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Solenoid - what is the 'R' terminal for?

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Old 05-09-2001, 06:38 PM   #1
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Solenoid - what is the 'R' terminal for?

I have just bought a replacement starter/solenoid, and it has another small terminal, much the same as the 'S' terminal except it's labeled 'R'.

What's this 'R' terminal all about? Can I safely ignore it when I install the starter into my 1987 305 TPI Trans Am with auto tranny (in other words just connect the Battery terminal and 'S' terminals)?

[This message has been edited by JaBs (edited May 09, 2001).]
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Old 05-10-2001, 07:36 AM   #2
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Car: '91 Z28
Engine: L98 5.7L TPI
Transmission: 700R4
Axle/Gears: 323's

Yes - ignore it. If you haven't already removed the old starter, you will find that the terminals will only fit one lug on the starter. All the big ones hook up with the battery cable, and the only small one you'll have is for the ignition lug on the solenoid. "R" will not be used. If you haven't removed your starter yet, and when you do, if you can't seem to get it out, here's a hint for you... Once you have the wires off and the starter off the engine block, let it sit on the exhaust pipe and remove the solenoid. It's on there with 2 small bolts. Take them off and rotate the solenoid 1/4 turn, then take the solenoid and spring out of there and that will make the extra clearance you'll need to get it out. You'll have to rotate it into a vertical position, and then drop it out between the pipes and block. Be careful of the knock sensor that is just forward of the starter. Obviously you'll have to remove the solenoid from your new starter and reinstall it after you get it up in there, just like you did taking the old one off... If you already know all this, I don't mean to insult you - just trying to help...

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Old 05-10-2001, 05:00 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Cleveland, OH and Flint, MI
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I've never had to remove the solenoid from a starter for an install. On the f-bodies in fact its quite a simple prodcedure. Just have to tilt the starter and slide it out. The hardest starter I've replaced was on a 2.8L v6 in a 4x4 s-10 blazer. That was a huge pain, but still was able to do it without taking the solenoid off.
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Old 05-10-2001, 05:41 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. Glad I can ignore the R terminal. Still kinda curious as to what it's purpose in life is, though.

Yeah, I did try removing the old starter without removing the solenoid first, and it just would not come past the exhaust Y-pipe no matter what way I turned it. I haven't had a chance to try the other method yet - maybe at the weekend...

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Old 05-11-2001, 09:35 AM   #5
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Car: 88 Firebird WS6
Engine: 350 TPI
Transmission: T56
Axle/Gears: 3.42

The 'R' terminal is used to supply a full 12v to the ignition in a points system from way back in the dino age. After starting the ballast resistor would drop the voltage to keep the points from burning out. Amazingly our cars still use the same starter of two designs (Up to the LT1)

An LT1 starter will bolt right up and is a gear reduction/permanent magnet starter.

'88 Camaro RS 2.8L
'88 Formula 350 (Too many mods to list...)
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Old 05-11-2001, 07:22 PM   #6
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Dino age! Watch it. Those old coil type ignition systems were pretty much bullet-proof, as long as you did not require too much out of your 210 or Biscane, like high revs!

1957 3/4 rat
1966 c10 panel
1968 c20 350, 350
1982 camaro 305, THM-200-R4
1984 Monte Carlo, 350, th-350
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Old 05-14-2001, 02:53 PM   #7
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Location: Tucson, AZ, USA
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Car: '92 Z28; Dk Teal; Her Pkg
Engine: 305
Transmission: Richmond 6 Spd
Axle/Gears: Moser 9", Detroit Locker, 3.70

Yes, the "R" (resistor) terminal connected to the ballast resistor and the "+" terminal on the coil, while ignition power was fed to the other side of the ballast resistor. The "R" terminal was used to bypass the ballast resistor during cranking, when the electrical system voltage dropped. Then, after the engine was running, the ballast resistor dropped the system voltage at the coil to a lower level.

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