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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had installed an "Otto Start" on my 73 GT about six weeks ago and was working fine until 3 weeks ago when the starter started to engage itself while riding down the road. (That is a no, no)
I had thought that the switch had started to go bad because I could wiggle the key and the starter would stop. I called Gil at Opel GT Source and he told me that it sounds like the starter switch itself was probably going bad. He told me what to do to clean it out and get more life out of it, which I did. Once I restarted the engine, the starter was engaging worse than ever.
I wanted to eliminate all possible problems before taking the switch out and sending it to Gil for him to rebuild, which he said he could for $49. (Good deal)
I had eliminated everything except the "Otto Start". So I disconnected it and started the engine and the problem went away. I rechecked how it was wired up and it was wired up properly. I guess the "Otto Start" went bad. Anyone ever had one go bad after only 3 weeks of use? :confused:
Otto, if you read this, it may be something you want to check on.
 

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Old Opeler
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Solid State

The "Otto Start" shifts the electrical load from the delicate Opel ignition switch to a remote set of points in a relay. This protects the irreplacable ignition switch contacts but still does not fix the continuous running of the starter when the points in the "Otto Start" relay weld themselves shut instead!

The "fix" that has been explained to me is to replace the "Otto Start" relay with a solid state relay that, if it fails at all, fails to open circuit so that the starter soleniod is not continuously energized.

The "Old" technology of the "Otto Start" just needs to be updated with a modern solid state relay to protect the delicate ignition switch AND prevent the starter solenoid being continuously operated should the protective relay fail - as the original Otto ones are prone to do (as you found out).
 

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solid state relay

who makes a solid state relay that will work with the gt ignition?I am about to the point that I will need it.the starter on my gt use to engage with the engine running.never did find out what was wrong as it stopped doing this all by itself.could this be the egnition switch going bad?
 

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My personal favorite is Newark Electronics but WW Grainger also carries a good supply or if you have a good Radio Shack in your area they have been known to have them too. Don't forget that the run curcuit has the same problems if you use a bigger stereo or any big draw item on it. Your best bet is to isolate the switch using 2 of them, one for start and the other for run. I really like the OGTS guys and the service they offer of repairing those ignition switches is priceless but if you cook it completely I'm not sure what even they can do, so just go for for it now and try to preserve what you have. Me personally I plan for the use of a third for all of the constant on stuff with a kill switch as well.

I forgot to mention that this is just for this side of the pond for locations to find them, Farnell would be my choice if somewhere else but even Ebay seems to have them listed in good quantity.
 

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Roy, I have another one on the shelf, if you want me to send it to you to try. Might have been just a fluke that one went bad. Jarrell
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Jarrell,
I'm a little skeptical of the Otto Start now. I had rebuilt my starter and I'm not too sure I want to try it again right now. The "solid state" circuit may be the way to go. I'll talk to you more in the coming weeks at our meetings coming up.
 

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I've bitten my tongue on this for some time but the truth is that if you use a dry contact relay you are just transferring the problem not fixing it. For those who use an aftermarket ignition keep in mind that as those are wired you have no protection on it in the run or start modes. Current can flow in alot of ways so it is always best to start at the source and build in a bit of protection there. The concept of isolating the switch is very sound but I think it needs to be taken a bit further even if the cost is a little higher.
 

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The MTBF of standard relays is quite high. In fact, in safety critical devices relays are still used and required as they are statistically much less likely to fail 'closed' than solid state devices. This includes both failures that originated in the relay/solid state switch or in any of the connected circuitry. This may sound counter intuitive to the typical EE or backyard electronics person, but has been proven.

The upside to using a relay or solid state switch to activate the starter is that it requires much less current to activate. The down side of using a relay/solid state switch is that it requires much less current to activate. If you have crusty wiring where the insulator is peeling off and rust particles floating around, and I think nearly all of us do, the relay or solid state switch could be triggered where as all would appear normal when wired to the starter in the standard method.

While I can't say for sure where your problem is, I suspect it's not the relay itself. If you wanted to drop the relay in the mail I'd be happy to test it for you and send it back, free of charge. Just let me know.

