Car cranks slowly and starter gets hot



I’m having a problem with starting my car. Its a 1962 Ford Ranchero with a 200 six and a 3-speed standard transmission. When I go to start it it starts perfect when cold, but after it has been running and I go in to start it, it cranks very slowly. The battery posts get very hot along with the cables and the starter itself. The wire that goes from the sylinoid to the starter is so hot you can hardly touch it, and I got burned where it connects to the starter because I accidentally bumped it. I also noticed that after trying to start it the battery drains rather quickly too without it accually cranking that much. Is it possible that it could just be the cables? Or could the starter be burned out?

Thank you for helping me with this!


This is a clear indication of an internal short in the starter motor’s coils. It’s time for a replacement.


A starter for your car must cost $18, or real close to it. Check that negative battery cable and if the rubber is cracked all over, it is gone. Change it anyway and you will know right away if it was rotten. Test it by using both jumper cables on the negative terminal and to the engine for a ground. If you get immediate results, you know what the problem is. I bought a 73 Comet that wouldn’t crank at all until I tested it that way. $17 for a negative cable in 2000.


If you have the instrumentation, measure the current draw of the starter while cranking and compare it to specifications. If the current draw is high on cold and hot starts you probably have a dragging armature. If the current draw is okey cold but excessive hot, there must be excessive load caused by the engine. This could be because of early ignition timing; overheated engine; or preignition because of high compression. Does the engine have any dieseling problems on shut off?

If you cannot measure the current draw in situ, you could remove the starter and take it to a parts store that has a starter tester. The no load current draw should verify the health of the windings, bearings, and brushes. These starters are not hard to rebuild and usually will benefit from bushing replacement, cleaning, and brush replacement.

Hope that helps.


The slow cranking is from bad bearings in the starter. The heat is from the electrical resistance of the (extremely powerful) starter motor trying to turn against the high resistance. The high battery drain is from the high current draw of the starter trying to turn.


Thank you all for your answers. I found out that the starter is bad and I’m getting rebuilt, since getting it rebuilt is cheaper than a remanufactured starter and with it being so old its also easiest.