do instruments and wiper motor. I like the sound from my original 6 volt horn, may have to find a 12 volt with same sound though.

Suppose I would save all the 6Volt pieces in a box and this will always be "reversible".
'56A coupe & '63B coupe

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Greg Bryan
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Re: 1956 356 "GT"

#171 Post by Greg Bryan » Sun Aug 08, 2021 5:04 pm

Yes, I will do the same - save the 6V components in case someone wishes to reconvert it.
I think Zims Autotechnic has 12V horns that look genuine - not sure about the sound.
Greg Bryan

Juha Vane
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Re: 1956 356 "GT"

#172 Post by Juha Vane » Mon Aug 09, 2021 4:11 am

Trond, Blue-Sea make a nice surface mounted main switch,1790-9003E
I have one installed just behind the spare wheel and it can be a operated sticking your
hand thru the spare wheel. You probably find one in a marine shop.

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KTF,

Juha Vane
Finland

'59 308
'63 356
'85 911

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Trond Vidar
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Re: 1956 356 "GT"

#173 Post by Trond Vidar » Mon Aug 09, 2021 6:33 am

Thanks Juha, thats a good one, 4 small holes in the rear wall, a little cabling and it is done.

I have contacted Sandelplan and hope they have the parts I need, gotta save the rest of the season. Considering a powerlite Dynator as well but thats gonna slow down since I have to send my alternator stand to them.
'56A coupe & '63B coupe

Juha Vane
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Re: 1956 356 "GT"

#174 Post by Juha Vane » Mon Aug 09, 2021 7:50 am

Hi Trond, My 356 is 6V and have no problems with starting.
Have a red Optima battery. All my lights are LED, even the
headlights, those I bought from UK. Not legal but so far
nobody has complained.
Tailights are from Culayer and they are really good.
If you buy Culayer tail lights, get the Hella blinker relay.
I have the number if you need.
Instrument lights from, was it Jules, also very good.
The total cost for these LED lights was way less than
converting to 12V. I don’t have a radio, Sebring style
exhaust is music enough.
KTF,

Juha Vane
Finland

'59 308
'63 356
'85 911

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Trond Vidar
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Re: 1956 356 "GT"

#175 Post by Trond Vidar » Mon Aug 09, 2021 9:43 am

Juha, my '63 coupe has always been slow cranking. It is fine that way as long as it starts and I do not have to buy a new battery every 3'd year. :shock:

However, to be able keep it 6 Volt I am looking at rebuilding a starter and a new battery, with no expertise around here it is not that easy to get a quality rebuild. I have cleaned every contact, changed out cabling and did install a helper relay close to the starter but it did not help. Cabling and ignition switch is fine. That relay will be moved under the dash to keep the ignition switch happy for years to come just have to get a 12V one.

I wish I had the time to pledge the 6 volt system and keep the car bone-stock but I just gave in and ordered a 12V generator, regulator and other 12 volt parts. I do not have the time to work on more projects, I have realised I have to finish multiple cars before I can look back and make this car 6 volt again. 6 Volt extra does not break the heritage! :wink:
'56A coupe & '63B coupe

Juha Vane
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Re: 1956 356 "GT"

#176 Post by Juha Vane » Mon Aug 09, 2021 10:18 am

Hi Trond. I have nothing against 6V > 12V. In my humble opinion,
there are enough pristine original 356 so we are ”allowed” to do
modifications.
It is possible that the starter motor anchor is touching the metal parts in stator winding. I don’t know the correct names of these.
One place also for resistance can be at the carbon bridge connections. And as someone mentioned earlier, the contacts in
the solenoid should be checked.
But good luck with your project.
Hope to meet you one day at Riksmotet.
KTF,

Juha Vane
Finland

'59 308
'63 356
'85 911

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Trond Vidar
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Re: 1956 356 "GT"

#177 Post by Trond Vidar » Mon Aug 09, 2021 1:54 pm

Thanks Juha, it would be great to meet up at Riksmötet sometime in the future. Just look out for an Ivory B coupe with superbright headlights, thay may be me :) :D
'56A coupe & '63B coupe

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Harlan Halsey
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Re: 1956 356 "GT"

#178 Post by Harlan Halsey » Tue Aug 10, 2021 3:31 am

+1 Juha, Trond, a worn starter bushing in the bell housing is a classic cause of slow starting. Everything else may be perfect, but the armature ribbing on the field causes enough drag to slow the starter motor. I make it a practice to change that bushing every time I have the engine out unless I know for sure it is good.
Last edited by Harlan Halsey on Wed Aug 11, 2021 4:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Trond Vidar
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Re: 1956 356 "GT"

#179 Post by Trond Vidar » Tue Aug 10, 2021 12:12 pm

Harlan, remember I just had the engine out to install a new bronze bellhousing bushing, tested fitment on the startes as well.

I would guess I have bad/worn starter motor(s), Back last time I got a new battery it was cranking but not very fast. Would have loved to get a "perfect rebuilt" 6V starter but the 12 V parts seem to be on their way from Germany.

Suppose I will go through and have the 6V parts restored (generator+starter) in the winter but right now it seems that we are heading the 12Volt path for a while.

Another issue, after I reinstalled the engine it sit a centimeter off to the driver side (measure at crank pulley). Is there an easy way to correct this or is it an indication of bad transmission mounts?
'56A coupe & '63B coupe

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Harlan Halsey
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Re: 1956 356 "GT"

#180 Post by Harlan Halsey » Wed Aug 11, 2021 5:10 am

Trond,
There's no easy way to move the engine side to side. But first you need to determine why it is off center, and to begin that you need to find the center line of the car. I used a carpenters' laser line. If the rubber seals can accommodate the off center I wouldn't worry about it, not until you get known good mounts in there.

It boggles my mind to think that you find it easier to convert to 12v than to fix/replace a starter motor! But in any case, I suggest you retain the Bosch type starter. I tried a WOSP 12v. and it chewed up the ring gear. There's a reason that American and English cars using the Bendix type have replaceable ring gears. I solved the problem with a 12v solenoid on a 6v starter.

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