-Travis (Electrical Engineer by day)
 

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If I'm understanding this correctly (realize that my girlfriend's GT, the key switch has long since fried those contacts - a previous owner got around the problem by installing a "start button") this is just the very-typical GM crappy starter wiring, right? Just that the switch is actually expensive and hard to find.

Why not the Ford starter solenoid on the fender? Since I went with one of those on my truck (which used to be plagued by hot start problems) I've only had two problems starting it, ever - one when it went up in smoke (I think it got wet) and the other when the starter failed.

It's not hard to do - you just transfer the control wires to the Ford solenoid, and the big cable from the + terminal of the battery goes to one side. You make a new shorter heavy-gauge wire from the other side of that solenoid, down to where the + wire went on the stock unit, and on the stock unit you add a 12ga jumper from that to the wire that originally came from the starter switch.
 

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over the top

The solenoids on the Opel starters are rather robust units, and they don't suffer from the heat soak issues that plague American v-8's due to their location. I would think that adding a Ford style solenoid is probably a bit more than necessary, particularly if you are still going to have to use the origional solenoid to engage the bendix into the ring gear anyway. It would become just another resistance in between the battery and the starter, dropping voltage even more and making starts possibly harder.

The whole premise behind the "otto start", or whatever you want to call the added relay, is to reduce the ammount of current required to go through the start contacts on the ignition switch to help prolong it's life. There's nothing magical about one type of relay versus another; just buy a quality one of any type and you should be fine.

In the case of the starter staying on while the car is running, that sort of failure of the relay itself almost never happens. There is a spring inside the relay that holds it open and pushes against the field created by an electromagnetic coil to force the contacts open, always. If the spring were to fail, allowing the contacts to open and close intermittantly, then the contacts would have no reason to ever open, and they would most likely weld themselves shut. Much more likely is a switch or wiring issue sending just enough of a signal to the relay telling it to open and close, but not enough for the solenoid, as Travis suggested. No worries, though, as this is easy enough to test! Start the car with the relay installed as before, then disconnect only the one wire from the ignition switch that is attached to the relay while it is running and go for a drive. A relay fault will continue to cause the intermittant starter issues, but if they go away, the fault must be with the switch or ignition wiring. The idea is for the relay to be more sensitive to that kind of stuff, that's why it's there. You could also attach a very small light bulb between that wire (the one coming from the ignition switch) to ground and route it somewhere where you can see if it lights up while you drive. During normal drivng it should not light at all, but if it does then the switch is a goner for sure.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Travis,
Give me your address and I will send you the "Otto Start" I took out of the car. Thanks for offering to test it for me. At least it will help identify my problem.

Roy
 

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This problem mirrors what happened to me also. At first the starter would stay engaged occasionally, when starting it, then it got worse and would do it all the time. I disconnected the Otto Start and it worked ok. I intend to send my switch in this winter to be refurbished and see if that cures the problem.

Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wayne,
You are describing exactly what happened with me. I will be sending the switch to Gil for a rebuild and see if that does the trick. I spoke with Opel GT Source today and they said there is only a 24 hour turnaround in getting the switch repaired and it is $49. I think it is well worth it. I am having a little problem now, when I turn the key, it sometimes just does one "click" and the amp gauge pegs all the way to the left. Definite short somewhere. I am betting it is in the switch. Then other times, it fires right up! Go figure...
 

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Ooooner,

I finally found time to do some testing on the relay you sent me. I was racing in Canada most of the last week...

In short, all checks out well. The relay activates reliably at 7.3v and then back off at 2.7v. This may sound a bit strange but it's expected for a 12v activated relay. I also disassembled the relay, inspected the contacts and verified proper movement of the 'arm'. In general, I'd prefer to see a stiffer spring in a moderate vibration environment like a car, but I don't expect you'll see any problems.

The soldering on the two ring terminals looks pretty cold. I'll touch these up and get it sent back to you.

