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EFV-8 Club Forum / General Mercury Discussion / '39 Merc starter button R&R

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Posted By Discussion Topic: '39 Merc starter button R&R

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08-09-2021 @ 10:11 AM
Posts: 28
Joined: Feb 2021
Have a very wonky feeling starter button which makes inconsistent/hit-or-miss contact; shall replace. Anybody have a trick for removing the existing starter button button?
I've heard it's ornery. I can't tell if there are any notches in the round hole in the dash for aligning to remove or if the retainers on the barrel of the switch must be compressed for extraction.
I've been able to make a snappy with my iphone camera behind the dash but not detailed enough for a conclusion.

08-10-2021 @ 7:23 AM
Posts: 6757
Joined: Oct 2009
The "retainers on the barrel of the switch" must be compressed in order to remove the starter button from the dash. Disconnect the battery, remove the wire from the switch, then compress the two keepers and push the switch out from the front.


39 Ken
08-11-2021 @ 6:58 AM
Posts: 375
Joined: Oct 2009
Before changing out the starter button, I would remove the button and clean
up the contact area where the button meets the dash.

All the button does is ground the solenoid through the dash to complete the
electrical circuit to cause the starter to operate.

The "retainers" that Tom references is where I have found the ground contact
to be insufficient. Clean and "shine up" the retainers and the area of the
dash where they meet. Also, open up the retainer spring action a bit so the button is tighter
in the hole where it resides.

08-14-2021 @ 8:55 AM
Posts: 28
Joined: Feb 2021
I failed to mention that the pink button sometimes sticks in the metal bezel. I have a new switch on order and when installing I will make sure the contact areas are clean for a good ground.

Thanks for your input.

09-11-2021 @ 3:31 PM
Posts: 28
Joined: Feb 2021
I did remove the wonky starter button. Cleaned the grounding area, installed an all metal NOS starter button and it works superbly! Getting that weird little bullet connector in the strange connector was a %#!@*%^$# task. New all steel button has a very positive engagement and feels much better than the original '39 Merc button. I like to stay original but am swayed by reliable performance upgrades.

09-15-2021 @ 7:18 PM
Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2021
Your hard work paid off, I am glad that everything work in your favor. What's your next plan now?

09-18-2021 @ 7:06 AM
Posts: 28
Joined: Feb 2021
Haven't checked in here in a bit.

Well, a lot has happened since the starter button. I have been having a stutter/stumble after a few warm-up miles. It's like a split-second electrical failure. It gets worse as I go along. It could be a fuel issue but for whatever reason, my sense is it of electrical origin. I suspect the coil. I cleaned out clear glass fuel bowl which had a very light coating of very fine black dust in the bottom (it could not be seen until I removed the bowl). Downstream of that was a paper element clear plastic fuel filter which I replaced with new. I cut old filter open and it was cleaner than clean.

Then after a few short test drives and a 15 mile drive (where it did the stutter/stumble consistently), I shut down and then decided I'd restart and see what the spark looked like with the engine well heated (I had checked the spark at a plug previously and it was bright blue and 1/2-5/8"). It wouldn't turn over. Voltage at batt showed 5.1 volts. I charged batt, started, checking cut-out relay in regulator. It was not closing at any rpm.

I removed gen and regulator and took to an old-school battery and ignition guy. He placed on machine and pronounced bad regulator (the cutout relay was showing a meandering voltage up and down the scale). He ordered new regulator (US made, identical to what was on it). He mounted all on machine and adjusted regulator to max charge at 7.4 volts, even videoed with phone showing testing and final readings.

I'm leaving out a lot of boring and stupid stuff on my part, like burning up the first new reg he provided). I'm learning by scr*w*ng up; slow, expensive, but effective.

Installed gen and new regulator (being certain, this time, regulator was well grounded to firewall, wire brushing mounting surface, using star washers). Ran engine and ckd voltage at battery. All was looking good but when warmed up, voltage at battery continued to creep up at 1,200 rpm. When it got to 8.9V, I reduced rpm to high idle and it came down to the 7 volt range, 6.4 volts at normal idle.

I shut it down, went in the house and got a beer. This was last evening.

I really don't wish to remove the generator and regulator (yet again) to take to shop and I'm not sure it would be a good idea to drive it to the shop, a trip of about 18 miles, from fear the voltage might cook something. I could attempt to adjust the regulator myself but my test equipment doesn't lend itself to engine running, under the hood, leaning all the way across the engine with needle nose pliers to bend the spring tab and adjust, test, adjust, test, adjust.


09-18-2021 @ 8:25 AM
Posts: 6757
Joined: Oct 2009
First question is what kind of voltmeter are you using? Analog (type with a needle) or digital? A digital meter can give an incorrect reading due to the electrical noise from the ignition and generator.

Does the dash gauge go past normal to the H? If the voltage was truly at 8.9V the gauge should have been pegged on the left side.

If you are using an analog meter or the dash gauge goes to the H, you might still have a grounding problem. Take a jumper wire and connect it between the case of the generator (use one of the bolts holding the case together) to the mounting screw of the voltage regulator. If the voltage now stays in the N range or lower of the dash gauge (7.2-7.6V using an analog meter), your problem is grounding. If the jumper makes no differences, your new voltage regulator is not doing the job. I would not try to adjust it without having a professional grade generator/regulator test equipment.

If you want to drive the car to the to the shop, disconnect the grounding strap from the battery, charge the battery, remove the ARM and FLD wires from the generator and insulate them from grounding. Connect the grounding strap to the battery and start the car and drive it to the shop. I drove my 40 Mercury about 60 miles that way and still had enough battery left to start it.

Your split second ignition problem could be the distributor rotor arcing to the shaft. This is a known problem with aftermarket rotors. The fix is 1/2" shrink tubing or wrapping the narrow section of the distributor shaft with electrical tape.

Let us know how you make out.


This message was edited by TomO on 9-18-21 @ 8:29 AM

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