SD 220 Starting Problem


IHC in the early to mid-fifties.

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Post Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:02 pm

SD 220 Starting Problem

I have a 54 R100 and I can not get it to turn over fast enough to start easy. I remember years ago that some of these trucks would turn over hard when they were hot but usually would start easy when cold. I had the starter checked although I don't know if they could check it under load. The battery is good (6 volt) I can jump it with a 12 volt jumper and it turns better and will start. Does anyone know of any issues with these engines that could cause this? Thanks for any ideas (this is my first post so I hope I did it correct)

Golden Jubilee
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Location: Dinuba, central CA

Post Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:34 pm

Re: SD 220 Starting Problem

Hot starting problems are many fold. One overlooked issue is deposits in combustion chambers, pistons, spark plugs glowing red hot and trying to ignite fuel/air mix WAAAY too early, thereby causing slow or uneven cranking.
On an old non-computer vehicle like an IHC you can DRIBBLE water down the carb while you hold speed up. The idea is to not stall engine but to force it to eat about a pint of water. You should see stuff come out the exhaust. Cleans real well.
If you don't like that idea you can use Sea Foam from the DIY auto parts per directions or a BG 44k in the tank. The BG is a professional grade cleaner you get that from a shop.
Next thing comes to mind on an old truck is battery cables. Often I see old ground cables grounded on the frame or body causing high resistance in the ground side of the ckt. Best idea is for grd cable to extend all the way to block near starter.
It's counterintuitive but 6v systems are HIGH amperage compared to 12v systems. That's why all 6v systems use HEAVIER wires for evrything, including starter connections.
These heavy cables don't last forever so maybe it's time for replacement?
A volt meter and a helper can help you find the biggest culprit by tracking down " voltage drops" across cables, connections, etc.
Contact me if you want to know how...
To speed things up I take high quality jumper cables and one by one " bypass" cables or frame connections until i have completely redundant power and ground to the starter.
If this method offers no help, it's time to check starter, bty, charging system.
Starters wear drive end bushings, wear out brushes and just generally fall apart at this age. Battery V charging should be close to 7v.
Other problems include over-advanced timing and just a hard-to-turn engine or accessories for a variety of reasons.
Don't forget battery connections!
Good Luck, Don
1933 IHC Bus. Cpe
1933 IHC B-3 f
1935 C-1 IHC pickup
2 x 1936 IHC C-30 Fbs
3 x 1938 IHC D-2 Pickups
1938 IHC D-30 fb
1941 IHC K-1
2 x 1947 IHC KB-1 Pickups
2x 1953 IHC R pickups
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Golden Jubilee
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Location: Bothell, Washington

Post Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:28 am

Re: SD 220 Starting Problem

yep, everything ^^^^^^

I will add since it is at end of possibilities listed and may be missed, if all your fuel and electrical checks out,

over advanced will always be hard to start, these engines are funny to time as there is no real timing recommendation,

books say to line up top dead with timing mark, and set distributor timing to zero, (little scale on vacuum advance bottom of distributor,)

start motor and adjust for fuel quality,,,,,,,it's easy to get these advanced too far, as more advanced better they sound, until too far advanced obviously, and more performance, (well, as much as you can get from a 60 yr old engine).

gotta find the sweet spot of performance but still able to start,

my old Diamond T had a manual retard cable to pull engine out of time to make starting easier, once started you pushed it back in to normal timing setting, a technology that went away as things advanced in automotive development,
Gentle Men! you can't fight in here! This is the war room!

Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

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Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:26 pm

Location: Dinuba, central CA

Post Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:00 pm

Re: SD 220 Starting Problem

Made me remember rich fuel mix. This isn't something I see daily on modern vehicles.
Anyway, it goes like this:
Rich fuel mix ( hopefully provided by the choke) is needed for competent running on cold start.
Once a vehicle warms up, and especially on a hot day after working the truck, the engine's need for extra fuel DIMINISHES.
Counterintuitive, but true.
So what was a decent fuel mix on cold start or on a quick run to the parts store is now way too rich
for the engine.
Hard start hot is one symptom. Black smoke out exhaust might or might not be present.
If engine has decent vacuum ( better be more than 17" hg at idle-- and STEADY), check to see if choke is opening all the way.
Extra fuel can get into crankcase oil where it evaporates hot engine and adds extra fuel when you don't need it. The cause for this can be a leaking fuel pump diaphraghm, or just all the extra fuel the carb was supplying that the engine didn't need that made its way into the pan. Oil change at the end.
A fuel press check to see if it's in spec and then a good carb rebuild?
Valve adjustment is something hardly anybody does in my experience.
A good way to check if it's overdue is with Mr. Vacuum Gauge. Hot engine vacuum idle should be above
17"hg. It's OK if the needle WANDERS a little up or down but it can't flick. A flicking needle is a sign that one or more valves aren't seating ( if you're lucky). That's best-case scenario.
Always try to check vacuum in more than one place because you can be fooled.
1933 IHC Bus. Cpe
1933 IHC B-3 f
1935 C-1 IHC pickup
2 x 1936 IHC C-30 Fbs
3 x 1938 IHC D-2 Pickups
1938 IHC D-30 fb
1941 IHC K-1
2 x 1947 IHC KB-1 Pickups
2x 1953 IHC R pickups

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Post Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:52 pm

Re: SD 220 Starting Problem

Wow!! I want to thank everyone for responding to my starting problem. I decided to bite the bullet and try the simple thing first that was suggested in the first reply.( I said "bite the bullet" because it cost $56.00+ for cables and ends)) I went to CarQuest and bought enough new 1/0 battery cable to go from the positive battery terminal to the starter mounting bolt and from the negative battery terminal to the starter solenoid. Put new ends on the cables and hooked them up. The truck now turns over fine with the 6 volt battery.

Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 1806

Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:26 pm

Location: Dinuba, central CA

Post Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:59 pm

Re: SD 220 Starting Problem

A good day.
1933 IHC Bus. Cpe
1933 IHC B-3 f
1935 C-1 IHC pickup
2 x 1936 IHC C-30 Fbs
3 x 1938 IHC D-2 Pickups
1938 IHC D-30 fb
1941 IHC K-1
2 x 1947 IHC KB-1 Pickups
2x 1953 IHC R pickups

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Location: Nampa, Idaho

Post Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:19 pm

Re: SD 220 Starting Problem

AS CB89 would say, GROUNDS the thing!

Golden Jubilee
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Location: Lyman, IA

Post Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:36 pm

Re: SD 220 Starting Problem

AS far as I know, IHC is still running the ground to the frame, and a braided strap to the engine till this day, and it is still causeing problems. Both my 9670's suffered from that, and both were cured with a proper ground to the starter.

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Post Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:24 am

Re: SD 220 Starting Problem

I have a 52 IH L130 w/ a SD 220, and it to would start fine when cold and barely turned over when hot.
After reading the post I replaced my old battery cables (size 1 (ground) and 2 (hot)) with size 1/0, what a huge difference.
Cranks fast now, hot or cold.
Didn't realize how much difference the bigger wires/cables make.
It's liking to trying to put out a house fire with a garden hose at 60 PSI, verses using a 3" fire hose with the same pressure.

Rusty Driver
Rusty Driver

Posts: 184

Joined: Thu May 10, 2018 7:15 am

Post Sat Aug 08, 2020 6:49 am

Re: SD 220 Starting Problem

yiyi2369 wrote:Wow!! I want to thank everyone for responding to my starting problem. I decided to bite the bullet and try the simple thing first that was suggested in the first reply.( I said "bite the bullet" because it cost $56.00+ for cables and ends)) I went to CarQuest and bought enough new 1/0 battery cable to go from the positive battery terminal to the starter mounting bolt and from the negative battery terminal to the starter solenoid. Put new ends on the cables and hooked them up. The truck now turns over fine with the 6 volt battery.


I was in the same boat. Ran ground to starter bolt last night and it turns over great now. I'm sure you were as happy as me when turning that key.
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