02 Aug Quick Tech: A Simple Fix for Your Tired Starter
Ever turn the key to start the car and hear nothing? Most times the starter turns but sometimes there’s nothing. It’s not the battery because all of the lights work and so does the horn and radio. It’s not the starter. The problem is that after 30 plus years the wires get old and the electrical resistance increases until turning the key just doesn’t supply enough to engage the starter.
The good news is it’s easy to fix. What you need to do is to add a relay in the circuit. You can buy a kit from any of the major mail-order catalogs or you can make your own. All you need is a Bosch 30 amp relay and 16-gauge wire. On my ‘74 Beetle everything was assessable from under the rear seat. There were no wires to cut.
The relay has 5 posts, and all have numbers (refer to diagram). You need to run a wire (red) from the positive on the battery to post 30 on the relay. It’s best to insert a 15A fuse for protection. Then run a yellow wire from post 86 to a ground. Now you need to find the ignition wire under the driver’s side of the rear seat. It is red with a black stripe (R/BL). There’s a connector, and you simply need to pull it apart. Run a black wire from post 87 to the starter side of the connector and a blue wire from post 85 to the ignition side of the connector.
That’s it. Just put the seat back and the starter will turn every time you turn the key.