-Travis
 

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Roy,

I missed this thread before, but this is exactly what happened to my 69 when I put the "Ottostart" on it. Starter intermittently engaged. The one day it would not disengage. Burned up my starter, ignition switch, and ottostart (stranded me in the boonies). I sent my ignition switch in and had it rebuilt, put on a new ottostart and got a new starter. Absolutely no problems since.

I believe that my ignition switch was on the verge of going out and when I put on the relay it let just enough current through to engage the starter. If so, try getting your ignition switch rebuilt first and you may save your starter and relay.

Vickie
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Travis,
Thanks for checking the Otto Start out for me. The starter does not
egage itself anymore so what do you make of it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Vickie,
Your description is exactly what happened to my GT with the Otto Start hooked up. After taking it off, the starter did no engage anymore but now that switch is working only about half the time.
I have a spare switch that I am getting ready to send to OGTS to be rebuilt. I already had my starter rebuilt, too!
Once you replaced everything, did you put the Otto Start back on? I would be a little nervous using it after having these problems...
 

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Roy,

Yes, after I had the ignition switch rebuiltand put in a new starter, then I put on a brand new Ottostart. I believe my ignition switch was just too far gone originally and caused the whole mess.

I have had the new relay on now for 2 years and no problems whatsoever!

Vickie
 

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Transient Voltages & Currents

I begin to suspect that it is the Opel wiring and faulty ignition switch at work again with the uncontrolled starter motor engagement.

With just 7.3 volts to "latch" the relay as,Travis scoped out for us, if there are the usual shorts and insulation issues roaming around in the wiring system it will be all to easy for transient currents to put enough voltage across the relay to activate it without driver participation! As long as there is a 2.7 volt potential across the activated relay it will remain "latched" and the starter solenoid will be supplied with current thus activating it and keeping the starter going.
 

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OttoStart . . . issues

saxybiker said:
Roy,

I missed this thread before, but this is exactly what happened to my 69 when I put the "Ottostart" on it. Starter intermittently engaged. . . . I sent my ignition switch in and had it rebuilt, put on a new ottostart and got a new starter. Absolutely no problems since.

1. I believe that my ignition switch was on the verge of going out and when I put on the relay it let just enough current through to engage the starter. If so, try getting your ignition switch rebuilt first and you may save your starter and relay.

Vickie
1. Thought it was time I responded, so here's my response from over two years ago to Vickie about this very subject:

-----Original Message-----
From: Otto Bartsch [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2002 8:28 AM
To: [email protected]
Subject: RE: Starter/Ottostart

Vickie,
Have only heard this happening one other time and yes, it's more than likely caused by some problem with current leakage in the ignition switch itself. Remember that the whole idea of the relay is to let the ignition switch bear only a SMALL current load to "save" the "start" contacts. A small current leak that would NOT have any effect without the relay in the circuit (stock setup) now becomes a problem because that's all that's required to pick the coil in the relay.

Let me ask, how well does your ignition switch return to the "run" position after you've turned it to "start"? The spring is also ~30 years old and in some cases will not always fully return the key to the "run" position. Try making sure by manually checking that the key is actually "fully" in the "run" position. Another thing, you placed the short orange "ground" wire terminal on the relay mounting screw and then through the relay mounting tab hole to mount it to the chassis, right? HTH, Vickie. Let me know.
Otto
And this:

Travis said:
Ooooner,

I finally found time to do some testing on the relay you sent me. I was racing in Canada most of the last week...

In short, all checks out well. The relay activates reliably at 7.3v and then back off at 2.7v. This may sound a bit strange but it's expected for a 12v activated relay. I also disassembled the relay, inspected the contacts and verified proper movement of the 'arm'. 2. In general, I'd prefer to see a stiffer spring in a moderate vibration environment like a car, but I don't expect you'll see any problems.
The soldering on the two ring terminals looks pretty cold. I'll touch these up and get it sent back to you.

-Travis
2. While I also didn't think this would be a problem, as Travis states, my installation instructions sent with each unit specifically state to mount the unit to the CHASSIS, NOT the engine . . . exactly for those reasons!
 
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